"Telling the Bees" by John Greenleaf Whittier.

Essay by Death_Cloud666 May 2003

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The artifact that I did goes with the poem "Telling the Bees" by John Greenleaf Whittier. In the poem the speaker is walking back to his love's place in the country after a month of not seeing her. As he walks by, everything to him is the exactly the same as when he left it. The surroundings are all the same as when he last saw them, but it seems like an eternity since he last saw his love. The only things that he notices different are the beehives. He sees the chore girl draping a black cloth over each hive while telling the bees not to fly away because of the death of Mary, which was apparently his girlfriend.

In the poem it mentions about 'telling the bees' and draping a shred of black over the beehives. This is one example of a superstition. The custom of 'telling the bees' is well displayed in Sussex.

Bees, it was once said, must always be treated as members of the family and kept informed of important news, particularly deaths and births. Someone should go out to the hives, tap each gently with the front-door key, and tell the news and some say one should also put black cloth on them after a death, and white ribbon for a joyful event. If the bees were not told of a death, another death would soon follow in the household; while if they were not told of a birth, the child might die, or might grow up unable to digest honey.

For my artifact I looked up some superstitions and how people thought they originated.

Friday the 13th

There are many different theories about the origin of 13 being considered an unlucky number. For Christians, 13 was the number at the Last Supper...