Tempo di lettura: 7 minuti

Read and listen to the little worker ant

The fable tonight, has a nice moral, but to find out you have to listen to it all.

E’ un poco lunghetta, ma riserva delle sorprese.

Enjoy the reading

Many years ago, on the edge of a coniferous forest, lived a colony of small ants. They had built their nest there, a beautiful underground anthill, made up of numerous chambers, all of different sizes.

The chambers were connected to each other by a kind of tunnel that crossed the whole anthill, which was very large, with various openings from which the ants could enter and exit.

Ogni formica aveva un proprio preciso compito.

la piccola formica operaia
ant on the flower

There were the guards, who were in charge of checking who entered and left the nest and supervised possible attacks from external predators; there were real ants, i.e. those who had the task of giving birth to new colonies and there were worker ants who were entrusted with various tasks such as building or repairing the nest, gathering food, rearing the young, the arrangement of the pantry and so on.

Everything was very organized, so much so that each ant always knew what and how to do it. The days passed peacefully, punctuated by the various work phases that had been set up by the queen ants.

Among the worker ants was a very lively one named Lucy, who had recently been given the task of gathering food for the winter.
La mattina, subito dopo colazione, Lucy, assieme alle altre piccole formiche operaie che facevano parte della sua squadra di lavoro, si recava nel bosco e lì cercava e raccoglieva il cibo che avrebbero poi dovuto trasportare fino al nido.

It was mostly seeds and leaves, of different sizes and textures.
Il lavoro era molto pesante ma Lucy sapeva come renderlo “interessante”. Ed infatti cercava sempre di trovare il modo per farlo sembrare quasi un gioco.

And so, for example, it happened that transporting a seed ended up becoming the transport of a missile to protect the nest from an attack by aliens on flying saucers; or picking a leaf became the lucky discovery of a treasure hidden in the woods many years before by pirates who had never been able to return to take it back.

This way of thinking about work was not always understood and accepted by Lucy's companions who sometimes teased her saying she was still a child and did not understand the importance of the task entrusted to them.
In realtà Lucy sapeva bene che il lavoro che doveva fare era molto importante, è solo che cercava di renderlo più allegro, più sopportabile. Infatti vi erano delle giornate, soprattutto quando pioveva, in cui il lavoro era veramente pesante e a volte a Lucy sembrava di non farcela.

la piccola formica operaia
group of ants

In these moments, thinking of work as a game, adding a pinch of imagination to daily actions, had become a way like any other to make it almost easier.

The months went by and Lucy felt more distant from her companions every day, she felt almost different, as if she lived in another world, a world where the other ants didn't want to go, not even to visit.
Finì quindi con il pensare di essere sbagliata perché, in fondo, era l’unica formica che si comportava così, era l’unica formica che a volte faceva trasparire la fatica delle giornate trascorse.

He therefore thought that the right thing to do was to stop using his imagination to make the days more bearable and start behaving like other ants.

Iniziò così un periodo molto difficile in cui Lucy lavorava incessantemente dalla mattina alla sera quasi a voler dimostrare di essere in grado di fare quello che facevano anche le altre anzi, di più.

The first days were very heavy and in fact Lucy, in the evening, exhausted by tiredness, didn't even participate anymore in the company evenings that were organized every day in the anthill.
Man mano che i giorni passarono Lucy iniziò ad abituarsi ai nuovi ritmi di lavoro e, anzi, ad un certo punto sembrò non sentire più la stanchezza e iniziò a fare ogni giorno qualche cosa in più.

So instead of working the normal eight hours like all ants, he began to work eight and a half, then nine, then nine and a half, up to twelve hours a day.

Her companions tried to make her understand that perhaps this was not the right way to take the job, that perhaps she was exaggerating, but Lucy saw their attempt to help as an intrusion, almost as a word of envy towards her. After all, they had been the ones who pushed her to work more and more by telling her that she was not able to understand the true value of the work done.

La dispensa che era stata assegnata a Lucy per la raccolta dei semi era ormai piena ma a Lucy questo non bastava e continuava, nonostante tutto, a raccogliere altri semi e a portarli nella cella finché un giorno, dopo essere entrata dalla piccola fessura che era rimasta come apertura e aver posato il seme sulla cima di un grandissima fila di altri semi, sentì un insolito rumore.

It was like a vibration combined with a sound that sounded like thunder. In a few moments she Lucy found herself submerged in a huge amount of seeds and she realized that all the food that she had collected and stacked on top of each other to get more in had collapsed!

Scared and hurt by the weight of the seeds from which she had been overwhelmed, Lucy looked around and realized that not even a small space was left free in the room to be able to move.

The seeds, as they fell, had almost created a wall around her and this prevented her from going out, also because, with a wounded leg, she could not have climbed the wall to go down on the other side.

la piccola formica operaia
ant stuck in the anthill

Fortunately, the noise of the fallen seeds was very loud and was heard by the anthill guards who hurried to help Lucy out of the pantry and take her to the infirmary, where she spent several days thus also having time to reflect on what had happened.

And just thinking about all this he realized he was wrong. Yes of her, because what she had made of her was to give up being herself, that is, a cheerful ant full of desire to do, to go along with the idea that others would have liked to have of her. And she understood, too, that in doing so, she had sought the security she needed in something she could never give it. In fact, she had sought it out by keeping herself constantly busy, by always doing more. That is why her work had become her only occupation, as if her stopping was a sign of weakness.

Lucy si rese anche conto di essere stata molto fortunata perché, in fin dei conti, aveva un’altra possibilità, quella di tornare ad essere se stessa, la vera Lucy, quella che lavorava si, ma che sapeva anche farlo divertendosi, quella per cui il fare era importante ma per la quale c’erano anche tante altre cose, il divertimento, gli amici e la spensieratezza.

She realized that she had given up on being herself for fear of being judged by others and promised herself never to make the same mistake again.


In the things we do every day it is right to always try to give our best and do one's best, but it is also right to recognize and accept one's limits, just as it is right to always be oneself, without wanting to be different people just to please others or out of fear of their judgment.
Se le altre formiche avessero capito che il comportamento di Lucy era il modo che essa aveva trovato per sostenere i pesanti ritmi del lavoro, allora, forse, le cose sarebbero andate diversamente.

How perhaps they would have gone differently if Lucy had tried to explain to them what she felt and the effort she made in working without imagination.

Being yourself doesn't mean disappointing others, instead it means giving due importance to yourself and taking care of yourself, something that all the people who love us would like from and for us.

Happy listening

mamma legge la fiaba
Le favole della buonanotte
The little worker ant

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