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The Ant and the Pigeon

Once upon a time there was a forest.  The forest was huge with big trees.  The wide branches of the trees spread far out.  They were home to a large number of birds.  The birds built their nests and raised their young in the trees.  The birds loved to perch on the branches as they looked at the forest below.  Pigeons were among the birds which lived in the trees.    The Pigeons would fly across the forest searching for grains.   They would return to feed their young ones.  They lived together in a big tree in the middle of the forest.

Just beside the tree flowed a river.  The branches of the tree extended over the river.  The river was broad and the water flowed swiftly.    Below on the forest floor lived small and tiny creatures such as insects and lizards. A colony of ants lived at the foot of the tree.  The ants were busy all day scouting for food and cleaning up their home.   Life was peaceful in the forest.

This peace was disturbed one day as a group of hunters entered the forest with hopes of hunting some birds and animals.  The hunters dispersed across the forest in small groups and set up their snares and took up positions from where they could hunt the animals.  

One of the hunters came near the tree where the pigeon’s lived.  He looked up at the tree.  He saw pigeons perched on its branches.  He was happy.  He chose to target one pigeon.  The pigeon looked healthy and plump.  Surely, it would provide him with good meat or so he thought.  He took the bow from his shoulder.  He picked an arrow from his quiver – the pouch where a hunter keeps his arrows.  He, then, put the arrow in the bow and drew the string.  He aimed at the bird carefully.

All the while, a little ant was watching the hunter from the anthill.  It felt sorry for the pigeon which would die soon.   It wanted to do something to prevent this.  But what could a little ant do against a strong hunter.  

The ant moved close to the hunter.  It came right behind his feet and climbed on to it.  Then just as the hunter was about to release the arrow, it gave a painful sting to the hunter.  The hunter yelped in pain.  The ant jumped off the hunter and ran away quickly.  The hunter could easily crush the ant.  It scurried back to the anthill.    

As the hunter yelped in pain, he lost his aim. The arrow flew harmlessly away from the bird and hit the tree.  The pigeon was saved.   He looked at the commotion below.   The pigeon was shocked and thankful that he had escaped death so narrowly.  He thanked the ant for its bravery.  

The hunters soon left the forest.  The hunt had not been successful as they expected.  The snares turned out to be empty.  The animals of the forest were too smart for them.  

A few months later the rains began.  The rains poured through the trees.  The drops of the rain fell around the anthill.  The ants scurried inside their home.  The anthill was slightly higher than the forest floor.  

The water could not enter easily.  However, one of the ants had got left behind.  He had gone out to search for food when the rain had started.  As he scampered along the forest floor, the big drops of rain fell around him.  He was terrified. He walked faster. Puddles of water were forming on the forest floor due to the rain.  Small streams began to flow from the puddles in the forest floor and into the river.  The ant struggled to cross these small streams.    While it was crossing one such stream the ant got swept away.  It struggled to get out of the stream.  But the current was strong.  Soon the stream merged with the river.  The ant was in a more dangerous condition.  The river was swift and swollen.  The ant struggled to stay afloat.  It knew that it was growing tired.  It would be only some time before it drowned.  

From the branches, the pigeon was looking below at the river.  It looked at the water which was flowing fast and strong.  Suddenly, its eye caught a small insect struggling in the water.  It looked closely.  It was the ant which had saved its life.  The pigeon felt sorry for the ant.  He knew that it was going to die.  The pigeon quickly plucked a leaf and, swooping low over the river near where the ant was struggling, put it near where the ant was struggling.  The ant managed to seize the leaf and climbed on to it.  At least, now it would not sink.  But it was still not out of danger.  The leaf was shaking wildly as the river carried it along.  

The leaf travelled for a while along the river and finally came to rest on a rock by the river bank.  .  The ant was relieved.  It quickly got out of the leaf and scurried to safety on the river bank.  The pigeon was following its every move.  But the ant had got far away from its ant-hill.  The pigeon dropped another leaf beside the ant and asked it to get on to it.  The pigeon then carried the leaf with the ant over the forest and the tall trees and placed the leaf near the ant hill.  The ant was delighted and thanked its friend.  The pigeon had returned the help of the ant.  The forest was peaceful once more.  The ant and the pigeon remained friends for the rest of their lives.  

Children, this is a story that tells the value of being helpful to everyone.  We need to help our friends and others whenever we see them in trouble.  If we help others, others will help us in our time of need.  

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