Three Quotations

(Mar 12th to 18th)



1. ...They clawed, they slapped, they fled, leaving behind them a trophy of banners and brasses crudely arranged round the big drum. Then that end of the street also shut its windows, and the village, stripped of life, lay round me like a reef at low tide...

This is from "The Vortex" in A Diversity of Creatures. Four boxes of bees have been dropped in the street in a crowded country village on a hot summer afternoon. They swarm into the air, stinging everyone in their path.
2. ...he heard a sound as though all the earth were humming. Then he ran as he had never run in his life before, spurned aside one - two - three of the plies of stones into the dark sweet-smelling gullies; heard a roar like the roar of the sea in a cave, saw with the tail of his eye the air grow dark behind him ... This is from "Red Dog" in The Second Jungle Book. Mowgli has led the enemy pack of dholes - 'red dogs' - into a trap, by rousing great swarms of the furious black wild bees of India to attack them...
3. ...the old Queen cried the swarming cry, which to a bee of good blood should be what the trumpet was to Job's war-horse. In spite of her immense age it rang between the canyon-like frames as a pibroch rings in a mountain pass ... and the broad-winged drones, burly and eager, ended it on one nerve-thrilling outbreak of bugles: 'La Reine le veult ! Swarm ! Swar-rm ! Swar-r-rm !'... This is from "The Mother Hive" in Actions and Reactions. The hive has been infiltrated and corrupted by the Wax Moth, persuading the bees that there is no need to keep to the old disciplines. The Queen is rallying her supporters to swarm out and build anew.