The Bee-Team – The best farmers in the world

The farmers were brought back to the field by their wives. On their return, they were quite surprised to find that their machines were still in place, but the workshop truck had already left. They had been gone for almost two hours, but the mechanics hadn’t contacted them at all. „They said they would call us when they were ready,“ said Farmer Tom, looking at Farmer Joe. They were standing on the track that stretched along the side of the field, right next to the residential area. A team of cameramen was there, packing up their equipment. There were five people in all. However, one cameraman and the sound technician looked somewhat confused. „Sorry,“ one of them addressed the farmers. „We have an appointment now, but we would like to leave the camera there on the tripod. Could you keep an eye on it for us?“ Farmer Tom and Farmer Joe looked at him in bewilderment, as they weren’t at all bothered about the guy’s camera. „Sure, kid, just leave it there.“ „Great,“ he said happily. He didn’t know why or for what reason, but an inner voice told him and his colleague that they should leave the camera there to continue recording. When the cameraman turned away and went over to the outside broadcast van, the farmers grinned at each other. Not a chance they would pay it any attention. „Let’s go!“ Farmer Tom tapped Farmer Joe on the shoulder and pointed to their tractors. They set off in their wellies and marched into the middle of the field. In the background they were able to hear the outside broadcast van driving away, but now they could also hear Chinese mumbling. A group of Asians with a handcart, no doubt on the lookout for UFOs, turned into the street like tourists and wanted to take a break on the edge of the field. And as if the abandoned camera was a sign, the almost 30 Chinese people made themselves comfortable around it and took out their packed lunches.

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

One of the Chinese people rammed a small stick with a red flag with five yellow stars into the ground. That did not go unnoticed. Just as if another Asian group with its handcart had sensed it, they also turned into the street, made a few silly comments and also rammed a somewhat larger stick into the ground. One of the Asians quickly put a blue and red flag with a white sun over it: it was the Taiwanese flag. They also settled down at the edge of the field, unpacked their snacks and drinks, which were obviously much tastier. You could literally feel the tension in the air, which was released shortly afterwards. Three, two, one … all of the Asians growled at each other for about ten seconds, then they surprisingly waved to each other. It was simple: they were all brothers and they weren’t on home ground here. They had done their duty by initially growling, so now they could almost talk to each other like friends. That was a lot of chatter! Farmer Tom and Farmer Joe looked around while walking to their tractors. Farmer Joe gestured to Farmer Tom that he thought they were all a bit mad.

The Asian tourists lay or crouched on the floor, sharing their drinks and treats. Sometimes one of them made a funny comment, and everyone laughed from the bottom of their bellies. They looked like a huge football team sitting together on a team tour. Close observers could see that some of them kept looking in the same direction as the camera that had been left behind. Nobody would dare to touch it. After all, if a camera team left such an expensive piece of equipment here, it had to be there for a reason. One mustn’t forget that at the end of the day, they were all hoping to spot aliens or UFOs! And they also noticed how some of the tourists kept looking up at the sky.

There were more birds circling than normal. If they hadn’t known any better, they would have thought that eagles, buzzards and swallows were joining forces and circling over the Tumbawunda Valley like spy drones, watching everyone and everything. „Oh, what nonsense,“ thought Farmer Tom, then he turned around again with Farmer Joe and they walked on towards their tractors. But somehow, something was different here, in the air and especially on the ground. They weren’t far away from their machines and they could see something strange going on. There were a lot of footprints in the soil. „How many mechanics did the workshop send out?“ Farmer Joe marvelled, while he and Farmer Tom continued to head towards his tractor. He was also surprised. „Good question!“ Farmer Tom was just about to say something, when it happened. First slightly, then faster and faster and stronger – the earth suddenly trembled! Strongly! Oh gosh! From one moment to the next, Farmer Tom and Farmer Joe could hardly stay on their feet. They were wobbling as if they were using a pneumatic drill! Was this an earthquake??? Farmer Joe looked at Farmer Tom in disbelief. He was rocking on his legs so much that he had to hold onto Farmer Joe’s shoulder. Both opened their eyes in disbelief. „An earthquake!!!“

