One day it so happened that a colony of ants, as black as asphalt, had taken refuge in an old iron pipe clotted with rust that lay by the side of the road. A broom bush full of yellow flowers, sticky with mould and old leaves had sprung up next to
Who knows who had planted the broom just there, maybe to give the ant-hill a bit of shade and to stop it becoming hot as an oven when the sun shone.
Just a bit further over and facing it, were two old rubbish skips, battered and baked by the sun, barely balancing on wheels which were now oval-shaped, as if they were eggs that had come out of a very strange chicken indeed.
The ants had found so much to eat in that place! As well as food they were lucky to find grooves which led across the road, and right in the very place where they had to cross the road too. Here the ants had built tiny little alleyways between the pebbles, so as not to be squashed to death by the cartwheels or some strange Episcopal coloured car!
In this way the ants would frenziedly leave the old iron pipe, all well lined-up like a column of soldiers, and they would dodge in and out of the pebbles before reaching the other side of the road safe and sound.
They would pick up tiny breadcrumbs or grains of sugar or flour which had fallen to the ground, and very slowly build up their supplies for the winter. Every now and then the bustle of busy ants was joined by a happy sparrow, that would jump and roll them down a dirty piece of bread from its beak.
Amongst these ants there was one who thought she was goodness knows who, and was extremely conceited, and who looked a bit like a cicada; she was bigger than the others, and domineering as well.
From time to time the ant that was as big as a cicada would barge through the others, bumping into them and making them roll-over, losing their little grains of sugar or tiny breadcrumbs as well! But the little ants would patiently start picking things up all over again.
Being as big as she was, she had the habit of walking on the smooth asphalt as if she had bought the whole road and owned it all herself! She would carry big pieces of bread, and then bawl out that all the other ants put together were not worth a fly
with broken wings.
“Can you see her over there?” asked a tiny ant so small that you couldn’t see her, to another ant. And pointing her out with her little paw that was so small that she almost didn’t have one, she went on: “she’ll be squashed on the ground in no time! She says she knows everything, and she doesn’t even know never to walk on the smooth asphalt! Nature gives and gives, but if you are stupid, it takes everything back all in one go!”
And so it was ! One day a cart passed through and the horses with their black rings around their eyes didn’t see her. The ant that was as big as a cicada was squashed under the wheel inside the piece of bread that she was rolling out of spite.
“Did you see that? “, the tiny little ant repeated to her friend,” what did I tell you? She’s stuck to the wheel and now she’s on her way to Rome, to Rome to see the Pope!”