The Conceited Ant

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    One winter morning when the ground was covered with snow, an ant came up out of his house.

    “Snow,” he said, “I am the strongest thing in the world. I am stronger than you!”

    The snow made no answer, but he silently froze the little ant’s feet.

    “Oh, Snow, you are stronger than I, for you have frozen my feet and I have not even made an impression upon you. Are you the strongest thing in the world?”

    “No,” replied the snow, “the sun is stronger than I am; for he can shine down upon me and melt me.”

    Then the ant asked the sun: “Are you the strongest thing in the world, Sun?”

    “Oh no, the clouds are stronger than I. When I am shining they come between me and the earth and hide my face.”

    “Well, you, Cloud, are you the strongest thing in the world?”

    “The wind is stronger than we are. It blows and drives us around wherever it pleases.”

    So the ant asked the wind: “Are you then the strongest thing in the world, Wind?”

    “No, a house is stronger than I am; for when I am blowing, it turns me aside and sends me on in another direction. A house is stronger than I.”

    “Then, House, you must be the strongest thing in the world?”

    “You are mistaken, Ant, a mouse is stronger than I am, for he cuts holes in my walls.”

    The ant found a mouse: “Are you, too, stronger than I am? Are you the strongest thing in the world, Mouse?”

    “Indeed no, the cat is stronger than I am. When he catches me he will eat me up.”

    The ant went to ask the cat, “Cat, are you the strongest thing in the world? The mouse says you are stronger than he.”

    “I may be stronger than the mouse; but the poker is stronger than I am; for it gives me hard licks sometimes.”

    Then the poker must be the strongest thing in the world, thought the ant; so he went and asked the poker.

    “No, I am not the strongest thing in the world,” replied the poker, “for the fire heats me and could melt me. The fire is stronger than I.”

    “Well, Fire,” asked the ant, “are you the strongest thing in the world?”

    “Water is stronger than I. It can put me out. Go ask Water.”

    So the ant asked the water.

    “No, I am not the strongest thing in the world,” answered Water, “Ox can drink me.”

    “Well, what about you, Ox?” asked the ant.

    “Man drives me. He is stronger than I am.”

    “Then Man, you must be the strongest thing in the world. Even stronger than I am,” said the ant.

    “No,” replied Man, “knife can cut me. He is stronger than I.”

    Finally, the ant went to the knife: “Knife,” he asked, “are you stronger than I am? Are you the strongest thing in the world?”

    “No, I am not the strongest thing in the world; but I am stronger than you are;” and with that, the knife fell upon the ant and cut him into pieces.

    Note: Seama, a Laguna Pueblo

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