Ra was a fuzzy little bumblebee. He was named after the
great Egyptian sun god. He had two wiggly antennae, a yellow and black
striped body, a pointed stinger, shimmering clear wings, and usually wore
a big smile on his face; but not this morning.
The sun was rising from behind a sand dune. Its rays
were shining down on the pinkish-white lotus blossom where Ra was sitting.
He teetered on the edge of the flower and took a deep breath. "Today I am
going to buzz," he decided. As hard as Ra had tried, he had not been able
to make a buzzing sound like all the other bees. He wiggled his little
antennae and tried with all his might to buzz, but all that came out was a
‘pfhhhhhhh’. He tried again, ‘pfhhhhhhh’. He just couldn’t buzz. Ra felt
so bad that he started to cry. Big watery tears fell down his cheeks.
As he sat on the lotus blossom, sobbing, Amani, the
serpent, slithered by. She stopped and looked at Ra. "Why are you crying?"
she hissed. Ra replied, "listen." He took a deep breath and tried to buzz.
Again, all that came out was a little ‘pfhhhhhhh’. "Bees don’t go ‘pfhhhhhhh’,
they go buzzzzzzzzzzz." The snake slithered closer. "Oh, and look. I can
see my reflection in your tears. Hold still. I need to see if my fangs are
clean," Amani said, opening her mouth to look at them. Her little forked
tongue flickered back and forth.
"Go away," Ra cried. "Leave me alone," he whined, and
flew off to another lotus flower not far away.
Amani saw her friend, Ashraf, the bull, and called over
to him. "Come and look at the tears of Ra, Ashraf. You can see yourself in
The bull looked down at Ra sitting on the flower.
"What’s the problem little bee? Why are you crying?" He noticed the tears
and looked at them. Sure enough, he saw his reflection in them. "Hold
still, Ra. I want to see if my horns are sharp enough."
"Go away," Ra said. Ashraf began to laugh. "Why is he
crying?" he asked Amani.
"Listen to him. He can’t buzz. Every time he tries, he
goes ‘pfhhhhhhh’. Have you ever heard of a bee that couldn’t buzz?" Amani
"Come on, Ra. Let’s hear a buzz. I know you can do it,"
Ashraf urged. Ra, thinking that Ashraf was sincere, squeezed with all his
might. His little antennae began to wiggle. His little yellow and black
striped body shook, and he let out a loud ‘pfhhhhhhh’. "Ha, ha, ha,"
laughed Ashraf and Amani.
Ra was so embarrassed. He fluttered his wings and flew
off to a jacaranda tree. He sat down on a branch and cried. Huge tears
rolled down his face.
Amani and Ashraf left. They went down to the river to
get a drink.
Sameh, the falcon, was circling high above. He saw Ra
sitting on the branch and flew down, landing next to him. "Are you here to
tease me too?" Ra asked.
"Well, not exactly. What would I tease you about?
You’re just a little bee," Sameh asked.
"I am a bee, and I can’t buzz. As hard as I try, I just
can’t buzz," Ra explained.
"Give it a try. Let me hear you," Sameh begged.
"OK. You asked for it." Ra took a deep breath, squeezed
his hands tightly together, and let out a loud ‘pfhhhhhhh’. He tried
again, ‘pfhhhhhhh’. "See, I can’t do it," Ra cried, and sat back down on
the branch, sobbing.
"Oh, come on now, Ra. Stop those tears. I’ll help you.
I’ll help you to do the biggest buzz any bee can do," Sameh promised.
He admired the little bee for trying so hard. He told
him to concentrate really hard, so Ra did. He tried to buzz, but all that
he did was go ‘pfhhhhhhh’. He tried again. This time he went ‘pfhhhhhhz’.
"Wait. What was that? It sounded like the beginning of
a buzz," said the falcon. "Try again."
So Ra tried again. This time he went ‘pfhhhhhzz’. The
next try it was a ‘pfhhhhzzz’.
"Try again. This time concentrate really hard," said
Ra thought really hard about it, squeezed his hands
really tight, and finally made a buzzzzzzzzzzz. He was so happy.
"Try again." Sameh urged.
"I knew you could do it," Sameh congratulated, clapping
his wings together.
Ra was so happy that he flew up into the sky, zoomed
around the obelisk, and buzzed by a sycamore tree. Then he flew to the top
of the nearby pyramid and landed. He loved how the morning sun felt on his
gossamer wings. Ra felt proud, too.
The falcon flew up and landed next to Ra. Together they
gazed down at the beautiful Nile valley below them. "I knew you could do
it, my friend." He scooped up the bumblebee and held him on his wing.
Ra thanked him. "Now that I can buzz, there will be no
more tears of Ra," he said proudly.