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THERE is a big ant-hill in the wood on the way to school. It
is at the foot of the old oak tree, near the path, and
is almost as tall as Peter. It looks like a loose heap
of leaves, mixed with sticks and earth. It is broad at
the bottom, and round at the top.
HILL OF THE WOOD-ANT
When we come home in the evening all is quiet on the
ant-hill. We cannot see even one ant outside. It looks
as if no one lived there. But when we pass in the
morning, and the sun is warm and bright, we can see the
ants creeping out of the cracks and running about the
They are as big as a grain of barley, and have a tiny
knob in the middle of their body. They have long
feelers and strong jaws. They bite hard of you touch
them. But they do not sting with their tails, as our
house ants do.
At dinner-time we find them still more busy. They have
opened many holes in the hill, and
 hurry to and fro. Some fetch bits of leaves and sticks,
and add them to the heap. Others bring in food. One day
Paul saw a number of ants pulling a dead worm to
pieces. Then each ant carried a tiny bit in her jaws to
the hill, and went in at a hole.
Sometimes the ants bring some little white lumps in
their mouths out of the hill. Peggy's father, the
gamekeeper, gives these white lumps to his birds to
eat. He calls them ant-eggs. But Paul says they are not
eggs. They are baby ants shut up in silk bags, and they
are called "cocoons."
Real ant-eggs are much smaller. When the baby ant comes
out of the egg it is blind and has no legs. It is
called a grub. The nursing ants feed it with honey, and
it puts a silk thread out of its mouth and spins a bag
When the bag is done, the nurses cannot feed
 the grub anymore. So they take care of it. They carry
it up to the sunshine by day, and down below at night.
Inside the bag, the grub grows into a real ant, with
eyes and legs. Then the nurses help it out of its
prison, and it begins to work.
(A) AN ANT-GRUB. (B) AN ANT-COCOON. (C) A YOUNG ANT. MUCH MAGNIFIED. THE LINES SHOW THE REAL SIZE.
One day Paul poked a hole in the ant-hill with his
stick. We saw in the ground, under the leaves, a hollow
place full of white cocoons. The ants were very angry.
Some bit us, others picked up the cocoons in their jaws
and ran away, for fear we should hurt their babies.
When we came back in the evening the ants had mended
the hill. Every hole was closed, and all the cocoons
were safe inside.
 One day in summer we saw a number of ants with wings,
flying over the ant-hill. Paul says these are the
father and mother ants. The ants without wings are the
nurses and workers.
(A) MOTHER ANT. (B) FATHER ANT. (C) WORKER ANT. MUCH MAGNIFIED. THE LINES SHOW THE REAL SIZE.