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- A Hive of Busy Bees - 5/13 -
Then Grandma cut up the chicken and put it in a crock, and took it to the spring house to keep it cool. "I will fry it in the morning," she said.
How quickly the day passed by! It was already time to do the evening chores. Grandma was trying to teach the brown and white calf to drink milk from a pail. Grandpa was busy in the barn, so she called the children to come and help her.
The calf was kept in a lot near the orchard. "I want you to drive him to the corner of the fence for me," said Grandma. "Then I will try to coax him to drink the milk."
But the little creature was not so easy to manage. As soon as they had driven him into the corner, he would back away; and off he would go again, across the lot.
After this had happened several times, Don said, "Just wait, Grandma; when we get him into the corner again, I will hold him there."
So the next time, he grabbed the calf about the neck and jumped on his back. Instantly the calf turned and galloped across the lot. When he reached the farther side, he turned again, and Don rolled off on the soft grass.
Just then, Grandpa came to the rescue. He drove the calf to the corner and held him there, while Grandma coaxed him to drink from the pail.
"We must go to bed early tonight," said Grandpa as they started for the house. "We want to reach the river by the time the sun comes up."
"But you'll tell us a story first, won't you, Grandma?" asked Don.
"Yes," said Grandma, as she sank into her comfortable old rocking chair in the kitchen.
"About another bee?" asked Joyce. "Which one?"
"Bee Truthful," answered Grandma. "Boys and girls who will not listen to him often come to grief--as the boy did that I shall tell you about.
"Little Milton lived on a farm. His father had a number of mules, which he used in plowing his fields. Two of the young mules were very ill-tempered. Milton's father was very careful to keep the little pigs and calves out of their way, for fear the mules would paw them to death.
"When Milton was almost nine, a little baby brother came into his home. His name was Marion. Milton loved the baby dearly, and never grew tired of playing with him.
"Their father built a fence around the yard. They were careful to keep the gates of the fence closed, so little Marion could not wander away; especially after the two ill-tempered mules were put out to pasture in the lot just back of the house.
"Late one afternoon, Milton was helping his father in the back lot. Daddy had to go and do something else, so he left the boy to finish the job.
"'As soon as you have finished,' said Daddy, 'you may go to the house. But be sure to latch the back yard gate.'
"Daddy did not get home until after dark. 'Milton,' he said, 'did you latch the gate when you came in this afternoon?'
"Milton knew he had forgotten, but he thought to himself, 'If I tell the truth, I shall have to go out and latch the gate now; and I am afraid of the dark.'
"Aloud, he said, 'Yes, Daddy, I did.'
"'Are you sure?' asked Daddy.
"'Yes,' said Milton again.
"The little boy suddenly heard a bee buzzing in his ears--'Tell the truth, Milton; tell the truth!' But he said to himself, 'It won't matter if the gate stands open all night; I will latch it the first thing in the morning.' And so he soon forgot all about it.
"The next morning, right after breakfast, Milton's mother sent him on an errand. Marion was still asleep.
"'Where's Marion?' asked Milton when he came back.
"'He woke a little while ago,' said Mother. 'After I gave him his breakfast, I let him go out in the yard to play--it's such a bright morning.'
"Instantly Milton thought of the gate; and he went to look for Marion.
"A moment later he heard his father cry out in alarm; and looking toward the pasture where the two young mules were kept, he saw little Marion just inside the fence.
"Daddy ran toward the baby as fast as he could; but he was just too late. One of the mules kicked Marion, and he fell over in a little heap. The mule, seeing Daddy coming, ran toward the other end of the pasture.
"Daddy picked up the limp little body and carried it to the house. The baby lay so still that at first they thought he was dead.
"Milton was terribly frightened, and he cried almost all day; for he knew this dreadful thing had happened because he did not latch the back yard gate--and because he had told Daddy a lie about it.
"Poor little Marion was taken to the hospital. His spine had been injured, and it was many, many months before he could sit up. And never again was he able to run about like other children.
"It was a long time before Mother and Daddy found out how the baby came to be in the pasture with the mules. But one day, after little Marion had been brought home, Milton told Daddy the whole, sad story.
"'I'm very sorry,' said Daddy kindly, when he had finished. 'I wish you had told me the truth. I wouldn't have sent you out alone in the dark, son. I would have gone out and latched the gate myself.'
"It was almost more than Milton could bear, to have his father talk to him so sadly and yet so kindly. The sting of the bee went deeper and deeper, as he watched his pale-faced little brother day after day. Always after that, he was careful to listen to the buzzing of little Bee Truthful."
Two very sober children said good-night to Grandma just as the clock struck half-past eight.
"Don," said Grandma, shaking the little sleeper, "it's time to wake up!"
Don turned over, rubbed his eyes, and with a deep sigh settled back to sleep.
"Here, here!" cried Grandma, shaking him again. "Do you want us to leave you at home all alone? We're going fishing today!"
Instantly Don was wide awake. He bounced out of bed and began to dress as quickly as he could. In five minutes he was in the kitchen; but Joyce was there ahead of him, helping Grandma to pack the lunch basket.
Don was so excited that Grandma could coax him to eat only a few bites of breakfast. He was the first one in the car, ready to start for the river.
The sun was just peeping over the hills, when they drove into a pretty, shady nook on the bank of the river. "This is always a good place to fish," said Grandpa. They stopped under a tree whose great, spreading branches leaned far out over the water; and soon they were untying the fishing poles and baiting their hooks.
"I'll give a nickel to the one who catches the first fish," said Grandpa.
Suddenly Don's cork began to bob up and down in the water. Joyce felt a strong pull on her line, too. Almost at the same instant each of them lifted a fish from the water. Grandpa took the little perch from Don's hook, and a catfish from Joyce's; and with his big, hearty laugh he gave them each a nickel.
The hours passed so quickly that before the children knew it, it was time for lunch. But when Grandma spread out the chicken and sandwiches and cookies and lemonade in the shade of the big tree, they found that they were as hungry as bears.
After lunch, Grandma lay down in the shade and tried to take a nap, while the others went back to their fishing. But the fish did not bite so well as they had done in the morning.
They had already caught a great many fish, so they decided to go home early. Grandpa had been stringing the fish one by one, as they had caught them; and he had let the line hang down in the water. Now, when he lifted it out, the children were delighted to see how many fish they had caught.
"That is a longer string of fish than Daddy has in the picture!" cried Don.
"We cannot use so many fish ourselves," said Grandpa. "We shall have to share with the neighbors."
When they reached home, Don helped Grandpa to clean the fish. Grandpa skinned the catfish, and Don scraped the scales from the perch. When they had finished, Don had fish scales all over him--even in his hair.
But this trouble was all forgotten at supper time, when Grandma set a large platter of fish on the table. Grandpa said it tasted better than the fried chicken.
In the evening, the children came to Grandma for their usual story. They sat down on the porch, with the soft summer dusk gathering about them.
"I shall tell you a story tonight," began Grandma, "about a bee that every child should listen to and obey. Its name is Bee Kind.
"James and Richard lived near each other, and they were playmates. One day they were flying their kites in a vacant lot, when they saw a dirty little puppy. Richard began to stamp his feet and try to scare it; but as he could not chase it away, he threw stones at the poor little thing.
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