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Bee

The Athenian Bee. Plato. (See Athenian Bee , page 72, col. 1.)

It is said that when Plato was in his cradle, a swarm of bees alighted on his mouth. The story is good enough for poets and orators. The same tale is told of St. Ambrose. (See Ambrose, page 41, col. 1.)

The Bee of Athens.
Sophocles. (See Attic Bee, page 73, col. 1.)

Xenophon (B.C. 444-359) is also called “the Bee of Athens,” or “the Athenian Bee.”

See also Animals, page 50, col. 2.

To have your head full of bees.
Full of devices, crotchets, fancies, inventions, and dreamy theories. The connection between bees and the soul was once generally maintained: hence Mahomet admits bees to Paradise. Porphyry says of fountains, “they are adapted to the nymphs, or those souls which the ancients called bees.” The moon was called a bee by the priestesses of Ceres, and the word lunatic or moon-struck still means one with “bees in his head.”

“Il a des rats dans la tête.” —French Proverb. (See Maggot.)

To have a bee in your bonnet.
To be cranky; to have an idiosyncrasy; also, to carry a jewel or ornament in your cap. (See Bighes.)

For pity, air, find out that bee
That bore my love away-
`I'll seek him in your bonnet brave. ...

Herrick: The Mad Maid's Song.

Bee

A social gathering for some useful work. The object generally precedes the word, as a spelling—bee (a gathering to compete in spelling). There are apple-bees, husking-bees, and half a dozen other sorts of bees or gatherings. It is an old Devonshire custom, which was carried across the Atlantic in Elizabethan times.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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