Etwas the Elf

Etwas the Elf
Our heroine, photo by Maia Ycot

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Elf and the Hermit Drone

Once upon a time, Etwas the Elf was running through the forests of tall grass, under the canopies of clover and around the stems of tall flowers when she decided to go for a ride on her butterfly, Rascal. Home to her mushroom, she ran and saddled up her little partner.

Off they flew, fluttering among the rocks and mosses south of Hverager├░i and in between the rare pines that people had brought from sultrier climes, like Scandinavia.  The pair were exploring the branches and needles of one such when they heard a buzz.

Flying closer to the sound they found a little bee flitting up and down the side of the tree.  ´Howdy, Mr. Bee!  Whatcha doing?´

"Auncle Bee," the bee corrected.

"Auncle Bea," Etwas repeated.  Rascal didn't speak.  Butterflies don't speak.

"I'm bringing pollen from the pines to my hive."

"Oh," said Etwas.  "The queen will appreciate your industry.  Where are the other bees?"

"I live alone.  No queen, no other drones, no workers, just me.  Would you like to see my hive?"

"You bet!" Etwas gratefully accepted.  She unsaddled butterfly just outside a tiny hole in the pine.  She and Auncle Bea clambered into the hole and the Elf gathered a gob of wax, a hair from her own tiny head and made a candle which she lit by rubbing two yellow pollen grains against each other.  

"Oooooooh," she exhaled.  In the glow of the candle the hive seemed to go on forever.  Triangular tunnels stretched and curved out of sight.  The tunnels drew the light far away and reflected it so that Etwas saw geometrical constellations brightening distance wax.  "It's beautiful!  All of this is for you?"

Auncle Bea buzzed low.  "Soon after I was born, I tried to have a snowball fight with my siblings.  The queen was angry and sent me away.  Since then I have lived a solitary bee's life."

"Aw, that's sad.  Why work so hard when you already have all you'll ever need and a beautiful home to boot?"

"I was born to bring pollen home.  I don't need to serve a queen.  I just do what I was born to."

Outside the tiny hole in the branch, Rascal fluttered nervously.  Soon, a sound like thunder rumbling through dry leaves swelled outside.  Auncle bee and Etwas peeked out and saw thousands of bees racing around the tree in a panic.  "Fire!" one screamed and 100,000 echoes simultaneously.  The Elf and her companion looked out past the pine needles and saw smoke from a stand of trees far away.

"Hurry! Auncle Bea shouted to her cousins.  "It's safe in here and there's food for all!"  

"Hurry!" Echoed Etwas in a more dulcet voice.

The panicked cloud turned towards the first offer of salvation.  Two by two, they climbed into Auncle Bea's hive.  Once the workers had explored and assured themselves there were no hungry birds inside, the Queen arrived and pronounced the hive "Adequate."  In reward for saving the hive, the Queen offered Auncle Bea the title "Second Regency" and the ranking of "Most Satisfactory."  Auncle Bea began to weep amid the hurrahs for the Queen and Etwas shyly removed herself and rode home with her best pal, Rascal.

And ever since then, among bees and elves, it has been a common platitude "If you are good alone, you can be good with others."