Gateway to the Classics: Seed-Babies by Margaret Warner Morley
 
Seed-Babies by  Margaret Warner Morley

Bumble-Bees

I F anybody were to suppose that Kittie and Ko and Jack were satisfied with caterpillars' eggs that summer, "right dar 's whar he broke his merlasses jug," as Uncle Remus would say. For they took to hunting eggs just as they had been hunting seeds before, and if they didn't find as many eggs as they did seeds, at least they found a good many.


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And although they could not find the baby caterpillars, and ants, and flies, and bugs in the eggs when they broke them open, if they watched them long enough without breaking, the little creatures were sure to grow and hatch out of them sooner or later.

"Everything  lays eggs, I believe," Jack said, one day.

"Do you suppose bumble-bees do?" asked Kittie,—then added very mysteriously, "I know where there's a bumblebee's nest."

"How do you know it's a nest?" demanded Ko.

"Oh, because," said Kittie.

"Humph!" said Jack, "that's no reason."

"Well, I know it is, and if you want to get it, I'll show you where to find it," said Kittie.

"Come along then," said Ko.

So they went with her to a place in the corner of the orchard where an old plank was lying in the grass.

"There, it's under that," she said, pointing to the plank.

The boys looked, and presently a big bumble-bee came blundering out from a hole at the edge of the plank.


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"Well, I believe it's so," said Ko,—then added, "Now you had better run, Kittie, for I'm going to lift up that plank."

"You don't dare," said Kittie.

"You'll see if I don't," he replied, proudly; "now run, or you'll get stung."

"Who's afraid?" demanded Kittie, standing her ground. "I'm not going to run."

"You'll get stung," said Jack, warningly.

"So will you," retorted Kittie.

"Oh, boys don't mind such things," said Ko, with a very fine air.

"Neither do girls," replied Kittie, obstinately.

"Well, get stung if you want to!" and Ko suddenly seized one end of the plank and raised it a little. It was too heavy for him to move much, but the little he did stir it, sent out a swarm of very lively and very  angry bumblebees.


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"There's one on your apron, Kittie!" yelled Jack, dancing around and fighting a bee that seemed determined to make his acquaintance.

"I know it," Kittie screamed back, trying hard not to cry and putting her hands behind her, while the bee came buzzing up her apron. But for some reason it tumbled off and she was saved.

Just then Ko darted past her, making some very queer noises as he went.

"Boys don't mind such things," naughty Kittie called out, running after him.

And then Jack passed her, bawling as if he were being killed.

"Boys don't"—Kittie began, but just then something struck her on the cheek, and she nearly fell over, it hurt so, and then something equally dreadful happened to the back of her neck, and she followed Ko and Jack, bawling as loudly as they.

Kittie's mother put something on all the stings to take out the pain, and then got a book about bees and showed the children pictures of how they make their nests, and showed them a picture of the dainty little rooms where the eggs are stored away.

"It's just a bee cradle," said Jack, studying one carefully.


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"Yes, that's it," said Ko.

"I wish we could have seen them," said Kittie, wistfully. "It was mean of the bees not to let us."

"They were afraid you would spoil their nest and kill their young ones," mother replied. "You can hardly blame them for defending themselves.

"Suppose some great giant came to tear our house down, and carry off baby Belle to look at her under a microscope, what would you feel like doing?"

"I'd chop his head off," said Jack, promptly.

"That's the way the bees felt about it," said mother.

"Only they couldn't chop our heads off, so they stung them off," said Kittie, solemnly, caressing the great lump on her cheek.

"I hope you've got cheek enough, Kittie," said Ko, tormentingly.

"Well, my eye isn't swelled shut, anyway," she replied, looking straight at the spot where Ko's merry brown eye had gone into eclipse. "I know one thing," she added, "boys make as much fuss as girls, after all."

"And girls hate to get stung as much as boys do," added Jack.

"I know another thing," put in Ko. "I think  I'm acquainted with a boy who won't look for bumble-bees' eggs again until he learns a better way to do it."


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