Once upon a time, in the land flowing with milk and honeysuckle, all was sweetness and light. All was love, all was one. Thus commenceth the Mother Goose nursery rhyme of natural history.
But after the Beeformation, to continue with our fairly tale, there were several different species of beelievers. There were the honeybees. They lived in the One Holy Hive, otherwise known as St. Beeters. It was a splendid edifice of Beenaissance architecture, erected by the carpenter bees, and funded by Beeters Pence.
The Holy Hive was headed by the Queen Beeshop. Whenever the old Queen Beeshop died, her successor was chosen at a beeatific conclave. The candidate with the best waspish waistline was elected to become the next Queen Beeshop. The present Queen Beeshop is Beeatrix XVI who, as legend has it, is descended by unbroken succession from St. Beeter, the first Queen Beeshop.
The Queen Beeshop was the Beediatrix of the drones. She supplied the honeycomb of merit.
In Beeology, the true body of the Queen Beeshop subsisted under the species of honey by the miracle of transwaxification. The Beeblical basis for this dogma was the verse: “Except ye eat the beeswax and drink the honey, ye have no life in you.” They also subscribed to beeptismal regeneration.
As the exclusive channel of honey, there was no salvation outside the hive. Their favorite Beeble verse was: “Oh death, where is thy stinger?”
Yet there was a rival hive of Bumblebees which regarded itself as the true hive. The Bumblebees and the honeybees originally belonged to the very same hive, but that’s before they had a nasty falling out over the date of Beester, otherwise known as Quartobeecimanism.
The Bumblebees were of the view that true beelievers were saved by process of beeification, in which they came to participate in the beeing of the Beeotokos.
They were also distinguished by their veneration of beecons. For them, heaven consisted in the Beeatific vision.
Beyond these two parties was a subspecies of Anglicized honeybees. This hybrid species could never quite make up its mind what it was, flitting from one hive to another in a perennial identity crisis.
Finally, there were the terrapins. According to honey beeologians, the terrapins were said to share a common ancestry with the honeybees.
Their evolutionary emergence was explained by appeal to the development of tonsure in Charles Cardinal Darwin’s classic Origin of the Beecies. For this reason, the honeybees referred to the terrapins as separated beethren.
Since every turtle carried his home on his back, chelonian theology denied that salvation was confined to members of the One Holy Hive, otherwise known as St. Beeters. The terrapins were firm believers in prima Beeble, taking their doctrine of revelation from the Beeble saying: “the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.”
They also observed the sacrament of turtle soup once a week. And many were subscribers to the doctrine of beelievers beeptism.
There were different kinds of terrapins: land tortoises, freshwater turtles, and marine turtles, with many subspecies besides.
The honeybees were scandalized by the sheer variety of terrapins. However, chelonian theology regarded this diversity as no more scandalous than the wide variety of cats and dogs, birds and horses.