The Ant that went round the World


A little over a year ago, in appreciation of  little Ishan’s blog on cow trouble, I wrote a story explaining the nursery rhyme ‘Hey diddle diddle’, entitled ‘This is how it happened, Ishan’.

Ishan’s mother enjoyed it and offered to narrate it to him as soon as he could follow it.

Another short story for kids (and others too) entitled ‘The sweet bamboo’, which I had published in Sulekha and in a friend’s on line magazine earlier, was referred to by me in my blog, ‘The Bamboo Pull’ and could be accessed through a link given in the blog.


I am venturing again with a story for kids. Also for others if they want to read anything from it.


This is entitled

The Ant that went round the World.


Partha Desikan


 There was this very wise ant that had heard some men saying that the earth we live in is not flat, but round. The ant was still very young. He wanted to check with Mother Ant.


First he wanted to look around and verify for himself. The ground had its pits and mounds, but mostly it looked very flat indeed. How can more and more of flat land make a round object?


So to Mother Ant in the Anthill he went. Mother was working with a number of others to put finishing touches to their new house. But she hurried to Little Ant to find out what he wanted.


"What do you look so worried about, son?"


"Mom, I heard some men say this earth is round and not flat! Surely they are bluffing!"


"No son, long ago some of them went by boat in the same direction and could get back to their own place after going on for some time. Nowadays people do it all the time by airplanes. It will be too much of a distance for you and me, so we have to take their word!"


The wise ant was not satisfied. Take someone else’s word indeed! No sir, he will find out for himself. Going in the same direction? What did it mean?


He asked mother, "Mom, what does going in the same direction mean?"


"Son, as you keep crawling, if you make sure that your head does not go this side or that but keeps straight, that is going in the same direction."


So the wise ant practiced moving straight without going this side or that. He practised for hours every day for more than a week. His friends laughed at him.


‘Hey look at the way Thorny is walking! Something wrong with his back?!’


But Thorny was determined. One day he felt he had taught himself to go in the same direction. He set out of his house, alone in the night. Without telling anyone. The sound of the crickets did not bother him. He moved through the pits. And away from them after climbing them.  When any creature big or small crossed his way, he waited patiently till it finished crossing and continued on his way.


Till at last he came to a very big mound. To him it appeared a mountain, curiously shaped. He was not bothered. Without changing direction, he climbed it. He was almost at the top when he felt very tired and went to sleep.


The mound was not just a mound. It was a buffalo that had strayed away from home and had fallen asleep on its way.Where was its home? Near Thorny’s home, of course, but Thorny did not know it. 


When the buffalo awoke, it felt like going back home. It took a right about turn and trotted home. When he was nearing home, just passing the anthill, Thorny woke up and continued his straight movement, though somewhat sleepily. With one sweep of its tail, the buffalo brought him to the ground. Thorny was back home, as he was just waking up. Now he knew that the earth was round.


He did not understand the last movement in his great trip round the earth when a huge snake like thing had brought him down from the mound. But that did not matter.


He was a hero in his family.  


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