Outcomes Offered

■ Positive self-evaluation

■ Recognition of abilities

■ Discrimination

■ Contributing to others' well-being

Once upon a time there was an ant who lived on a farm. Would you like us to give the ant a name? What shall we call him or her? Ali? Ali the Ant? Fine.

Ali the Ant had a problem. You see, Ali didn't feel like a very important ant. Sometimes when you have lots ofbrothers and sisters—like, I guess, an ant does—there can't be much time for a mom or dad to give that special time a little ant may want. Besides, there are millions and millions ofants— more of them than us people, I am told. Ali felt like just one of a big crowd . . . and not a particularly important one. He was also small—so small that lots of other creatures didn't even notice him—well, not unless he bit them. They sure noticed him then. They would yell at him, swat at him, be angry with him, but that really wasn't the way he wanted others to notice him. He wanted to be nice to others. He wanted to do something special, but how could he when he felt so tiny and unimportant? He wondered what he could do.

One day Ali the Ant was going about his business, unnoticed in the crowd, when he heard some loud noises coming from the vegetable garden. You see, the man and woman who lived on the farm that Ali called home liked to eat nice fresh vegetables, so they grew their own. Their garden was their pride. They had fenced it off to keep the farm animals out, but on this particular day a big billy goat (Shall we give him a name, too? What about Billy? Is that okay?) had broken through the fence and started to gobble up their prized vegetables.

The farmers did everything that they could to chase the goat out. They pushed and they pulled.

They shouted and coaxed. They tried to dangle a carrot in front of Billy, but he remained as stubborn as an old mule and refused to leave.

The man and the woman asked the speckled, red-combed rooster if he would help. The rooster was big and proud. He ruled the roost in the chicken coop, but when he screeched at the goat, "Get out of the vegetable patch!" Billy refused to go. The rooster flew at him, squawking, pecking, and flapping his wings in his most terrifying way, but Billy just butted the rooster over the fence and went on eating.

The man and woman turned to their faithful brown sheepdog who had no trouble herding flocks of thoughtless sheep across the paddocks. "Can you help?" they asked. Surely he would have no trouble with just one wayward goat. The dog barked, yapped, and growled in his most ferocious voice. He bared his long white teeth and snapped at Billy's heels. "Get out of the vegetable patch!" woofed the dog. But the billy goat turned, looked at the dog, butted it over the fence, and went on eating.

The man was getting so distressed to see the vegetables disappearing into the goat's mouth that he thought he needed the biggest and strongest help he could get. He ran off to one of the paddocks and brought back his biggest, most powerful bull. The bull was huge. Surely he would strike terror into the heart of the goat. The bull snorted and pawed at the ground, bellowing to Billy, "Get out of the vegetable patch!" But when the goat started to butt at the bull with its sharp horns, the bull turned around and ran away like a coward.

As the man and woman stood there wondering what else they could do, Ali the Ant marched up to their feet and asked, "Can I help?" At first, they didn't even notice where the tiny voice came from. When they looked down and saw the little ant, they burst out laughing. "What can you do that the fearsome rooster, wise sheepdog, or powerful bull could not do?" they asked.

"Maybe there are things I can do that they can't, just as I can't do some of the things they can do. Maybe you don't have to be big and strong, but just be able to do what you do well," replied Ali the Ant.

Well, the farmers didn't know what else they could do. They were at their wits' end and their vegetables were continuing to disappear into Billy's mouth even as they watched. "We have tried everything else," they acknowledged, "and that hasn't worked. Have a go if you want."

"Sometimes," said the ant, "when you have done everything you can, you need to try something new."

With that, Ali the Ant walked off through the vegetable patch toward the goat. Ali was so tiny Billy didn't even see him coming. He climbed up the goat's hairy back leg so carefully that the goat didn't even feel him. Ali gently and gingerly marched along the goat's backbone, right up to its head. Even more carefully, he crawled across to Billy's right ear, found a piece of soft, tender flesh . . . and bit hard. The goat leapt in pain and fright, and fled from the vegetable garden, never, ever returning to eat the man and woman's vegetables again.

Ali felt very important when the farmers thanked him for using his abilities so helpfully and for doing what no other animal had done. All the other ants thanked Ali, too, because the man and woman let them wander through the vegetable patch to eat and drink whenever they wanted. And after that the farmers were very careful never to tread on an ant when they were walking around the farm.

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