Friday, October 10, 2008

The Red Army

The Red Army marched towards me but I stood before them without fear. The red ants marched across the road single file. Their colony had been poisoned by our neighbour when his grand daughter had been bitten by the ants when she played to close to the large ant mound.

I was five years old when the Red Army invaded my family's back yard. On the north side of an old storm shelter was the ant mound of the black ants. The red ants home was poisoned but they didn't lay down and die, they picked up their colony and went on a quest for a new home. They had no time to dig a new home in the spring rains so they would take the black ants home. As a five year old you had to respect that.

My little gang of friends were all preschoolers except of course our wise leader Brad. He was a first grader and knew almost everything. Our toys became boring as we watched the war between the black and the red ants. The black ants were only a third the size of the red ants but they were in greater numbers. For three days we watched the war play out as we could all see the black ants were going to lose.

We debated among ourselves if we should help the black ants then Brad spoke up.

"It's best to stay out of these things. We should let nature take its course."

The wisdom of a first grader could not be questioned and we watched the war till its bitter end.

I remember the last moments of the war when the black queen was pulled out of what was the black ant mound and tore to pieces. The red queen moved in and the war was over. As the red ants moved in to their new home my father saw all the red ants in the back yard and told my little gang of friends to go home.

I watched from my bedroom window as he poured poison into the ant mound. This time all the red ants died.

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