A Story: ‘King Solomon & the Bee’

King Solomon, the third king of Israel, lived in a splendid palace surrounded by lavish gardens filled with all sorts of colorful, sweet-smelling flowers.

One day as he sat in his garden thinking important thoughts, he was startled by a pain on his royal nose. "Ouch!" cried King Solomon, touching his red, swollen nose. "I think I have been stung by an impudent bee!"

Now, it has been said that King Solomon could speak the languages of all the animals, and so he spoke to a young bee hiding inside a nearby flower.

"Why did you sting my royal nose?" he asked.

The little bee hung her head in shame.

"Well, your majesty, " she stammered. "Here's what happened. I was buzzing about gathering nectar, and I saw the most beautiful lily flower. I rushed over to it, but it turned out to be your nose. I was so startled that I stung you by accident!"

King Solomon laughed. "Thank you very much! Some day I'll repay your kindness, you'll see!"

The king soon forgot about the little bee because the Queen of Sheba came to visit. She had heard that King Solomon was very wise, and had come to test him with the trickiest riddles she could find.

As the king answered each one correctly, the queen asked a more difficult riddle. Finally, she clapped her hands and 40 servants brought in 40 bouquets of colorful flowers. "Now, Your Majesty," she said smiling, "before you are 39 bouquets of artificial flowers, and one made of real flowers. Look at them and tell me which is the bouquet of real flowers."

King Solomon frowned. Each bouquet looked perfect. It was impossible to tell which were real just by looking.

"Bring them closer," he commanded.

The Queen smiled mischievously and said, "Oh, no, Your Majesty! You must answer from this distance. If they came closer, you would be able to smell the flowers."

King Solomon frowned again. This time, he would not be able to solve the puzzle.

Suddenly, the king heard a faint buzzing sound. He looked and saw the young bee who had stung his nose in the garden. No one else noticed her as she buzzed over to the one bouquet made of real flowers.

King Solomon bowed to the Queen of Sheba and pointed to the bouquet of real flowers. Then, he buzzed quietly in bee language, "Thank you, my friend." The little bee flew happily back to her hive.

King Solomon never forgot that every creature God made has something to contribute.