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I've been thinking about writing a short story, not part of any collection, to be a gift to people on my mailing list who leave reviews of my next book that's coming out.

Rather than being told from the fairies' point of view, it would be told from the point of view of the farmer who has the cultivated bee hives in his orchard at the edge of the Wide Wild Field. He notices that in one particular hive, he's getting less honey (although of a higher quality) than from the other hives (in F&F, Butterfly Fairy tells the queen bee where the stand of star thistles is - star thistles give great honey in both quantity and quality). In fact, at times, some of the beeswax is missing too (the fairies use it to seal their pots of honey and maple syrup to preserve it for eating during the winter time - the fairies and elves in my world mostly live off nectar and maple syrup and honey).

The farmer puts up cameras to see who is stealing his honey and honey comb, but doesn't catch anything, just sees it invisibly disappearing - my fairies are about 3" tall, but are invisible to anyone who doesn't have "the sight".

Finally, he leaves a sign asking who ever is stealing his honey to please either stop it or pay for it - so the fairies start leaving him little gifts on top of the hive when they take bits of honey comb. Sometimes it's just a pretty stone, sometimes it's a chunk of copper or silver, and once it's a small, rough diamond (yes, there were diamonds found in Michigan's upper peninsula) - it's all the same to the fairies, who don't have any real sense of the value of things.

so my quandary is... what would tip off a mundane farmer that it's fairies stealing his honey? And what would he do about it?

I've been thinking maybe of having the fairies use mouse-drawn carts to carry away the honey comb (mice aren't intelligent in this world, although the queen bee is). The farmer could catch a hint of that on his cameras. Would that work?

also, what could the fairies trade the queen bee in exchange for her letting them take her honey and comb? Butterfly Fairy has already pointed them to the star thistle stand, and that's about the best source of nectar there is. Would they trade her some maple sap/syrup for it? and if so, what would that do to the taste and color of the honey?
 

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The premise of this story sounds like it will be a lot of fun.

The farmer starts to suspect fairies after he finds some of their honey-stealing equipment out by his hives. Maybe a tank where they store it or some kind of small kitchen where they process it. He could also find some mini beekeeping clothes.

At first, he thinks there some kind of toys left by some children but then realizes there are no children in the area.
 
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