For this tale, see if you can find three puppets for the sons. Along the way have: a brown silk laid up into a mound for your ant hill, some birds or stuffed ducks, a beehive (you can use the one you make this week in our May Guide) along with felt bees, an area of stones or rocks for the arrival to the castle and a bunch of
light colored beads or pearls. Bring back the ants to help find the pearls, the ducks to help find the key and one felt bee for the ending.
The Queen Bee
~ A Grimm's Fairy Tale
A king had two sons who were called very clever. Yet they were idle, and never thought of other people's comfort or pleasure. They had a younger brother named Witling, who was quiet and gentle. The two older brothers often laughed at him. "You are too stupid ever to make your way in the world," they said.
One day the three started on a journey together. They had not gone far when they came to an ant hill. "Let us upturn this ant hill," said the oldest brother. "It will be fun to see the frightened ants running to and fro carrying is their eggs." "No, no," said Witling, "leave the little ants in peace. Why should we frighten them?" They left the ants' hill unharmed, and on they went.
Soon they came to a lake. Many ducks were swimming about on the water. Then the second brother said, "Come, let us kill some of these fine ducks." "No," said Witling, "Do not kill them. We do not need them for food. So why should we take away their lives? "So they left the ducks swimming about on the lake.
They walked on till they came to a bees' nest in a tree. "Let us kindle a fire," said the oldest brother. "The smoke will keep the bees from stinging us. Then we can take their honey." But Witling held him back. "Do not
make a fire. Why should we rob the bees of their store? We are not hungry, and we cannot carry the honey with us." Again they listened to his words, though they said, "You are a poor, silly fellow."
On and on they went. At last they came to a great castle. It was of stone,
and all things they saw, even the horses in the stables, were stone.
The brothers went through room after room. They did not see man nor
woman nor child, only stone figures. At last they reached a door, through a hole in which they saw a little, gray man. They called to him once and again. When they called the third time, he rose and came out. He gave them food and showed them a room where they might sleep. But he did not speak one word.
The next morning he showed a stone table on which were written three tasks. These every one who came to the castle must undertake. The first was this: "In the moss around the castle are scattered a thousand pearls. They must all be found in one day. Who-ever does this will free the castle from its spell. Whoever tries and fails will himself be turned to stone at sunset." The oldest brother read these words and began at once to search for the pearls. He looked all day long. But when sunset came he had found only a hundred. So he was turned into stone.
The next day the second brother began the search. He began before day, searching by moonlight. But at sunset he had found only two hundred pearls. So he, too, was changed to stone.
It was now the turn of Witling. He searched and searched, but he found only a handful of the pearls. As the sun was about to set, poor Witling dropped the gems and began to weep. As he wept there came to him the ants whose home he had saved. "Good day, friend Witling," they said. "Once you did us a good turn. Now we will repay you." Here and there through the moss went the little ants. One after another came up with a pearl which it laid before him. Then home they went without waiting for his thanks.