The Bumble Bee

(or, the origin of the triathlon)

This is the story of the most famous bumble bee of all time.

One day when it was still young and naïve, it followed a mentor bee out to collect nectar. Then, because it was lazy or playful or distracted or all of the above, it got separated from its senior. And soon it became lost in the wilderness, wandering further and further away from its nest.

In its frantic and panicky state, bumble bee crashed straight into a thick bush of thorny leaves. Its wings gnarled, bumble bee laid battered on the thick forest floor, waiting to die.

But it didn’t die.

It laid there for a long, long time and still it didn’t die.
So bumble bee decided it was meant to live and decided to try to head for home.

But there was a problem. Its wings were permanently crippled. It could fly no more. So it decided it needed to learn how to run. It found a tiny cave where it stayed and nursed.

Everyday, it would train its running. It started with short runs. But short runs were not good enough for it to get home. So it decided to stretch the distance. It ran and ran and ran. Soon it could run from dawn till dust without stopping.

One day, it came upon a lake. It realised that running alone won’t get it home. So it ditched running and tried to learn swimming instead.

But bumble bees were not built to swim.

And this bumble bee didn’t know. You see, it was quite a stupid bee. So, it almost drowned. But still it won’t give up. It was very afraid but faced with eternal separation from the rest of the herd, it pressed on.

First it learned how not to sink. Then to float. Then to glide through the water. Yes, soon, bumble bee was beginning to enjoy its swimming lessons.

One day, bumble bee met a Lilliputian. This Lilliputian had accidentally plunged himself and his bicycle into the lake and would have drowned if bumble bee did not rescue him in time. Knowing how far bumble bee was away from its home, the grateful Lilliputian gave his bicycle to bumble bee and taught it how to cycle.

And now, having mastered running, swimming and biking, the bumblebee was ready for the long, arduous and treacherous journey home.

And this, my friend, was how the triathlon came about.

So, did bumble bee finally reach home? I think it did.

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