At the edge of the forest stood an old crooked tree. The sun shone on it day after day, and it stretched out its gnarled branches in comfort. It was almost entirely covered in lichen by now — you couldn’t even tell that an insect school was hidden among its branches.
Really and truly! There were tiny ‘classrooms’ between the branches. In one of them, spiderlings were learning how to weave delicate webs; in another, colourful beetles were flitting about. In the third, athletic grasshoppers and crickets skipped and hopped up and down like crazy. And high up in the top of the tree were classrooms full of pollinators.
For these insect babies, this tree was like a second home, and they looked after it as best they could. Not surprisingly, the tree produced more apples than any other tree in the neighbourhood — as if to reward its young inhabitants.
One of the pollinator classrooms was particularly buzzing today… The bumblebees were drawing pictures of flowers on the dry leaves.
“Every pollinator must get to know the various blossoms as well as they know their own wings!” declared their teacher, the stern Mrs Bombini. “Primroses, clover, lavender, dandelions…, all of them.”
Bumblebee Vroom watched his classmates as they painted beautiful petals, stems, and leaves using their tiny legs as brushes. He noticed that the clever twin bees had almost finished their pictures already.
“Vroom, you’re fidgeting again!” the teacher said, chiding him. “You’ve only drawn a few lines!”
Vroom quickly leaned over his picture, aiming to do more work. But then what happened? Waves of heat tickled his back through the tree branches. He turned his head. These came from the sun’s rays, flickering through the leaves — it created a…