Her father told Laura and Mary how he found the bee tree. "I didn't take my gun," he said, "because I wasn't hunting, and now it's summer there wasn't much danger of meeting trouble. Panthers and bears are so fat, this time of year that they're lazy and good-natured.
"Well, I took a short cut through the forest, and I nearly ran into a big black bear. I came around an undergrowth area full of small trees and bushes, and there he was, not as far from me as across this room.
"He looked around at me, and I guess he saw I didn't have a gun. Anyway, he didn't pay any more attention to me.
"He was standing at the foot of a big tree, and bees were buzzing all around him. They couldn't sting through his thick fur, and he kept brushing them away from his head with one paw.
"I stood there watching him, and he put the other paw into a hole in the tree and drew it out all dripping with honey. He licked the honey off his paw and reached in for more. But by that time I had found a big tree branch. I wanted that honey myself.
"So I made a great racket, banging the club against a tree and yelling. The bear was so fat and so full of honey that he just dropped to his feet and walked away among the trees. I chased him some distance and got him going running fast, away from the bee tree. Then I came back for the wagon."
Laura asked her father how he got the honey away from the bees.
"That was easy," her father said. "I left the horses back in the forest, where they wouldn't get stung, and then I chopped the tree down and cut it open."
"Didn't the bees sting you?"
"No," said her father. "Bees never sting me. I just started a little campfire and put green tree branches on it. The bees get very tired in the smoke.”
"The whole tree was hollow or empty inside, and filled from top to bottom with honey. The bees must have been storing honey there for years. Some of it was old and dark, but I guess I got enough good clean honey to last us a long time."
Laura was sorry for the poor bees. She said, "They worked so hard, and now they won't have any honey."
But her father said that there was lots of spilt honey and old honey left for the bees. Nearby there was also another large, hollow tree into which they could move. He said it was time they had a clean, new home.
They would take the old honey he had left in the old tree, make it into fresh, new honey, and store it in their new house. They would save every drop of the spilled honey and put it away, and they would have plenty of honey again, long before winter came.