The fairy tale of The Bee and the Butterfly tells the story of the friendship between a beautiful butterfly and a worker bee that meet on the corolla of a flower. As they recount their life experiences, the butterfly is attacked by the head of a swarm of wasps. The bee goes to meet him, stings him and kills him, knowing that she will not be able to extract his sting unless at the expense of his own life. The head of the swarm of bees, come to the rescue, commemorates the gesture of the valiant worker bee that saved the life of the beautiful butterfly. The Bee and the Butterfly is one of the five chapters of the book titled The Magnificent Fairy Tales written and illustrated by me and my grandchildren. The book is available online at Youcanprint, Amazon and, among other international bookstores, at Mondadori, Hoepli, Feltrinelli, ibs.it. The editing of the tale on WordPress is different from that of the published book .
The origin of The Magnificent Fairy Tales dates back to Christmas 2016 when I published a collection of ten fairy tales dedicated to my grandchildren. The collection, titled “Dieci nuove favole illustrate”, was written in Italian as at that time the majority of my grandchildren were not able to read English. At the beginning of the year 2020 I published Grandpa’s Fairy Tales, basically the English edition of the five fairy tales of the collection that are devoted to animals who talk, walk and run on the ground. This book, titled The Magnificent Fairy Tales, deals with animals who talk and fly in the sky or swim in the sea, was published in October 2020 and, as well as Grandpa’s Fairy Tales, is the outcome of the cooperation between my grandchildren and me. As I was writing the draft of the book, I thought that it would be instructive and enjoyable to hold a competition among my grandchildren aimed at reviewing the content of the draft. As today they are studying at International Schools, they were able to review the chapters utilizing a modern wording. The winner of each single chapter’s review received a prize. Moreover, additional prizes were awarded for the selection of the best cover’s images and the best proposal for the book’s title.
THE BEE AND THE BUTTERFLY
Characters: The Butterfly: Lilly; The Bee: Raya; The Wasp; The Wasps’ Commander; The Bees’ Commander
Once upon a time there was a colorful Butterfly with a pairof beautiful wings that had landed on a marvelous flower just as a Bee was sucking the nectar from the flower. The baby Butterfly was born recently and yet didn’t know the world, especially the bees, but the Bee knew very well the butterflies she often saw on the flowers’ corollas.
The Butterfly turned to the Bee and said: «Dear Bee, my name is Lilly, I am new to this big world, I know just a little or nothing about life. Could you please tell me who are you?».
«Dear Butterfly, since you are so beautiful and you have such magnificent yellow and brown wings, I will tell you who I am. My name is Raya, I am a worker bee that collect nectar to produce honey that is well known, or we could say popular with children and that is very good because it cures many diseases».
«You said you are a worker bee. Are there other kinds of bees?», asked Lilly.
«Yes, we are organized in societies, just like men. Some work to collect food, like me, others take care of the hive, our home, or follow the production of honey and others more take care of food reserves (pollen and honey). We are all governed by a Queen, much bigger than all of us bees who with her eggs generates all the new to life bees in the hive. There are also bees that take care of all the eggs and larvae, our babies».
«Very interesting», replied Lilly, «unfortunately I still don’t know much about us butterflies, but I don’t think we have an organization like yours. But as you, I was born from a larva, then having become a caterpillar, I ate many green and big leaves, and, at a certain moment, I closed myself in a strange thing that seemed like a huge cocoon, a shell similar to the one of a big yellow peanut, hanging on a branch of a plant. After some time, I felt a great desire to get out of the huge cocoon I was in and, by making every kind of effort, I managed to do it. I went out all wet, then the hot and yellow sun dried me and now … here I am next to you».
At this point the conversation was interrupted by a Wasp that swooped down on the flower where Lilly and Raya were sitting and then went up to the sky for swooping them down another time. At first Lilly was frightened then, believing the Wasp was another bee, asked Raya the reason for the other bee to attack them. Raya reassured Lilly by saying that it was not a bee but a wasp, an insect similar to the bee but coming from another family. Then Lilly asked Raya to explain the difference between the bees and wasps.
First of all, Raya sent a message to the Wasp telling her to stop being a boaster because her dives had frightened the Butterfly, her best friend. The Wasp replied like an airplane pilot “Ok, received, I will leave you alone” and quickly disappeared from their sight.
After that Raya said to Lilly: «You want to know the difference between bees and wasps, our distant cousins. Here you are satisfied: bees and wasps are very similar in the appearance and because they are organized in societies. While the wasp society lasts one year – from spring to autumn – our society lasts for several years, even if the Queen changes every year. Incidentally, wasps also have a Queen. About the similar aspect: the wasps have a smooth body with black and golden yellow stripes, and we, as you can see, have a furry body with black and dark yellow stripes». Then Raya went on: «To defend ourselves, we both use a stinger. The wasp’s stinger is smooth, so they easily get in and out of the thing that they think is or want to hurt them. The bee’s stinger, on the other hand, has hooks that transform it into a kind of harpoon that does not slip off but remains stuck in the attacker. To the point that the bee, to free herself, must tear the lower part of the body where the stinger is and for this reason she dies shortly after».
Suddenly, while Lilly was thanking Raya for the explanation and confirming her friendship, a triangle-shaped swarm of wasps appeared above them, led by a Commander that was a much bigger wasp. Raya looked around and saw a worker friend who was pollinating a flower and asked her to go to the hive for help.
Soon after, a swarm of bees arrived and threw itself on the swarm of wasps to repel the attack. The head of the wasps’ swarm broke away from the others and targeted Lilly. Raya, who had remained on the flower’s corolla to defend Lilly from the swarm of wasps, flew to engage the Commander of the wasps and pierced him with the stinger. The two fell on the flower’s corolla, the Commander of the wasps was dead with Raya’s stinger stuck in his body. Raya knew she would die if she broke away from her stinger.
She spoke to Lilly saying: «Dear Lilly, although we met recently, I understood that you are a good butterfly and you deserve to live a long and happy life. Unfortunately, I will not be able, but I am happy to have known you and to die because I saved my friend».
In the meantime, the swarm of bees had defeated the swarm of wasps that had fled leaving the battlefield. The Commander of the bees’ swarm landed on the flower and said: «Honor to the Bee Raya, great worker and valiant warrior. You, beautiful Butterfly, must be grateful to Raya who saved your life at the cost of her’s». Then, speaking proverbs, the commander said: «Remember Butterfly: Whoever finds a friend finds a treasure and A friend in need is a friend indeed. So, friendship is an asset that must always be cultivated to let it grow as a beautiful flower».