Grandfather’s Bee Story

Feature Story October 2005
Grandfather’s Bee Story
Joseph Gross, My Pioneer Ancestor, written by his granddaughter, Susan Little of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, on February 5, 1945.
There were Grandfather’s bees. About eight or ten hives kept the family supplied with honey and enough beeswax for grafting wax in the spring. He made his own hives, some of straw, but mostly of hollow logs carefully smoothed out for the bees to put in the honey. When the swarming season began it was quite an event and he was busy. He used to say, “a swarm in May is worth a ton of hay, but a swarm in July isn’t worth a fly.” He always had a fresh hive ready and when he saw a swarm had settled he could often pick out the “queen bee” that all the others would follow. Then he would shake the bees into a large container made like a big net, and carry them to the hive.

One of his favorite stories was his famous “bee” story. We always enjoyed it so much, for no one could ever tell it so well. One day when he was home alone a swarm settled in a tree in a field nearby. When he shook it down he was surprised to have them all settle on his legs. Now to reach the hive he had to go through a grass field, climb two fences and go through the garden. He decided that was a sure way to get them where they belonged. His conclusion was always, “I took a big jump, they all went into the hive and not a bee stung me.”

(this writing is a short part of the article that Susan Heim Little of Williamsport, Pa. Wrote for the book FOLKLORE of a Pennsylvania Colony In Nebraska. The book can be purchased on the for sale page on this web site.)