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Saving the Colony

Updated on November 14, 2014

This story is a reply to the Challenge "Writing 101 - The Beauty of Allegory" by a wonderful writer on HubPages, Bill Holland known as billybuc. If you'd like to join in it is simple, click here to find out more.

The Beginning

Miranda and Jedidiah knew they were disobeying the rules but what choice did they have? Miranda was a worker and Jedidiah was a soldier and they had been friends, almost lovers all their lives. They knew the queen would object but their common goal was for the good of the colony. Their friendship was a fringe benefit. The rulers had taken over the distribution of food leaving little for the rest of the colony, everything went to the queen. Miranda was an experienced worker so this was not a new task for her.

They knew they could find their way back in the dark so foraging wasn't a problem. Living your life in darkness helps you travel in darkness. Though it was more difficult without the sun the cover of darkness helped keep their journey secret. No one knew of their departure, they were sure they had been secretive enough. Their mission was to find food and bring back what they could.

He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.

— Muhammad Ali

The Queen

Miranda knew it was more than exceptional for Jedidiah to be helping her. His role here was to the queen like all the other males, but Jedidiah was different. Jedidiah saw the gentleness in the world and the need to help others. He cared about others. Since he hadn't mated with the queen he was still able to travel without notice. They both knew once he mated he would die. After all, the queen couldn't have husbands lagging about. True she built the nest and started the colony but what of the others? It was clear their lives were of little consequence. Why must everything center around her, the supreme ruler. Once she gave birth she was taken care of for life. Everyone else did all the work. The workers were responsible for taking care of the queen as well as gathering food, taking care of the queen's offspring, protecting the community and so much more.

You see, ants are peculiar though social. Everything is about the queen but Miranda and Jedidiah knew that taking care of each other was what would keep the colony thriving. With so many workers it seemed there should be room for everyone. Why should the queen be the only one being taken care of? Why should the queen always eat first? They knew there was enough food for everyone and that was why they had started this journey.


The Journey

There was always the danger of attack from the Army ants. If Army ants found out how weak they were and that they didn't have enough food, the Army ants could come and invade Miranda's colony and surely win. They would show their force and strength while Miranda's weakened colony looked on, knowing they would be overtaken. Slowly and almost imperceptibly they would take over her colony's land. A war would be waged and her colony would collapse and lose.

Why is the world so cruel? Why is there so much suffering and then to make matters worse the stronger ants come and take over the weaker ants' colony? Well Miranda and Jedidiah weren't going to let that happen. They were two ants who were going to find a way to strengthen their colony. They were just two ants but if they could find a good source of food they could convince others to come, they were sure of it. They knew they could carry up to fifty times their body weight and that should be enough to prove to the others there was extra food.

They were well away from the colony when Miranda spotted it. Food! Jedidiah jumped and hooted. Miranda told him to be quiet or he'd attract some unwanted insect who would take their food. Both Miranda and Jedidiah filled up on the food. They could regurgitate it when they returned to the colony. They followed their own pheromone trail back to the colony. By the time they got there everyone was waking up and getting ready to start their day.

"It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends."

— Dumbledore, Harry Potter

Have you ever gone against the norm to help others?

See results

The Solution?

One of the children noticed Miranda and Jedidiah and started to shout. The other ants gathered around them and Miranda explained what they had done and why. The other ants were incredulous. No one had ever done this before. Could there really be enough food for everyone? Would the queen allow it? Miranda explained there would be no shortage of food. Everyone would be fed and there would still be food left over. Still the ants were skeptical.

The queen called out from her chamber. Miranda wasn't afraid. She knew what she and Jedidiah had done was right and that they had saved the colony. Much to her surprise when she reached the queen the queen was smiling. "My dear, no one has had the courage or honor to try to save this community. You and Jedidiah have shown them all there is always hope in the world. Living in fear only breeds more fear. I am the queen and must think of myself first to keep the colony populated but I have never forbid courage or progress. Take as many workers as you can and bring the food back."

Miranda and Jedidiah looked at each other in great surprise. Can this be true? Is she really proud of them? In fact she was so proud of them she promised not to mate with Jedidiah so he could live and continue to work with Miranda. They joined the other ants to get more food.


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    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      Deb its always nice to have someone say they think you're story's wonderful. Thank you. Have a good week.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Very nicely done. I was impressed with the way that you used the topic to create this wonderful story.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      I loved your comment Mike, from beginning to sad end ;) I seem to be finding myself more and more...that is if I go by what I'm reading in my comments section. Loved the bad joke.

    • mckbirdbks profile image


      4 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello tillsontitan your story is so well woven. You are a natural. In the comments I see that the words course through your veins - as a writer you cannot ask for more than that.

      Now for the bad joke: For a moment I thought your story of courage might end with a can of Raid.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      Thanks Genna. I really had to think to write this one. Votes and share are appreciated.

      Way to go Cam, break the rules and live happily ever after...what more could we ask for ;)

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 

      4 years ago from Dallas, Texas through August 23, 2019.

      Nice response to the challenge, Mary. That's my kind of story. One Where they break all the rules and everyone lives happily ever after.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Brilliant allegory, Mary! And your quotations were cleverly interwoven within the story that is fascinating without being preachy…not easy to do. :-) You know how to write a story, my friend. Voted way up and shared.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      I can't even imagine!

    • fpherj48 profile image


      4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Tillie.....I am beyond's a scene from a sci-fi-movie!

