Modern Fables

How the female ants came to rule the anthill

As most people know, the ants that run anthills everywhere are the females.  Female ants do everything, the hill is ruled by he boss female, the queen. What you may not know is how this came about.

 A long time ago, there were just as many male ants as female ants, and it was the male ants who did all the heavy lifting.  The male ants would leave the anthill every day, to till the soil, bring back the food, and fight ant wars.  The female ants stayed home and raised little ants and had tea parties until the male ants came home, then the female ants would fetch their slippers, make them a martini and cook their supper for them.

Everybody was happy with this arrangement.  Life outside the anthill was hard and dangerous.  Hostile ants could steal the food the ants brought back to the hill, wild animals preyed on the ants as worked outside, and all work was done manually (that should be antually actually).

But the ants were clever insects, they organized themselves into armies to defend themselves from  rogue ants and the wild animals who tried to rob them or eat them.  They invented tractors and other machines to make their labor easier.  They caught and killed all the wild animals except for the ones they put in zoos.

The world was safe for all ants.  Meanwhile, back at the anthill, the female ants, taking note of the fact work outside the hill was now pleasant and safe, began to complain about their role.  "Why do we have to stay cooped in this hill and raise the little bra(n)ts?  How come you get to go out and play with cool machines while we are stuck inside...", and so on.

The female ants complained so much that in order to shut them up, the male ants had to let them work outside and do all the stuff the male ants did.  Pretty soon the female ants had taken over most of the jobs the male ants used to do, including being the boss.  Male ants were redundant.  They began to hang out in bars, pool halls and sports stadiums, making a nuisance of themselves.  So the female ants decided amongst themselves that they did not need male ants anymore and eliminated all but a few male ants by making sure they hatched only female eggs.  The remaining male ants were kept happy with beer and pool tables until the queen needed a male to lay some eggs.  After she had her way with them,  the males are unceremoniously dumped out of the anthill to fend for themselves and pay child support.

 The only problem with this was that the female ants had no clue how to fix the wonderful machines and weapons the males created, and pretty soon ant technology declined and disappeared, leaving the females in charge of the ant hill and all the outside tasks, as ant society went back to the stone age where it remains today, at the mercy of predatory armies and wild animals once more.


The Elephants and the Donkeys

Once there was a fine rich land with spacious skies, amber waves of grain, purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain...  The animals who lived in this land had engaged on a quite remarkable experiment.  They decided that they were going to let the animals who lived there take turns in choosing who ruled the land.  They drew up a constitution that said all animals would be equal, and should be able to pursue happiness, justice and liberty.  For some bizarre reason, the animals also decided that when choosing leaders, the only choices could be  donkeys or elephants.  This was not really a problem, as any animal regardless of species could choose to call themselves a donkey or an elephant, thereby making themselves eligible for public
office.  It certainly simplified things when it came to making choices.

Each group established what they stood for.  The elephant's motto was "The Government that governs least, governs best.  An interesting motto, as the elephants always managed to increase the size of government when they held office, however they were much better at the 'governing least' part.   The donkeys preferred slogan was "A chicken in every pot."  (A promise calculated to please most of the animals, except of course, the chickens.)

The truth was there was very little to choose between the donkeys and the elephants.  Over the years each found that the most effective strategy for getting elected was to accuse their opponents of every vice and perversion under the sun.  They had no time or (or talent) for actual governing, which was left to hired moles, gerbils, weasels and other nocturnal creatures.  Every few elections, the governing party would be unceremoniously tossed out on their rears, their erstwhile disenfranchised opponents taking the reins, until inevitably they got their comeuppance at the election poll.

All the slanging and libeling that went on during and between elections drew the attention of genuine crooks and rascals, concluding, not incorrectly, that politics might be better field for their talents than their traditional extra legal sources of plunder.  It had a related effect on the ordinary animals, who began to lose interest in the democratic process, concluding, not incorrectly, that no matter what faction was elected the ordinary animals were going to be the losers.

So, that is how in the end, that great and beautiful land ended up in the hands of the the turkeys and the vultures.


The Frogs and the Lily Pond.

Once there was a pond with lily pads.  A pond with lily pads is a very nice place for frogs, so there were plenty of frogs.  If you have ever visited a pond with lily pads, you will know that frogs like to sit on them.  A lily pad is a perfect place for a frog.  The frog sits on the lily pad, catching rays, waiting for a juicy bug or fly to come buzzing by.  If there is danger, such as a heron, or some other predator approaching, the frog can quickly dive into the pond out of harms way.

