The Bee and Jupiter
A BEE from Mount Hymettus, the queen of the hive, ascended to
Olympus to present Jupiter some honey fresh from her combs.
Jupiter, delighted with the offering of honey, promised to give
whatever she should ask. She therefore besought him, saying,
“Give me, I pray thee, a sting, that if any mortal shall approach
to take my honey, I may kill him.” Jupiter was much displeased,
for he loved the race of man, but could not refuse the request
because of his promise. He thus answered the Bee: “You shall
have your request, but it will be at the peril of your own life.
For if you use your sting, it shall remain in the wound you make,
and then you will die from the loss of it.”
Evil wishes, like chickens, come home to roost.
The fable, “The Bee and Jupiter” is about how no ill-intentioned wish comes without a consequence. This fable is filled with metaphorical messages to better get the moral of the fable across to younger audiences. The moral of this story is that all ill-intentioned wishes, or deeds have consequences.
The bee represents humanity’s need to be superior above all other races/species. This also represents our need to be superior within the human race with different skin colours, languages, cultures, religions, and more. When Jupiter praised the bee for her honey, the bee was filled with entitlement, the belief that she was superior to other races/species because an immortal being had approved of her honey.
When Jupiter promised the bee whatever she asked for, the bee felt that no mortal was worthy of her honey so she would not allow them to take her honey. The bee asked for a stinger so she may harm any mortal who may approach her honey. This request was a ill-intentioned wish because the bee was so filled with greed and entitlement that she was willing to harm others to protect her honey.
Jupiter honored his promise to give the bee whatever she desired. However, he made it so that when the bee used her stinger, the stinger would remain in the wound which would cause the death of the bee. Jupiter represents the concept of karma here by giving the bee a consequence for her ill-intentioned wish to harm others instead of share her gift of honey to the world.
This fable is similar to today’s children’s books in that it provides a simpler way of looking at more complex concepts. I would read this to a child aged four or five and up because age three to four is when children start building their moral compass around what they witness in their surroundings. I would be wary about the wording in this fable however. I do not believe that reading this fable to a three or four year old would be wise simply for the harsh, “old English” terms in the fable.
The Bee and Jupiter. (n.d.). Retrieved January 17, 2019, from http://www.aesopfables.com/cgi/aesop1.cgi?1&TheBeeandJupiter