'Cupid Stung by Bees'
CUPID (hovering in the still air, suddenly alert): What is that buzzing?
VENUS (languidly): Birds, perhaps.
CUPID (surprised): Birds? Do birds buzz?
VENUS (abstractly): I don’t know . . . do they not? I’ve forgotten.
CUPID: I bet they’re bees!
VENUS (quietly): Well, perhaps.
CUPID (giggling): And where there are bees, there may be honey!
VENUS: Yes, perhaps. Whatever that is.
CUPID (eagerly, boyishly): The bees make it. Would you like to try some honey, Goddess?
VENUS (almost alarmed): Me? Well, I don’t know. I don’t remember it. It’s something to eat, is that right?
CUPID (eager): It’s sweet like candy!
VENUS (suspicious): Insect candy.
CUPID (even more eager): I’ll be right back. [He flies up into the buzzing tree]
[The buzzing of the bees grows louder and there is a sudden affrighted cry from Cupid]
Lucas Cranach the Elder, Venus with Cupid Stealing Honey, 1530. 58x38 cm.
VENUS (languidly alarmed): Are you alright, Little One?
[Cupid returns, holding a chunk of honeycomb in one plump hand. He is covered with bee stings. A few angry bees cling to him still.]
CUPID (breathless, trembling from his ordeal, holds out the honeycomb for Venus to see): Look, Goddess. This is Honey!
VENUS (wary): The bees didn’t seem very pleased about your visit.
CUPID (laughing): They weren’t. They’re still not!
VENUS (dejected): And look at yourself! You’re covered with stings.
CUPID (happy to have demonstrated his valour): It was worth it!
VENUS (dubious): I’m not at all certain it was. The bees have spoiled your perfect, infantile beauty.
CUPID (gaily): Have some honey. I got it just for you.
VENUS (gingerly dipping he finger into the honeycomb and cautiously tasting the worrisome honey): Mmmmm . . .
CUPID (proudly, as if he’d made the honey himself): You like it?
VENUS (smiling): It’s as delicate and gentle as a rainbow.
CUPID (happily): Ambrosia! Food of the gods!
VENUS (smiling happily): Of the Goddess, rather. It’s much too fine for all those boisterous, rough-hewn gods!
CUPID (grinning): If you like. It will be our secret then . . .
VENUS (delighted): Yes. Just for us. Beautiful Venus Honey — just for the two of us!
'Cupid the Honey Thief,' Albrecht Dürer, 1514. Pen, ink and watercolor on paper.*
Cupid Stung by Bees is Play #74 in Gary Michael Dault's series, Brief Candles: 100 Very Short Plays.