A curse becomes a boon
It was a beautiful, sunny morning in Belgrade forest in Turkey. The forest was abuzz with the voices of birds and the buzzing of insects. But, buzzing ...
It was a beautiful, sunny morning in Belgrade forest in Turkey. The forest was abuzz with the voices of birds and the buzzing of insects. But, buzzing the loudest of all were the honeybees which had their beehive on one of the Oak trees. It was a huge hive, and the bees were already leaving in batches for their morning hunt of pollen and nectar. Each batch flew to a different area of the forest in search of food.
“Hurry up, Ivan!” the leader bee of the group that was just about to leave called out. Ivan was another worker bee in his group. Every other bee was ready to leave. “Let’s leave him here today, Leader”, cried Marcus, another bee in the group, “We get late all the time because of him!” “He should have been born a snail, not a bee”, sniggered Marcus’ friend slyly, and the whole group burst out into laughter. Only the leader remained grave. “Don’t make fun of him”, he said, “He can’t help it.”
At this moment, Ivan appeared. Ivan was in fact, a very nice bee, but with just one small problem. He was slow- slower than all the other bees by a very large degree. He was slow in everything he did from the time he was born. He moved around slowly in the honeycomb while doing his daily chores, and while flying too, he was slow. He always lagged behind the rest of his group, and the others often had to wait for him to catch up.
Ivan bumbled up to them, apologizing profusely. “Alright, let’s go”, said the leader, and took flight. Marcus nudged his sly friend, and both of them gave Ivan a hard push before flying away themselves. Ivan tumbled over, and got up slowly. His eyes were filled with tears. He was always bullied by Marcus and his friends for being slow. It hurt him a lot, but he could do nothing about it. Wiping away his tears, Ivan followed his group, which had already flown quite far.
“Hey slowbee!!” cried Marcus to Ivan. “You can’t catch up with us! Go back to the hive!” “Ivan is a loser, Ivan is a loser”, sang another bee. “Loser!!” cried Marcus again. Peals of laughter floated back to Ivan in the wind. Ivan wondered if he really should go back to the hive. He felt dejected. Why was he so slow? But he still flew on resolutely, though he was far behind his group. The swarm came to a marshy land, full of wild flowers and plants they had never seen before. “Wowwww…” exclaimed Marcus, and prepared to swoop down onto a bright yellow lily. “Stop!” the leader said.
“We’ve never been here before. Don’t fly down to any flower until I check out the entire place and come back.” The leader flew away. “Ha! What can hurt us bees? We have sharp stings reserved for our enemies!” said one. “I don’t know about the rest of you, but I don’t care what our leader says. In fact, it’s about time I became the leader”, said Marcus haughtily, and flew down to the lily. “This nectar is superb!” he said, as he drank deeply from the flower.
Seeing Marcus, the other bees flew down to different flowers. Very soon, all were confidently buzzing about from one flower to another, with Marcus at the helm. “Look at that plant there! Is that a flower or are those leaves?” cried a bee, pointing to a strange plant in the marshes, half hidden by the taller plants around it. The entire plant looked like a flower, with its green leaves arranged like the petals of a rose, and each leaf covered by hairs that had red liquid drops on them.
“Must be dew”, remarked one. “I think its nectar”, said another. “Whatever it is, it looks very tasty to me. The first one there gets it all!” said Marcus, and immediately flew over to it. Laughing, the other bees raced him to it and settled on the leaves, tasting its red sweet dew drops.
And then, something weird happened. “Marcus, I can’t fly, I’m stuck!” cried one. “Neither can I!” cried another. “Don’t worry, it’s just that this nectar is so sticky….”, Marcus started saying, when he noticed to his horror, that the leaf on which he was sitting was curling up and rolling him in! “Oh no! Heeeeeeeeelp!!!!!!!!!!!!” he cried.
All the bees started crying for help as the leaves rolled up with them trapped inside. And that was when Ivan reached there, panting and wheezing. “Help, Ivan, save us!” cried Marcus. Ivan was shocked by what he saw. But what could he do? The leaves were faster than the bees. And some of the bees were already being suffocated to death. Ivan flew over to Marcus, carefully avoiding other leaves. “Let me try pulling you out Marcus”, he said.
But before he could do anything, he found himself being dragged away upwards. It was his leader. “You cannot help them now, Ivan”, said the leader sadly. “These are meat-eating plants called the Sundew plants- they eat insects by attracting them with their nectar-coated leaves. And once you are caught, you can’t escape. Don’t try to help him now, you will only put yourself in danger”, said the leader.
The other bees meanwhile were dead, covered up in the clutches of the plant. “I wish they had waited for me”, the leader sighed. “Come; let’s go back to the hive.” As they flew back, Ivan realised that if he had been as fast as his friends, he would have met the same fate as them, in the hurry to collect nectar. For the first time in his life, Ivan was thankful that he was slow.