“Four things on earth are small, yet they are extremely wise: Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer; coneys are creatures of little power, yet they make their home in the crags; locusts have no king, yet they  advance together in ranks; a lizard can be caught with the hand, yet it is found in kings’ palaces.”


Proverbs 30:25-28 NIV


“Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. “


Proverbs 6:6-8 NIV


Watching the Ants

By Nieriel Raina

Year 2944 Third Age


Glorfindel lay on his belly in the soft grass, chin propped in a palm held aloft by an elbow. The fingers of his other hand idly stroked a long blade of grass.  Beside him, the remnants of his lunch lay forgotten in the tranquility of the spring day. He sighed, tilting his face slightly upwards closing his eyes as the sun warmed him.. A light breeze lifted a few strands of his loose hair, playing lightly with them, the ends dancing. Inhaling deeply, he smiled. How he loved the scent of heather and pine!


How long he lay there, he did not know. He lost all track of time in the quiet dell he had escaped to. For days, he had been cooped up indoors, paper after paper placed before him to peruse. But he was not a scholar!  He was a warrior, and he preferred spending his time outdoors in physical exertion. While reports from the patrols were a necessary part of his duties, and he took joy in forming plans based on them, the days spent looking at his recent work, when spring was in its prime outside, had taken its toll.  He had only agreed to the task because he was the most qualified for it, since Erestor was away on an errand for Elrond. So, soon as he was able, he fled the buildings and all sign civilization and came to this hidden basin scooped in the hollow between two hills.


A faint tickle on his wrist roused him, and he realized he had dozed. He ignored the feeling of slight irritation, putting it off to a strand of his hair being teased by the wind. But after a time, the sensation came again, and then again, until it felt too steady to be a random hair moving in the breeze. Opening his eyes, he glanced down.


Moving across his arm was a single line of ants. They marched with steady purpose: up, over, down, under his propped elbow and on to the remnants of his lunch.


He smiled and watched, having no argument with sharing his crumbs. One by one they skittered along. Up, over, down, and on, eventually returning with morsels of food on their backs, heading back to the small ant hill he could now see a few feet away from where he lay.


The work of ants never ceased to amaze him. Such small creatures, insignificant seemingly, but together they moved great quantities of earth. Together they provided for each other. Together they worked in harmony and unison with nary a complaint. All was done for the best of the colony. Such loyalty should not go unheeded. There was much wisdom to be gained from the ant.




The elf turned his head slightly to see an adolescent boy scampering down the hillside towards him. He smiled and let the youth come to him.


“Glorfindel!” Estel said almost in a whine. “You did not tell my how I did on my reports! Erestor always tells me.”


“But Erestor is not here, and I am not he,” he replied, glancing down at the determined ants who continued in their task unconcerned with the new arrival. Dedicated, determined, and never giving up in their task…


“Please? I need to know! If I did not do well, Adar will make me study the history of the First Age even longer!” Estel stood a few feet away, a hand running through his dark unruly hair in a frustrated manner. “I worked hard on them, Glorfindel! I need to know if I got it all right! I want to move on to work on swordplay!”


“Did you do your best, boy?”


“Yes, but I might have gotten something wrong.”


“Does it really matter, Estel, if you managed to get the history of the First Age correct?”


“Adar thinks so.”


Glorfindel smiled, turning his eyes back to the ants. “You did well enough that your father should have no qualms about you putting aside studying books for a while - at least, until autumn.” He glanced up and grinned at the look of relief on Estel’s face.


“However, while history has its place, there are other, more important things to learn, such as, doing your very best, which you have learned well.  Come, sit. I have a new lesson for you.”


Estel frowned, obviously reluctant to have his free day turned into lesson time. But he complied, having learned long ago not to argue with the Captain of Imladris. “Will it take long?” he complained as he sat, then gasped. “You have ants on you!” The youth reached out to brush them away, only to find his arm grasped by the hand that had been holding up Glorfindel’s head.


“Leave them be. They are causing me no harm, and they are part of the lesson.” Estel wrinkled his nose in disgust. Ever since he was a little lad, and had unknowingly sat on a large ant hill and been covered in ant bites, Estel had hated ants. Chuckling, Glorfindel released Estel and let his gaze again wander to the trail of ants. “You might find them interesting if you take the time to study them. You can learn much about life from watching the ants.”


“You’re joking, right?”


He shook his head, resuming his relaxed position of head in hand. “No. Ants are some of the most loyal creatures in nature. They work with their colony for the greater good with no arguments. They store up in the summer for the coming winter so they can survive.” Estel’s expression slowly showed signs of interest, however reluctant. “But best of all, ants are great tacticians and fabulous warriors.”


“Warriors? ANTS?”


“Sit and watch, Estel, and you will learn much.”


: - :

More than eighty years later….


He lay on his belly in a grassy clearing in Ithilien. The smell of the pine and forest calmed and relaxed him as he propped his head up with a small smile. A small voice drew his attention after a time, though is eyes never strayed from the ground.






“Watcha doin’?”


“Watching the ants.”


“Ants? Can I watch, too?”


Aragorn smiled. “Yes, come, Eldarion. Come watch the ants and learn many things about life and being a king.”


The small boy plopped down beside him on his little belly, mimicking his father’s position exactly as he listened to the lesson. And in his mind’s eye, Aragorn could see Glorfindel and himself lying in the grass, swords cast aside from their exertions, discussing the strategy of ants. And he smiled wistfully.




Thanks for reading! Please take a moment to tell me what you thought.



Make a Free Website with Yola.