One Bit At a Time

in Stories

Two ants, a black and a red, lived deep in a rainforest. The black ant was small and the red ant was bigger.

In the forest, the living conditions were harsh with little food and long rainy days.

The ants spent days looking for food, which they then stored in their nests in the hills for use during the rainy days.

Illustration: Fatima

One evening, it started raining heavily. The rain continued for several days, flooding the forest.

When the rain finally stopped and the water receded, the ants came out of their hills to search for food before another spell of bad weather.

Nearby, a large piece of fruit had been left behind by the receding waters. But it was too heavy for them to carry home.

Looking at the fruit, the red ant sighed.

Such good food. It can last me a whole season if only I could carry it to my hill,” she said aloud. “But it is too heavy for me to carry.”

The fruit was so juicy that she did not even think of moving away from the place to look for food elsewhere. She stood there crying over her inability to carry it home.

Illustration: Fatima

The black ant had, meanwhile, started tearing off tiny bits from the fruit.

What are you doing?” asked the red ant.

I will break this into smaller pieces which I can easily carry home,” the black ant replied.

It is too big for any of us and you are smaller than me. This piece of fruit is just not for us,” said the red ant.

The black ant kept quiet and continued with her work.

The day passed, but the piece of fruit was still intact.

When it was time to head home, the red ant looked at the fruit one last time.

Wish you could be mine,” she sighed.

The next morning, the piece again caught her attention and she continued to curse her bad luck.

The black ant, however, continued to carry home the tiny bits.

When the day was half over, the piece was also reduced by half. By evening, only a small portion of it was left.

The black ant had neatly stored it in her hill.

Seeing her do the impossible, the red ant asked: “How did you manage to do it when I could not even move from my place?

The black ant replied: “I stopped looking at the size of the piece and broke it into smaller bits that I could handle one at a time. Now, I can enjoy my food and you as usual can complain about the shortage of food.”

It rained again in the forest. The ants returned to their hills. The red ant to starvation and the black ant to abundance of food.

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