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Drone's Lib

Buzz! In the dimness of the hive, thousands of bees were busy at their work. The babies had to be fed. Food had to be gathered from distant fields and changed into honey. Crews of bees were building six-sided cells of wax to enlarge the honeycomb. Other bees were sweeping the dirt out of the hive.

Duggy Drone was perched on a cell looking down at the wiggling baby inside. Suddenly a nurse bee pushed him aside. "Out of my way, you useless drone," she growled as she bent down to feed the baby bee.

Duggy crawled along the honeycomb, grumbling to himself. "They never let me do anything around here."

Just then Dandy Drone came by. "I'm sick of this life, Dandy," said Duggy. "Those girls are always pushing us around. They won't let us work, and then they call us lazy."

"There must be something we can do," buzzed Dandy.

Just then a scout bee flew excitedly through the doorway. A hum went up from the bees in the hive as they gathered around to hear her report. Round and round she danced on the honeycomb. The rest of the bees nodded their antennae and whirred their wings.

"What's she saying, Duggy?" Dandy asked. "I never did learn that dance language."

"Food! Food! She found a whole field of flowers full of nectar and pollen. Let's get out there fast, before the others."

"We might get lost," Dandy objected. "We've never been out of the hive before."

"Don't worry. Just follow me."

The two drones slipped out of the hive. Duggy led the way, following the scout bee's directions. Soon they were in a field of clover. They dipped down and alighted on two blossoms, side by side.

"I can't get this food out," Dandy complained. "I can't sip the nectar, and the pollen keeps falling off my legs. I wonder how the girls do it?"

Suddenly a dark shadow loomed overhead. A giant foot came crashing down -- a boy was about to step on them. Dandy was knocked off the blossom and lay on the ground. stunned. Duggy flew up angrily and buzzed around the boy's head. The boy slapped at him, but missed. Duggy zoomed in. He landed on the boy's arm and tried again and again to sting him. But nothing happened. With a slap of his hand the boy sent him hurtling through the air.

A few minutes later Duggy woke up. He was lying on a clover leaf. Where was Dandy? He began to fly about in a widening circle. Soon he spotted the other drone lying on the ground.

Duggy fanned his wings and revived his friend. The two of them set off for the hive. On the way back they passed a swarm of worker bees heading out toward the field. At the entrance to the hive, two guard bees stopped them.

"Where's your identification?" they demanded. They sniffed at the two drones and let them pass.

"Even the guards are all girls," Duggy grumbled.

Inside the hive, Duggy organized a drone rebellion. "We want equal rights. We want to share the work," he urged his fellow drones.

The drones marched up and honeycomb, picketing. "Drones' lib!" they shouted. "Female bees are unfair to drones."

The female bees just ignored them. The drones got hungrier and hungrier. (For drones cannot feed themselves.) But they were determined to win the fight for their rights.

Suddenly there was excitement in the hive. The queen was leaving. Hundreds of worker bees swarmed around her, and off they flew to a new home. The drones stayed behind and continued their picketing.

Then a new buzzing filled the hive. The workers were choosing a new queen. She came out of her royal cell. The drones stopped their picketing and stared at her. She was the most beautiful bee they had ever seen.

She walked past the drones to the entrance of the hive. There she paused for a moment and gazed back at them. With a seductive wiggle, she launched herself into the air.

First one, then a few, then all of the drones flew up after her. Higher they flew, their wings beating strongly, as they raced to win the beautiful queen.

"A drone's life isn't so bad after all," Dandy hummed as he and Duggy flew happily after the queen.




©1973, 2013 The Silversteins