A Short Story/Children's Picture Book about the Adventures of Hortense the Honey Bee.
|The Adventures of Hortense the Honey Bee:
Hortense and the Giant Tomato Tree
By Lindsay Hodge
Once upon a time, in a bustling hive of honey bees, there lived a little worker bee named Hortense.
Everyday she worked hard to help her family be strong and healthy.
When Hortense was just a little bee, she used to take care of the babies, build the wax combs, and sweep.
Now she was old enough, it was her job to go out of the hive and get food for her family. The other bees told her that was called foraging!
After a short flight towards the sun, Hortense found her way to a vegetable garden. There were so many tasty smells there!
Hortense had just started smelling the flowers and gathering nectar, when she heard someone crying. She listened closely. It wasn't one someone, it was several someones crying!
She followed the sounds to the far corner of the garden where a giant tomato tree was crying so much that she was starting to wash away the onions that were growing next to her. They were all so upset!
“Excuse me. I couldn't help but hear that you were crying, is there anything I can do to help?”
“Oh, hello.” sniffed the Giant Tomato Tree. “My name is Terra. I need some help with these itchy little aphids! My friend Lenora usually helps me but I can't find her!”
“We are the Onion Brothers,” said the biggest Onion.
“Those aphids are a real problem!” said another.
“They are really itchy, and when she's itchy, she cries!” the smallest Onion sobbed.
“We are terribly afraid of being washed away by her tears! As you can see, we all need some help!” they all cried together.
“Well, I don't know how to get rid of aphids, but I'll do my best to help!”
First, Hortense tried washing off the aphids, but there were too many!
Then she tried shooing the aphids, but that didn't work either.
Try as she might, she couldn't figure out a way to get rid of the aphids. Now, Hortense was beginning to worry!
Suddenly, she had an idea. Maybe she could find Lenora! Lenora would know how to take care of her friend the tomato tree.
“Terra, I'd like to look for Lenora. You said she could help. Maybe I can find her and bring her back. Who is she? Do you know where I can look for her?”
“She's a Lady Beetle. She is red and has black spots. She has six legs and flies all around. Sometimes people call her a ladybug. Lenora likes to wear a purple cowboy hat. She's usually not far from the vegetable garden but I haven't seen her at all today!”
Hortense thought she could start by asking the other vegetables, so off she flew to find Lenora the Lady Beetle.
First she'd ask the Carrots.
“Hello Carrot Family, I'm looking for a lady beetle named Lenora. Have you seen her?”
“Nope, no lady beetles here. You might try over by the Radishes. Doctor Radish knows everything.”
“Excuse me, Dr. and Mrs. Radish. Have you seen any lady beetles today?”
“Ah yes, the Coccinellidae. A most beneficial insect…” Dr. Radish began.
“Oh, I’m sorry to interrupt, but I’m in a bit of a hurry… Have you seen a lady beetle wearing a purple cowboy hat?”
Mr. Radish continued speaking as if he hadn’t heard Hortense at all,
(“They go by many different names. Lady bird, lady beetle, lady bug, even though they aren’t true bugs… Did you know that those names originated in Brittain?”)
but Mrs. Radish quickly chimed in, “Oh yes dear, I saw one flying towards the roses just this morning.”
“Thank you!” shouted Hortense over her shoulder as she flew away.
When Hortense got to the roses, she didn't have to look very far through the thorny mess before she found a huge group of lady beetles. They were all putting on boots and hats, and wrapping up ropes. It looked like they were getting ready to go somewhere. Hortense searched the crowd. How was she ever going to find Lenora?
Hortense remembered what the tomato tree had said about Lenora wearing a hat, but what color was it again?
Oh yes... PURPLE! So she looked and looked for someone wearing a purple hat. There! Hortense hurried to the only ladybug in the whole group with a purple cowboy hat.
“Are you Lenora?”
“Why, yes! How can I help you?” Lenora said with a drawl.
“My name is Hortense. I have been looking all over for you. Terra is crying so much because of the itchy aphids that the Onion Brothers are about to be washed away!”
“Oh my! I knew that things were gettin’ bad, but I had no idea they were this bad. That's why I decided to come and get a little help from my brothers and sisters.”
Lenora quickly introduced the little honeybee to her family with a terse, “Hortense, this is my Family. Family, this is Hortense.”
“Nice to meet --”
“Sorry, dear, no time for niceties,” interrupted Lenora. “We'd better hurry!”
One of the lady beetles nearby sounded a charge on his little bugle, and off they flew.
Hortense followed the Lady Beetle family to see how they would get rid of the itchy little aphids. How would they do it?!
Maybe the Ladybugs would use nets and scoop them up like fishermen.
Maybe they would put up signs that said “No Aphids allowed,” and post a guard who would march around making sure no aphids passed the line…
Hortense could think of a million different ways to get rid of the aphids! But she would never have imagined what she saw when she got to the tomato tree.
When Hortense arrived at Terra’s corner of the garden, She was surprised to see the ladybugs lassoing and corralling the aphids like cowboys herding cattle!
Lenora swung her rope in circles around her head and caught a tricky little aphid that was trying to slip past Hortense.
In no time at all, the Lady Beetle family had rounded up all the aphids.
Hortense said her goodbye's to all of her new friends in the vegetable garden and flew off to gather all of the food that she could carry. As Hortense flew away, she thought about how happy it made her to help her new friends. The Lady Beetle Family got rid of all the aphids, Terra stopped crying, and the Onion Brothers didn't get washed away.
Then she went home to make some honey. Hortense couldn't wait to see what adventures she would have tomorrow.