Dance of the ANTs
By: Tunde ‘Leye
Long ago, in the land called Dark, ants lived in anthills. There were various colonies of ants and each lived in their own anthills. There were dark ants, light ants, green ants and yellow ants. There were big ants, small ants, desert ants and waterside ants. To the ants in each anthill, their anthill and the other few around was the full extent of the world. They interacted, fought together, exchanged gifts and died within the scope of this world. Most were ruled by TYR-ants.
One day, the ants saw a strange creature in their midst. It could do many things they couldn’t do. It could fly, it communicated differently, and it had different food and armor like nothing they had never seen. The ants called them the Green Ones. They would later learn that their real name was Grasshoppers. It stayed with them briefly, only to return with a couple more after a while. The ants were wary of the newcomers, but they were too scattered to do anything about them. Anthill by anthill, the grasshoppers conquered the ants, until the whole of Dark was under the control of the Hoppers. The hoppers imposed a harsh rule on the ants, construing the ants to cultivating their own kinds of foods and ensuring that the ants worked all day and returned most of what they got to the Hoppers, keeping little for themselves. In time, the ants began to eat what the Hoppers ate and even began to paint themselves green like the Hoppers were green.
They ruled some of the anthills through the TYR-ants that already existed but in some, created a new class of SYCHOPH-ants to help them administer the rest of the ants. The rest of the ants were classed as PEASE-ants, treated harshly by the Hoppers and even more harshly by the TYR-ants and the SYCHOPH-ants who began to see themselves as better than the PEASE-ants due to the few privileges they were given by the Hoppers. This, of course was the intention of the Hoppers. The Hoppers grouped the anthills together for their convenience, and called them Tenements. They were little concerned about the makeup of the ant population in the anthills before grouping them.
As time passed, some of the SYCHOPH-ants and a few lucky PEASE-ants travelled to the land of the Hoppers and saw that the Hoppers were really like the ants in many ways. They came back and began to agitate against the Hoppers’ rule. They asked them to leave the Tenements and let ants rule ants. After the Hoppers had taken all they could, they were ready to leave. However, in order to select a leader for the Tenement, they organized a Dance. Ants who wanted to lead were to come to The Clearing. Then they were to get as many ants as wanted them to lead to dance behind them. The ants that displaced the most greenery in the surroundings would be announced as winner. They were to repeat this every 4moons to select a new leader.
Quickly, the SYCHOPH-ants and the TYR-ants took over the process, appealing to ants on the basis of loyalty to anthills. The dance was rowdy and the Hoppers didn’t care much about it anyways. They just announced their most faithful SYCHOPH-ants and TYR-ants as the leaders, ensuring they still had a hold over the ants even after leaving. And then they left.
Of course the Tenements were shaky. Everyone was still aligned with his anthill and so each of the leaders began to divert what was meant for all the ants to themselves and their anthills. Gradually, the SYCHOPH-ants and the TYR-ants evolved into a new set of classes, the ELEPH-ants and the GI-ants. These ants ate so much of what was produced; they grew bigger than the other ants in great proportion, and influenced everything, from sharing resources to the series of Dances. They basically occupied the niche that had been left vacant by the departure of the Hoppers.
After a while, the SOLDIER-ants and MILIT-ants got restless. They wanted to “liberate” the PEASE-ant from the choking hold of their leaders. They murdered the leaders of the ELEPH-ants and GI-ants and took power to themselves. They suspended Dances. They initially tried to do things right, and take care of the PEASE-ants. The joy of the PEASE-ants knew no bounds. In time however, they realized that it was easy to take power by the force of arms, but keeping it required much more than that. They began to fraternize with the ELEPH-ants and the GI-ants, and with pressure from the Hoppers, they transformed into ELEPH-ants and GI-ants themselves. And so the cycle continued, in every Tenement in the land called Dark