Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Doctor/Nurse (11/02/06)
TITLE: Tending the Queen
By Betty Castleberry
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“Oh yes, Lily. She’s already nice and plump. She’ll make a wonderful queen.”
Lily buzzed over to the baby, taking a turn feeding her.
A seedy looking drone flitted by the nursery and eyed the two hard-working nurses. “Hey babes, nice stingers.”
Lily answered his remark with a disgusted look. Pansy patted Lily’s thorax. “Oh, don’t worry about him, Lily. Let’s just take care of our charge.”
They had just returned to their duties when their friend Rose buzzed back into the hive, obviously very excited. She did the mambo and the fox trot, then topped off the whole dance routine with a lively jive. This could only mean one thing. She had discovered new flowers full of pollen.
The entire hive was quite excited over this news. A new food source was always welcome.
Lily wrapped a tiny wing around Rose. “Good work, my girl. That’s why you’re out in the field.”
“Thanks, Lily. I know foraging is important, but I think you have the most important job of all. Caring for future queens must be so rewarding. I’m in awe of you.”
“I do have an important job, Rose, but I nurse babies by the luck of the draw. It could just as easily have been you.”
“Yes, I suppose so. Well, I’m off again. I’ve got lots of pollinating to do.”
Rose buzzed out of the hive, tipping a wing toward Lily.
No sooner had she left, than Iris stopped by for a visit. “Hey girls. Mind if I sit awhile?” She didn’t wait for an answer, but plopped herself down in a wax cubicle and rubbed all six legs together. Man, my dogs are barkin’. How’s the future queen?”
Lily patted the tiny larva with affection. “She’s good. How are things going with the construction?”
“Okay, but could be better. There’s never enough wax.”
“Pansy and I are keeping busy here. This little one’s a big eater.”
“Take good care of her. She’s going to be mighty important to a hive some day.’
“Oh yes, we know. We take our job very seriously.”
“Well, got to get back to work. See ya later.” Iris buzzed off, leaving Lily and Pansy alone in the nursery with the baby once again.
Pansy wiped a drop of sweat from her fuzzy brow. “Lily, I’m hungry. I’m going to the galley for a snack. Want anything?”
“Sure. What’s good today?”
“I heard the vintage clover honey is exceptional. Of course, wildflower and sunflower are always good.”
“Just bring me whatever you’re having.”
“I think I’d like to try some of that new honey. I think they called it dandelion, or something like that. You feeling adventurous?”
“Sure. Sounds good to me.”
Lily hummed a sweet tune to the glistening larva. She pondered why she ended up with the vastly important job of nursing this very special baby who would some day have her own hive.
She was lost in her thoughts when she saw Sweet Pea fly by, carrying the body of a departed worker bee. That was one job Lily was thankful she didn’t have. The role of an undertaker bee was certainly necessary, but a most unpleasant one, in her opinion.
When Pansy returned to the nursery, Lily asked, “ Do you know who died? Sweet Pea just flew by with a body.”
“Why no, I didn’t see her. I hope it’s nobody we know.”
Lily took a bite of the sweet amber treat Pansy handed her. “ Do you know some bees believe there’s someone who knows exactly how many days we have to live? They believe this being has an even more important role than a nurse bee. For that matter, an even more important role than a queen bee. They believe He created us, and that He watches over us and everything we do.”
“I like that thought. If He created us, He must be the one who selected us to be nurse bees. It must not be luck after all. He knew we would be the perfect ones to handle such a big responsibility.”
Lily smiled. “I think you’re right, Pansy. Suddenly, I feel even more important.”
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