On the left, he could see, over on the bank beside the hedge, a little girl cutting flowers with some nail scissors. He stopped and watched thoughtfully. It was unusual weather for the time of year. In the attic the cleaning was nearly done. Just the windows and that was it. There remained but one greasy mark, smudged in a corner. Small fingerprints, a handprint, or was it a paw? It was no more. This was indeed a fine cloth for buffing. A slightly too proud nail snagged the edge, and tore a rend with a scream. He frowned. Now the cloth was spoilt. He took the nail scissors and trimmed the fraying edge.
Now of all the things to happen to a bee, - and we may grant the scientists much -, this and other recent circumstance, proved difficult to dress with order. He put down his arms and torso, folded them neatly, and flew out of the window.
It must have been a thousand thoughts, when the call faded to land. There passed a colonnade of ants. The quest had begun.
The unaccountable machine of Professor de ants.
B. found himself carried along on a forest of legs. Something certain but exciting was happening, something definite though unknown. The rushing river ran, first dark, then light, first red, then black, then confluence, then delta, then, as purpose finds its level, serene mature into the garden of earthly wisdom.
To the east of the garden towered a pinnacle of knowledge. The top was impossible to see, though it cast a great shadow, since a peak must be far from a trough. One thing was certain, it was immense in all directions. B. found himself alighting on a leaf and fancied he drank well of the dew. He turned, and there before him stanced the amiable monstrosity, Professor de ants.
It is customary in moments like these, to aspire to maintain an air, if not of insouciance, then of guarded politeness. B. tremored like a reed in bohemian lips. No vice could compress the feel into words required to transcribe the behemoth before him. The oval of its head entrolled capacious jaws of such that mere nations would tremble with admission. Atop the slattern cover yearned antennae unmistakeably for the reaving of souls. And this above and amidst a wreathing psychoscrabbling of legs uncountable entrapped and blinkered, yet! they knew the race begun.
‘Would you like to see my machine?’ said Professor de ants. Slime before rhetoric, and B. nodded before replying. Two transports appeared, and eastbound, instinct drove them thence, with unnatural speed.
We must depart convention, and now describe the vision that befell B.
The vision that befell B.
Wreatheing, bursting, frantic, clasping, twisting, counting - yes counting!, like the dominoes of good intentions, wove the weaving thread the first, and higher higher counting lesser, wove the counter thread of worse, twining, climbing, weaving lighting, cloved the thunder of the thirst. Breathing, seething, flying clad-bound, grasping moaned the spire in pants. And all as one he saw the mountain seething abacus of ants!