Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories | Annotated Tale

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How did the bee outwit the mole?

Another Version.

WHEN the Lord made the heavens he took a ball and spanned the heavens, and after he had finished spanning the heavens he started making the earth. The mole, cunning little beast, came to him and said: "O Lord, let me help thee in making the earth"; and the Lord, who is always good, said in the goodness of his heart: "Very well," and he gave the ball to the mole to keep it.

               The Lord started working, and was busy weaving and working making the earth. But the sly mole let just a little bit of the thread go from time to time, and the Lord worked on without noticing it. When he had finished, how great was his astonishment when he found that the earth was greater than the heavens. What was he to do? how could he fit them together? He turned to the mole, but the mole was not there; he knew what was coming and had buried himself deep down in the earth. So the Lord walked up and down the earth, but could not find him. What was he to do? At last he sent the bee to discover the mole and to find out from him what was to be done. The bee flew away alone, and, buzzing about, at last came to the hole where the mole was sitting buried in the earth.

               The bee came to him and said, "Good morning, uncle."

               "What brings thee to me, my sister?"

               "Well," she said, "the Lord God has sent me to ask thee what is to be done. The earth is so big and the heavens so small."

               The mole, a sly beast, chuckled and said to himself, "The Lord ought to know better than I. I am not going to tell him, though I know what ought to be done."

               The bee would not take this answer. She pretended to fly away, and then went stealthily and settled herself in a flower which was near to the mole's burrow. She knew that the mole would talk to himself, and hoped to overhear what he would say.

               So in sooth it happened. The bee overheard him chuckling and laughing and saying to himself: "Oh what a clever fellow I am! if I had to do it, I would take the earth in my arms and squeeze it tightly, and then mountains would be pressed out and valleys would be sunk, and then the earth would get small enough to fit under the heavens."

               No sooner had the bee heard what the mole had said, than she started flying away. The mole, who heard her buzzing, ran after her and said: "O sister, is that the way thou art dealing with me? Very well then, now take my curse. Henceforth thou shalt feed on thyself."

               But the bee never listened, and flew straight to the Lord and told him what she had heard when the mole muttered to himself. And the Lord took the earth in his hands and squeezed it, and from the flat that it was, mountains rose up and valleys were cut, and it fitted the heavens which God had spanned. And God, hearing of the curse with which the mole has cursed the bee, turned it into a blessing. That is why the bee makes honey and feeds on itself, whilst the mole always lives underground and is frightened to see the sky.


Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: How did the bee outwit the mole?
Tale Author/Editor: Gaster, Moses
Book Title: Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories
Book Author/Editor: Gaster, Moses
Publisher: Sidgwick & Jackson
Publication City: London
Year of Publication: 1915
Country of Origin: Romania
Classification: unclassified

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