I'm tired of working," said the little Honey Bee. "Guess I'll just roam around and see what I can find."
So, with these words the little Bee, who had been busy making honey like the other bees, left the pleasant work of taking the sweet liquid from the flowers that called her with lovely smells and pretty colors, and went deeper into the dark woods.
Under the big green leaf was a little yellow Buttercup so the Bee stopped and chatted a while with her. Her merry round face welcomed the Bee and the Buttercup asked why the Bee was not working this fine day.
"Oh, I'm tired out. I think I need a rest," she replied.
"That is too bad; you should rest when you are tired, all right. Don't wander away too far though as there are many strange plants in these woods. I often hear the insects talking about loved ones who have become lost. There is one big plant that really looks pretty but it is very bad."
"What does it look like?" asked the Bee.
"It is sort of brownish green and has very many large sharp teeth and an awfully big mouth and nose . It seems like it is never, never filled up, always hungry. It doesn't smell nice like flowers either, so if you can't smell anything sweet, be careful; it may be the bad flower," warned the Buttercup.
"I'll be careful and I'm not going to stay long anyway. Just roam about a little," said the Bee as she flew away.
First she lit among some cool ferns. Their fine feathery leaves made her think of lace. She sat on the fern and swung back and forth, just like boys and girls in a swing do. The gentle breeze made her nice and cool and made the fern move so the tired little Bee didn't have to work hard to swing. She felt so rested and happy that she fell asleep in her swing.
She slept for some time and when she awoke the rain had started to fall and in vain she looked for her sister bees but they were gone. She became afraid and flew here and there and when she was too tired to fly any more she lit on the nicest, smoothest big leaf that gave her shelter from the rain. Her wings were a little damp so she just stood there for a minute and whirred them until they got dry.
"I might just as well look around a bit until it stops raining," she said. "My, my, this is a funny flower. It doesn't smell very nice either."
Of course, she had come across many that didn't smell nice so this one did not worry her. Long ago she had forgotten the warning from the little yellow Buttercup.
"What funny long sharp teeth it has, and oh, my, how far down its throat I can see. Wonder what is down at the bottom? I guess I'll go and see," cried the Bee.
Very slowly she walked to the edge of the flower where the long teeth were and again peered deep down. She saw something small moving way down there and as it was a little dark in the woods she couldn't tell what it was at first. She looked a long time and finally made out a Red Ant. He was trying to say something to her but she couldn't hear him, his voice was too weak.
"What did you say ?" she called.
"Mmmm mmmm" was all she could make out.
"Call louder, I can't hear you," she cried once again.
Very feebly came the voice from way down there beyond the sharp long teeth.
"Go away. Don't come any nearer or you won't be able to get out. I will never be in the sun again nor walk with my brothers and sisters. I was tired of working so ran away yesterday and came in here to see what I could find. Now I can't get out."
"Oh, you poor little thing," cried the Bee.
Then, suddenly she knew—it was the big bad flower that took you and never let you go again if you got beyond its long teeth. With a little jump she landed on the outer edge very much afraid, and began to cry.
"Why did I go away? I'll never leave my sister workers again. I would rather be busy anyway. When I'm idle I get into trouble. Oh dear, I wish I could find Queen Bee;" she wailed.
She sat there for a long time until the sun came out again and the light became brighter. Soon she heard the buzz of the bees while they carried the sweet liquid from the flowers to make honey. She called once more to the poor Red Ant but he was very still now and could not talk, so with a little tear in her eye for him, who, like herself, had not wanted to work, she flew back to the bees and was happy to do her part until the sun sank behind the trees and the flowers whispered. "Good-night."
In her prayers that night she remembered the poor little Red Ant who would work no more and said she would be sure to go back and thank the little yellow Buttercup for telling her about the big, bad flower that kept bees and ants that didn't want to work or help their brothers and sisters.