Story by Margo Wayman
|"Where is my royal jelly?" roared
Queen Alia, angrily. "I am all out of my favorite jelly!" Her voice echoed
throughout the hive, frightening all the worker bees. When the Queen was angry, it meant
trouble for someone.
Within seconds after hearing her screams, all of the bees had fled the hive, leaving it
empty, except for the Queen, her guards, and two other bees. Raad, a drone, was playing a
game with his best friend, Wafa. She was a worker bee. At first they hadnt heard the
Queen, but just as they were putting away their favorite game, Flower Petal Land, her
angry voice reached them. Raad and Wafa were afraid. They had never heard Queen Alia that
mad before, and never, ever, had the hive ran out of royal jelly. Royal jelly was a
special food. Only the Queen was allowed to eat it. It was made from only the choicest
pollen and nectar from the rare black iris.
Just as they were about to hide, they heard the Queen order, "Guards! Bring me every
bee that is left in the hive!
Now!" Within seconds Raad, and Wafa, were surrounded by the royal guards; their
pointed stingers aimed at them. They were hastily escorted to Queen Alias cell at
the very top of the beehive. They were both very scared.
After bowing before her, they stood up to see the Queen. She was standing in her royal
blue robe, wearing a crown of rose thorns on her head. She said to them,
"You two are
the only bees brave enough to stay in the hive. Wafa, I want you to bring me nectar from
the beautiful black iris. Raad, since there are no other worker bees around, and since you
arent doing anything else useful, go with Wafa. You are to guard and protect her. If
you both succeed in bringing me my sweet nectar, I shall reward you."
Raad was glad that the Queen didnt know that they werent really very brave at
all. They had tried to hide. The only reason they had been in the hive was because they
hadnt heard her yelling quickly enough to leave.
Wafa didnt know where any black iris could be found.. None grew in the area, that
she knew of. "My Queen, I know of no black iris," she quietly spoke.
The Queen answered with a scream, "Then find some! Without the black iris nectar, I
can have no royal jelly. I shall have a very bad day! Now, be off with you both, and dont
come back without the nectar!" Raad and Wafa obeyed. They flew out of the hive in
search of a black iris. Raad, being a drone, didnt have the special pockets to
gather and store the nectar and pollen. Only worker bees did, so he came along only to
protect Wafa. If anything happened to her, hed be the one whod get into
trouble from the Queen.
They flew away from the shade of the fragrant citrus trees that surrounded their beehive,
into the hot, dry desert. There werent many blossoms to be seen anywhere. After a
while they spotted some color amongst the desolation and flew down to get a closer look.
"I see pretty pink cyclamin, and some bright pink flowers on a few laurel bushes; and
they are really pretty; but I dont see any black iris. Do you,
Raad replied, "No, Wafa, I dont see any black flowers at all." Next, they
flew down to the wadi, which is a dry riverbed. "Oh look!" Wafa gasped in
delight. "There are so many beautiful flowers. I see some wild roses, and there are
some dark purplish flowers over there, near that rock. I wonder if they are black iris."
The two honeybees flew towards the colorful flowers, but soon discovered that they werent
black iris. "I am tired. Lets rest on the soft yellow rose petals and think
about where we should go next," Raad suggested.
They sat for a while, thinking about their dilemma. "Look out, Wafa!" Raad
suddenly yelled, pushing her down into the rose. "Its a Little Green Bee-eater!
He wants to eat us. Hide, and dont move!" Wafa looked up to see the huge bird
flying above them."
"He doesnt look that little to me!" she exclaimed.
"Shhhh," whispered Raad. The Bee-eater swooped down, looking for them. The
sunshine made the birds green feathers look brilliant.
"Its so beautiful," whispered Wafa, gazing up at it. Not being able to
find the two bees, the bird soon gave up and flew away.
"Whew, that was close. Now, lets get out of here and find some black iris,"
Raad suggested, grabbing Wafas arm and pulling her out of the fragrant wild rose.
They flew in the direction of the mountains. Wafa said, "There has got to be a black
iris around here somewhere."
|After flying for what seemed like hours, the
two bees spotted a patch of deep purplish-black flowers growing amongst a forest of bent
and twisted Aleppo pine trees. They flew down to them quickly. "Black iris!"
Squealed Wafa. "A big patch of gorgeous, black iris!"
|"They are black iris!" said
Raad. "Did you know that the only place in the whole world they grow is in the Middle East?
See how some of them have black spots and are kind of hairy looking? They are a rare
beauty. But, wed better fill up with pollen. Ill draw a map so that the next
time, when Queen Alia runs out of royal jelly, we will know exactly how to get here."
He carefully drew while Wafa gathered the sweet nectar.
Then they flew back to the hive. Wafa dropped off all the special nectar at the Queens
nectar and pollen cell, and Raad delivered the map to the Queens guards for safe
keeping. They were both so tired by then that they went to their cells and fell fast
asleep. When Raad woke up, there, at the entrance to his cell, sat a jar of royal jelly.
There was a purple ribbon tied to it and a note, which read, "Raad, thank you for
your help. Enjoy this delicious royal jelly. Its fit for a Queen." It was
signed by Queen Alia herself.
Wafa received a jar just the same as the one Raad had received. That night Wafa and Raad
played another game of Flower Petal Land, and sat together, happily dipping their hands
into the jars for a big scoop of royal jelly. They had never tasted anything so delicious
before. It really was a treat meant for a Queen.
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