- Books, Literature, and Writing
Saving the Colony
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.
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
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.
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?
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.