„What do you think, Hilda Bug? This is really the ideal place for a nice comfortable home for the Summer. My mum and dad always said if you can find one of those walls constructed with loose stones, it is the best you can have; shelter from the rain, fresh air circulation, but plenty of nooks and crannies for keeping the food supply.”
“You are right Fred, I am glad I met such a nice intelligent bug as you are. I had to organize the earth to make a comfortable nesting place for when the children arrive, but that was no problem. It is so nice to live in peace and quiet in our own home with no interference.”
And so the bug family was happy. As summer went on, other families found the wall was a solution to their home problems much to Mr. and Mrs. Bug’s dismay.
“Hilda we must really do something about that ant mob. Things cannot go on like this. There we were living alone with no bother from outside and Queen Ant had to move in with her tribe. At the beginning I could put up with a few ants. They are tidy creatures and clear the mess away that the others make, but now things are getting out of hand.”
“You are right Fred, the family gets bigger every day. They have now completely taken over the stones in the middle of the wall and with only one queen. I hate to think what would happen if another queen and her groupies moved in. I even found two ants in our food chamber yesterday. You will have to have a word with them.”
So Fred Bug made his way up the wall, as he was living on the ground floor, to talk with the ant colony.
“Excuse me ant, but I have a problem.”
“No time for solving problems” said the ant “I have to milk some aphids and gather food for our queen to keep her strength up.”
“Ant, I think your queen has enough strength. Since she moved in with the tribe she has been producing infinite amounts of children and we will hardly have any room for our children eventually.”
“Mr. Bug that is your problem. We ants are not here to look after the worries of a common bug, but we are here to reproduce, grow and make sure that everything is under control and well organised.”
“Ant, it will become your problem eventually when the ant family expands so much that we other bugs and insects will have to defend ourselves.”
“Well said bug” and Mrs. Snail arrived. “We may not be the most agile insect, but we like to take some shelter in a stone wall such as this, especially when it starts raining; makes all my sticky stuff come undone, the rain. But this wall is getting more crowded every day; can’t sleek anywhere without an ant blocking the way. I had two of them stick to my foot yesterday and that was a mess until I got rid of them. Ants do not belong in this wall, so find somewhere else to live.”
“Snail this is our wall, just ask any other ant you might meet and he will say the same.”
Mr. Bug was getting annoyed. “Of course he says the same, that’s the trouble with you ants. Many ants have one opinion; you just cannot think for yourselves. Mrs. Bug is expecting our eggs any day now, but you do not see over a thousand bugs waiting for them to arrive and feed them. At least our children are independent when they arrive.”
These remarks made no impression on the ant and he turned round and went back to the nest. The snail slithered off and Fred Bug went back to Hilda.
“Did you manage to get rid of them Fred?” she asked.
“No chance Hilda. I spoke to an ant but he wasn’t interested in our problems. Selfish people they are, mumbled something about milking aphids as if that was the most important thing in the world. “
“Well I have a surprise Fred, while you were dealing with the ant problem I laid my eggs. Looks like it will be a nice bunch for the first time. “
“That’s wonderful Hilda. Our children are so beautiful, much nicer than a baby ant, and they are so independent.”
So time went past in the crevices of the wall and the families grew. Then one day in Summer it started to rain. Not just a few drops but a deluge. Mr. and Mrs. Bug managed to take cover under a large stone in the wall. The ant family had now grown to such proportions that they hardly had any room and had started moving into other parts of the wall.
“Look Fred, some of the ants are getting washed out of the wall.”
“And about time too, now we can spread about a bit.”
“But leave some room for us as well” piped up a squeaky voice.
“Oh big deal” said Fred, “now we have a centipede family moving in as well. Just keep your legs to yourself. I remember the last time I had centipedes living next door, crawling all over the place. Couldn’t relax anywhere without standing on someone’s feet.”
“Typical bug” said the centipede. “At least we don’t stink.”
“I beg your pardon” said an irate Fred Bug. “We bugs do not stink, we have our own perfume that we tend to spread around sometimes and my Hilda is the best smelling bug you could meet.”
“I think we centipedes will move towards the top of the wall in that case, we don’t want smelly bugs trampling all over us” and the centipede family moved upwards.”
Suddenly Hilda turned a bit pale under her black coat.
“Look, Fred what’s coming. A mouse.”
“OK Hilda, now just keep quiet and go to the back of the wall. Hide between those two stones over there. Where are the children?”
“They are back on the leaves on that plant over there. I think they will be ok as the leaves are quite high. They are now independent enough to find their own way around.”
“Good Hilda, I will hide with you. Mice are so unpredictable. You never know when they want to improve their diat with a good looking bug like us.”
This time Fred and Hilda managed to hide themselves from the mice and so life continued in the stone wall. The ants decided to move into the ground and build themselves a hill. The centipedes were happy on the top floor and even the snail slimed past now and again. She would just cling to the wall as she had her house with her and did not have to build one in between the stones.
Soon Winter came and one by one the insect families left their homes. Fred Bug made sure that his children were settled in for the Winter near the wall. He himself would not be around for the next year and him and Hilda would be in the etnernal bug hunting grounds, but he told his children that there was nothing more suitable for a Summer home than a wall constructed with loose stones.
Pictures to Words #1 The Wall