The Bee-Team – Gathering

The day was drawing to a close, the sun was slowly setting on the far side of the field, where three field hares were sitting. They were surrounded by everything that crept and flew in the woods and meadows, everything that buzzed and crawled around, everything that hummed and hissed. The whole animal kingdom of the Tumbawunda Valley had gathered around the three long-eared creatures at the foot of the old lime tree, under the golden palace, in the withered grass. In terms of numbers, however, there were more wild bees here than any other creature, but unfortunately that still wasn’t a lot. There actually seemed to be even fewer of them than there had been a while ago. The bees that were present didn’t look well either. They were light-skinned and thin, some were dirty, looking like vagabonds, others were so weak they could hardly stand up. The field hares were barely able to hop, the blackbirds and tits couldn’t fly very well, the bumblebees could barely hum.

This is a reading sample. If you like the story, the butterflies would be happy if you bought the book!

Some were coughing, others were trembling. Hunters and their prey were sitting peacefully side by side. Nobody present here attacked anyone else, as would actually have been the case in the good old days. They were simply too weak; their need was much too great – they had to stick together. But this was most clearly visible with the different species of wild bees, who were holding each other up. Some were crying, others sobbing. Some of them weren’t even able to fly away to search for food anymore. Queen Majesta, the 723rd, had therefore ordered that the small amount of honey her proud colony had left over should be shared with the other wild bees and bumblebees. But there was so very little honey left that it had to be rationed. This meant that most of the honey was given to the wild bees that went out searching for food. They could only gather pollen and nectar if they had enough strength to do so. They had to cover big areas to ensure they had a chance of finding food for everyone. Unfortunately, this decision made sense. Everyone realised that.

That also inevitably meant that others received even less of what was left, but then there was an unexpected development. During the meeting, little drops of honey were being passed around! From one minute to the next, food was suddenly available. The explanation came from Brownie, an embarrassed female brown bear from the valley, who had brought along her last pot of honey. She still had it left over from hibernation. Initially, the wild bees had wanted to be angry, because they had no idea where she had got the honey from, but it didn’t really matter any longer. They were all too weak to argue about it. Their joy at being able to eat honey to gain strength was greater than their anger.

Every wild bee and every bumblebee filled its belly. „And are you sure you heard that correctly?“ Queen Majesta stood in front of the three hares scratching her head. „The two little human children really said ‚Bee-Team‘?“ The long-eared hares, bouncing with excitement, put their paws to their chests. „Yes, that’s exactly what they said! Honestly!“

The fox in the third row shrugged his shoulders: „I’ve never heard anything about a ‚Bee-Team‘.“ Neither had the two female wild ducks next to him. They quickly chattered quietly with one another, then they looked to the front again. There were serious faces in the branches above. Blackbirds, titmice, robins, but also hawks, buzzards and eagles all looked down with grim faces.

Boy, the wild ducks really annoyed them, they always had something to gossip about. Now even the wild geese looked up. But everyone knew that wild geese were just as bad as wild ducks at chitchatting – they always had something to gossip about too. The bald eagle had had enough. With his wings and feathers, he made a sign to remind the ducks and geese that he had his eyes on them. Then he grimly pointed towards the ducks and geese, as if to say: „keep it shut, got it? I’m watching you!“ „Gulp,“ everyone in the audience understood immediately. The wild geese and ducks all drew their necks in a little bit. OK, we won’t say another word! „Has anybody here ever heard of the Bee-Team?“ Queen Majesta asked the assembled group.

Her golden crown didn’t seem quite as shiny as it used to be. It took a little while, but then most of those present started to shake their heads. No, never heard of it. The name was not familiar to the brown or black bears, the hedgehogs, the pheasants, the vipers, the raccoons, the grasshoppers, or anyone else present. „I knew that the bumblebees wouldn’t know it,“ whispered one bee secretly. Most wild bees thought the bumblebees weren’t very bright. They were content with almost any flower; wild bees were much pickier. „My goodness, has nobody ever heard of the Bee-Team?“ Queen Majesta looked at the three field hares, then desperately at Big Bertha.

She thought it over and over, then she seemed to have an idea. Bingo! Quickly the General walked up and down, her eyes wandering searchingly through the rows of those sitting on the ground. Past the deer, past the wild boars and badgers, past the blue wood bees, past the amphibians and past the various frogs. She had to be here somewhere… „Is Methusala not here yet?“ she suddenly shouted. Methusala? Everyone knew her: Methusala was the oldest inhabitant of the Tumbawunda Valley. „Of course, she’s here!“ cried the water fleas in a squeaky voice. Great! They were so small that nobody actually knew where the voices were coming from. General Bertha activated her wings and rose into the air, her medals jingling. Immediately all the wild bees joined her and suddenly a slight buzzing filled the meeting place. Everyone was troubled. Where was Methusala?



Their gazes all pointed in one direction. The river and pond dwellers of the Tumbawunda Valley had gathered in the bottom, left corner of the field, not far from the little stream. It had dried up into a trickle, but at least most of them could still quickly sprinkle themselves with a little bit of water there. And look: Methusala was there after all! The European pond turtle who was at least one hundred years old, had also settled down here under the lime tree in the dried-up grass and was fast asleep. „Snore, snore, snore,“ but only those who were close enough to her shell were able to hear it. Big Bertha looked around, grabbed a small branch, flew over to Methusala and knocked on her shell. But nothing happened. „Snore, snore, snore,“ she continued. Now Queen Majesta landed next to Methusala. She held onto her crown as she landed, displacing Bubbles and Blobber, two rather young European pond turtles.

