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Why The Ant Is Not So Venomous As The Snake Post by :jamestcarter Category :Short Stories Author :Dean S. Fansler Date :November 2011 Read :3391

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Why The Ant Is Not So Venomous As The Snake

Narrated by Francisco M. Africa of Lipa, Batangas. This is a Tagalog story.

God first created the earth. Then he took a rock from the earth and threw it on the terrestrial surface. When the rock was broken into many small pieces, he breathed into them the breath of life, and they became living creatures. At first these creatures, though differing in shapes and sizes, were not given different powers.

Among these creatures of God's were the snake and the ant. One day the snake went to God to ask for power. It said, "I come to thee, O God! to ask for thy favor. The world thou hast just created is wild with confusion. I have come to ask thee to give me the special power to kill all those that are rebellious and troublesome."

"Go back to your fellow-creatures!" answered God. "Hereafter you are endowed with the power to store in your teeth this poison. When you bite the vile and contemptible, inject into the wound some of this poison, and they will be killed; but first of all, observe their actions, and be conscientious and thoughtful." Then God gave the snake the poison. The snake returned to the earth in great joy.

When the ant heard that the snake was endowed with such power, it at once went to God to ask that the same privilege be granted it. The ant found God on his heavenly throne, instructing his host of angels. The ant approached God, and addressed him thus: "O thou almighty God! my brother the snake has been granted a great privilege by thee. Why art thou so unkind to me? Give me the same power, and I will be of great aid to the snake in destroying sinners." God, thinking that the snake might need an assistant, gave the ant the same privilege that he had given the snake.

The ant was so greatly overjoyed, that it ran as fast as it could to the earth. When God saw it running, he called to the ant, but it paid no attention to him. Then God, being very much enraged, took away some of the ant's power, lest the ant might use it unreasonably. And so to-day the ant's bite is not so poisonous as the snake's.



Another form of this story, recorded by Andrea Silva, also of Lipa, Batangas, runs as follows:--

In the olden times, when this great universe was still young, the inhabitants of this Archipelago had a sacred belief in a superior god whom they called Bathala. He was the creator of all things.

One day Bathala called the animals one by one, and bestowed upon each a gift, or the power of doing something. To the bird he gave the power to fly. Next Bathala called the ant, likewise intending to bestow on it more power than on any other animals, because it was so very small; but the ant was the most stupid and lazy of all creatures. It did not pay any attention to the summons of the god, but pretended to be deaf. Whereupon Bathala became so angry that he called the snake and gave to it the wonderful power that he had intended to give the ant. "You, Sir Snake, shall seldom be caught by any person, for you shall have the power of being very nimble. Besides, every one shall be afraid of you."

When finally the ant appeared before the god, asking him for the gift he had promised, Bathala said, "O you poor, tiny, imprudent creature! Since you disobeyed your god, from now on you and your tribe shall meet with death very often, for you shall be pinched by those whom you bite."

And so it is to-day that we pinch to death the ants whenever they bite us.

The narrator testified that she heard the story from an old woman in her town of Lipa. So far as I know, this "just-so" fable of "The Ant and the Snake and God" has not been recorded outside of Lipa, Batangas; and I am inclined to believe that it represents old local tradition.

(The end)
Dean S. Fansler's short story: Why The Ant Is Not So Venomous As The Snake

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