COCKROCH 7' Ants unite with a spider to conquer their enemy

Once upon a time there was a big shade tree in the middle of the
city park. Under this tree was a picnic table and a trash can.
By and by there came a queen ant and 5000 other ants who needed
a new home.

When the queen ant came into the shadow of the tree she
exclaimed, "This is where we shall make our home. The big shade
tree will give us a cool place to live. And the food spilled on
the ground by the picnickers will give us plenty to eat."

So, the ants dug their hole and built up the mound around the
hole. And they lived quiet and happy lives all summer. But in
the late fall and winter, when the weather was cold, the
picnickers stopped coming to the picnic table and leaving their
food behind. But the wise queen had ordered that extra food be
stored up in the lower chambers of the ant colony during good
times, so that there would be enough to eat during the bad
times. So, the ants had plenty to eat all winter.

But in the spring, when the food chamber was empty, the queen
sent the worker ants out to look for food.

"The big shade tree we live under is blooming. Go up the trunk
of the tree and out into the branches," she said, "and look for
flower blossoms we can eat. You may even find small berries that
will make a delicious meal for us."

And so the worker ants climbed up the trunk of the tree and out
onto the branches. From the branches they went out to the twigs
and from the twigs they went out to the leaves. Sure enough, on
the lower twigs there were small blossoms that smelled good and
tasted delicious. So, the ants used their mandibles to cut some
leaves off of the twigs. They laid the twigs on the branches and
piled the blossoms onto the cut leafs. When each leave was piled
high with blossoms, several ants would push the leave off the
branch. The leaf would flutter down to the ground and the ants
on the ground had a feast!

When the worker ants had collected the blossoms from one branch,
they would climb up the trunk of the tree to the branch above to
find more blossoms. The ants collected so many blossoms that
they had enough to store in their food chamber for the times
when no food was around.

The higher up the tree the workers went, the more small berries
there were. These berries were even more delicious than the
blossoms. And all the ants in the colony had another feast and
even more food for the food chamber.

But this didn't last. One day as a worker ant was climbing
higher into the tree, he exclaimed, "Oh, oh!"

"What's the matter?" the others asked.

"I see a spider web!" he warned.

"What shall we do?", they asked.

"I'll report this to the queen," he answered as he ran down the
trunk of the tree. He ran down the ant hole and down to the
nursery where the queen ant was caring for her eggs and her baby

"Your majesty!" cried the worker ant.

"What is it?" asked the queen.

"There's a spider web high in the tree and he's going to eat
us!" replied the worker.

"Nonsense!" said the queen. "Spiders with webs only eat insects
that get trapped in their webs. If you and the other workers are
careful to avoid the spider's web, you won't be eaten."

The worker ant bowed to the queen, "Oh, thank you, Your Majesty,
you are the wisest ant in the whole world."

Then all the worker ants went back to work collecting berries
from the tree, being careful to stay away from the spider web.

But one day, after the worker ants in the trees had pushed a
leaf full of berries to the ground, a big ugly cockroach saw the
delicious food flutter to the ground. So, he ran over to the
shade tree to taste the falling food.

Seeing this, worker ants reported to the queen, "Your majesty!"

"What is it?" asked the queen.

"A cockroach is coming! A cockroach is coming. He's going to eat

The queen thought a moment. "No," she replied, "I don't think

The worker ant cried, "But cockroach's eat ants for dinner all
the time!"

"That's true," replied the wise queen, "but they only eat US
when they have nothing else to eat. I thing this cockroach is
coming because he sees the berries falling down from the tree."

"Then, what shall we do?" asked the worker.

The queen replied, "Stay away from him. Let him have some
berries. When he eats his fill, he will probably go away."

And that's what they did. All the worker ants in the tree,
stayed in the tree, out of reach of the big ugly cockroach. The
ants on the ground stopped collecting the berries and let the
cockroach eat as many of them as he wanted. But the big ugly
cockroach was so big that a leaf full of berries was not enough
for him. He began to snoop around for something else to eat. But
instead of more berries, he found some worker ants who didn't
make it back to the ant hole.

"Food! Food!" said the big ugly cockroach in a deep ugly voice
as he ran after the ants.

The ants ran for their lives and made it back to the ant hole.
And, since the cockroach was too big to fit into the small ant
hole, they were safe. So, the cockroach circled the tree looking
for more berries. But after finding no more berries, he finally
went somewhere else to look for food.

So, the queen gave the order for the worker ants to collect more
berries from the tree. But every time the worker ants pushed a
leaf full of berries off a branch, the big ugly cockroach saw it
and came running, scaring the poor ants back into the hole.

The more the big ugly cockroach ate, the bigger he grew. And the
bigger he grew, the more he wanted to eat. The queen decided
that if this went on, the ant colony would go hungry.

"What will you do?!" asked the worker ants.

The queen replied, "I will go see the spider."

"But he will eat you!" they exclaimed.

But that didn't stop the queen. After dark when the cockroach
was asleep, the queen climbed up the trunk of the tree and made
a treaty with the spider. So, the queen and spider, who are
usually enemies, worked together to come up with a plan to get
rid of the cockroach.

The following day, the worker ants high in the tree began
collecting small berries while another ant cut a leaf from a
twig. They piled their berries on the leaf and pushed it off the
edge of the branch. As it fluttered down from the tree, the
cockroach saw it and ran to where it would land. And as soon as
the leaf hit the ground the big ugly cockroach pounced on the
berries and noisily began crunching them in his mouth.

The noise of his eating was so loud that he didn't hear the
spider sliding down from above on a piece of silk from his web.
Before the cockroach knew it, the spider had wrapped him in a
cocoon of web silk. He couldn't move.

"Hey, what's going on?!" the big, ugly cockroach said in his big
ugly voice.

The spider smiled as he carried the cockroach back up the silken
rope to his web and said, "You are my guest for lunch."

And they all lived happily ever after.

The moral of the story: sometimes the enemy of your enemy can be
your friend.

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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