Beside the Bee-Hives




The narrator occupies a lodging next door to a husband, a carrier by trade, his ailing wife and the wife’s robust sister. The man possesses a row of bee-hives and every morning he speaks into each hive. In a nearby wood he captures a new swarm. An open window of his cottage betokens the approaching death of his wife.

At the time of the funeral the narrator discovers a lump of dough with a lock of hair tied around it and a nail piercing it. The hair is that of the dead wife. The narrator’s landlady advises the narrator to burn the hair so that the former owner can rise on judgement day.


The story is a repository of local superstitions. The full meaning of them can now only be guessed at.