Gateway to the Classics: Display Item
Margaret Warner Morley

More Wasp Stories

"H OW many kinds of solitary wasps are there in the world, Uncle Will o' the Wasps?"

"I am sure I don't know, nephew Will o' the Wisp. I do not think anybody knows. There are so many wasps they have not all been named. We have one that, instead of building its nest first and then catching its prey, does just the opposite. It catches a fat spider and hangs it up in a weed or bush while it digs the hole for its nest."

"I wish we could find one of that sort."

"I am sure we can if we keep on looking."

"Tell me some more wasp stories," Theodore begged after Uncle Will had sat silently watching the clouds a few minutes.

"I can tell you one thing you may be sure is true. The more you watch the wasps the more intelligence you will find in them. Where was it I saw a little digger wasp take a tiny stone in her jaws and use it to hammer down the dirt at the mouth of her hole?"

"Really, Uncle Will?"

"Yes, really. There was no mistake about it, I watched her do it over and over again, and I know other people who have seen the same thing. When she had finished her nest she filled the opening with dirt, and then pounded and packed the dirt in close with the little stone. You saw the wasp in the path close up the opening to her nest and then cover it with a leaf, so that when you looked away for a moment you could not find it again."

"Yes, , the ground all looked alike." And all this intelligence on the part of the wasp is because she has to use her wits. If somebody came and took her up in the morning and buttoned all her buttons and tied her shoes, and she did not have to sweep off the porch and the front path, and shovel the snow from the sidewalk, and keep the wood box filled with kindling, and run errands for her mother, she would be a weak and silly sort of wasp that nobody would take any pleasure in watching."

At the end of this harangue Uncle Will fled down the path with Theodore after him.

"Just wait till I catch you, Uncle Will," Theodore cried breathlessly.

"And just wait till I hear a boy I know complaining of the work that will make a man of him—I'll just snap my fingers and sing out, 'Remember the digger wasp!' " called back Uncle Will as he disappeared around the corner of the path.