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Aesop’s Fable of the Worker Bee, the Drone, and the Wasp

One day some worker bees made a honeycomb in the hollow trunk of an oak. They settled nearby to rest. Then, the drones from their hive flew by. The drones said, "We made that honeycomb. It belongs to us."

"You did not make that honeycomb," replied the worker bees. "You know very well that you did not. We made it."

The drones insisted, "That honeycomb belongs to us and we are going to have it."

So the worker bees said, “Let us go together and see what the wasp has to say about whose honeycomb it is.”

The worker bees and the drones flew in a big swarm to the wasp’s nest. When the wasp came outside to see what the buzz was all about, the bees all talked at once about their dispute.

"You worker bees and drones," said the wasp, "are so much alike in shape, color, and sound that I cannot easily tell you apart. Surely I cannot tell which of you I have seen building the honeycomb in the oak tree.

“But I think the matter can be justly decided. Each group of you, the workers and the drones, must go to a hive in which there is no honey, and build up a new honeycomb. The group that makes a honeycomb and honey like that found in the oak tree is the owner of the tree comb."

"All right," said the worker bees, "we will do it! Let’s go!" But the drones said, "We will have nothing to do with such a plan."

So the wasp said, "I see the worker bees are ready to make another honeycomb. But the drones don’t want to do it. That must be because the drones do not know how! Surely, they did not make the honeycomb in the oak tree. It belongs to the worker bees."

The drones buzzed away very angry. For they knew the wasp was right. They didn’t know how to make a honeycomb at all. And the worker bees happily flew back to the oak tree.

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Last updated on Friday, May 17, 2013.

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