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The Queen Bee

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"She'll sting you one day. Oh, ever so gently, so you hardly even feel it. Til' you fall dead." -Betsy Palmer as Carol Lee Philips in the film "Queen Bee" (1955)


"Beeware" focuses on the role of bees in various fairy tales, particularly the reappearing Queen Bee character. The film "Queen Bee" tells the story about a family dominated by a ruthless woman, referencing our bee theme in a more figurative sense.


The episode can be connected to the Grimm world through the classic Grimm tale "The Queen Bee," in which the youngest of three princes, Simpleton, goes out to find his brothers in the forest. Simpleton finds the brothers attempting to wreak havoc on the nature they come across and stops them in their tracks, chastising their behavior. On one occasion, they come to a bee's nest, in which there is so much honey that it runs down the trunk of the tree where it is. The two brothers want to make a fire beneath the tree and suffocate the bees in order to take away the honey, but Simpleton again stops them saying, "Leave the creatures in peace; I will not allow you to burn them."


They then come across a castle inhabited by an old man, who offers them a place to stay. The old man gives the boys three tasks; if they fail to complete them, they will be turned to stone. While the older brothers fail immediately and suffer their fate, the youngest brother outsmarts the old man by using the creatures from the forest he saved earlier to complete the tasks for him.


Of particular interest is the third task, in which Simpleton must pick out the youngest princess from three sleeping princesses who look exactly alike. The only difference is that the oldest has eaten a bit of sugar, the second a little syrup and the youngest some honey. The Queen of the bees, who Simpleton had protected from the fire, comes to Simpleton's aid; she tastes the lips of all three and remains sitting on the mouth that had eaten honey. At Simpleton's success, the enchantment is broken and the brothers who had been turned to stone are brought back to life. The youngest son marries the youngest princess, and his two brothers, the other princesses.


"The Queen Bee" clearly carries a cautionary message present in the episode: don't create disruption where it isn't your place to do so.

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