If the stock had not been old and overcrowded, the Wax-moth would never have entered; but where bees are too thick on the comb there must be sickness or parasites.
She scuttled in like a ghost, and, knowing the senior bees would turn her out at once, dodged into a brood-frame, where youngsters who had not yet seen the winds blow or the flowers nod discussed life.
Laying at every sob, the Wax-moth backed into a crowd of young bees, and left Melissa bewildered and annoyed.
"She hasn't lived in vain, the darling!" cried twenty bees together.
Now I must reach the young." The Wax-moth tripped towards the fourth brood-frame where the young bees were busy feeding the babies.
Hang up at once and produce our wax," said the bees below.
They broke up as they murmured, and disappeared among the other bees, from whom, of course, they were undistinguishable.
The noise died out as the bees settled in empty cells for the night.
Even where it did not hamper the bees' feet, the stale, sour smell of the stuff put them off their work; though some of the bees who had taken to egg laying said it encouraged them to be mothers and maintain a vital interest in life.
Some bees tried the new plan for a while, and found it cost eight times more wax than the old six sided specification; and, as they never allowed a cluster to hang up and make wax in peace, real wax was scarce.
There is no room to tell how the experienced Melissa found a far-off frame so messed and mishandled by abandoned cell-building experiments that, for very shame, the bees never went there.
They lived from day to day on the efforts of the few sound bees, while the Wax-moth fretted and consumed again their already ruined wax.
Light broke in the top of the hive as the Queen had, prophesied--naked light on the boiling, bewildered bees.
"You good little Hum!" cried a kind-hearted robin who had hopped near to listen to the bees. "Dear friends, do you not know that this is the good Fairy who has dwelt so quietly among us, watching over bird and blossom, giving joy to all he helps?
Then the wondering bees led him to their Queen, and when he had told his tale, and begged their forgiveness, it was gladly given; and all strove to show him that he was loved and trusted.