Nic and Pic and their ant colony recently moved but discovered their food source was depleting quicker than anticipated. Someone had to go look for food, and Nic and Pic were chosen. This was good news for them.
They were over the moon with the idea of exploring.
They hadn’t had new territory to explore in quite a long time, and looking for food presented the perfect opportunity.
They began making plans.News spread throughout the colony there may be a mountain in the vicinity, so the two girls decided to set off to discover where and how big it was.
They packed necessary supplies while keeping in mind they must travel light. Then they chose a date for the excursion.
Excited, they told their parents of their impending trip.
Pic’s mama didn’t want her to go regardless of the fact she was an experienced scout and had been on many adventures in the past. This was different. They had a major highway to cross, and though it wasn’t heavily traveled Pic’s mama feared the worst. She had a bad feeling about it. The girls tried to reassure her everything would be okay.
Word of the trip traveled fast, and when the day arrived, dozens of well-wishers came to see the girls depart on their arduous journey. They were delighted to see so many, including Pic's mother, had taken time away from work to see them off.
The girls left just after 7:00 PM to ensure traffic had calmed down. After consulting with elders, it was decided this was the smart approach. Luckily it wasn’t a heavily traveled road.
As they came to the side of the road, Pic suggested they pause for a minute to get up their courage to make a mad dash for the yellow line. After a few minutes, side by side on the edge of the road, on the count of three, they ran as fast as they could to the yellow line.
Whew! And just as the word came out of her mouth, a gigantic tractor-trailer sped by, nearly taking Pic with it. The wind gathered her up and plopped her further down the road; thankfully, she was okay, just a little rattled by the unexpected ride.
The two girls regrouped, looked both ways just to be completely sure no one was coming, and ran as fast as they could across the second lane of the road. Pic and Nic reached the white line by the skin of their teeth as a car whizzed past, whirling them off the shoulder onto the grass. Safe at last! Hurdle number one accomplished. They felt good.
Still exhilarated by their success, they decided to press on a bit further before stopping for lunch.
They weaved through the grass, then moved to dirt for a smoother passage.
They were making good progress, marching along, singing out loud, when they came to a screeching halt at the water’s edge.
“You have got to be kidding,” Nic wailed. “Now what?”
“Well, I guess we better come up with a plan to get across,” said Pic.
“It’d better be a good one because I’m not falling in the water!”
They sat down to figure out what to do next, and it was then that Pic noticed the beaver downstream. She was busily gnawing on branches, getting ready to push them upstream.
“Why don’t we hitch a ride with big mama over there? She’s perfect. Let’s see if we can jump on one of the logs she’s pushing.”
“Okay, Pic. But what if she decides to go for a dive?”
“That’s why we’re not riding on her, silly. We’ll be on the log that will be floating. Okay?”
“If you say so, Pic. This sounds a little dangerous to me.”
“Well of course, it’s dangerous. However, we’re the best scouts in the land, are we not? We can do anything we set our minds to.”
The girls set off downstream. Soon the beaver came close and chose a tree to begin gnawing. They waited. Finally, the beaver felled the tree and started pulling it in the water. At that moment, the girls ran to the log and crawled on.
Nic wouldn’t admit it, but she was scared. She was so scared she couldn’t move. She held on for dear life.
Pic was up a few bark lengths from Nic and was doing the same, holding on like her life depended on it, which it did. The ride was terrifying. After what seemed to be an eternity, the girls were safely ashore, hugging each other in relief.
“By the way, do you smell what I smell?” Nic asked.
“I sure do.”
“Where do you think it is?”
They both stopped suddenly and looked up. Towering above them was a huge mountain.
“I think it’s on the other side of that hill,” Pic answered.
“Hill? That’s a mountain if I ever did see one!”
“Yeah, I guess it is.”
“So what do we do now?” Nic asked.
“Well, I’m willing to bet there is a bakery on the other side of that mountain. The only problem is we could get over the top, but I’m not sure everyone else could make it. That’s a massive mountain for the elderly and sick to get over. We could never carry them over that high a mountain. Imagine us trying to get the queen’s eggs over it?
“Maybe we can go around” Nic smiled as if a light bulb went off in her head.
The two girls hugged, overjoyed they found the food that would feed the entire colony this winter. They would be heroes. Everyone would want to know how they found such a huge abundance of food.
“Don’t get too excited, Pic cautioned. We haven’t found the bakery yet. We don’t even know if it is a bakery. Maybe it’s a human who bakes bread once a week, and we’ll only get a few crumbs.”
“Oh, Pic, don’t be such a downer. Think positive. It’s going to be a huge bakery or a bread company that makes tons of bread and rolls, and we will hit the jackpot, sister! We are going to be swimming in crumbs!”
Pic had to laugh at her friend. She was just too funny.
“’Swimming in crumbs.’ You crack me up! You can’t swim!”
Continuing along, they came across a human pushing a wheelbarrow. He was only a couple of yards away from their path.
“Oh, my, Nic. Be sure to stay clear of him,” Pic cautioned.
“Yeah! We don’t want to get stepped on.”
He wore a hat for the hot sun, and it looked like he was building something. He had assembled a large pile of stones
Pic and Nic stopped to watch for a while. He went back and forth across the street carrying stones in his wheelbarrow.
“Pic! We can hitch a ride when he returns to get more stones. This is excellent!”
“Okay, Nic, I share your enthusiasm. However, you forget a major issue here. HOW ARE WE GETTING AROUND THAT MOUNTAIN?” Pic yelled at her friend.
The girls talked it over and decided they would go back home and present the problem to the colony to decide how to proceed. They knew they could get everyone to the mountain; it was up to the others to decide how to get around it. This decision was not up to the girls. There were lives at stake. This decision was too important to be made by Pic and Nic alone.
So when they reached home, they communicated every detail of the trip to the others. They told the colony about the street, the beaver, the stream, the human and the mountain, and most importantly, the bread!”
They were commended for having found such a gem. This could be monumental for the colony. Pic and Nic were heroes!
Word came down within a few hours. The decision had been made. The colony would move to the food source. It was felt by all they would either starve here when winter came or move the colony and hopefully make it to the other side of the mountain. The queen and her men would be ready to follow Pic and Nic later that night.
“We must have a reliable food source to ready ourselves for the winter. You and Nic have done very well, my dear. You have saved the colony. We are all so proud of you both,” Pic’s mother said.
“But what if we’re wrong and there is no food on the other side? What if it was just a fluke, a one-time thing?
“My dear, the fact is we have no choice. We must find food or starve.”
That night, Pic and Nic led the queen and her men, followed by all the worker ants in the colony. They marched quickly and safely across the street with relatively few deaths and minor casualties. The ants carried their fallen comrades the rest of the way.
During the night, they crossed the beaver dam, reaching their destination at daybreak, at which point everyone stopped suddenly, so suddenly they bumped into the ant in front of them.
“Where are those two girls, Nic and Pic?” the queen demanded. Her men quickly closed in around her, ready to attack anyone who came too near.
Nic and Pic came running to the front of the line to answer the queen.
“Yes, your Majesty?” they chimed in unison.
“What are we supposed to do now?”
Before they could answer the queen, the ground rumbled beneath them. It was the human with his shovel and wheelbarrow coming toward them.
He worked furiously shoveling away until half the mountain was gone. The ants stood in amazement as trip after trip, he took the rest of the mountain away.
Sure enough! There it was,
The most beautiful bread bakery in all the world. Huge trash containers and crumbs everywhere! This was going to be a spectacular winter.
The colony rejoiced!