An unfairly little-known fairy tale.
It’s a pity, because “The Little Bee” by Anatole France is simply magnificent! In no way inferior to classic fairy tales like “Cinderella” or “The Princess and the Pea”. Honestly, from some point of view, it is even better than many well-known European fairy tales, because it was written towards the end of the 19th century, that is, more modern, humane and easy to understand. And the plot and atmosphere are the same, European: princesses, kings, fairy-tale creatures, knights in shining armor.
The title conveys the feeling that this tale is sad or edifying, like a parable. As if we are talking about a good, correct, hardworking, but defenseless creature with a difficult fate. But no, nothing like that, it just seems so. Bee is just a girl’s name, without any hidden meanings, that’s what her mother calls her and nothing more. And the fairy tale itself is just an interesting story, and not an allegory in the spirit of the Bible for children.
Bee and her half-brother Georges grow up in the castle in love, joy and luxury. One day, children go for a walk in the mountains without asking permission from adults and end up caught. no, not into trouble, but also, in general, into love and luxury, but which gives them much less joy, because the children are kept here against their will. The little bee finds herself in the underground kingdom of the gnomes, and Georges finds himself in the underwater grotto of the undines. Both gnomes and mermaids are hospitable hosts, they adore children and give them the best. Children also treat their owners with sympathy and do not suffer every minute of their lives, but nevertheless, of course, they miss home and each other. Otherwise, everything in these fairy-tale kingdoms is harmonious and beautiful: any wish of the guests is immediately fulfilled, everything around them sparkles, precious stones sparkle in the cave of the mountain king, shells shimmer in the bright waters of the lake, children are taught, entertained, pampered and cherished.
This fairy tale is for preschoolers and primary schoolchildren, and more likely for girls, because the Bee storyline is given much more pages than the adventures of Georges. The hearts of readers will be dear to such details as descriptions of outfits, treasure chests, cunning dolls made by gnomes, and in the end - love!
Yes, “The Little Bee” ends very well. And throughout the entire tale there are no scary or overly sad episodes, so everyone can read it, including impressionable children.