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Telling of the Bees...

There are many corollary practices associated with the telling of the bees, one of the most important being the "heaving up" of the hives. This practice requires that on the day of the funeral as the funeral party is preparing to leave the house the hive and coffin are both "heaved" or lifted at the same moment.

Coming a little nearer, Plato's doctrine of the transmigration of souls holds that the souls of sober quiet people, untinctured by philosophy come to life as bees. Later than Plato comes Mahomet, who admitted bees, as souls, to paradise; and Porphyry said of fountains; "They are adapted to the nymphs, or those souls which the Ancients call bees." There is a strange story told in My School and Schoolmasters which goes as follows:

A friend and I lay on a mossy bank on a hot day. Overcome by the heat my friend fell asleep. As I watching drowsily, I saw a bee issue from the mouth of my sleeping friend, jump down to the ground and crossed along withered grass stubs over a brook cascading over stones, and enter through an interstice into an old ruined building. Alarmed by what I saw, I hastily shook my comrade, who awakened a second or two after the bee, hurrying back had re-entered her mouth. My friend, the sleeper, protested at my waking her saying that she had dreamt that she had walked through a fine country and had come to the banks of a noble river, and just where the clear water went thundering down a precipice, there was a bridge all silver which she crossed and entered, a noble palace on the other side. she was about to help myself to gold and jewels when I woke her and robbed her of this fate."
There are similar histories from other places; in one the sleeping person was moved by a companion. A few moments later, a bee returned to the spot and scurried hither and thither in terror looking for the sleeping form, but failed to know it. When the sleeper was nudged in his new resting place, he was found to be dead.
This belief that the bee is a soul of one departed is undoubtedly the origin of the belief of "Telling the bees," for souls of the departed, are they not in communion with God?

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