“Old Bee Makes the Honey Comb”


"Old bee (makes the honey comb/sucks the blossom), Young bee makes the honey. (Poor man/Colored folks) plant the cotton and corn, (Rich man/White folks) make the money."


Reportedly found also in _Uncle Remus_, this is one of those floating verses that seems to exist in many songs. Since Brown has it as a standalone, it files here, with many cross-references.

The nursery rhyme version, which I suspect is close to the original, runs:

God made the bees

And the bees make honey.

The miller's man does all the work

But the miller makes the money.- RBW

Cross references


  1. BrownIII 479, "Old Bee Makes the Honey Comb" (1 fragment); also 480, "Hard Times" (1 text, massively composite: Chorus from "Lynchburg Town" and verses from "Old Bee Makes the Honey Comb" and the "White Folks Go to College" version of "Hard to Be a Nigger")
  2. Scarborough-NegroFS, p. 165, "Old Bee Make de Honeycomb" (1 text, with this stanza but many more associated primarily with "Raccoon")
  3. cf. Baring-Gould-MotherGoose #194, p. 136, ("God made the bees")
  4. Roud #5029
  5. BI, Br3479


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1919 (Brown)
Keywords: floatingverses work bug
Found in: US(SE)