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Reading Club: The Bumblebee and the Rabbit by Enid Blyton


The Bumblebee and the Rabbit
by Enid Blyton
There was once a large round bumblebee who flew from flower to flower on the sunny hillside. His coat was velvety and his hum was loud. He was a beautiful bee, and very happy.
One day he flew into a spider's web. The spider crouched under a leaf, fearful of going near the bee and hoping that he would free himself. The spider did not like either bees or wasps in her web. Sometimes, if the wasp or bee was small, she cut the web around them so that they dropped to the ground and crawled away to clean their wings. But she did not like to go near this great bumblebee.
The bee was afraid. He did not like the feel of the sticky web around his wings. He tried to fly away —but he flew into more of the web, and soon he could not work his wings at all.
The spider watched. Suppose the bee could not get away? He would soon tire himself out and then she could kill him. She stayed under her leaf, watching with all her eight eyes.
A sandy rabbit, hearing the anxious buzz made by the bee, ran up to see what the fuss was about. He was astonished to see the bee caught in the web. The bee saw him and called to him.
"Help me, rabbit! I am caught here! If you could break the web for me I should drop to the ground and be able to clean my wings and fly. Please help me!"
The rabbit went closer. He lifted his paw and broke the web. The bee fell to the ground. He cleaned his wings carefully and spoke to the kind little rabbit.
"You are good," he said. "I am only a little thing and may never be able to repay you for your kindness, but I thank you with all my heart!"
The rabbit laughed.
"It was nothing," he said. "As for repaying me, that you can never do, little bee. You are so small and I am so big— a tiny creature like you cannot help a rabbit. I do not want to be repaid. Fly off in peace."
The bee soon flew off with a loud buzz. The rabbit went back to his play. The spider carefully mended her web, and hoped she would catch no more bees.
The days went by. The bee was careful to look out for webs, and did not go near them. The sandy rabbit played happily about the hillside.
He didn't know that a red fox was watching him each morning, hoping that he would go near to the bush under which he was hiding— then the fox would pounce out, and the rabbit would be caught!
The sandy rabbit did not know that any fox was near. He and his friends played merrily each evening and morning. And one morning he went near to the fox's bush.
The fox lay still. He hardly breathed. He kept his eyes on the fat little sandy rabbit. He looked round. No one was near to help him. The rabbit's father and mother had gone down their holes. The shepherd-boy was not yet up. There was no one to save the little rabbit.
A large bumblebee came sailing by, up early because the sun was warm. He settled on a late blackberry flower to get the honey. The flower was not far from the fox. In alarm the bee suddenly saw the fox's sharp eyes looking at him. He flew up into the air, wondering why the fox was hiding. He took a look round and then saw his friend, the sandy rabbit, playing very near—oh, much too near that thick blackberry bush!
"The fox is waiting to catch the rabbit!" thought the bee, in fear. "How can I save him? He was so kind to me!"
He saw the fox stiffen ready to pounce. Straightway the bee flew down to the sharp nose of the red fox. He dug his sting into the fox's nose and then flew off in a hurry.
The fox barked in pain as the bee stung him, and swung his head from side to side, rustling the bush. The sandy rabbit heard—and in a trice he was off to his hole, his little white bobtail bobbing up and down as he went, a danger-signal to all the other rabbits there.
"Fox!" he cried, "Redfox! "
The fox knew it was no good waiting any longer. He would never catch the rabbit now that he knew his hiding-place. He slunk off, furiously angry with the bee. But the little bee was pleased.
"I am only small," he hummed, "but I can do a kind turn as well as anybody else. You did not know I should save your life one day, rabbit, when you saved mine! Little creatures can often do big things."
The bumble-bee was quite right, wasn't he!

