Friday, June 11, 2010

1827 War of the Bees

Friday, June 11, 2010
Loretta reports:

I love these little stories from 19th century periodicals.  This comes from the Annual Register for 1827, in the Chronicle for June.  The entry appeared between an article about a murder in Manchester and an account of riots at Norwich.
WAR OF BEES.—In the village of Cargo, a hive of bees swarmed on Thursday, and were hived in the regular way. On the Saturday after, a swarm of bees, from some neighbouring hive, appeared to be flying over the garden in which the hive above-mentioned was placed, when they instantly darted down upon the hive of the new settlers, and completely covered it; in a little time they began to enter the hive, and poured into it in such numbers that it soon became completely filled. A loud humming noise was heard, and the work of destruction immediately ensued; the winged combatants sallied forth from the hive, until it became entirely empty ; and a furious battle commenced in "upper air" between the besiegers and the besieged. The battle raged with fury on both sides, and the ground beneath was covered with the wounded and the slain, hundreds of them were lying dead, or crawling about, disabled from re-ascending to the scene of action. To one party, however, the palm of victory was at last awarded, and they settled upon the branch of an adjoining apple-tree, from which they were safely placed in the empty hive, which had been the object of their contention, and where they now continue peacefully and industriously employed in adding to the stores of their commonwealth.—Carlisle Patriot.


Undine said...

Those bees kinda bring to mind Hortense Mancini.

Finegan Antiques said...

How eloguently phrased. To observe a mundane event and describe it with such flourish is entertaining and so characteristic of the time. Such fun.


Chris Woodyard said...

What a very strange, fortean event! Can you supply any more details about where this happened? The spelling seems British, but Manchester and Norwich could be UK or US. And is The Carlisle Patriot a Pennsylvania paper?
Thanks for posting!

Jane O said...

Weird and wonderful.

LorettaChase said...

Chris, Cargo is in Cumberland, England, and the Carlisle Patriot referred to here is English. I love that the Annual Register found this delightfully written little story worthy of inclusion in its "view of the History, Politics, and Literature of the Year 1827."

Chris Woodyard said...

Thanks, Loretta! I sent a link to this story to a friend interested in animal anomalies. He responded immediately that he'd just posted an obituary for Arthur Herzog III, author of The Swarm, a novel about killer bees. A nice bit of synchronicity.

Marilyn said...

I love these little articles also! It gives you an idea of what life was like in the nineteenth century. Honey was an important product!

Unknown said...

Thought you might enjoy this recent BBC audio slide-show:

about a recent show at The Geffrye Museum, "A Garden Within Doors": Plants and Flowers in the Home" on the Victorian enthusiasm for bringing plants indoors

LorettaChase said...

Wonderful pictures, Michael! Thank you for the links. I've not yet been to the Geffrye Museum. Scheduling never worked out--but it's on my list for the next trip, which I hope will happen before too long.

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