Would somebody move that watermelon!

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Story File


Perseverance. Small efforts make a big difference

Main Lesson

Tasks that seem impossible can be achieved if done little by little


A forest


A watermelon and forest insects

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Would somebody move that watermelon!

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Cuento sobre el valor de los pequeños esfuerzos

Once upon a time there was a giant bathtub that had been dumped in the middle of the forest. It was the perfect home for all types of little insects. They had to be careful of just one thing while living there: to ensure the plughole remained free from obstruction because otherwise they might all drown if rain fell suddenly. The burly beetles were put in charge of keeping an eye on the plughole to make sure that it was never blocked.

However, one day disaster struck. The plughole was blocked by something huge, something gigantic – a watermelon! The watermelon was so big that not even the biggest beetle, not even the five biggest, could shift it. In fact, it was so big that not even all of the beetles working together could move the watermelon from the plughole!

All the strongest insects tried their very best to move the watermelon but couldn't budge it even the tiniest bit. The smartest insects then tried to use their brains to come up with a way to move the watermelon but they had no luck either. Eventually, the wisest insects started to plan the escape from the bathtub.

Amidst all the sadness, a ridiculous foreign ant had the cheek to ask if she could take the watermelon away with her. Very funny, indeed!

It took a lot of insects to calm the beetles down and stop them from crushing the funny little ant. But the ant wasn’t joking at all! At the end of the day, she returned, this time with thousands upon thousands of other ants. In perfect order, each ant went up to the watermelon, bit off a piece and walked off with it.

“You’re not going to get anywhere by doing that” said a grasshopper to one ant that stopped for a second to rest. “The watermelon is exactly the same as it was before you bit your piece off!”

“Hmmm, are you sure about that?” the ant responded in a funny accent, as if it had never occurred to her. Then, without giving it another thought, she resumed her journey.

However, that little piece must have had an effect. Just a few days later, there was not a single trace of the giant watermelon. From that day on, many of the most difficult jobs in the bathtub became small ones that were easier to carry out little by little.

(Story translated by Lyel Terrelonge /Julie Spink at Manchester Metropolitan University)

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