The Two Bees

On a fine morning in summer, two bees set forward in quest of honey—the one wise and temperate, the other careless and extravagant. They soon arrived at a garden enriched with aromatic herbs—the most fragrant flowers—and the most delicious fruits.


They regaled themselves with the various dainties that were spread before them; the one loaded himself at intervals, with provisions for the hive against the distant winter; the other reveled in sweets, without regard to anything but his present gratification.

At length they found a wide-mouthed phial, that hung beneath the bough of a peach tree, filled with honey ready tempered, and exposed to their taste in the most alluring manner. The thoughtless epicure, in spite of his friend’s remonstrances, plunged headlong into the vessel, resolving to indulge himself in all the pleasures of sensuality.

His philosophic companion, on the other hand, sipped a little, with caution; but being suspicious of danger, flew off to fruits and flowers; where, by the moderation of his meals, he improved his relish for the true enjoyment of them.

In the evening, however, he called upon his friend, to inquire whether he would return to the hive: but he found him surfeited in sweets, which he was as unable to leave, as to enjoy.

Clogged in his wings, enfeebled in his feet and his whole frame totally enervated, he was but just able to bid his friend adieu; and to lament, with his latest breath that though
a taste of pleasure may quicken the relish of life, an unrestrained indulgence leads to inevitable destruction.

The advantages of moderation, and extreme folly of intemperance…

Robert Dodsley (1703-1764)
The National Preceptor: Selections in Prose & Poetry, 1845