For a long time nothing happened. And Cuffy was just about to give up his plan when a bee came buzzing past him and lighted on a mulberry blossom right above his head. And when the bee flew away, Cuffy followed him until he lost sight of him. And then Cuffy sat down once more. Again he waited and watched. And again, just as he was getting discouraged, another bee flew past him and Cuffy jumped up and followed him just as fast as he could.
[Illustration: The Bees Were Right There Waiting for Cuffy]
Cuffy Bear must have spent as much as two hours doing that same thing over and over again. But he didn’t mind that. In fact, it didn’t seem long to him, at all, because he kept thinking of honey all the time, and it made a sort of game of what he was doing. If he won the game, you know, it meant that he was going to have something very nice for a prize.
And sure enough, finally one of the bees Cuffy was following lighted on an old tree, and Cuffy saw him crawl into a hole in a queer nest which hung from a limb, and vanish. And as Cuffy stood there, looking up at the nest, he saw as many as seven bees come out of that hole and fly away.
Then Cuffy smiled all over his face, he felt so happy. At last he had found a bee-tree. There was no doubt about it. The time he had always wished for had come. He was going to have all the honey he could eat.
THE BEES STING CUFFY
As Cuffy Bear stood there on his hind legs looking up at the nest in the old tree he saw so many bees come out and fly away that he thought that there could not be any bees left at home—at least, not more than a half-dozen. And Cuffy didn’t believe that six bees would trouble him. There was one good thing in having a coat like his, he told himself: even if it was warm in summer, it was so thick that he didn’t see how a bee could sting him through it.
And with that, Cuffy started to climb the old tree. It took him no time at all to hitch himself up the trunk. He shinned up just as any little boy would climb a tree. And in less time than it takes to tell it, Cuffy had reached the limb from which the nest hung, and he had stuck his paw right through the side of it.
You remember that something is always happening in the forest? Well—something happened now. Suddenly a terrible roar came from inside the nest. It was a queer, far-off sort of sound, and it made Cuffy think of the noise Swift River made, where it tumbled over the falls. But Cuffy knew that there could be no water-fall inside the nest. He wondered if there was some strange animal in there.... And he drew back his paw very quickly. And then there came pouring out of the nest a perfect cloud of bees, every one of them buzzing as loud as ever he could.
Cuffy was startled at the sight. And he was more startled when they flew right into his face and lighted on his nose and began to sting.