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      Maria, I read "Who Moved My Cheese" a few years back when I was working. I am totally surprised you compare my humble attempt with that well known work! Sometimes I actually feel like writing courses through my blood. I get an idea in my head and its like it comes to life and I can't get rid of it until I write it down. Thanks so much for the votes and shares my friend.

      Thank you Faith. I try to take the challenges to help learn more about what I am trying to do here. Obviously I've never written an allegory before so I thought this was an excellent chance. I am so glad you liked it and my little message. Thanks for the votes and shares!

      Effer "my confidence"? I look at it more like my nerve. As I'm writing I'm often thinking "you've got some nerve posting that".... I am still amazed at the comments here! Hope you can see some rock where you are. Has the snow buried you? Stay safe and warm my friend. Thanks for the votes.

    • fpherj48 profile image


      4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Tillie.....Your talent is only a part of the wonderful things about you GF. You take on a challenge like a pro, dear lady. I admire your courage and confidence. Always informational, entertaining and done to perfection.

      I'm amazed at how easy you make it seem..."Allegory" requires a strong command of the ability to relate a story with finesse. You rocked it, girl.


    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      4 years ago from southern USA

      Dear Mary,

      I missed this one some how and so glad our dear Maria shared it!

      Writing an Allegory is no easy task, and here you have written one that is most impressive. I love the message you have so brilliantly written here.

      Up ++++ tweeting and pinning

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 

      4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Dear Mary,

      I have recently read "Who Moved My Cheese" (by Spencer Johnson) as it is on the lesson plan for my Leadership course...

      Your story stands side-by-side as far as message, impact and style of writing. You may not have studied writing, my friend...but it courses through your blood.

      Excellent work! Voted UP and UABI and sharing. Love, Maria

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      Drbj it certainly makes you think twice about ants ;) Thanks for the vote.

      I am honored teaches345, coming from a teacher it is certainly a high compliment.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      4 years ago

      Excellent! I was fascinated by your tale and how you used it to teach a good lesson. You certainly have talent.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      4 years ago from south Florida

      After reading your heartwarming story of Miranda and Jedidiah, Mary, I promise I will take extra care to never step on an ant in haste again. Voted up, of course.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      Thanks Eddy. Hope your day is wonderful too!

    • Eiddwen profile image


      4 years ago from Wales

      A great story Mary and voted up for sure.

      Wishing you a wonderful day.


    • manatita44 profile image


      4 years ago from london

      Visit the Hub Called Pujaloy: The Abode of Peace. Let me know if you like it.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      As always you are so right Manatita. Om Shanti.

    • manatita44 profile image


      4 years ago from london

      Love begets Love. Beautiful ending. Om Shanti!

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      Jodah, thanks so much. I was unsure whether to let my readers know they were ants right away or to try to drawn them in a bit. Glad you enjoyed reading.

      Frank you might be thinking of Bug's Life. Of course after I got this idea stuck in my head I realized there were other ants movies but I couldn't let it go....kind of like a dog with a bone. Thanks for the lovely comment.

      Thanks for reading and commenting DDE.

      D.A.L. thanks so much for the compliment and the great votes.

      Thank you Always exploring. No I believe the crux of an allegory is giving characteristicts to something that doesn't have those characteristics....does that explain or complicate? I wish I had gone to college for writing but it wasn't mean to be.

      Thank YOU Homeplace Series.

      Lorenzo, so glad you enjoyed.

      Gypsy I am so glad you found this worth reading and that you've passed it on! Thank you.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      4 years ago from Daytona Beach, Florida

      This was an amazing story and well worth the read. Enjoyed this very much. Passing it on.

    • Loreva13 profile image

      Lorenzo M Vasquez III 

      4 years ago from El Paso, TX

      A great example of an allegory! Fun to read and well written.


    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      What fun! Thanks for sharing! ;-)

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      So is an allegory a story when you make the reader think you're writing about a certain thing, when in fact you're writing about something else? Hey college doesn't always make a good writer, I think you either have the gift or not. You have it my friend..

    • D.A.L. profile image


      4 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      hi Mary,

      You sure met the challenge and how !, great read, a pleasure to read,well done! Voted up, beautiful,useful and interesting.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      A great story and so interestingly told.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      4 years ago from Shelton

      I think it is very difficult to pull off but you did it.. reminded me of antz.. and another that doesn't come to mind.. but yeah you pulled it off and from where Im sitting..... wonderfully..:) Frank

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      4 years ago from Queensland Australia

      You did it Mary, and did it well! I didn't realise they were ants for the first few paragraphs either. A great example of an allegory and a fun read. Voted up.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      I've never done allegory before Always Exploring...but like your name, I am always exploring. I did not go to college so I missed the training so many talented writers have. Bill is my guru and I follow him and try just about everything he suggests. Glad you liked my latest attempt.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      This is a wonderful story. ( You are so gifted! ) At first I thought you were writing about bees then you mentioned the ants. You certainly had me guessing at first. Allegory writing is new to me. Thank you for sharing...

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      I was hoping to surprise people reading and according to you Sha, I did. Thanks so much for getting here so quickly and leaving such a great comment.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      4 years ago from Central Florida

      I love this story, Mary. It wasn't until the fourth paragraph that I realized you were talking about ants. Well, not really, you're alluding to human society.

      Great job!

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      I wasn't sure I was carrying through but it was fun to write. If only two people could change the world! Thanks Bill. Have a great weekend yourself (and Bev too).

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Look at you, Miss Allegory. LOL This should be used in every English class across the country...the perfect example of an allegory. Thank you so much, Mary, for taking the challenge. You did us all proud.

      Happy weekend my friend.


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