The sunbeams shine through the boughs of the trees and the winds rustle
gently. The dewdrops glitter on the grass. The brook bounds joyously
along. The birds sing gaily and the little animals of the wood come
forth to listen to the sweet music. The wild flowers open their pretty
Now the forest is ringing with glad shouts and songs. The sunbeams
are growing brighter. The winds are dying down and the dewdrops are
passing away. The brook is bounding along more joyously. The birds are
singing more gaily. The little animals are running hither and thither.
The flowers are spreading their pretty cups wide open to catch the
sunlight. At last Tiny is waking.
When Tiny awoke from his slumbers in the hazel brush, he scampered down
to the edge of the brook, washed his face, and combed out his long,
bushy tail. Then he began to call for Chatty, but no answer came. He
finally decided to start alone. He remembered to take the path leading
to the right as the owl had directed him. For a long time he sauntered
along, admiring the elder, oak, and buckeye trees, and occasionally he
darted his piercing gaze at some low-hanging black haw or pawpaw bush,
fearing some animal might attack him.
At last he came to a sandy plain, where he sat down to rest in the
sunshine. Not far away he saw a city. Its streets were filled with busy
inhabitants. Hundreds of them were hurrying to and fro, working with
all their energy. Many little workers were erecting buildings. To lift
a single grain of sand each was toiling with all his might. They did
not stop to rest or to visit, but kept working, working, working. Tiny
thought it would take them a long time to build houses from grains of
[Illustration: THEY DID NOT STOP TO REST OR VISIT, BUT KEPT WORKING,
While the architects were busy building new homes, some soldiers in
shiny, red clothes moved about as if they were giving orders to the
workers. A crowd of watchmen stood at the gates of the city, ready to
give warning at the approach of an enemy.
Not one of the little creatures was alarmed by the squirrel. They
heeded him no more than Tiny did the tree beneath which he was
crouching. He drew nearer and saw that there were many little rooms
near the surface of the city and that below them was a great public
dining-room and storeroom. Evidently they all ate their meals together.
These rooms were kept in order by a host of servants, who were very
busy all the time carrying out shells, seeds, and the remains of
insects. Others collected all the rubbish and carried it out into a
heap outside the city limits. Scores of nurses were looking after the
babies, and teaching them that the time would soon come when they must
labor like their elders.
Suddenly there was a great commotion in the street. Some food providers
were struggling along with a fly they had found. They were taking it
to the storeroom. The load was so heavy that several household workers
rushed out to lend their help. They toiled along together, slowly, with
one united effort, and with great difficulty; but, finally, they stowed
the fly headlong into the public storeroom. Tiny breathed a sigh of
relief when their hard task was done.
But they did not stop to rest. They turned out to help others bring
in a locust. The workers in the storeroom cleared a place for other
provisions; the watchmen guarded the gates, without taking their eyes
from their work; the architects, steadily and patiently, carried grain
after grain of sand to the tops of their buildings.
“How full of energy they are!” exclaimed Tiny. “By their combined
efforts they can build and support a great city. If something destroys
it, they build it up again. I wish squirrels would work together as
these insects do. Oh, I see! It is as the owl prophet said. I have
learned the lesson of patience. I do feel glad that I was permitted
to study this wonderful city. However, I am surprised to learn such a
noble lesson from the smallest of all creatures–ants!”