The School of the Bees
With her slipper toes caught in the meshes of the hammock to keep her from falling out, and with her head hanging over nearly to the ground, Mary lay watching something beneath her, with breathless interest.
“What is it, Mary?” called Phil, as he came up and threw himself down on the grass beside her, in the shade of the bushy umbrella-tree.
She pointed to a saucer of sugar and water just below her, on the edge of which several bees had alighted. “I put it there,” she said, in a low tone, as if afraid of disturbing the bees. “Mr. Ellestad has been telling us how smart they are, and I wanted to watch them do some of their strange things myself. He wants Joyce to raise bees instead of chickens or squabs or any of the things they were talking about doing. He came up after dinner with some books, and told us so much about them, that I learned more than I would in a whole week in school. Joyce and Lloyd were so interested that, as soon as he left, they rode right over to Mr. Shaw’s bee ranch to ﬁnd out how much a hive costs, and all about it.”
“Have they been gone long?” asked Phil, more interested in the girls than in the bees.
Finding that they had been away more than an hour, and that it was almost time for their return, he settled himself to wait, feigning an interest almost as great as Mary’s in the saucer of sugar and water. There was something comical to him always in Mary’s serious moods, and the grave expression of the little round face, as it hung over the edge of the hammock, promised enough amusement to make the time pass agreeably.
“When one bee gets all he can carry, he goes and tells the others,” explained Mary.
“I’ve had six, so far. I suppose you know about Huber,” she asked, looking up eagerly. “I didn’t till Mr. Ellestad read us a lot about him out of one of the books he brought.”
“I’ve heard of him,” answered Phil, smiling, as he saw how much she wanted the pleasure of repeating her newly gained knowledge. “Suppose you tell me.”
“Well, he was born in Switzerland—in Geneva, and when Lloyd found that out, she was ready to read anything he had written, or to study anything he was interested in.
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