THE BEE – A LITTLE 19th CENTURY STORY FOR PIOUS CHILDREN
What art thou doing, fragile, little bee, among the flowers, which, opening out their chalices, seem to invite thee?
The sun is bright in the heavens, but its burning rays arrest not thy unceasing industry.
The flower, upon which thou dost alight, withers not beneath the touch of thy wing, and its delicate stem does not bend beneath the weight of thy agile frame.
Why this incessant toil?
I gather double riches from the flowers.
The one is sweet and odorous honey to refresh the lips of childhood.
The other is pure wax which may be burned afterwards in loving homage before the altar of Mary. Child, the house which shelters thee is like the field in which I labour.
The lessons, and above all, the example of thy mother and thy teacher, are the flowers from which, like me, thou canst draw nourishment.
Work on, without rest, while it is yet the spring-time of thy life.
Later, alas! thou wilt no longer find hearts that open at thy approach to give forth their treasures, like that of thy mother or thy teacher.
And divide also into two parts the lessons which thou gatherest.
One for thy companions of to-day, and for thy family – “benevolence and amiability.”
The other for God and Mary – “innocence and prayer.”
– From: “Golden Grains, Eighth Edition, H.M. Gill and Son, Dublin, 1889 (first published in 1871)