In China, Beehives are turned a different direction after the death of their keeper, hinting at a superstition that harkens back to a more ancient custom. Details vary, but the essence remains the same – tell the Bees, and quickly. In England circa 1840, a woman inquired if the Bees had been informed of the death of their keeper and upon learning they had not, proceeded to prepare a dish of spice cake and sugar and presented it to the hive while jingling her keys and reciting the following rhyme;
“Honey bees, Honey bees, hear what I say!
Your Master J.A. has passed away.
But his wife now begs you will freely stay,
And still gather honey for many a day.
Bonny bees, Bonny bees, hear what I say.”
The story is but a small part of Andrew Gough's fascinating three-part post on the history of bees and beekeeping. Link -via TYWKIWDBI