Faerie Tale - Chapter 6 - The Bees

Faerie Tale
Chapter 6 – The Bees

When the Warlock returned, he tipped the pot of stew on to the glowing embers of the fire causing a great hiss of steam to fill the cave. Taking a key out of his voluminous robe he unlocked the four chained grimoires and carried them outside. Then he collected as many retorts, stands, charts, bottles and jars as would fit in a sturdy wooden chest and staggered outside with it. On his third visit he picked up the sleeping elf and carried him out, placing him on a pile of rugs and furs in the back of a farmer’s cart, pulling his bearskin cover over him.
Under the rugs and furs, the spell books whispered and moaned. The Warlock lifted the chest into the cart, fastened the tailgate and climbed up into the driving seat, urging the anxious pair of work horses into action. Normally they only took the local farmer to market, and his wife to visit her mother. They were not used to being asked to move swiftly and at first protested.
“If you do not emulate Pegasus and fly, my fine gentlemen, you will spend the rest of your lives as newts,” the Warlock assured them, shaking the reins. “Now – fly as if your lives depend on it!”

Imi sat in the sunshine on top of the conical bee skep in the full warmth of the early morning sun and ate honey from a tiny petal bowl with an even tinier petal spoon.
“It’s all right for YOU to sit up there doing nothing,” complained one of the bees, fanning the entrance with her wings, “but if I don’t do a stint here, I’ll catch it from the Queen!”
“Why do you do that, anyway?” Imi asked.
“What, fan the entrance? To keep the interior cool, of course! Do you know nothing about bee colonies?”
“Not a lot,” Imi conceded.
“Humph!” said the bee, or something like that.
Imi looked down. “I understand it’s very crowded in there. That’s why the Queen sends me some honey to eat out here.”
“Why did she let you have some of our honey?” demanded the bee.
“Because I reported the first patch of primroses to her.”
“Very kind of you,” the bee said sarcastically. “Did you not think we were busy enough with cleaning out the hive?”
“You wouldn’t want another colony to get there first,” Imi said, spooning up a golden drop.
The bee snorted again, but she couldn’t argue with that.
“The early bird catches the worm,” Imi said airily.
“We’re bees,” said the bee.

Imi just smiled sweetly. It was too nice a day to let anyone spoil the mood.
“Work, work, work,” muttered the bee, turning to round to fan backwards. “It’s not fair. All you faeries do is sit about and look decorative.”
“Oh thank you,” said Imi, patting her hair.
“Figure of speech,” muttered the bee, followed by “Awk!” as she was almost knocked off her feet by the hurried arrival of several of her fellow workers who all tried to talk and dance at once. The entrance ledge was just too narrow for such exuberance.

“Guess what? Guess what?”
“Guess what we saw?”
“Guess who we saw, you mean!”
“Oh yes sorry, guess who we saw in the meadow!”
“Calm down and watch you don’t knock me over!” the first bee said irritably.
“We saw the wizard!”
“Yes, the Wizard!”
“No, no, not the wizard, the Warlock!”
“The Warlock of the west woods!”
Imi set down her honey and went on to her hands and knees to look at the commotion below.
“And guess what he was doing?”
“Yes, guess what he was doing?”
“Guess, Bea, go on, guess, guess!”
The first bee sighed. “How would I know? I’ve been here on ventilation duty all day.”
The other bees laughed and giggled and pushed each other. “You tell her.”
“No, YOU tell her!”
“What was he doing?” Imi asked.
The bees stopped jiggling about and looked up as if the voice had come from the sky.
“Who said that?”
“I did,” Imi said and leaned out over the curve of the skep.
“I who?”
“Who I?”
“Who her?”
“Who she, you mean.”
“Oh yes, pardon my grammar. Who she?”
“Oh for goodness sake,” said Bea, “She’s a faerie, and a guest of the Queen, so mind your manners. Imi, workers : workers, Imi.”
There was some more giggling and jostling. “You tell her.”
“No YOU tell her!”
“I’ll tell her. Ah…what was the question?”
“What was the Warlock doing?” Imi prompted.
“Running away!”
“Yes, running away.”
“With a cart.”
“And horses!”
“And going nearly as fast as us!”
“Only in the opposite direction!”
“Was there an elf with him?” Imi enquired.
“An elf?”
“Oh yes, there was an elf.”
“A dead elf.”
“What?!” Imi jumped up.
“Well he mightn’t have been exactly DEAD…”
“Nearly dead.”
“Sort of dead.”
“What do you mean?” Imi demanded anxiously.
“Lying down.”
“Flat on his back.”
“In the back of the cart.”
“With his eyes closed.”
“Maybe he was asleep?” Imi suggested, trying to get some sense of perspective into this report.
“No, pale, like dead.”
“Very pale.”
“Dead person pale.”
‘“How would YOU know what a dead person looks like?” Bea demanded. “You haven’t a titter o’ wit, the lot o’ you!”
“What’s a titter?”
“I know what a titter is – tee hee hee!”
“Oh give me strength!” Bea pleaded.
“Where was he going?” Imi asked.
“Who?”
“The Warlock.”
“Maybe to the place they put dead people.”
“A midden.”
“They don’t put people on middens!” Bea said, totally exasperated. “Seminaries. That’s where they put them.”
“Seminaries! Seminaries!” the bees cried.
“Which direction did he go in?” Imi asked, opening her rainbow wings.
“That way!”
“That way!”
“That way!”
Nearly all the bees waggled their bodies in the same direction.
“Thank you!”
“Oh, look at her pretty wings!”
“I wish I was a faerie.”
“So do I…”
“Oh get inside the lot of you! You’re giving me a headache.”
“Yes, Bea.”
“Thank you, Bea.”
“Gosh it’s hot in here…”

Copyright Hilary Robinson 17.3.2010

Faerie Tale - Chapter 6 - The Bees

Hilary Robinson

Bangor, United Kingdom

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Artist's Description

The Warlock has so much faith in Galien’s terrible prediction that he leaves the west wood in some haste.
Imi meets the bees, without whom we would all have nothing to eat…
A little light relief before the coming terror.

All my writing is copyright and protected. It is not in the Public Domain

Artwork Comments

  • pinkyjain
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