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JUSTICE  7' Ants have no police, but justice is done

The queen ant spent nearly all her time in the nursery chamber
of the colony, teaching the babies and caring for her eggs. One
day one of her children came into the nursery and said, "Mother,
I was just outside at the top of the mound and I saw a
policeman. Why don't ants have police?"

The queen answer, "My child, we ants may not have police but we
do have justice."

The child asked, "What is justice, mother?"

The queen answered, "My child, justice is when the bad guy loses
and the good guys win. Let me tell you three stories where
justice was done."

Here are her stories:

THE SPIDER AND THE WEB

Once upon a time there was a spider who built his web right
above our ant mound. Whenever a butterfly or a moth flew into
his web, he would wrap the butterfly or moth in web silk so it
would stop moving, then he could eat it, just as spiders are
supposed to do.

But one day the spider was naughty. He decided that he would eat
insects that DIDN'T get caught in his web. This is NOT what
spiders are supposed to do.  So, the spider slid down from his
web to the ant mound on a piece of web silk. When he saw one of
our worker ants returning home with some food for us, the spider
grabbed the ant and quickly wrapped him up in lots and lots of
web silk. Then the spider carried the ant back up to his web and
tied the ant to his web using more web silk.

When the other ants saw what the spider had done, they reported
it to me. I went up out of the colony and I demanded that the
spider release the ant at once. But the spider just laughed at
me. So, I came back down into the ant hole to plan how justice
should be done.

That night after dark after the spider was asleep, many of us
ants went outside and surrounded the spider's web. Everywhere
the web was attached to a leaf or a twig or a fence post or a
blade of grass, there was an ant standing by. Then, I sent an
ant to untie the ant from the spiders web. The ant tip-toed onto
the web so he wouldn't awaken the spider. He cut the web silk
all around the captured ant. Then the two ants tiptoed off the
spiders web. Then, when I saw that all the ants were ready, I
closed my mandibles with a CLACK. When the ants heard my signal,
they each cut the web silk holding the web in place. Suddenly,
the spider and the web crashed to the ground. It took until noon
the next day for the spider to untangle himself from his own web
silk.

That should have taught the naughty spider a lesson. But it
didn't. Before the sun went down that night, the spider had
rebuilt his web and he captured another one of our ants and tied
him to his web.

That night after dark after the spider was asleep, many of us
ants went outside and surrounded the spider's web. Again we
untied the captive ant and again the spider web crashed to the
ground and entangled the spider in his own web. But, this time
the spider learned his lesson. He rebuilt his web far far away
from the ant hill.

The bad guy lost. The good guys won. Justice was done.


THE COCKROACH

The cockroach watched the worker ants as they returned to the
ant hole with their food morsels from all over the park. But
rather than go and find his own food, he decided that he would
be naughty and steal the food from us.

So, the cockroach sat on a twig that laid over the path that the
ants took on their way back to the ant hole. One by one, as the
ants passed under the twig, the naughty cockroach reached down
and plucked the food morsels from the ants and popped the
morsels into his mouth. He kept doing this until the worker ants
came down into the ant hole to tell me about it. So, I went up
out of the ant hole and led the attack to chase the naughty
cockroach away.

But the next day, the cockroach returned and began stealing food
from the worker ants again. He kept doing this until the worker
ants came to me. So, I went up out of the ant hole and led the
attack to chase the naughty cockroach away. But this time after
the cockroach was gone, we all collected the leftover pieces of
the spider's web and we tied the pieces end to end to make a
very long rope. I sent several ants to carry our new rope up the
oak tree overhead. The ants took the end of the rope out to the
end of the tree branch and out to the twig directly over the
place where the naughty cockroach was stealing food. Meanwhile,
I sent several other ants to a branch on the other side of the
tree to find an acorn. One group of ants tied one end of the
web-rope to the twig while the other group tied the other end of
the rope to the stem of the acorn.

The next morning when the cockroach returned to steal food, the
ants in the tree used their mandibles to cut the stem of the
acorn above where the web-rope was tied. The acorn swung down
toward the cockroach like a pendulum and hit him just as he was
stealing a morsel of food. When the acorn hit the cockroach, he
rolled up into a ball and rolled along the ground and into the
street. He rolled across the street and into the storm drain. We
never saw that cockroach again.

The bad guy lost. The good guys won. Justice was done.


THE LITTLE BOY

A little boy came by one day to watch the worker ants as they
returned to the ant hole with their food morsels from all over
the park. But instead of just watching, he decided to be
naughty. He picked up a stick and began to poke the ants and
mess up our ant mound. He kept doing this until the worker ants
came to me. So, I went up out of the ant hole and led the attack
to chase the naughty little boy away.

I had several of the ants swarm over the little boy's shoes,
several of them up over his socks, and several other way up
under his pants to bite his skin with their mandibles. Now, our
mandibles are too small to make the little boy bleed, but our
bites do hurt. So, the boy ran away, stopping every now and then
to shake the ants off his shoes, his socks, and his skin.

It took the worker ants two days to straighten up the mess the
boy made of the ant mound. But almost as soon as the work was
done, the little boy came back.

The little boy returned to watch the worker ants as they
returned to the ant hole with their food morsels from all over
the park. But instead of just watching, he decided to be naughty
again. He picked up a stick and began to poke the ants and mess
up our ant mound. He kept doing this until the worker ants came
to me. So, I went up out of the ant hole and led the attack to
chase the naughty little boy away.

Again, I had several of the ants swarm over the little boy's
shoes, several of them up over his socks, and several other way
up under his pants to bite his skin with their mandibles. But
this time I sent the ants way up his pants so he couldn't shake
them off by shaking his legs. So, the boy ran away, stopping
every now and then to shake the ants off his shoes, his socks,
and his skin. He was shaking and running and shaking and running
until he ran out of site. We never saw that naughty little boy
again.

The bad guy lost. The good guys won. Justice was done.

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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