Toil, By J. This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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There once was a worker ant who thought everything was meaningless. He quietly walked along, doing his work as he always has. He didn’t believe he had much of a purpose, for all he did was work. He was an old ant; he has seen many ants die and be replaced. He did not care though; all he did was work. When asked “if everything is so meaningless why you work?” he would simply reply “I do what I’m told, it is the burden an ant must carry on him.”
One day he saw soldier ants pass by, they were loud and boastful, and the ant thought “What foolish ants, what is there to be boastful about, we are but small specks in the earth, there is no pride in meaningless work.” But the worker ant stayed quiet and returned to his toiling.

The next day he saw ant royalty passing by. They were gossiping about a fellow ant in their block, and the ant thought “What foolish ants, why do you judge one another, we are all the same; there is no need to gossip about meaningless things such as ants.” But once again the worker stayed quiet, and returned to his toiling

The day after that he saw mischievous ants passing by, deciding their next devious plan. The ant thought “What foolish ants, they plan devious and hurtful tricks for their own enjoyment. How can they enjoy meaningless pranks, especially when it causes despair to another?” But the ant, like always, stayed silent and returned to his toiling

On the following day, he was transferred to the scouting unit in charge of searching for food. The worker ant said to a young ant near him, “food is necessary for the survival of ant-hood, but any ant is replaceable, any ant can find food, I am but a meaningless little ant. We live, we toil, we die, and we get replaced. Then they live, they toil, they die, and they get replaced. We toil all our days but for what, our work is meaningless, like every other thing that we do.”

The young ant was surprised to hear such words. He asked him “What do you mean everything is meaningless? Has everything I have done been for naught? Are you sure there is nothing more to life than this?” The worker ant looked over at the young ant, “We are but small ants, a nuisance to society. We expand our colonies, but they don’t go far in this big world. Everything we do is meaningless because no one will care. The humans step on us, drown us, and poison us; the only importance we play is that of being a small nuisance.” The young ant frowned, and walked away toiling as he always will be.


That same day he saw a snail passing by, and smiling of all things. He thought that odd and said to the snail “What a foolish snail you are, completely useless and slow, there is nothing to smile about when all you do is stride around looking for food, your life is not one to smile about because it is so meaningless.” The snail glared at the ant, he smiled and said “What a foolish ant, you believe everything you do is meaningless. There is more to life than you know.” The ant was puzzled by the snail, he did not understand. But the worker ant did not care; he went back to his toiling.
The next day the ant returned to the mines where he was originally working. He was near the end of the mine. The ant found it odd that the ground was getting moist, but he continued toiling as he was told. As he was working he spotted a tiny meaningless stone lodged in a small crack, He attempted to remove it, but it would not move. “What a stubborn stone, you are but a meaningless little stone, you will not make a difference, you are not important, like me.” But the stone stayed still, and did not move. The ant was getting angry, “Why do you believe yourself so important that you do not move?” he asked. The stone replied “There is more to life than you know. I have been here for a very long time waiting for this moment. I am important, you are important. So, what will you do?” The ant stared at the stone for a moment before replying, “What a foolish stone, I am an ant, and you are a stone, we are not important so please, remove yourself so that I may continue this meaningless toiling.”
The stone sighed, and loosened itself. The worker ant reached for the stone, and removed it… Nothing happened. The ant chuckled, “What did I say, we are not important.” A moment later, he heard a large cracking sound, behind him, the small crack became bigger, and water was spilling from the edges. The crack became bigger and bigger, until it finally let go, and water gushed out. The ant in his last moments said this, “Impossible, it was but a meaningless stone.”





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