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Nature Myths and Stories for Little Children

Illustration KING SOLOMON AND THE ANTS


[Illustration]

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THE WISE KING AND THE BEE.

Long ago there lived in the East the greatest king in the world.

It was believed that no one could ask him a question which he could not answer.

Wise men came from far and near, but they were never able to puzzle King Solomon.

He knew all the trees and plants.

He understood the beasts, fowls and creeping things almost as well as he did people.

The fame of his knowledge spread into all lands. In the south, the great Queen of Sheba heard of the wonderful wisdom of Solomon and said, "I shall test his power for myself."

She picked some clover blossoms from the field and bade a great artist make for her, in wax, flowers, buds and leaves exactly like them.

She was much pleased when they were finished, for she herself could see no difference in the two bunches.

She carried them to the king and said, "Choose, Oh wise king, which are the real flowers?"

At first King Solomon was puzzled, but soon he saw a bee buzzing at the window.

"Ah," said he, "here is one come to help me in my choice. Throw open the window for my

friend."

Then the Queen of Sheba bowed her head and said:

"You are indeed a wise king, but I begin to understand your wisdom. I thank you for this lesson."

[Illustration]

KING SOLOMON AND THE ANTS.

One morning the Queen of Sheba started back to her home in the south. King Solomon and all his court went with her to the gates of the city.

It was a glorious sight.

The king and queen rode upon white horses.

The purple and scarlet coverings of their followers glittered with silver and gold.

The king looked down and saw an ant hill in the path before them.

"See yonder little people," he said, "do you hear what they are saying as they run about so wildly?

"They say, 'Here comes the king, men call wise, and good and great.

'He will trample us under his cruel feet.'"

"They should be proud to die under the feet of such a king," said the queen. "How dare they complain?"

"Not so, Great Queen," replied the king.

He turned his horse aside and all his followers did the same.

When the great company had passed there was the ant hill unharmed in the path.

The Queen said, "Happy indeed, must be your people, wise king. I shall remember the lesson.

"He only is noble and great who cares for the helpless and weak."


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