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The once and Future King: "The Ants" Summary

  • Subject: Science
  • Category: Zoology
  • Topic: Ants
  • Pages 2
  • Words: 818
  • Published: 26 April 2019
  • Downloads: 19
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The once and Future King: "The Ants" Summary essay
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The Once and Future King: A Synopsis of “The Ants”

Although he protests, the Wart is confined to his chamber for three days straight as treatment for his broken collarbone. The only company the Wart would ever have was at night time when Kay would visit. Merlyn would teach the Wart some lessons by shouting them through the key-hole. The only entertainment the Wart could have in the chamber was watching the ants inside the ant-nests between the glass plates from Merlyn’s old cottage in the forest. The Wart asks Merlyn if he can turn him into something through the key-hole, but Merlyn announces that he is unable to do so.

The Wart then asks Merlyn if he could turn him into an ant, to which he replies that it would be dangerous at this point. Merlyn tells him that the ants are dangerous and belligerent. He says that this lesson is far too soon to occur in the Wart’s education, but he decides he will do it since the Wart must learn it at some point. Merlyn then tells the Wart to take a part of the floor and make a bridge by placing the part between the two nests of ants. He then notices himself in a place seemingly filled with boulders, much like a fortress. There were two tunnels that had a notice saying “EVERYTHING NOT FORBIDDEN IS COMPULSORY”. The Wart reads this notice and does not like it, and then he starts to shrink down to the size of an ant. He starts to wave his antennae and was able to hear a thing like a wireless broadcast.

The broadcast seems to repeat a rhythm over and over, mainly with the sounds June, Mammy, Ever, Blue, and Love. The Wart likes these repeating sounds at first, but after an hour, the sounds begin to make him feel sick inside. The Wart then hears higher-ranking ants announcing the directions of where the numbered ants must go based on age. He then walks around certain paths and finds two dead ants in a hollow. The dead ants do not seem to show happiness or sadness over their own deaths. A live ant then walks down the path with another ant corpse and says “Hail!” to the Wart. The Wart observes the confused wandering and unusual movement patterns of the ants. He also realizes that he cannot ask the ants many questions like in the human world; he can only define something as Done or Not- Done. The live ant then says “Hail!” to the Wart again and asks what he is doing, to which he honestly replies that he is doing nothing. Surprised by his response, the ant speaks into its antennae and announces that the Wart is insane.

The broadcast tells the ant to ask for the Wart’s number and his personal account, but he lost comfort in answering these questions. Instead, the Wart used sarcasm in his answer by saying that he has fallen on his head and is unable to remember any of his personal information. The ant and the broadcast accept this response, and they tell him to head off. The Wart heads in the opposite direction and remembers his own number as an ant. He joins the mash squad of ants and begins to eat crops with them. He realizes, however, that the food he is eating is not going directly to his stomach but rather to his private parts and his upper stomach, where the food could be removed. The Wart then hears the ant squad conversing with one another, and he likes the sound of it. Two of the ants discuss the monotonous rhythms coming from the antennae, and they enjoy the sound of it. They also discuss the greatness of their ant leader, a female. They mention her brave actions in the previous war and the award she won. They then realize their fortune of living in the ‘A’ nest rather than the ‘B’ nest. One of the ants mentions that one ant was executed on the orders of their leader. At the end of the conversation, one of the ants hears the Mammy song once again, and then they head off. The Wart then finds himself in the hall of the ants’ fortress.

The ants are described in a disgusting manner; one example is that the ants come up to the Wart and feed on food inside his mouth. In the afternoon, a scouting ant walks on the bridge that the Wart built on orders from Merlyn. It is murdered on the spot by the ‘A’ group of ants. The broadcast then announces that the ‘A’ group is triumphant and must always be attacking the opposing group. The ants accept the lectures as rituals, and they head off to begin a war with the opposing ants. The Wart is then transformed back to a human in his chamber.

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The Once and Future King: “The Ants” Summary. (2019, April 26). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 16, 2021, from
“The Once and Future King: “The Ants” Summary.” GradesFixer, 26 Apr. 2019,
The Once and Future King: “The Ants” Summary. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 16 Oct. 2021].
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