Vocabulary Exercises
ex. 1 Find English equivalents in the text
беспокойный, бояться чего-либо, быть на ногах, бесполезно делать что-то, сердиться на кого-либо, утомиться, в чем дело, отплатить, быть начеку, торопиться, отправиться куда-либо
ex. 2 Complete the sentences with these words
  • to be fearful of something
  • anxious
  • what the fuss is about
  • to repay
  • to look out for
  • to be up
  • to be in a hurry
  • to be off to
  • it is no good doing something
  • to be angry with somebody
  1. Sorry, guys, it's time. I ______ Mary's place. The party is about to start.
  2. Are you ______? Could you help me with my homework?
  3. It was 7 o'clock. Neither my mother nor my father ______ yet.
  4. When you go to the forest, ______ the mosquitoes. They are pure evil this time of the year.
  5. He was ______ of rats and unfortunately for him we had a lot of them in our cellar.
  6. Jamie heard some noise in the attic and went up to see ______.
  7. Thank you very much! I will never be able to ______ you.
  8. That thing is broken. ______ trying to repair it.
  9. I was ______ that I hadn't passed my test.
  10. Please don't ______ with me. I meant well.
ex. 3 Finish the sentences
  1. There is no point to be angry with anybody because...
  2. At night you should look out for...
  3. One should repay for...
  4. When you're up, the best thing is...
  5. Being in a hurry is...
  6. It's no good...
ex. 4 Come up with synonyms for the following words and expressions
fearful of something
what the fuss is about
to repay
to look out for
to be up
to be in a hurry
to be off to
to be angry with somebody
Grammar Exercises
ex. 1 Use Present Perfect or Present Perfect Continuous
Robin: I think the waiter ______ (forget) us. We ______ (wait) here for over half an hour and nobody ______ (take) our order yet.
Michele: I think you're right. He ______ (walk) by us at least twenty times. He probably thinks we ______ (order, already).
Robin: Look at that couple over there, they ______ (be, only) here for five or ten minutes and they already have their food.
Michele: He must realize we ______ (order, not) yet! We ______ (sit) here for over half an hour staring at him.
Robin: I don't know if he ______ (notice, even) us. He ______ (run) from table to table taking orders and serving food.
Michele: That's true, and he ______ (look, not) in our direction once.
ex. 2 Use Present Continuous or Present Perfect Continuous
1. It ______ (rain) all week. I hope it stops by Saturday because I want to go to the beach.
2. Sid: Where is Gary?
Sarah: He ______ (study, at the library) for his German test on Wednesday. In fact, he ______ (review) for the test every day for the last week.
3. You look really great! ______ (You, exercise) at the fitness center ?
4. Frank, where have you been? We ______ (wait) for you since 1 PM.
5. Tim: What is that sound?
Nancy: A car alarm ______ (ring) somewhere down the street. It ______ (drive) me crazy - I wish it would stop! It ______ (ring) for more than twenty minutes.
6. Joseph's English ______ (improve, really), isn't it? He ______ (watch) American television programs and ______ (study) his grammar every day since he first arrived in San Diego. Soon he will be totally fluent.
7. Dan: You look a little tired. ______ (You, get) enough sleep lately?
Michelle: Yes, I ______ (sleep) relatively well. I just look tired because I ______ (feel) a little sick for the last week.
Dan: I hope you feel better soon.
Michelle: Thanks. I ______ (take, currently) some medicine, so I should feel better in a couple of days.
Comprehension Exercises
ex. 1 True or False
  1. The spider was fearful of the bumblebee because he had been stung by one long time ago.
  2. The bee flew into the web and couldn't get out but just got more tired and desperate.
  3. The rabbit set the bee free by accident and didn't even notice it.
  4. The bumblebee got scared of the rabbit and immediately flew away.
  5. After two days the bee got stuck in another web and died there.
  6. The rabbit didn't notice the fox that was hiding from it.
  7. The fox saw the bumblebee and could avoid its sting.
  8. The fox ran away angry with the bee because it had ruined its plans.
  9. The bee was pleased it could help its friend.
ex. 2 Answer the questions
  1. Why did the spider decide not to touch the bumblebee that got caught in his web?
  2. How did the rabbit know that the bumblebee was stuck in the net?
  3. What did the bee say the rabbit after the rescue?
  4. Why was it easy for the fox to catch the rabbit that morning?
  5. How did the bee repay the rabbit for its help?
  6. Why did the bumblebee want to help the rabbit?
  7. Do you agree that "Little creatures can often do big things?"
ex. 3 What would happen if…? (Second Conditional) Give the alternative endings to the story
  1. The bumblebee didn't get into the spider's web that day.
  2. The rabbit was a deaf rabbit and didn't hear the buzz.
  3. The red fox had a rabbitophobia, i.e. was inexplicably scared of rabbits.
  4. The bumblebee wasn't a bumblebee but an average fly.

We do not possess the rights for this short story. All rights belong to the author. The text was taken from childrensnursery.org.uk