But suddenly there was a ’splash‘ and far behind the field, at the very bottom of the forest of the Tumbawunda Valley, a huge fountain of water suddenly shot up into the sky amidst the brown and green canopy of leaves! The humidity in the air was already tangible! „Wow!“ cried the Chinese and Taiwanese people and then they cheered. What was going on here was awesome! But the water jet disappeared as quickly as it had started. Farmer Tom and Farmer Joe could not believe their eyes. What on earth was going on here? Both looked incredulously towards the forest. They knew that most of the streams had already dried up. There were only one or two trickles left, meandering through the whole forest. Every grown-up knew that they were in the middle of a drought, every grown-up knew that, but no one cared. And everyone knew that the lakes were no more than ponds these days. And there weren’t any pipes here there that could have burst. They knew that for definite. „Squawk, squawk, squawk,“ they now heard several ravens croaking loudly above the Tumbawunda Forest. It seemed like they had seen something alarming right at the other end of the forest.

They seemed to be calling other birds in the air over to them. Farmer Tom and Farmer Joe could see exactly how a falcon and a hawk interrupted their flight paths and flew towards them. My goodness, there was so much going on here! They had never seen anything like it. While they were still wondering, they kept walking until they reached their machines. And when they got there, they could not believe their eyes as it was obvious that work had been done here. But the footprints on the ground? Without a doubt, they were children’s footprints and footprints of at least one horse, of hares, of foxes, and even of a bear? „Um,“ they both took their caps off their heads and scratched their heads almost simultaneously. The farmers looked all around them. The tracks were simply everywhere. Around their tractors, the entire ground was covered with all kinds of footprints. „Squawk, squawk, squawk,“ the ravens called out alarmingly, summoning more and more birds. And did it still smell of candyfloss here? And chocolate? In the distance, they could also see the farmers Pete and Harry standing in front of their machines. They had also taken their caps off and were scratching their heads while inspecting the ground around their tractors. Was there something crackling under the bonnets and in their seed drills? Farmer Joe and Farmer Tom put their caps back on and looked closer. But everything appeared to be normal there. There was even a workshop note hanging on a pipe. ‚Maintenance completed‘ including the date and the signature of the assessor ‚Honeyball‘. The note had a logo of a bee with a crown. “Bee Better“ was included. „That’s funny,“ whispered Farmer Joe.

He could still hear the crackling in the engine area, but he couldn’t see anything. He went around the back and looked into his seed drill. However, everything was normal here too. Except the same almost magical crackling as was coming from under the tractor bonnet. Strange, really strange. „Do you know who Honeyball is?“ Farmer Tom now wanted to know. He had gone over to Farmer Joe and was looking at the seeds with him. „Nope, never heard of him. Has he replaced old Bob?“ Farmer Tom looked at him with a shrug of his shoulders. „No idea … “ Farmer Tom watched while Farmer Joe hopped up into his cab. Everything looked fine so far. He quickly put the key in the ignition and started his engine. And lo and behold, everything ran perfectly! He smiled. Farmer Tom waved to him and went over to his own tractor. After a few moments, he started his tractor as well and lo and behold, it worked too, perhaps even better than ever before! This Honeyball and his team seemed to have done a fantastic job. Great guys, there’s no other way to put it. On the other side of the field, they could see that the other two farmers, Farmer Pete and Farmer Harry had started their tractors, too. All of a sudden, an extremely excited croaking and crowing filled the air. Much louder than before.



It was so loud that all four farmers heard it, even though the engines were running. They leaned forward in their seats to look up at the sky. What was happening now? But something was different today: in the air, in their fields and in the forest. Between the trees, they had seen various children from the Tumbawunda Valley scurrying about. Once they even thought they had seen seven little girls in pink princess dresses on a rather colourful horse at the edge of the forest, followed by two bears, three raccoons and a deer. With so many small animals like hamsters, hares and turtles between their legs, it just wasn’t possible. Now dozens of birds were shooting towards a specific spot in the forest, when … „Bang,“ suddenly there was a crash at the spot just above where the birds were flying. They were suddenly aware of it. „Bang, Bang,“ two more bangs followed, then a column of smoke rose into the air right there.

