Gateway to the Classics: Will o' the Wasps by Margaret Warner Morley
Will o' the Wasps by  Margaret Warner Morley

The Nest Is Finished

"D O the hornets keep on tearing down the inside and building up the outside until they have made those great big nests we find in the trees? Uncle Will o' the Wasps?" Theodore asked the next time he and Uncle Will were in the garden together.

"Yes, indeed," was the answer, "they put on more and more layers of paper as the house increases in size, so even when they tear away the inside to enlarge the space, there remains a thick, strong wall to protect the precious treasures within and keep that children warm."

"It seems to me," said Theodore, "that all kinds of parents take great care of their children."

"Do you know why?"

"I suppose it is because they love them so much."

"Yes, they love them dearly. Even the wasps love their children and will die fighting for them. Children, you know, are the most precious things in the whole world."

"They are not worth more than fathers and mothers, are they?"

"Well, yes, I think they are on the whole. They are the mothers and fathers—the grown-up people—of the future, you know. And they can be trained. It is hard for grown people to change, but if children begin right and think good thoughts and are happy and bright and brave, and not afraid to work, and not afraid to say no when no ought to be said, they will grow up into very good people. Every set of fathers and mothers ought to be better than those that went before them."

"Ought I to be better than father?"

Uncle Will laughed. "That would be asking a good deal, I know. If you are as good as your father, you will do well. But as you grow up you can help other people who have not had your chance, for so much depends on the chance, you know."

"Do wasps train their children, Uncle Will?"

"No, I do not think so. Wasps are not like people. They do not need to think about good and bad. But people are going on, you know. The human race is all the time getting wiser and better. The wasps can go on forever building paper nests just the same way, and stinging people who interfere, and nothing more is asked of them."

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