MOVING   5' An ant colony moves two blocks through the city

"The food is gone!" said the worker ant to the queen ant.

"That's impossible," replied the queen. "Our ant hill is right
next to the trash cans of a restaurant. There's always food
spilling from the trash cans."

"But the trash cans are gone too!" said the worker ant.

"Oh, dear! I wonder if the restaurant moved to a new location."

"We'll starve to death!" the ants all grumbled.

"Nonsense!" The wise queen assured them. "We have hidden
chambers in our ant colony where we have stored food that will
last several days."

With that, the queen sent her ants in all directions to

The first ant returned a few hours later to report that the
restaurant building was empty: no furniture, no people. But it
wasn't until two days later that the last of the ants returned

"I have found the new restaurant!" He reported. "It's two blocks

"Two blocks!" Shouted the worker ants. "The food in our hidden
chambers is almost gone. It will take us two more days to get
the food from that far. We'll starve to death for sure!"

"Keep calm!" Said the queen. "We're not going to go get the

"Then, what shall we eat?!" Asked the workers.

"We'll move the whole colony to the new restaurant." Said the

"But there are five thousand of us! And there are busy city
streets between here and there! We'll all be run over by the
cars!" Protested the ants.

"We'll be fine!" Retorted the queen. "Follow me."

And with that, the queen started off toward the new restaurant.
The worker ants gathered up the children and what little food
they had left and followed behind the queen. They took a
shortcut from the back alley to the front sidewalk by walking
under the crack under the back door, through the closed
restaurant and under the front door. On their way, the workers
gathered up several bread crumbs and other spills that were left

"Look at all those cars!" Said the ants as they came out onto
the sidewalk. "We'll all be crushed by their wheels if we try to
cross this street!"

The wise queen looked in all directions, then replied, "Then, we
won't cross the street, we'll go UNDER it."

And with that she led her colony down into the storm drain,
through the drain pipe and under the street and up the storm
drain on the other side of the street. Not one ant was lost in
the crossing.

By now the stores were closed for the day. So, the wise queen
decided to save time by slipping under the doors of some of the
shops and cutting through the shops and back alley. The ants all
agreed that sometimes it's nice to be small enough to fit under
the crack under a door.

But when the colony came out on the other side of the shops,
they faced another street and more cars.

"I don't see any storm drains on this street!" Cried the ants.
"We're doomed!"

"Nonsense!" replied the queen. "Follow me!"

And with that she began climbing a nearby telephone pole. Five
thousand ants followed in single file. The ants looked like a
ribbon that went up one pole, across the wires, over the street,
and down the pole on the other side of the street.

But while the last of the worker ants with the children were
still on the wires, a large bus came by below, blowing a gust of
wind toward the children.

The queen shouted, "Hold onto the children!"

So, the workers who were carrying bread crumbs dropped them onto
the bus below and grabbed the children with their mandibles and
held tight to the wires with their legs until the wind calmed
down. And not a single ant was lost on the trip over the wires.

Once more, the wise queen took short-cuts through the closed
shops and back alley to save time. Beyond the alley was the new
restaurant. When she slipped under the back door and came out
into the back alley she stopped in her tracks.

"Why are you stopping?" Asked the ants. That's our new home
across the alley, isn't it?

"Yes," The queen observed, but first, we must get by that

Between the ants and their new home was a huge spider taking a
nap. "We're doomed!" Cried the ants. "That spider will eat us
for lunch!"

"Nonsense! Follow me." Said the queen, as she began climbing up
the wall. When she came near some milk crates she had the worker
ants form a bridge with their own bodies by grabbing legs with
mandibles in long chains. Once the ants bridged the space
between the wall and the milk crates, the queen and the other
ants crawled over the ant-bridge to the milk crates. Once all
the ants had made it to the milk crates, the ants in the bridge
let go of each other one by one until all the ants were on the
milk crates.

From the tops of the stacks of milk crates they could look down
on the spider below. He was still sleeping.

When they came down to the ground on the other side, the queen
found a large crack in the pavement near the trash cans and had
the workers climb down into the crack and down to the dirt below
to begin digging their new ant mound. Meanwhile other ants
spread out to see if there were any more spiders. At the same
time other workers began gathering bread crumbs and spilled food
from around the trash cans.

Within a day or two, the ants had a new home and plenty of food.
And thanks to the wise queen, not one ant was lost in the trip
through the busy city streets.

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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