An anthill is a home not only for ants but also for some other creatures—beetles, lesser breeds of ants and the greenfly. Why do ants want these alien creatures to live in their nests? For several reasons: some give off smell pleasant to the ants’ senses; others give sweet juices; and some are just pets or playthings like cats and dogs to human beings. The greenfly is the ants’ cow. The ants train it to give honeydew (like milk) with a touch of their antennae. They milk it just as we milk the cow.
     Have humans learned as much as ants have? Perhaps they have, but they haven’t put their learning to good use. They may still learn a few things from this tiny teacher— hard work, sense of duty and discipline, cleanliness, care for the young ones, and, above all, a firm loyalty to the land where they live.
An anthill is a home for the ants, as we have seen earlier. But only ants live in it? No. Other creatures that live in an anthill are:
  1. beetles
  2. lesser breeds of ants
  3. greenfly
The ants do get good favours in return from these creatures, that is why it allows such unfamiliar beings in its nest. The following are the benefits to the ants:
  • some insects give off pleasant smell to soothe the ant's senses
  • some insects give sweet juices
  • some are like toys/pets for the ants!
Greenfly: The greenfly to ants are like cows to humans. Human get milk from cows; ants get honey from greenflies. The ants train the greenflies to produce honeydew if touched with their antennae.
The ants seem so wise. What about humans? Have we learnt as much as the ants? Maybe we have learnt, we are not putting it into practical use. We still have a few more things to learn from this tiny teacher called ant:
  • hard work
  • sense of duty
  • discipline
  • cleanliness
  • care for the young ones
  • loyal to the earth that we live in.
Meanings of difficult words:
alienbelonging to a different species or a group
loyaltybeing faithful
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2007). An Alien Hand. The Tiny Teacher(pp. 1-6). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.