Learning the hard way

We were riding around the lake in Canberra – Daddy and Mummy on the tandem, Lillian on the tag-along behind us. It was late on a warm summer day. Suddenly our rear rim was bumping along the pavement – we had a flat tire. We stopped, and I started to repair the flat. Lillian wandered off looking for interesting things in the grass.


I looked around, and about twenty yards away Lillian was standing in the middle of a large flat ants nest, stamping her feet. The nest was alive with thousands of furious ants. Some were climbing over her feet and biting.

Recently, Lillian had gotten into the habit of crushing large ants by stepping on them whenever she saw them. But she didn’t know about large ant nests like the ones which are very common around Canberra. She had wandered onto the nest, seen a few ants, and started stomping, unaware that this would rouse the nest in a fury.

I rushed over, swept her up off the nest, and started brushing ants off her legs. She was a little bit traumatised by the event; she stayed crying in my arms for about a minute or so, then she was OK.

Probably, before long, she’ll be stomping on ant nests just for fun, to see the ants rush around like crazy, just like Daddy used to do when he was a kid.


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