He was sick of being scolded for not wanting to work. He breathed the warm night air outside his family cottage, thinking of all the lazy summer afternoons he’d already lost laboring on his parents’ farm.
I wish I never had to work on this farm again, he thought. Above him, a star flashed and streaked across the sky. He watched it race for the horizon. If I could get that star, I’d be rich, he thought, and he set off after it. The dark woods didn’t bother him–he’d sneaked off there plenty of times and knew his way.
But the star wasn’t where he thought it had fallen. After three days of wandering, he staggered into a clearing alive with buzzing. The smell of honey thickened the air, and he caught sight of a beehive hanging like a sculpture from a nearby tree. He clutched his stomach and groaned, but the bees didn’t notice him. It was a big hive, he thought. Surely they could spare some honey.
“What are you doing?” He turned to see a bent old woman peering at him from the edge of the clearing. He turned back to his task, fingers clawed and ready to tear the hive open. “Would you do violence to my bees?”
“Your bees?” he asked. “This hive is wild.” She only glared at him. “I’m hungry,” he whined. “I brought no supplies.”
“I fail to see how that’s our problem,” the old woman said.
“Just give me some honey, if this hive is yours, and I’ll be on my way.”
“No,” the woman said. He growled.
“Then I’ll take it,” he said with a snarl. He lunged for the hive, but the ground fell from under him. The scents of flowers and honey exploded around him as he fell. He landed somewhere soft.
“Careful,” the old woman said, cradling him gently in the palm of one hand. He tried to talk, but only buzzed. “You want honey so much? There you go.” She placed him on the hive and went back to her tower to wait for harvest time, and the young man never had to work on his parents’ farm again.