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The Adventures of Maya the Bee by Waldemar…

The Adventures of Maya the Bee (1912)

by Waldemar Bonsels

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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153678,096 (3.73)1 / 12



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English (3)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  Spanish (1)  All (6)
Showing 3 of 3
Match found in the German National Library.
  glsottawa | Apr 4, 2018 |
First published in German in 1912, this series of adventures stars a young rebel bee who leaves the hive despite warnings to the contrary. She encounters good insects and bad, dangers and delights. The overarching theme of the book is a hit-you-over-the-head moral play: obey, work hard, be loyal.

Wikipedia advises that it was originally published as a fable with a political message. “Maya represents the ideal citizen, and the beehive represents a well-organised militarist society. It has also elements of nationalism and speciesism.”

I understand this is now also a comic book and an animated television series with its attendant marketed products. The moral of that series, I’m sure, is not what Bansels originally intended.

P.S. This is a free Kindle ebook on Amazon. 3 stars ( )
  ParadisePorch | Aug 23, 2016 |
First level: lovely kids' story that doesn't talk down--kind of the fresh-air joy of Heidi meets the terror of insect life, with a product that can be considered along, say, Watership Down without coming off badly.

Second level: Congealescence of 19th-century bourgeois values of the Teutonic persuasion--the busy burgher bees explicitly figured as bourgeois by the hornet "brigands"--I like bees, but I find Bonsels's figuration moves highly problematic.

Third level: Echoic of the first, perhaps, an endlessly fascinating commentary on anthropomorphism and the unknowability of the insect Other. It's one thing when Fantastic Mr. Fox is breaking chicken necks--another thing altogether when the repulsive spider closes in on the human-living baby bee with a cutely trendy name. You will not be surprised to hear that there is a line of Maya products.

But a multitude of sins can be forgiven, because underlying it all is this luminous joy. I don't know any book, maybe, with a higher passages-like this ratio:

She felt as though she were darting like
an arrow through a green-shimmering sea of light, to greater and
greater splendor. The bright flowers seemed to call to her, the
still, sunlit distances lured her on, and the blue sky blessed
her joyous young flight.

"Never again will it be as beautiful as it is to-day," she
thought. "I
can't turn back. I can't think of anything except
the sun."

Beneath her the gay pictures kept changing, the peaceful
landscape slid by slowly, in broad stretches.

"The sun must be all of gold," thought the baby-bee.

Coming to a large garden, which seemed to rest in blossoming
clouds of cherry-tree, hawthorn, and lilacs, she let herself
down to earth, dead-tired, and dropped in a bed of red tulips,
where she held on to one of the big flowers. With a great sigh
of bliss she pressed herself against the blossom-wall and looked
up to the deep blue of the sky through the gleaming edges of the

"Oh, how beautiful it is out here in the great world, a thousand
times more beautiful than in the dark hive. I'll never go back
there again to carry honey or make wax. No, indeed, I'll never
do that. I want to see and know the world in bloom. I am not
like the other bees, my heart is meant for pleasure and
surprises, experiences and adventures. I will not be afraid of
any dangers. Haven't I got strength and courage and a sting?"

She laughed, bubbling over with delight, and took a deep draught
of nectar out of the flower of the tulip.

"Grand," she thought. "It's glorious to be alive."

Saccharine? No. Mellifluous. ( )
1 vote MeditationesMartini | Mar 6, 2010 |
Showing 3 of 3
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» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bonsels, WaldemarAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Boss, HomerIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chambers, WhittakerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Die ältere Bienendame, die der kleinen Maja behilflich war, als sie zum Leben erwachte und aus ihrer Zelle schlüpfte, hiess Kassandra und hatte grosses Ansehen im Stock.
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Maja, a little bee, introduces the reader to her garden friends.

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