By Margo Wayman
Where is my royal jelly? roared Queen Alia, angrily. I am all out of my favorite jelly! Her voice echoed throughout the hive, frightening all the worker bees. When the Queen was angry, it meant trouble for someone.
Within seconds after hearing her screams, all of the bees had fled the hive, leaving it empty, except for the Queen, her guards, and two other bees. Raad, a drone, was playing a game with his best friend, Wafa. She was a worker bee. At first they hadnt heard the Queen, but just as they were putting away their favorite game, Flower Petal Land, her angry voice reached them. Raad and Wafa were afraid. They had never heard Queen Alia that mad before, and never, ever, had the hive ran out of royal jelly. Royal jelly was a special food. Only the Queen was allowed to eat it. It was made from only the choicest pollen and nectar from the rare black iris.
Just as they were about to hide, they heard the Queen order, Guards! Bring me every bee that is left in the hive! Now! Within seconds Raad, and Wafa, were surrounded by the royal guards; their pointed stingers aimed at them. They were hastily escorted to Queen Alias cell at the very top of the beehive. They were both very scared.
After bowing before her, they stood up to see the Queen. She was standing in her royal blue robe, wearing a crown of rose thorns on her head. She said to them, You two are the only bees brave enough to stay in the hive. Wafa, I want you to bring me nectar from the beautiful black iris. Raad, since there are no other worker bees around, and since you arent doing anything else useful, go with Wafa. You are to guard and protect her. If you both succeed in bringing me my sweet nectar, I shall reward you.
Raad was glad that the Queen didnt know that they werent really very brave at all. They had tried to hide. The only reason they had been in the hive was because they hadnt heard her yelling quickly enough to leave.
Wafa didnt know where any black iris could be found.. None grew in the area, that she knew of. My Queen, I know of no black iris, she quietly spoke.
The Queen answered with a scream, Then find some! Without the black iris nectar, I can have no royal jelly. I shall have a very bad day! Now, be off with you both, and dont come back without the nectar! Raad and Wafa obeyed. They flew out of the hive in search of a black iris. Raad, being a drone, didnt have the special pockets to gather and store the nectar and pollen. Only worker bees did, so he came along only to protect Wafa. If anything happened to her, hed be the one whod get into trouble from the Queen.
They flew away from the shade of the fragrant citrus trees that surrounded their beehive, into the hot, dry desert. There werent many blossoms to be seen anywhere. After a while they spotted some color amongst the desolation and flew down to get a closer look. I see pretty pink cyclamin, and some bright pink flowers on a few laurel bushes; and they are really pretty; but I dont see any black iris. Do you, Raad? Wafa asked.
Raad replied, No, Wafa, I dont see any black flowers at all. Next, they flew down to the wadi, which is a dry riverbed. Oh look! Wafa gasped in delight. There are so many beautiful flowers. I see some wild roses, and there are some dark purplish flowers over there, near that rock. I wonder if they are black iris.
The two honeybees flew towards the colorful flowers, but soon discovered that they werent black iris. I am tired. Lets rest on the soft yellow rose petals and think about where we should go next, Raad suggested.
They sat for a while, thinking about their dilemma. Look out, Wafa! Raad suddenly yelled, pushing her down into the rose. Its a Little Green Bee-eater! He wants to eat us. Hide, and dont move! Wafa looked up to see the huge bird flying above them.
He doesnt look that little to me! she exclaimed.
Shhhh, whispered Raad. The Bee-eater swooped down, looking for them. The sunshine made the birds green feathers look brilliant.
Its so beautiful, whispered Wafa, gazing up at it. Not being able to find the two bees, the bird soon gave up and flew away.
Whew, that was close. Now, lets get out of here and find some black iris, Raad suggested, grabbing Wafas arm and pulling her out of the fragrant wild rose. They flew in the direction of the mountains. Wafa said, There has got to be a black iris around here somewhere.
After flying for what seemed like hours, the two bees spotted a patch of deep purplish-black flowers growing amongst a forest of bent and twisted Aleppo pine trees. They flew down to them quickly. Black iris! Squealed Wafa. A big patch of gorgeous, black iris!
They are black iris! said Raad. Did you know that the only place in the whole world they grow is in the Middle East? See how some of them have black spots and are kind of hairy looking? They are a rare beauty. But, wed better fill up with pollen. Ill draw a map so that the next time, when Queen Alia runs out of royal jelly, we will know exactly how to get here. He carefully drew while Wafa gathered the sweet nectar.
Then they flew back to the hive. Wafa dropped off all the special nectar at the Queens nectar and pollen cell, and Raad delivered the map to the Queens guards for safe keeping. They were both so tired by then that they went to their cells and fell fast asleep. When Raad woke up, there, at the entrance to his cell, sat a jar of royal jelly. There was a purple ribbon tied to it and a note, which read, Raad, thank you for your help. Enjoy this delicious royal jelly. Its fit for a Queen. It was signed by Queen Alia herself.
Wafa received a jar just the same as the one Raad had received. That night Wafa and Raad played another game of Flower Petal Land, and sat together, happily dipping their hands into the jars for a big scoop of royal jelly. They had never tasted anything so delicious before. It really was a treat meant for a Queen.
Last Updated: June 26th, 2011
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