'Mr. Bumble'

Story Time

July 18, 1999|By Kim Kennedy

Editor's note: Mr. Bumble was renowned for his fumbling, tumbling bumblebee ways. The discovery of a new patch of clover causes him great anxiety, even though it holds his salvation.

Every spring, the meadows became a buzzing and busy scene, with hundreds of bumblebees gathering pollen for their hive.

Such work came easily to all the bees. To all, that is, but one.

His name was Mr. Bumble, and he was the clumsiest bee who ever buzzed. Sadly, when it came to gathering pollen, he could never take off from a flower without bumbling, fumbling, and tumbling.

One evening, the queen held court. "Something grand has happened!" she announced. "Today, one of our scouts buzzed over an undiscovered clover patch! There you will find a gold mine of pollen!"

Everyone was excited about the news, except Mr. Bumble. He couldn't help wondering what might lurk in that patch, just waiting to catch a clumsy bee.

"Study this map well!" declared the queen, "for tomorrow you journey there."

"But what else did the scout see?" Mr. Bumble asked. "Does something live in that patch? And if so, what if it's mean?"

"Well," said the queen, "if that's true, those of you who are quick and clever have nothing to fear. But those who are not," she added, looking at Mr. Bumble, "Beware!"

Though the next morning's journey was long and hard, Mr. Bumble finally managed to arrive, but only to find that the other bees had already filled their buckets and flown away.

Teetering atop a blossom, Mr. Bumble began his lonely work. Plink went the pollen into his bucket. Clink went some more. But just as he was going plinkety clink to the next flower, a frightful noise arose that sent a shiver round his stripes and curled his little toes.

Mr. Bumble had to get out of there and get out of there quick. But he tripped and stumbled and landed with a horrible crash!

Suddenly, he was hoisted high in the air. "Please let me go!" Mr. Bumble squeaked. Yet higher still he went.

He was set gently upon the ground. Then the bucket was lifted away, revealing a splendid sight.

"Fairies!" he buzzed with relief.

As for the lift the fairies gave him, it was the best flight he'd ever had. "If I could fly like a fairy," he sighed, "I could gather pollen as well as the other bees."

"We can teach you," the fairies chimed. "We'll show you how it's done."

Mr. Bumble's first lesson was in taking off, so they launched him from a tiny bluebonnet.

When Mr. Bumble took off without trouble, the fairies knew it was time for his next lesson: how to land gently upon a flower.

They guided Mr. Bumble by daisy chains so he wouldn't belly flop. He learned to step upon flowers without disturbing a single raindrop.

For the first time, he buzzed without bumbling, flew without fumbling, and twirled without tumbling.

Soon it was time for Mr. Bumble to go, so he filled his bucket with pollen. "Thank you, my friends," he buzzed as they all waved good-bye. And with his bucket held high, off he flew to his hive.

Meanwhile, the queen was searching the evening sky. "That clumsy Mr. Bumble must be lost again," she sighed. Just then, she spotted a bee zipping through the air. "Surely that can't be Mr. Bumble buzzing there."

But who was it but Mr. Bumble who glided all the way to her throne. "For Her Royal Highness," he said. And with a buzz and a bow, he presented his astonished queen with his bucket of golden dust.

"Hurrah!" cheered his fellow bees. Why, the queen cheered for him, too. "What a fine bee you turned out to be!" she said. "You deserve something better to carry."

With that, she presented Mr. Bumble with a bucket made of gold.

As for Mr. Bumble's old bucket, it was placed for future bees to see. "Though old and worn," said Queen Bee, "it is still an inspiring sight. Look on it as the humble beginning to every perfect flight."

Reprinted from MR. BUMBLE by Kim Kennedy, illustrated by Doug Kennedy. Copyright c 1997 by Kim Kennedy; illustrations copyright c 1997 by Doug Kennedy. Published by Hyperion Books for Children.

Pub Date: 07/18/99

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