Consider that most bountiful of places, the vegetable patch. It is a place of wonder and beauty and it feeds not only the family but an assortment of little creatures who have long thought of it as a place of safety for them.
There’s a colony of ants who live just under the soil. They’re a major power on the vegetable patch. I think of them generally as good for the area. They till the soil just beneath the surface and because they are relatively dominant the rest of the wee beasties treat them with respect. The problem is that there’s a battle going on.
The queen ant rules with an iron rod (as you would imagine it is a very small iron rod by human standards) and her word is law. She doesn’t lightly tolerate dissenting ants and they are usually dealt with quickly and forcefully. She bites off their heads. This means that by and large the ants all work together as a team and things get done quickly and efficiently and generally for the good of the colony, albeit with a few dead ants spread about the place.
There have been occasions when some of the ants get together to have a grumble about the way the queen ant works. They like what they have – the burrows are clear and there is plenty of food – but they think that perhaps if things were different then maybe life would be better. On one such occasion when there were quite a few ants thinking that things could be different they decided that between them if they worked at it they could take over the colony and run things the way they wanted them to be. They started a fight with the ants who were loyal to the queen and everything got a bit messy. During the fighting the queen ant’s store of venom that she kept just in case of trouble from outside ants was spilled and it caused a lot of death and destruction. The queen blamed the protestors for this and the protestors blamed the queen.
This is really sad for the vegetable patch. It is upsetting all of the other creatures and it is making it difficult for me to go and pick my beans when I need to. I discussed the situation with my neighbours. One neighbour said that it was obviously the queen who had spilled the venom and we should probably kill her. Another said that it could well have been the queen but how can we be certain? Perhaps we should just give some more venom to the protestors so they could spill that on the queen, then things would be equal. A third neighbour said that it wasn’t really anything to do with us and we should just let them get on with it.
I wish I could decide what to do.