Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Chapter 19: Ants

Lately, at the Lily Pad, we have been discussing Morsels, as I have decided that the Frogs are a little fat, and could perhaps benefit from fewer feedings.

Peaseblossom has come up with a stratagem to satisfy his hunger.  He reasons that, since Frogs are attracted to the colors and bodies of other Frogs (Peaseblossom especially, I may add), Morsels of the cricket type may possibly feel the same.  And so he set out stones, more and less the size and color of a cricket, in front of the log.  In the log he hides, ready to snatch up the Morsel when it approaches, the poor bug expecting "a friendly and crunchy friend".

Peaseblossom set stones in front of the log, and waited.

Mustardseed asked me which type were the most numerous Morsels on the Lily Pad.

I said that the most numerous Morsels were probably ants, who live in colonies and have queens, and grand colonies, some of which stretch for miles, and consist of millions or billions of members.

At this, Mustardseed perked up and hopped closer, his too-big belly coming to rest upon two of Peaseblossom's cricket-stones.  Mustardseed thoroughly questioned me on these Morsels, and was quickly unsatisfied with how little I knew.

Mustardseed questioned me on these Morsels.

And so, returning from many days' work, I often found Frog-slime on my Book of Mac, which contains much information on any topic that a Frog might want to learn.  I imagined that Mustardseed was doing research.  My suspicions were confirmed when Mustardseed, giddy with his new knowledge, said that ants were indeed the most numerous Morsel, and perhaps the most successful of them all, and, in fact, were in so many places in the Lily Pad and beyond, that he wagered that they would fill up many ponds or even lakes, if one were to pour all of the ants into them.

Mustardseed continued by saying that they had inspired him to write a poem.  After my urging, he recited it with much pride and confidence, and his distinguished voice rang out in the Dwelling, bouncing and echoing.  Mustardseed gestured as he spoke.  I have copied the poem below:

Who are the kings of the moving things?
Some say the lion, some the bear, some the hulking whale.

In fact, they are the weakest,
The smallest, and the meekest.

Little though forever large,
Weak though infinitely strong,
The Ants
Have only to wake,
And the marble is theirs to take.

I applauded the Frog.  Upon hearing the recitation of the poem, an unnerved Peaseblossom looked again at his small stones laid about, and was about to me ask if crickets looked much like ants, but stopped his sentence short, and, after a long pause and many sidelong looks at me, he hopped to Mustardseed and casually asked him about the qualities of the appearance of ants, what color they were and how large.

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