Mr. Thompson and the Bumble Bee
by Allan Forman
"Buzz, buzz-z, buzz-z-z," scolded old Mr. Bumble-Bee, flying around Mr.
Thompson's head. Mr. Thompson didn't understand him, however, and only
brushed at him impatiently, and said, "Get out!" in a tone anything but
sociable; but the old bee kept flying around just the same, and
complained in his drowsy voice: "Buzz, buzz-z, buzz-z-z. I wish you
would go away. I want to get into my house, and I don't want you to see
me. My family are in there, and we are making bread to-day, and unless I
get home with the flour, my wife will scold awfully. Buzz, buzz-z,
But in the mean time Mr. Thompson had fallen asleep, and the old bee sat
down on the fence rail and watched him. "Hum, hum, hum," he murmured. "I
guess that he has gone to sleep. I don't see what men want to stay awake
for, anyway; they are not half so much trouble when they are asleep. And
only listen how nicely he can buzz through his nose!—he really seems to
be quite like a sensible bee."
Now Mr. Thompson says he did not go to sleep at all; he says that he
only closed his eyes, and in a few minutes he could understand every
word that the old bee said.
"He's a pleasant-looking man," buzzed the bee. "I wonder if he likes
Mr. Thompson answered through his nose that he was very fond of it.
"Sensible, too," said the bee, who thought (all bumble-bees do) that
anybody who agreed with him must be sensible. Then, turning to Mr.
Thompson, the bee murmured, in a more pleasant hum, "If you like honey,
try some of this." As he said it he alit on Mr. Thompson's lips, and
pressed some of the honey he had with him into his mouth.
Mr. Thompson began to grow smaller, and as he shrunk in size, his light
alpaca duster became gauzy, and formed itself into wings. Just as he had
begun to wonder how long it would take him to shrink into nothing, the
bee said, "There, I guess that will do."
Mr. Thompson stretched himself, and found to his surprise that he was in
reality nothing more than a large black bumble-bee. He shook his wings,
arose, and, flying around for a few moments, settled on the fence rail.
He has since told me that if it is true, as Mr. Darwin says, that men
were evolved from the lower orders of animals, they made the greatest
mistake of their lives when they left off their wings.
"Well," remarked the old bee, "you look quite presentable. Won't you
drop in and take dinner with me? My wife would be delighted to see you."
Mr. Thompson thought how much he resembled a certain highly respectable
old gentleman who was wont to invite his friends to his humdrum dinners,
and buzz them unmercifully in the same drowsy way. But as he did not
like to offend his new friend, he answered, politely, that he would be
most happy, and followed him under the rail into a round hole that was
the door of the bumble-bee's house.
They entered a long cylindrical corridor, or, as the old bee expressed
it, "arched at the top, sides, and floor." It was lined with the fibres
of the wood, and was as soft as velvet. After walking some distance
along the hall, they reached a part where it widened into a sort of
parlor. Here Mrs. Bumble-Bee was seated, resting from the labor of
"Well, you are home at last," she buzzed, angrily. "I'll be bound you
forgot the flour."
"Why, my dear, don't you see it? I have it here," answered Mr. Bee,
soothingly, pointing to two little yellow bundles on his legs.
After greeting her guest, Mrs. Bee excused herself on the score of
domestic duties, and busied herself in carrying the flour, or pollen,
into the corridor above. Soon she returned, and after they had made a
meal of bee-bread and honey, Mr. Bumble-Bee proposed to show his guest
through his mansion. They passed through several long corridors, so
constructed that the rain could not beat into the living-rooms, as Mr.
Bee explained. One end of one of the upper galleries was securely walled
up, and in another compartment lay three or four worm-like insects
almost covered with bee-bread.
"What is this room used for?" inquired Mr. Thompson.
"This is the nursery," answered Mr. Bee, proudly.
"Ah, indeed! And what are those white, ugly-looking grubs?"
Mr. Bee looked aghast for a moment, but his surprise quickly turned into
indignation, as he buzzed, angrily: "Grubs! grubs! ugly-looking grubs!
Those, sir, are my children, sir, and I flatter myself that a more
charming family does not exist. Grubs, forsooth! Out of my house, base
insulter!" And before Mr. Thompson could apologize, Mr. Bee had pushed
him out, and stung him on the end of his nose.
He fell, and as he dropped from the rail he began to grow larger, and
when he reached the ground he had assumed his natural proportions. He
found himself lying in the same place beside the fence that he had
occupied when the bee first spoke to him.
When he related the story to his friends, some one suggested that he had
dreamed the whole adventure. He gently touched his inflamed and swelled
nose, and answered, in a grieved tone, "I suppose I dreamed this too."
This argument was unanswerable, and Mr. Thompson is now engaged in
writing a lecture on the habits and customs of the bumble-bee. Among
other things he says, "Bumble-bees only consider those people sensible
who agree with them"; and again, "Bumble-bees invariably think their own
children the most beautiful and interesting creatures in existence."
Which facts, if they are true, show the great superiority of men over