The Animal Story Book - online children's book

Edited By Andrew Lang And With Numerous Illustrations By H. J. Ford

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Recent observations have proved that the time-hon­oured idea of the ant storing up provision for the winter is a delusion, a delusion which La Fontaine's famous fable, ' Le Fourmis et la Cigale,' has done much to spread and confirm. It is now known, as we have al­ready seen, that ants sleep all winter, and that the food which we constantly see them laden with is for immediate consumption in the camp. They eat all kinds of insects — hornets and cockchafers are favourite dishes — but the choicest morsel is a fine fat green caterpillar, caught alive. They seize it, some by its head, some by its tail; it struggles, it withes, and sometimes succeeds in freeing itself from its enemies; but they do not consider them­selves beaten, and attack it again. Little by little it becomes stupefied from the discharges of formic acid the ants throw out from their bodies, and presently it succumbs to their renewed forces. Finally, though the struggle may last an hour or more, it is borne to the ant-heap and disappears, to be devoured by the inmates. Perhaps these short' Stories about Ants ' may induce some of you to follow the advice of the Preacher, and ' go to the ant' yourselves for more.
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