Maya the Bee in the House of the Rose (2/17)

The sun had been shining for quite some time when Maya woke up in the flower where she had fallen asleep the night before.

The petals swayed gently in the light breeze. “It’s like they’re dancing!” exclaimed Maya, still excited from all the adventures she had experienced the day before. “I definitely won’t go back to the beehive!” And when she thought of Miss Cassandra, her heart beat faster. How clearly she had shown how terrible it is to have to fly in and out of the hive forever to collect and carry honey. No, that was certainly not a life for Maya. She wanted to enjoy her freedom, no matter what!

Meanwhile, her stomach started to growl a little. It was time to eat something. In the distance, she saw a beautiful red flower. She flew towards it and in doing so, she caused a large drop of water to fall from the leaf, splashing onto the ground in dozens of glistening water droplets. What a beautiful sight it was!

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The red flower spread a delicious, sweet smell. At the lower edge of the flower, at the entrance to the cup, was a beetle. He was slightly smaller than herself and had brown wings and a black chest. He looked at Maya seriously and undisturbed. Maya greeted the beetle with a friendly greeting.

“What are you doing here?” asked the beetle.

“What kind of beautiful flower is this?” asked Maya, not answering the beetle’s question. “Would you be so kind as to tell me the name of this flower?”

The beetle laughed, which bees wouldn’t find very polite if there was a serious question asked. “You must be new here,” said the beetle. And he meant that he understood that she was just born and couldn’t know much yet.

“It’s a rose,” said the beetle. “Now you know.”

Although the beetle didn’t have the best manners according to Maya, she thought he was a good-natured man.

“We moved here four days ago,” said the beetle. “Do you want to come in and take a look?”

Maya hesitated but overcame her doubts and took a few steps forward. The beetle pushed a clear petal aside to let Maya in. They walked together through the narrow rooms with their muted light and fragrant walls.

“What an enchanting house!” exclaimed Maya, “and it smells so heavenly in here!”

The beetle was pleased with Maya’s admiration.

“Knowing where to live takes wisdom,” he said, smiling kindly. “Tell me where you live, and I’ll tell you what you’re worth,” says an old saying. Would you like some nectar?”

“Well, yes please!” exclaimed Maya, realizing how hungry she was by now.

The beetle left Maya alone for a moment to get the nectar. Maya pressed her nose into the red petal to take in the scent completely. “Life is so wonderful here,” she said, “it’s so much better to be here than in the hustle and bustle of the bees who only fly back and forth, and worry about collecting honey. The silence is delightful!”

Suddenly, there was a loud noise behind the walls. It was the beetle growling excitedly in great anger. It seemed like he was pushing someone roughly. A moment later, she heard the sound of someone running outside. The beetle returned and grumpily threw some nectar down. “It’s a shame!” he said. “You can’t escape those pests anywhere. They don’t give you a moment of peace.”

Maya was so hungry that she took some of the nectar without thanking the beetle. “Who was that?” mumbled Maya with her mouth still full.

“It was an ant,” he burst out angrily. “They have it in their heads to go straight into the pantry without a thank you. They take without asking. It makes me furious. If I didn’t realize that these ill-mannered creatures actually don’t know any better, I wouldn’t hesitate for a moment to call them thieves!”

At this point, he suddenly remembered his own manners. “Sorry,” he said, turning to Maya. “I forgot to introduce myself. My name is Peter, of the rose beetle family.”

“My name is Maya,” said the little bee shyly. “I’m delighted to meet you.” She looked at Peter attentively; he bowed repeatedly and spread his antennae out like two small brown fans. Maya thought it was beautiful.

“You have the most fascinating antennae,” she said.

“Thank you,” Peter said flattered. “Would you like to see the other side?”

“Yes, please,” replied Maya.

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The rose beetle turned his fan-shaped antennae aside and let a ray of sunshine glide over them.

“Great, isn’t it?” he asked.

“I think it’s very special!” Maya exclaimed. “Mine aren’t as remarkably beautiful.”

“Oh,” said Peter, “everyone has their own special characteristics. For example, you have very beautiful eyes, and the golden color of your body is very attractive.”

Maya beamed. Peter was the first to tell her that she looked good. Life was wonderful.

She took some more nectar.

“Excellent quality honey,” she noted.

“Take some more,” said Peter, rather surprised by his little guest’s appetite. “There’s also some dew if you’re thirsty.”

“Thank you very much,” said Maya. “But now I have to fly again, if that’s okay with you.”

The rose beetle laughed.

“Fly, always flying,” he said. “It’s in the blood of you bees. I don’t understand such a restless way of life. It also has an advantage to stay in one place, don’t you think?”

Peter held the red curtain aside politely.

“I’ll come with you to our observation leaf,” he said. “It’s an excellent place to fly from.”

“Oh, thank you,” said Maya, “but I can fly from anywhere.”

“That’s an advantage over me,” Peter replied. “I have some trouble unfolding my hind wings.” He shook her hand and held the last curtain aside for her.

“Oh, the blue sky!” Maya exclaimed. “Goodbye.”

“Goodbye!” Peter called out, staying on the top petal to see Maya rise up in the golden sunlight and the clear, pure morning air. With a sigh, he returned to his cool rose home and sang a morning song for himself.