Tag Archives: Insects

340 AD: Patron Saint of Beekeepers

According to tradition, a swarm of bees settled on the face of the infant St. Ambrose, leaving a drop of honey and thus foretelling the saint’s eloquence—his honeyed tongue. He is the patron saint of bees and beekeepers. A certain … Continue reading

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206 BC: The Jade Suit of Liu Sheng

The jade burial suit of Liu Sheng, son of the emperor Jing Di who ruled over the principality of Zhongshan during the Han Dynasty (206 BC- 24 AD), was constructed in the belief that the stone’s magical connection to eternal life … Continue reading

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1932: The King of the Crickets

The King of the Crickets from The Luck of the Bean-Rows, A Fairy-Tale for Lucky Children. My edition is an anonymous translation from the French of Charles Nodier, illustrated by Claud Lovat Fraser; undated but inscribed “December 25, 1932.”

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1875: An Absolute Democracy

The notion has always very generally prevailed that the queen of the bees is an absolute ruler, and issues her royal orders to willing subjects. Hence Napoleon the First sprinkled the symbolic bees over the imperial mantle that bore the … Continue reading

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1865: The Master Is Dead, the Master Is Dead

A North German custom and superstition is, that if the master of the house dies, a person must go to the Beehive, knock, and repeat these words: “The master is dead, the master is dead,” else the Bees will fly … Continue reading

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1665: Fleas

Gerard ter Borch: Boy Ridding his Dog of Fleas (1665)

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1914: The Rothschilds’ Fleas

Although he may not have paid £1,000 for a flea in 1914 (about $135,000 today), the banker Charles Rothschild was in fact a respected entomologist and an avid collector of fleas. He acquired some 260,000 specimens, including about 500 new … Continue reading

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