syrup. For it is not distant from dominical wisdom, it is indeed a function of that wisdom, that while flies contain thousands of harmful substances, microbes, and poisons from what they have eaten, they are like tiny transformation and purification machines. Apart from bees, there are other species of flying insects1 that eat various putrid substances and then continuously excrete droplets of syrup in place of the filth. By transforming those rotten, poisonous substances into a sweet and healing syrup, a confection of divine power, that rains onto the leaves of trees, they prove that they are machines for transmuting one substance into another. They demonstrate before one’s eyes what a mighty nation and group these tiny individuals form. Through the tongues of their beings they say: “Don’t look at our smallness, consider the vastness of our species, and declare, ‘All Glory be to God!’”
At the end of spring there is one species of small fly which is created in the form of a black mass that becomes stuck to the branches of almond and wild apricot trees, and remains there. In place of waste matter, droplets continuously flow from the flies. These drops are like honey and other species of flies gather round them suck them up.
Another species is employed in the pollination of the flowers of plants and some trees, like the fig. Just as the fire-fly is worthy of observation, since it is a sort of fly that flashes, sparkles, and is luminous; so do other species that are gilded and glisten like gold deserve notice. Also, we must not forget flies armed with lances, and wild bees, which are like brigands. If the All-Merciful Creator had not pulled in their reins, if they attacked human beings like fleas, in the same way that those armed species killed Nimrod, they would have assailed the human race and expounded the implicit meaning of the verse, “And if the fly should snatch away anything from them.” Thus, the hundred famous species of flies like these bearing special qualities are of great importance so that this mighty verse makes them its subject:
O men! Here is a parable set forth; listen to it! Those on whom you call besides God cannot create [even] a fly, if they all met together for the purpose! And if the fly should snatch away anything from them, they would have no power to release it from the fly. Feeble are those who petition and those whom they petition!