Listen to the bees. Bees reflect human society – understand them and we can get a little closer to understanding ourselves. Humans and bees have enjoyed a close relationship for millennia, and the entries in this book reflect at least two thousand years of fascination with the world's favourite insect. Monarch, celebrity, monk, peasant, warrior or regular Joe, there are few who haven't fallen under the spell of bees and the riches they bring. From superstition to science, cake recipes to self-help, these quotes are a mirror to ourselves – our hopes and fears, our lives and deaths. Not to mention our taste-buds. 'A summer where there are no bees becomes as sad and as empty as one without flowers or birds' The Life of the Bee, Maurice Maeterlinck, 1901, trans. Alfred Sutro, 1914. In many European countries and parts of North America it is traditional to visit a hive and 'tell the bees' when there is a birth, marriage, departure, return or death in the family.