Maya the Bee in battle (16/17)

There was great excitement in the bee kingdom. The hive rumbled and buzzed. All the bees were angry and ready to meet their old enemy in battle until the bitter end. However, there was no disorder. Everything was made ready according to the rules and every soldier knew their duty and was in the right place at the right time.

At the call of the queen to defend the entrance, a group of bees offered themselves. Some of them were ordered to see if the enemy was approaching. The hornets were on their way. The whole hive was silent. Soldiers stood in a row at the entrance, proud and composed. Nobody spoke. The whole hive seemed to have fallen into a deep sleep. At the entrance, the layer of beeswax was so thick that the hole was almost halved.

The queen took an elevated position from which she could oversee the battle. Her assistants flew back and forth. The third messenger returned. He sank exhausted at the feet of the queen.

“I am the last to return,” he shouted with all the strength he had left. “The others are killed.”

“Where are the hornets?” asked the queen.

“At the lime trees, listen,” he stammered fearfully.

“How many are there?” asked the queen sternly. “And answer in a soft voice.”

“I counted forty.”

Although the queen was shocked by the number of the enemy, she did not show it. With a loud, confident voice she said: “Not one of them will see his home again.”

Her words about the downfall of the enemy had an immediate effect. All the bees felt their courage increase. Then a loud hum was heard outside the beehive. The hornets were getting closer and the bees were a little scared now. Then the composed voice of the queen sounded, clear and calm, from her high place: “Let them come in one by one until I give the order to attack. Then we will attack with hundreds of bees at once and block the entrance. Remember that the fate of the entire hive depends on your strength, endurance, and courage! Don’t be afraid, the enemy doesn’t know we are prepared!”

Then she stopped her speech. The first hornet head came through the door. The bees trembled but they remained silent. The hornet quietly withdrew and outside they heard him say, “They are in a deep sleep. But the entrance is half-walled and there are no guards. I don’t know if this is a good or a bad sign.”

“A good sign!” was heard. “Forward!”

Then the hornets jumped in and made their way through the beehive. But the queen bee still did not give the order to attack. Could she not speak from shock? The hornets did not see that there was a row of bees lined up on the left and right, ready to fight. Finally, the order came from above: “In the name of eternal justice, in the name of your queen, defend the kingdom!”

Then there was a loud battle cry and there were only buzzing heaps to be seen. A young bee, who wanted to attack first, had not waited for the queen’s order. He was also the first to die. He stung the hornet, but his enemy caught him. The other bees, emboldened by his brave act, only became more eager to fight and launched a fierce counterattack. The hornets had a hard time. But hornets are an old breed and trained to fight. They were confused by the attack of the bees, but bee stings don’t go through hornet shields and they were many, and a hornet is many times larger than a bee.

But the bee queen had been right with her tactics. They made it difficult for the enemy and the hornets succumbed. On the side of the bees, there were also many injured and dead bees. The bees that still lived became angrier and fought even harder. Gradually, the tumult of the battle became calmer. The loud call of the hornets outside was no longer answered by the intruders inside. Their number was halved.

“We have been betrayed,” said the leader. “The bees were prepared.”

The hornets were gathered on the silver fir. Pale and trembling with battle rage, the warriors stood around their leader, who was in terrible inner conflict. What should he do? Be cautious or give in to his urge to plunder? He chose caution. His entire tribe was threatened with destruction, and he reluctantly sent a messenger to the bees to demand the return of the captives. But there was no response.

The leader, now very afraid that everyone inside was dead, quickly sent another messenger. “Be quick!” he shouted, while placing a white jasmine leaf in the messenger’s hand. “The people will come soon, and then we will be lost. Tell the bees that we will leave them alone forever if the captives are handed over to us.”

The messenger ran away, waving his white signal at the entrance. The bee queen was immediately informed, and she sent her assistant to negotiate. And she sent this answer back:

“We will hand over the dead to you. There are no captives. All hornets who have entered our territory are dead. We do not believe your promise never to return. If you want to continue the fight, we are ready to fight until the last bee.”

The leader of the hornets hesitated. He preferred to take revenge, but reason prevailed.

“We will come back,” he said. “How could this happen to us? Are we not a more powerful than the bees? How do I tell our queen about this defeat? There must be treachery somewhere.”

An older hornet, known as a friend of the queen, answered: “It is true that we are a more powerful race, but the bees are a united people, unshakeable and loyal to their state. That is a great source of strength, and it makes them irresistible. None of them would ever become a traitor. They think of the welfare of all and not of themselves.”

The leader hardly listened. “I do not care about the wisdom of a simple bee. I am a bandit and will die as a bandit. But it is useless to continue the fight now.” And he sent this message to the bee queen:

“Give us back our dead. We will withdraw.”

“We must be wary of deception,” said the bee queen when she heard the hornets’ decision, but she had twenty-one dead hornets removed from the city. The battle was over, the bees had won.

But at what cost? Not a single bee could enjoy the delightful summer morning full of fragrant blossoms. But when it was noon, all the bees resumed their usual tasks. The bees did not celebrate their victory and did not spend time mourning their dead. Every bee carried their pride and sorrow quietly in their heart and went back to work.