Everyone suspected that they were at least great-great-grandchildren of Methusala, if not even perhaps her great-great-great-grandchildren, but nobody knew for certain. After all, turtles simply laid their eggs and then disappeared. But they were definitely related. Now Queen Majesta took General Bertha’s stick and knocked hard all over the shell. Knock, knock, knock. Bubbles and Blobber giggled. By now, a cluster had formed around the sleeping Methusala. Every animal and every insect wanted to know if she knew the Bee-Team. Knock, knock, knock. By this stage, Queen Majesta was holding the stick with both hands and was hammering away on the shell. But nothing happened, except, „snore, snore, snore.“ Ugh. Soon General Bertha grabbed a stick too and it was only a few seconds before the sounds echoed in stereo. Knock-knock, knock-knock, knock-knock.

Finally, something started to happen: slowly, very slowly, her front and back legs came out from under the shell and even more slowly a very, very old head pushed itself forward. „Did someone knock?“ the old pond turtle croaked. She still only had her eyes half open, she had to find her bearings first. What planet was she on again? Oh yes, Earth. Good. Which century? Hmm, 21st? It might be. What year was it; what day of the week was it? „Come on,“ Methusala muttered to herself, she didn’t want to have to think that much. First, she yawned heavily, then she rubbed her eyes leisurely. When she opened them properly, she was quite astonished, because in all her decades, she had never seen so many pairs of eyes looking at her all at once.

She looked left in surprise, then right. „Umm,“ she now looked at Queen Majesta and General Bertha of the largest wild bee colony here in Tumbawunda Valley. They each still had their sticks in their hands. „Umm,“ Methusala looked down at them. „Yes, how may I help you?“ Queen Majesta was just turning to her proud General when someone screamed from the branches above them: „Do you know the Bee-Team?“ Methusala slowly raised her head. Gosh, there wasn’t a leaf left on any of the branches! Suddenly, a feather gently drifted down. Methusala croaked upwards: „What did you say?“ The pond turtle granny definitely wasn’t the youngest, everyone knew that and therefore it was logical that her ears did not work as well as they used to. But it wasn’t all bad, she thought. It meant that she didn’t have to listen to all the rubbish the young people talked about.

Boy, the female turtles could gossip about other female turtles. She hadn’t been like that when she was younger. Oh, the good old days … she was just starting to reminisce. But not for long: „Do you know the Bee-Team??“ one of the racoons in the back row shouted now, using both of his paws to make a funnel in front of his mouth. Methusala gently rocked her shell to wake herself up a bit. What had the young man in the back row called out? Had she heard him properly? As if the penny was slowly beginning to drop, her eyes opened more and more in slow motion. She literally pulled them open until they were gleaming! Her eyes sparkled like the night sky! And suddenly she was bursting with energy as if she had just hatched out of an egg!

And everyone in the room realised it, some of them got goose bumps immediately. Forces gathered in Methusala that no one in the Tumbawunda Valley had ever seen enter a living being so quickly. But the pond turtle grandmother Methusala wanted to play it safe and she looked at Queen Majesta and General Bertha with a serious expression. With the calm voice of eternity, she asked, „Would you mind repeating your question?“ The two of them dropped their sticks in awe, then Majesta, the 723rd, opened her mouth and whispered: „Do you know the Bee-Team?“ Hush, pause, silence. Then it started to get mysterious. From one moment to the next, the ground started to vibrate and the lime tree magically started to tremble. Immediately some birds moved together anxiously, a few frogs jumped into the mud of the creek as a precaution, the bears adopted a defensive position.

The eerie feeling seemed to come from the other side of the field. Everyone who was present felt it. Meanwhile, dusk was almost over, the night was about to begin. Then it happened. First a window on the other side of the field sparkled in rainbow colours, then a magical, colourful ball of energy shot diagonally up into the evening sky, out into the vastness of space. „Yay!“ the wild animals cheered. Then there was a brief moment of calm. All eyes gazed out into the universe. Eternity seemed to be determining the moment. Time no longer mattered. Words could not express this feeling. Suddenly the ground trembled again, the lime tree shook and the universe answered. A magical rainbow-coloured beam pierced its way deep out of space, coming from a distant galaxy, through this beautiful evening sky, right in front of the eyes of all the wild animals, right into the forest of the Tumbawunda Valley!

No one could possibly describe this moment. The magical rainbow-coloured beam of light blinded them, but it was the most beautiful thing any of them had ever seen. Immediately, everyone was touched, feeling the magic deep within their souls. Their hearts glowed. They were pumping. They were jumping. They were dancing. Ecstasy, perhaps, was the best way to describe it. Hope was pumping through every plumage, through every fur, through every scaly skin, through every shell. Wild bees and bumblebees, buzzards and eagles, robins and sparrows, deer and hares, raccoons and brook dwellers, all were captivated. Methuselah’s strong, almost joyful, expectant, but above all overpowering voice was now audible to everyone: „Oooh yes … I know the Bee-Team.“


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