For a short moment, they saw raging flames appearing and now, all of a sudden, the trees in the forest were shaking violently. It was as if a fierce troop was running towards the column of smoke and the fire, crashing into the trees as they rushed past. „Wow,“ the Chinese and Taiwanese cried out and cheered even louder. That was awesome. The fire came closer and closer to the wobbling trees, then, after a golden bolt of lightning, it was suddenly extinguished. The flames had disappeared, the smoke was becoming less and less, until there was nothing left to remind anyone of what had happened. Just one thing: suddenly a small black cloud appeared out of nowhere, stopped over the last site and made it rain. But not for long. „Um,“ all the spectators scratched their heads at the same time. Had the cloud just formed into a face, looking a little embarrassed because it had arrived too late, and then quickly nodded and disappeared back into thin air? There was a great deal of uncertainty amongst the Chinese and Taiwanese. Was everything still normal here? Or was that already what they had originally come to find? Aliens? UFOs? The effects of the rainbow-coloured beam of light from outer space? Some of them, however, already had an explanation: „It’s just too hot today, we’re already seeing things that don’t exist at all,“ murmured Farmer Tom and Farmer Joe also shook his head. The farmers Pete and Harry also immediately believed that this really could not be happening. It was simply scorching hot today. Almost simultaneously, all four farmers reached into their cabs for their water bottles, took a hearty gulp and immediately returned to their work.

Before they stepped on the gas, Farmer Tom and Farmer Joe took one last look at each other and nodded coolly. After all, this didn’t change the fact that they were still rivals. That was the way things were done in the countryside. No sooner had they realised it than they drove off with their tractors. There was undoubtedly a lot happening, both on and off the field. This attracted another group of tourists, to the one ‚rest area‘ at least. To the left of the Chinese group, a group of Americans was crouching down. And the fact that they came from the USA could not be overlooked. Three of them were traipsing around half-dressed in Tumbawunda Valley, wearing only red and blue cowboy boots, swimming trunks looking like their national flag and cowboy hats. On top of that, each of them had a guitar strapped to their upper body. The rest of them were dressed quite strangely too. Four or five of them were wearing homemade aluminium hats, in an effort to protect themselves against dangerous UFO radiation, others wanted exactly the opposite: they were wearing large antennas on their heads. The aim was to intercept alien communication immediately and decode it directly with laptops hanging around their bellies. The group of around 30 people which now joined the Asians, had turned their handcart into a barbeque at the push of a button. „Yippee,“ the three half-naked cowboys cheered and warbled country songs for everyone’s entertainment. The farmers on the field couldn’t hear that. They were too busy driving around their fields on their heavy machines. Again and again, they looked towards the forest wondering if there was more to come. The smoke had disappeared, as had the water fountain.

The humidity in the air, on the other hand, was still very apparent. If they hadn’t known any better, they would have thought that there was still a lot of water in the forest. Strangely enough, Farmer Joe thought to himself, the fire brigade hadn’t turned up to check on things. But the fire in the forest was far away and had apparently already been extinguished. Not their problem.

Farmer Joe’s problem, however, was that he had the feeling that his tractor was somehow developing a life of its own. He was steering the tractor in his field, but he had the impression that his machine was always slightly correcting its path. „Hmm.“ But the machine was planting the seeds well. At the end of his field, he turned. He could see in the distance how Farmer Tom was also turning around. Everything seemed to be running smoothly for him too. He could also clearly see the track where the new seed was embedded. His machine had drawn perfect lines in the ground, but now he could see that something was wrong with Farmer Tom’s second track. There, a groove was now automatically being drawn in the ground. The seeds fell normally, although it was clear that something was wrong with Farmer Tom’s machine, but he didn’t care. „Ha-ha,“ he was even slightly pleased about that. When he noticed it later, Farmer Tom would have to call the workshop again. But Farmer Joe wouldn’t have to. „Ha-ha,“ Farmer Joe giggled mischievously, and accelerated again himself. What he didn’t see right away was that his tractor was pulling a groove in the ground as well. But while he was driving, he didn’t look in the rear-view mirror to check whether everything was working for him, he was paying more attention to Farmer Tom’s first track. They were already moving towards each other again in the second lane, but something else was wrong with the first lane, because it looked as if slight green spots were already appearing. Huh? That really could not be possible!

