What exactly is "telling the bees"?
As many of you know, the title of Diana Gabaldon's upcoming Book 9 in the OUTLANDER series is GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE.
What exactly does it mean to "tell the bees", and where did that custom come from?
Diana Gabaldon explains it this way on her website:
Where did the title come from? Talking to your bees is a very old Celtic custom (known in other parts of Europe, too) that made it to the Appalachians. You always tell the bees when someone is born, dies, comes or goes--because if you don’t keep them informed, they’ll fly away.Here's an interesting article published earlier this week that takes a closer look at the custom of "telling bees". Thanks to Martha W. for the link!
(The painting above is called "The Bee Friend", by 19th-century artist Hans Thoma.)