The Queen Bee is a tale that holes some of the similarities to the tale of The Golden Bird. Both tales speak of three brothers who seek a quest, but the youngest, considered the family idiot, is the one to complete the task.
Once upon a time there were three brothers. The older two were lost in the world. The youngest, called Simpleton, set out to find them. The brothers were not lost in a geographic sense, they were lost because of their riotous living. When Simpleton found the brothers, they mocked him because he was simple and would not be able to find his own way in the world.
The three brothers traveled away together. They came to an ant hill. The older two brothers wanted to smash the anthill to watch all of the ants scatter and carry their eggs out. Simpleton told them, “Leave the creatures in peace, I will not suffer you to kill them.” The brothers went on their way without killing the ants. They came to a pond with many ducks. The older two brothers wanted to catch a couple of the ducks and roast them. The youngest brother said the same thing and the ducks were not harmed. At length they came to a beehive full of honey. The older brothers wanted to build a fire to smoke the bees out in order to get all of the honey, but Simpleton gave the same advice. The bees were not harmed.
After a while, the three brothers came to a castle where there were stone horses in the stable. They went inside to all of the rooms. In one room they found a door with a glass pane in it. They could see inside the room and see a little old man. They called to him once, but he did not answer. They called to him a second time, but he did not answer. They called to him a third time, he did not say anything, but got up and let them in the room. He led them to a table that was beautifully set. All the brothers ate their fill and were led to bedrooms for the night.
The next morning, the little man got the eldest brother. He brought him to a stone table on which were inscribed three challenges. If the challenges were completed the enchantment on the castle would be taken away.
The first task was to pick up a thousand pearls in the forest from the princess’s necklace. The eldest brother only found three. Because he failed, he was turned to stone. The next day, the second brother was tested, but he did not even find two hundred pearls. He was also turned to stone. The third day, it was Simpleton’s turn. Simpleton was soon overwhelmed with how difficult the task was. He sat down on a rock to cry. The king of the ants which he had saved from his brothers just happened to show up with five thousand ants. These ants gathered up all of the princess’s pearls and put them in a heap for Simpleton.
Simpleton had completed the first task. The second task was the fetch the key to the princess’s bedchamber. It was at the bottom of the lake. Because Simpleton had saved the ducks on the lake, the ducks dove down under the water and brought him the key. Simpleton had completed the second task. The third task was very difficult. There were three princesses and they all looked exactly alike. The only way to tell the difference between them, was by figuring out what they had eaten before they went to sleep. One daughter had eaten a bit of sugar, another had eaten syrup and the third had eaten honey. The daughter who had eaten honey was the youngest daughter to the king and was the daughter which must be sought out by Simpleton.
Because Simpleton had also saved a hive of bees, the queen of that hive came to his aid. She tasted the lips of all three of the daughters and stayed on the mouth of the daughter that had eaten the honey. Because Simpleton found the right princess, the enchantment was ended. Everyone who had been turned to stone was alive again. Simpleton married the youngest daughter and the older brothers married the two older sisters.
This story does remind me of The Golden Bird. Simpleton and the youngest son in that tale were both thought to be a few crayons short of a box, but they did accomplish great things despite their simplicity. The older brothers in each tale looked down on their youngest brother. I am kind of glad all the brothers in this tale lived. I was getting depressed with all these siblings dying because of their ill-deeds.
This story is really more theme heavy and is too like other tales to really have many observations.
I will say that any family who decides to call one of the children “Simpleton” isn’t very nice. There is probably some emotional abuse going on in that household.
This tale is three-heavy. I think I’m going to make that a new word, well, at least a new word for me. Someday, maybe, I’ll write a dictionary according to me, not that many people would be interested in such a thing. We have three brothers. They try to kill three things. They have three chances. There are three tasks. There are three sisters. Three, three, three, and… oh yeah, three. We’ve already established three as this number of completeness. It’s a number of proving. When three things are performed, a result can happen.
We have this recurring theme that you should not be cruel to animal life. It’s here again and, this time, it’s even more extreme than some of the other tales in which we’ve encountered the theme. Usually, we’re talking about dogs or a donkey, or whatever, but this tale has us talking about ducks, ants, and bees. Some of us can understand the duck thing. We don’t go around killing ducks generally. If you saw a duck, your first thought would probably not be to kill it. You would more likely feed it bread by the pond. I do say that as a generality, of course, there are people who do hunt ducks and their first thought would be to actually kill it.
As far as the bees and ants, most of us aren’t very fond of bees an ants. They both bite/sting and it freaking hurts. If you see an ant nest in your yard, your first thought is to demolish it. For the past two years, it has been my pleasure to get my water hose and spray the little ant colonies ants try to create in my driveway. If I spray them enough times, they either are so demoralized or they have lost so many of their numbers that they simply give up trying to live there. I’m not exactly a champion of ants. I just poisoned some with boric acid a couple of weeks ago.
Even though I’m quite the ant murderer, I do get what this story is saying. These are still living creatures. You’re not supposed to kill them for the heck of it. You’re not supposed to hold magnifying glasses over them on a sunny day and watch them burn.
The bees are something I am kinder towards. I haven’t been stung in years, so that’s probably why I’ve been kinder to them. Bees pollinate flowers including the flowers that make your food. They also make honey, which tastes great, so I tend to let bees do their own thing. There are people who freaking hate bees though and will kill any type of bee-looking thing. Is it a yellow jacket? Is it a hornet? Is it a honey bee? They don’t care. It’s dead. There are people who will kill bees for the heck of it, even though they totally shouldn’t because we’re having a bit of a bee shortage these days. These people are jerks. Bees aren’t cuddly. You’re not going to have pet bees. You’re not going to get a bee hive for your kids. Bees are not really an animal that you would consider a cause to champion for, yes, bees are technically in the kingdom of animalia, they are animals, insects are under the umbrella of animalia. One a side note, spiders are not insects, they’re arachnids, still animals, but not insects.
Most of us don’t look at insects in the same way that we look at kittens, which is totally fine with me. As a result, we don’t feel the same kind of pity for insects, which isn’t that big of a deal in our every day lives, but if you’re a nature-loving person, it might be something that gets to you. It might irritate you a little that life, even a small life, isn’t respected. This story just goes to show us that life if life. Death is death and torture is torture.
Good deeds are good to do. If you do a good deed, the person who receives that deed might pay you back, or they might pass the deed on. It happens. Good things can happen when people do good things. This youngest brother, Simpleton, saves these animals from his brothers’ wrath and cruelty, and is paid back. These animals come to help him when he needed it most. That’s just a great story right there.
This story isn’t heavy on culture, history, or politics, but it is heavy on morals. We should respect all forms of life. We should do good deeds to people. We also should not assume that just because a person is simple that they cannot do great things. I like this story. It’s cute and clever in ways that many stories aren’t.