When our daughter Emily was 3 years old (many years ago now), she looked up at me brightly and asked me where honey came from.
She was sitting on my knee outside in the back garden and it was the middle of spring. Everything was flowering madly and bees were buzzing around in the sunshine. I gathered my thoughts and launched into the story of honey.
My wife Susie and I were the font (or fount?) of all knowledge at that stage in her life. By the time Emily reached her early teens, however, our knowledge had apparently evaporated, and were no longer the font (or fount?) of anything.
Anyway, the explanation started with the bees. “You see these bees buzzing about?” Yes, she could see them. “Well, the bees sit on the flowers and collect pollen, and then they fly back to their hive where all their friends are hanging out, and then they store the pollen there and it gets all gooey and turns into honey.” Young Emily was on top of the story so far, so I continued on. “The man comes along with a net over himself, and then puts his hand into the hive and extracts the honey. Then the man takes the honey to a place where it all gets poured into bottles and labelled and sent off to the supermarket. Then we buy a bottle of honey and bring it home, and then we spread it on your sandwiches and then you eat it. So that’s it, that’s where the honey comes from!”
I was happy with the explanation, but Emily was very puzzled. You could see her mind at work. There was a question bubbling its way to the surface.
So which link in the honey chain had I left out? I thought back over what I’d said and it all seemed okay.
Finally she asked, “you know the man who comes along with the net over himself who collects the honey?”
“What’s his name?”