The Apian Way

2 Aug

A 100 word story for Friday Fictioneers about death and pain and that road down which we all must travel.

There are quite a few very good stories here. Check them out. You might decide you can add to the mix. If you get that bee in your bonnet, I encourage you to try.

This weeks photo prompt is from Jennifer Pendergast, she of Elmowrites and Mother of Sebastian fame. Thanks, Jen.


The Apian Way

“These are nice, dear,” she said. “Where are they from?”

“Cemetery lawn. Clover’s in bloom.”

Gran smiled ruefully.

I opened the jar and selected one of the many honeybees I’d collected on the way home from school, replaced the lid and gently placed the bee against the swollen top pinky knuckle of her misshapen arthritic hand. The bee arched and buried its stinger deep into her flesh. Gran winced.

Twenty-seven bees later we finished.

“Better now, Gran?”

“Yes, lad…. but this apian carnage weighs heavy on my soul. I may pardon them soon, then do my bit for the clover.”





43 Responses to “The Apian Way”

  1. misskzebra August 2, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

    I’ve never heard of apitherapy before, very interesting.

    • Douglas MacIlroy August 2, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

      Dear Misskzebra,

      We keep relearning the lessons of the ancients. Thank you for visiting and commenting.



  2. lewis cave August 2, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

    Twenty Seven stings sounds painful, I hope it helped.

    • dmmacilroy August 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

      Dear Lewis,

      It was twenty-eight all told, one for each knuckle, but who’s counting. And eventually it all ends. Thanks for reading and commenting.



  3. Sandra August 2, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

    Oh lovely! Such a matter of fact way to dealing with the inevitable. I’ve always loved the phrase ‘pushing up daisies’ but ‘doing one’s bit for the clover’ is far superior. 🙂

    • dmmacilroy August 2, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

      Dear Sandra,

      I thank you for your lovely complimentary comment and bid you a perfect day on the other side of the world. Happy to see you here.



  4. elmowrites August 2, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

    Mother of Sebastian sounds like a glam rock group, Doug! I enjoyed your story of pain and acceptance. I was a little unsure about “pardon them” though – the bees are hardly the guilty parties here…
    I agree with Sandra about the clover line. Perfect.

    • Douglas MacIlroy August 2, 2013 at 1:07 pm #

      Dear Jennifer,

      Glam rock? Cool. That will look good on your Curriculum Vitae. The bees may not have been guilty but Gran was sentencing them to death each day to relieve her pain, hence her thought of ‘pardoning’ them. Thanks for reading and commenting and liking the ‘clover’ line. I appreciate the feedback.



    • Adam Ickes August 2, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

      They may not be guilty, but they are imprisoned in the jar.

      • elmowrites August 2, 2013 at 2:02 pm #

        Both of those points I get; I think “pardon” just has too many other connotations for me. Can’t think of a suitable substitute though so back in the jar with me

  5. Adam Ickes August 2, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

    I’ve missed your stories, Doug. Hopefully I’ll be sticking around for awhile this time around so I’ll get to see some more of them.

    Anyway, great story and I agree with the ladies about the clover line. Definitely a good way of saying it.

    • Douglas MacIlroy August 2, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

      Dear Adam,

      Thanks for telling me you’ve missed my stories. Music to my writer’s ears. I am struggling to keep up lately. Missed about two months worth of prompts, but perhaps I needed the break. Still trying to produce good tales and read everyone else’s. Looking forward to yours.



  6. yarnspinnerr August 2, 2013 at 1:43 pm #

    I know that homeopaths use apis as medicine but this form of treatment in new info for me.

    Wonderfully expressive 🙂

  7. rgayer55 August 2, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

    Dear Doug,
    A well told tale if I ever read one. You have a great knack for enlightening your audience while entertaining them at the same time. Well done, my friend.

  8. patrickprinsloo August 2, 2013 at 5:25 pm #

    There’s a really tender relationship between the boy and Gran. Lovely to see. I wonder if they live in the same large old house.

  9. lingeringvisions by Dawn August 2, 2013 at 5:56 pm #

    I’ve actually heard of this but 27 does sound painful.

    • dmmacilroy August 3, 2013 at 5:53 pm #

      Dear Dawn,

      One for each knuckle of Gran’s hands. Initial pain leads to daylong relief.



  10. troy P. August 2, 2013 at 6:45 pm #

    A very solemn and well-told story Doug. Nicely done.

    • dmmacilroy August 3, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

      Dear Troy,

      Thank you very much.



  11. sustainabilitea August 2, 2013 at 10:57 pm #

    I’d heard of this before but your story brought it to life. A bit too tired after days of vacation prep to say anything witty, but I did enjoy your story and was glad I got to read it before leaving, when internet is much more difficult to get.


    • Douglas MacIlroy August 2, 2013 at 11:08 pm #

      Dear Janet,

      Sounds as though you’re headed out to the land of tall mountains, wide skies and puny satellites. Enjoy the interlude. Let your mind roam and rest. See you when you get back.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.



