An ant, an elephant, a bird, a monkey and a giraffe were friends. Everyone was kind and enjoyed each other’s company. But the ant was a terrible critic. His teasing and criticism grew worse every day.
He teased the monkey about his tail, the elephant about his ears, the bird about his feathers and the giraffe about his long neck. He was quite merciless.
Soon the friends grew fed up with the ant. They refused to let the ant near them.
The giraffe said, ‘I will squash him if he comes near me.’
The monkey said, ‘I will swish him with my tail if I see him.’
The bird simply shook his head and flew away.
Only the elephant was patient. He did not mind the ant’s teasing chatter. Now the only friend the ant had was the elephant.
But the ant did not realise how kind and patient the elephant was being to him. Instead, the ungrateful creature continued to tease the gentle elephant.
One day, he climbed up the elephant’s back and said, ‘Why do you have such a long nose? Why are your legs so fat and square?’
The elephant tried to shake the ant off his back in a friendly manner, but the annoying ant held on. He moved close to the elephant’s ear and said, ’you look so old and your skin is so flabby. You are so slow.’
Now the elephant had also reached the end of his patience. He walked towards the river and stepped into it.
The ant screamed, ‘What are you doing? I do not know swimming!’
‘What creature does not know to swim? I may be slow and old but I know to swim.’
And the elephant dipped into the water. That was the end of the foolish ant and his silly criticism.
Now all the animals in the forest tell this bedtime story to their little ones cautioning them never to tease their friends, however they are. ‘Because if you do,’ they warn them, ‘you might end up in the river like the annoying ant!’