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Zee-zee The Bee-bat
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Zee-Zee was a beautiful bee who loved flying from flower to flower collecting the pollen to take back to the hive where all the bees lived.
The only problem was that he rarely had any pollen left by the time he returned home.
Zee-Zee was always being teased by his friends but lately the comments were becoming quite hurtful. His lack of pollen-collecting had even been noticed by the Queen Bee herself.
You see, with Zee-Zee, it was more luck than anything else if he landed on a flower at all. Quite often when he had been lucky and collected lots of pollen, he would then bump into things on his way home and end up dropping most of it.
Today Zee-Zee had stayed out all day just to prove to the other bees that he could be just as good as they were. He was flying home laden down with pollen and he couldn't wait to see the surprised look on their faces.
He was almost there when suddenly a bird flew past him at high speed and brushed Zee-Zee with its wing.
"Watch where you're going!" shouted the bird over his wing.
Zee-Zee was knocked sideways and ended up flying straight into a tree.
After brushing himself down, he realised that he had lost most of the pollen again.
"Oh, no," he groaned to himself.
The sun was setting, so it was far too late to try and collect any more today.
Zee-Zee flew home and tried to sneak into the hive without being seen, but this was just not his lucky day!
A swarm of bees hovered just outside the hive comparing how much pollen each one had collected. When it was Zee-Zee's turn he turned a bright shade of red and stammered, "I err, dropped mine."
Most of the bees laughed but the head bee just glared at Zee-Zee.
"You knew this was your last chance," the head bee explained. "The Queen ordered that if you messed up again you would have to leave this hive."
"But I will do better, I promise," Zee-Zee implored.
"Zee-Zee, you are as blind as a bat," sighed his best friend in a kindly voice.
"But..." Zee-Zee tried to speak when he was cut off by the appearance of the Queen Bee herself.
She hovered in front of Zee-Zee and buzzed just two words at him. "Be Gone!"
Zee-Zee fled with tears in his eyes, neither knowing nor caring where he went. It was very dark and he knew he had to find somewhere warm for the night. He flew into a cave and snuggled into a crack in the wall. He was worn out and soon sank into a deep sleep.
In the morning a shaft of sunlight filtered into the entrance of the cave and Zee-Zee knew he had to be on his way. "But where shall I go?" he asked himself.
He was buzzing around stretching his wings when a high pitched noise erupted.
Thousands of bats had been startled by his buzzing and started to attack him.
"Get out, get out!" one bat shouted at him. "Bees are not allowed in our cave."
Zee-Zee tried to escape but flew straight into the wall and ended up in a heap on the floor.
The bats started to laugh at him as he rubbed his sore head.
"And they say bats are blind!" commented one nastily.
"Leave him alone, he is no threat to us," another said in a pitying voice.
Most of the bats flew to the ceiling of the cave and settled down to sleep for the day.
One however stayed behind and watched as Zee-Zee cried and cried.
"Can you see me?" the bat asked.
"Of course I can," answered Zee-Zee.
"If you're not blind, then why do you fly into walls, are you stupid?" the bee wanted to know.
"No! I am not stupid! I just don't seem to see things until it's too late,"
Zee-Zee sighed with a sad voice.
"How come bats never bump into things when everyone knows you are blind?"
The bat, whose name was Blinky, started to laugh. "You mean 'blind as a bat' eh? It's a myth you know, we can see quite well but because we search for food at night, we use our sonar instead of just our eyes," he explained.
Blinky told Zee-Zee to fly in a straight line towards the entrance of the cave and watched him with interest.
There was no doubt about it, Zee-Zee was terrible at flying, he kept on weaving from side to side and ended up hitting the edge of the wall.
"I have never, ever seen such awful flying in all my life," gasped Blinky in between laughing.
"I'm hopeless aren't I," Zee-Zee sniffed sadly.
"Yep, you sure are," agreed Blinky.
Once Zee-Zee had explained about being told to leave the bee hive, Blinky decided that he had better try to help him.
"OK, it's sleeping time for us bats now, but later tonight come back and we will see what, if anything, we can do to help you" Blinky said giving a big yawn.
Zee-Zee flew away and collected lots of pollen. He thought that maybe if he collected enough the Queen Bee would allow him back into the hive.
But this time Zee-Zee flew into a spider's web and by the time he had wiggled free there was no pollen left at all.
Later that evening Zee-Zee made his way back to the bat cave. He sneaked in and waited for the bats to wake up.
Blinky started off by making Zee-Zee follow him in a straight line and when he had mastered that, they tried turning. Zee-Zee either turned too early or left it too late and ended up flying into something every time.
Suddenly Blinky had an idea and told Zee-Zee to sit on his head.
"Now don't you get too excited and sting me, will you?" warned Blinky.
"Oh, I would never do that," Zee-Zee promised.
Zee-Zee sat on the bat's head and spread his wings, waiting for Blinky to take off. They flew around near the cave for quite a while until Zee-Zee could beat his wings at the same speed as Blinky.
Zee-Zee was speechless as they landed and took off perfectly every time.
"You make it seem so easy!" Zee-Zee shouted in Binky's ear.
"It is easy. You just have to focus on the object you want to land on and then avoid everything else," Blinky explained laughing.
All night long they both flew together and Zee-Zee had never had so much fun in his life. No bumps, bangs or crash landings. It was great.
The bee and the bat became good friends and spent many nights flying together, but the time had now come for Zee-Zee to fly on his own.
"Now, remember everything I have taught you about avoiding objects and to make sure you flap both wings at the same speed," Blinky told Zee-Zee seriously.
Blinky had realised that for some strange reason Zee-Zee's wings didn't go at the same speed, so that was the reason he swerved from side to side when he flew.
After all the practise they had both put in, Blinky hoped he now had control of his wing speed.
He held his breath as Zee-Zee took his first solo flight in days.
Slowly at first and then faster as he gained confidence, Zee-Zee flew in and out of trees and landed several times without hitting a thing.
"I did it, I did it!" he shouted ecstatically.
Blinky was very proud of Zee-Zee, and the fact that he had managed to help him.
"I suppose this is goodbye my friend," whispered Blinky sadly.
"Are you kidding?" Zee-Zee said surprised, "I have never had as much fun as I do with you, and if the other bats don't mind I would like to keep visiting you!"
"Yeah, of course," said Blinky happily.
Zee-Zee was soon accepted back into the hive when the Queen Bee saw the huge amount of pollen he brought back each day, but this was just his job as a bee.
His fun only began when he joined the bats in the evenings and they flew around in large groups, swooping over, under and around the trees and houses.
Zee-Zee never bumped into anything ever again. In fact, he was the envy of all the other bees because he flew so fast and beat them to all the flowers.
Zee-Zee was a very happy bee indeed.
A short story by Sheila Helliwell
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