Bees (was Trolling)

Juliette Curtis juliette at
Thu May 19 04:05:38 EDT 2005

Yes, the bee thing is a genuine folk belief. People who kept bees 
believed they had to tell the bees when major events happened in the 
family, especially deaths. If they did not, the bees would stop making 
honey or leave the hive.

In "Lark Rise to Candleford", Flora Thompson described an old woman 
giving her bees the news after her husband had just died. She knocked on 
the roof of the hive and said "Bees, bees, your master has died and now 
you must work for your mistress". This happened around 1890, I think, 
and Thompson said the old woman was doing it in all seriousness, not 
just as a cute folk tradition. Flora Thompson lived in or near Oxfordshire.


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