Copper Bee Apiary

A garden apiary in Whittlesford, Cambridge, UK - honey bees and their beekeeper Hilary van der Hoff.

The Young Princesses and the Wicked Witch

Once upon a time, there was a tall, tall beehive. It stood on a rooftop in a city of spires, looking out over gardens in a kingdom filled with blossoms and sunshine. In the hive lived Queen Eve and her many children. The children looked after their mother and made sure she always had honey to eat.

On the ground floor of the hive there was a nursery. Here, Queen Eve and her attendants liked to spend their days, and it was here that the youngest children were fed and raised by their nursemaids, while their sisters maintained the hive and made the honey, and the elder children hurried back and forth carrying nectar and pollen from the flowers of the kingdom. Above the nursery, layer upon layer of honeycomb was under construction, filling up with delicious honey for the family to eat. The stores of honey reached up high, almost to the roof of the beehive...but not quite. For at the top of the tower, just below the roof, there was a very special room.

It was a royal nursery. Being so far from their Queen, who usually stayed downstairs, the workers at the top of the hive had turned their attention to raising a new heir to the throne. Here were the bedchambers of young princesses, carefully wrapped in beeswax and supplied with royal jelly, and constantly tended by their nurses. One day, these princesses would grow up to be queens, fine and courageous like their mother.

But alas, it was not to be. For one day, a terrible cracking sound was heard in the hive, and the roof was lifted clean away! It was the wicked witch! In she swooped, searching for the young princesses at the top of the tower. One by one, she tore apart the princesses' bedchambers and banished them from the kingdom. For a decree had been issued in the kingdom, stating that there were to be no more accessions to the throne that year, and that all princesses must be sacrificed. And so it was that the royal nursery was closed down, and with great sadness the workers returned to their ordinary duties, cleaning the hive and making the honey.

But they would not be sad for long, for after all they were still very close to Queen Eve, who was a good queen and who would welcome them back to live with her downstairs, where they could help build the glorious stores of golden honey. But that's a story for another day.



Writings, images and sound recordings are by the beekeeper unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Logo artwork © 2015-2019 Susan Harnicar Jackson. All rights reserved.