He chugged on and on with his tractor to the middle of the field and the green patches became stronger and bigger. Now that Farmer Tom was almost in the middle again, Farmer Joe was able to see him and Farmer Tom, in turn, was now staring spellbound at Farmer Joe’s tracks! Huh???? When Farmer Joe looked quickly into his rear-view mirror, he could hardly believe his eyes: the seed in his first track now seemed to be starting to grow as well. Well, I never! Even in his second track, which he had just drawn, there was a huge groove in the middle! Suddenly Farmer Tom was waving his hands in the air behind his cab! „Gosh, he’s so stupid, he can’t possibly steer like that,“ thought Farmer Joe, now completely exhilarated. He was trying to avoid a big stone, when he noticed for himself that his tractor wasn’t doing what he wanted it to do! The tractor had taken control! „Argh,“ he yelled. Farmer Tom was now racing past him with the same expression of panic on his face. „Argh,“ he yelled too and reached for his ignition key. „Turn it off, turn it off immediately,“ he knew what he needed to do, but the tractor seemed to have a mind of its own.

„Argh!!!“ This was definitely surprising for the Chinese, Taiwanese and American tourists. They knew that the Tumbawunda farmers were among the best in the world, but they hadn’t realised that their trick was to cultivate their fields with wildly waving arms and hands. They seemed to be singing wild incantations. It sounded a bit panicky, but really cool at the same time! The American cowboys in swimming trunks now tuned their guitars, playing to the incantations of the best farmers in the world. Now everyone knew that the Tumbawunda farmers had it all! Now the whole world was able to see it! And even more spectators were able to witness these secret practices as they were happening. As well as the Americans, a group of Mexicans made themselves comfortable. „Ola Señores,“ they grinned as they took their heavy sombreros off their heads. Immediately, some of them opened Mexican beers, others chopped lemons, others unpacked delicious tortillas and burritos. One of them even had a fold-out mini wall from an East German souvenir shop with him, which he set up in front of the Americans on the small green strip and giggled. Then he chose the perfect spot to place his Mexican flag and flagpole into the ground. The American who sat closest to him immediately started laughing and kicked it over with a giggle. Then he reached into his cooler and handed him an ice-cold can of real American beer. „Ha-ha,“ the Mexican grinned and accepted it with thanks. He grabbed a burrito from one of his buddies and handed it over to the American. The American in turn pointed to the two farmers whose tractors were driving over the fields as if guided by remote control. „Argh,“ they were still screaming at the top of their voices. Farmer Joe and Farmer Tom had panic written all over their faces. It is always a spectacle when the best farmers in the world cultivate their fields. The Mexicans were immediately enthralled by the Tumbawunda practices. And not only them. because now the Chinese, Taiwanese and Americans could also see that the seeds already seemed to be turning slightly green, no, that young shoots were actually shooting up too! „Wow,“ some breathed, but from now on almost everyone felt with every passing minute that something else was happening there. Something very, very strange was happening here the whole time: by now, the seeds had already reached a height of at least a few centimetres. The whole field had been cultivated as if by magic and the grooves were now aligning themselves in front of everyone’s eyes like little streams, in the direction of the forest! „Wow,“ the spectators cheered as the grooves suddenly filled with water and watered the fields! Immediately field hares, hedgehogs, mice, crickets, ladybirds, innumerable insects and animals jumped up and started to drink greedily from the small waterways. „Mother of God!“ exclaimed a Mexican. Everyone knew that something magical was happening here …


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