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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
The Tears of Ra

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 them."

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 teased.

"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 Sameh.

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.

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