On this particular pond there were some clever frogs.  These frogs figured out a way to get lily pads to reproduce very quickly.  So quickly that each lily could double its number of pads each day.  This meant that every day there were twice as many lily pads as there were the day before.  This was very attractive for the frogs, and many more frogs came to the pond.

Each day there were more lily pads, so there was always more  room for the extra frogs.  Every thing was fine, until one day a little frog pointed out that at the rate things were going, it would not be long before the pond was completely covered in lily pads.  This would be very bad, claimed the little frog, as it would no longer be possible to jump into the pond to escape the herons if the pond was totally covered.  The other frogs considered this and did a survey.  They discovered that fully half the pond was still open.  They told the other frogs there was nothing to worry about and accused the little frog of being a frog-in-the-manger.

Now dear reader, you probably already know what is going to happen next, and you may even be asking yourself why the frogs could not see the obvious.  Well sadly, the answer is that frogs don't have very good math skills.  You see, even though frogs have five fingers on each hand, and five toes on each foot, their feet and toes are webbed, so they have trouble with numbers greater than one.  If you ever heard a frog count, you know what I mean, they count like this, "one,... another one, ...another one, ...another one..." and so on.  Even cows use  binary numbers, which as we all know works great for computers and light switches, but frogs are pretty much counting impaired.  So you already know what the frogs would never get.

The next day the pond was completely covered in lily pads, the herons arrived, and ate all the frogs.


Bunny Rabbits

Did you ever wonder why bunny rabbits are so uh, productive?   Here's the thing,  Mrs. Bunny could go on the pill and have just one bunny, but Mrs. Bunny knows that would be a bad idea.  If she only had one bunny, and that bunny turned out to be less than perfect, like, what if it didn't pick up its socks? Forgot Mother's day, never called home, or even worse, never left home?  So Mrs. Bunny has lots and lots of baby bunnies.  That way Mrs. Bunny knows that if she has bad bunnies, fat bunnies, lazy bunnies, rude bunnies, Mr. Fox and Mr. Coyote will eat them.  Only the good and smart and  quick bunnies are left, so that Mrs. Bunny will always be able to proud of her little bunnies.


THE GRASSHOPPER AND THE ANTS (old version*)  

One fine day in winter some Ants were busy drying their store of corn,
which had got rather damp during a long spell of rain. Presently up
came a Grasshopper and begged them to spare her a few grains, "For,"
she said, "I'm simply starving." The Ants stopped work for a moment,
though this was against their principles. "May we ask," said they,
"what you were doing with yourself all last summer? Why didn't you
collect a store of food for the winter?" "The fact is," replied the
Grasshopper, "I was so busy singing that I hadn't the time." "If you
spent the summer singing," replied the Ants, "you can't do better than
spend the winter dancing." And they chuckled and went on with their
work.
(*) taken from; A NEW TRANSLATION BY V. S. VERNON JONES republished at www.Gutenberg.org)



THE GRASSOPPER AND THE ANTS (21st Century version)

As the Ants were harvesting their crops, they were approached by a Grasshopper, "Give me all your crops and I will invest them for you and you will earn you much interest and you will become rich like me." The Ants took in the Grasshopper's Armani suit, Rolex watch and German made SUV, "The Grasshopper is obviously very clever, we should let him manage our assets". Each time the Grasshopper came to collect their crops, he left them with glossy printed reports explaining how rich they all were. Some Ants began dressing like the Grasshopper, driving SUVs and building splendid new anthills, using as collateral the wealth the Grasshopper had promised them.

Other Ants wondered what the Grasshopper was doing with their crops. Grasshopper, with complicated and highly technical charts and terminology explained how he was managing their wealth. Not one Ant could understand what the Grasshopper was telling them, but this resulted in the majority of Ants remaining firmly convinced that their failure to understand was more proof that the Grasshopper was doing a great job making them all rich.

A few doubting Ants turned to their leader for advice. The leader of the Ants was a former actor who had even made it as far as the movies, as a co-star with Chimpanzees. His acting specialty was looking and sounding wise, so long as he had a script and direction. Fortunately, the Grasshoppper volunteered to provide him with business advice and a script for a very small fee, (compared to what the Grasshopper usually charged). The Ant leader, looking very wise, proclaimed that the only problem concerning the Grasshopper's management of Ant assets was interference by nosy Ants, and pesky Ant regulations, and that from that time forward, the Antministration would keep their hands off Grasshopper business.
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There is no need to tell the rest of this tale, as we all read the newspapers, so we all know that the Ants starved that winter, and the Grasshopper ended up living very well indeed in a place with no winter or extradition agreement with Antland.







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