  12. valeriedavies August 3, 2013 at 9:27 am #

    Loved it – and laughed out loud at the punch-line… and such a tender story… is it true?
    A hundred perfectly chosen words, and even the title was brilliant !

    Apparently we can all become beautiful like the Duchess of Cambridge if we use ointment with bee venom in it…
    I was so appalled at the waste of good bees that I inquired of the NZ firm which makes it, and find that they have some method in which they get the venom without killing the bees..

    • dmmacilroy August 3, 2013 at 5:51 pm #

      Dear Valerie,

      So nice to se you here. Humans will do the damnedest things in search of beauty or long life. Bee venom milking? Sounds like dangerous work, doesn’t it?

      Thanks for visiting and commenting.



  13. JKBradley August 3, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

    Thank you Doug for introducing me to this topic!

    • dmmacilroy August 3, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

      Dear JK,

      You are most welcome. Headed your way tonight (Halfway through the stories) and looking forward to it.



  14. Dreamer of Dreams August 3, 2013 at 2:24 pm #

    Loved the idea of apitherapy, loved the puny title, loved the phrase “do my bit for the clover” (what an oblique way of thanking the bees!)! I was a little doubtful about pardoning the bees, but I gather that she’s the cause of their death, so has to pardon the, executioner-style. (Or am I wrong?)
    Great story!

    • dmmacilroy August 3, 2013 at 5:25 pm #

      Dear DoD,

      You are correct on her take of herself as the executioner of the bees, and thus, their pardoner. Thanks for liking the ‘clover’ line. Trying to make it all real.



    • Dreamer of Dreams August 3, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

      Sorry, I meant, “Loved the PUNNY title!” (just noticed that I had typed “puny.”

      • Douglas MacIlroy August 4, 2013 at 7:20 am #

        You got me there. I kept saying to myself, “That’s title’s not that small.”



  15. petrujviljoen August 3, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

    Never heard of this! That photo is real. Ouch! Maybe it helps in that the bee-sting is worse than the arthritis, which I presume is being treated? 🙂

    • dmmacilroy August 3, 2013 at 5:23 pm #

      Dear Petru,

      The sting is supposed to be painful at first but the aftermath is reported to greatly reduce the symptoms of pain and swelling of severe arthritis. I’ve known about this for many years and hope I never have to try it first hand.



  16. vb holmes August 3, 2013 at 4:21 pm #

    The logistics of controlling the bees bewilders me but I have heard of this “old-time” treatment before. You’ve sensitively portrayed a lovely relationship between the boy and his grandmother (and who can not like “do my bit for the clover”). Very nice–good to have you back.

    • dmmacilroy August 3, 2013 at 5:21 pm #

      Dear VB,

      Thanks for saying so (all of the above). I’m glad to be here.



  17. bridgesareforburning August 3, 2013 at 10:37 pm #

    Hi Doug,
    Always look forward to reading your story. You found a unique take on the bee theme and I’ve noticed you often portray family interactions. Bees are also social animals. I guess that’s the apian way! Ron

    • Douglas MacIlroy August 4, 2013 at 7:18 am #

      Dear Ron,

      Family interactions allow me to work conversation into my stories and I’ve found that I can save many words by using the right few as my characters play out the slice of time I carve for them.

      The Apian Way was the kind of a multi-leveled title I love. Three different ways to read it and that sealed the deal for me.

      Thank you so much for stopping in to read. Your comments are always detailed and show your observant nature. It is a pleasure knowing that you are out there.



  18. kz August 4, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

    thanks for this. i’ve never hear of apitherapy before, and it’s very interesting. i love the phrase “do my bit for the clover” and as for the story, i think it’s sad and sweet and so very real. my grandma’s pretty old but i really don’t like it when she talks about death.. no matter how inevitable it is, doesn’t mean it’s any less frightening.

  19. Joe Owens August 4, 2013 at 9:52 pm #

    A new one on me as well. But anything that mitigates the pain of arthritis is worth investigation. I understand it is a horrible affliction.

  20. Dee August 5, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

    Dear Doug

    Oh I loved this one. You have such a great way of telling a story and imparting information on subjects we may never have othewise heard off. Thank you for apitherapy – although I seem to remember hearing something like it before, it is lost in the mists of my mind!!!
    Take care

  21. denmother August 6, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

    This is such a neat story, and I learned something. Excellent.

  22. annisik51 August 6, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

    I had not heard of Apitherapy. It made me think of (especially) Apalachian Christians who invite snakes with deadly venom to bite them. Adepts of other religions engage in similar practices. Not the same though. Does it work? Good story. Ann

  23. pattisj August 7, 2013 at 4:08 am #

    I’ve heard of this, but not aware it was still practiced. 28 bee stings! I don’t know if I could handle that.

  24. Lauraine October 11, 2013 at 8:48 am #

    It’s perfect. I wouldn’t change a sting.

    • Douglas Macilroy October 11, 2013 at 9:06 am #

      Dear Lauraine,

      If you could see me smiling (and shaking my head) you’d laugh with me. You’re in fine form with this one.

      A Hui Hou,


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