Oak Openings eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 515 pages of information about Oak Openings.
his nose in at the hole, doubtless hoping to plunge it at once into the midst of a mass of the sweets.  A growl, a start backward, and a flourishing of the fore-paws, with sundry bites in the air, at once announced that he had met with greater resistance than he had anticipated.  In a minute, all the bears were on their hind-legs, beating the air with their fore-paws, and nipping right and left with their jaws, in vigorous combat with their almost invisible foes.  Instinct supplied the place of science, and spite of the hides and the long hair that covered them, the bees found the means of darting their stings into unprotected places, until the quadrupeds were fairly driven to rolling about on the grass in order to crush their assailants.  This last process had some effect, a great many bees being destroyed by the energetic rollings and tumblings of the bears; but, as in the tide of battle, the places of those who fell were immediately supplied by fresh assailants, until numbers seemed likely to prevail over power, if not over discipline.  At this critical instant, when the bears seemed fatigued with their nearly frantic saltations, and violent blows upon nothing, le Bourdon deemed it wise to bring his forces into the combat.  Gershom having been apprised of the plan, both fired at the same instant.  Each ball took effect; one killing the largest of all the bears, dead on the spot, while the other inflicted a grievous wound on a second.  This success was immediately followed by a second discharge, wounding two more of the enemy, while Ben held the second barrel of his “shot-gun” in reserve.  While the hurt animals were hobbling off, the men reloaded their pieces; and by the time the last were ready to advance on the enemy, the ground was cleared of bears and bees alike, only two of the former remaining, of which one was already dead and the other dying.  As for the bees, they followed their retreating enemies in a body, making a mistake that sometimes happens to still more intelligent beings; that of attributing to themselves, and their own prowess, a success that had been gained by others.

The bee-hunter and his friend now set themselves at work to provide a reception for the insects, the return of which might shortly be expected.  The former lighted a fire, being always provided with the means, while Gershom brought dry wood.  In less than five minutes a bright blaze was gleaming upward, and when the bees returned, as most of them soon did, they found this new enemy intrenched, as it might be, behind walls of flame.  Thousands of the little creatures perished by means of this new invention of man, and the rest soon after were led away by their chiefs to seek some new deposit for the fruits of their industry.

CHAPTER IV.

     The sad butterfly,

Waving his lackered wings, darts quickly on,
And, by his free flight, counsels us to speed
For better lodgings, and a scene more sweet,
Than these dear borders offer us to-night. 

                                                        Simms.

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Oak Openings from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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