A Thousand Words

The Beekeepers—Exultet Scroll

by Mary Elizabeth Podles

This scene of medieval beekeepers demonstrates that beekeeping has remained virtually unchanged for a thousand years. At the left, a man in a blue tunic and fancy striped hose has opened a box hive identical to ones used today and is cutting honeycomb into an extractor. Beside him, a helper in red catches the honey in a jug. To the right, two barefoot men are capturing a swarm: one cuts the branch on which they cluster, while the other entices them into a box with a jar of honey. Bees as big as songbirds fill all the blank spaces and bury their faces in bright red flowers. The beekeepers all have rosy . . .

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Mary Elizabeth Podles is the retired curator of Renaissance and Baroque art at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. She and her husband Leon, a Touchstone senior editor, have six children and live in Baltimore, Maryland.

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