The Elephant and the Ants
Jul 14, 2022 / Written by: America Needs Fatima
Many years ago, there lived an elephant in Africa by the name of Trunkey. He was a tall elephant, a proud elephant, a very, very mean elephant. In fact, Trunkey was so mean that all the other animals in the jungle were afraid of him. Yes, even the lions and tigers were afraid of Trunkey, and, whenever they would see the elephant, they would run and hide. Everyone was afraid of Trunkey the elephant.
Now, Trunkey was always very mean to the poor little ants who lived in the jungle. Trunkey would step on the ants and kill them: he even tramped on their houses, and knocked them down. Every day hundreds of ants were killed by mean old Trunkey.
Finally, some of the ants decided that they would speak to the elephant and beg him to be kind. So, about fifty ants went to the elephant’s house.
Now the elephant lived in a large house made of great trees, and the house stood right in the middle of the jungle. Of course, when the poor little ants saw the mighty elephant, they were so afraid that they could hardly talk.
“Please, be kind to us!” begged the tiny ants. “All that we want is a chance to live.”
“What right have you to live?” growled the mean old elephant. “You are good for nothing, anyway. Why, you’re so small that I can hardly see you.”
Those words hurt the little ants. They tried not to show their feelings and once again, they begged the elephant to be kind.
But the proud, old elephant wouldn’t listen. “Get out of my house!” he roared as he waved his trunk high in the air. “Get out of my house and don’t come back!”
That was enough. The fifty little ants hurried away. “We’ll be back and we’ll fix you,” cried one brave little ant as he left the house.
“They’ll fix me,” laughed the elephant to himself. “Can you image that? Tiny ants can’t harm a mighty elephant like me. They make me laugh.” And the elephant did laugh. He laughed at the tiny ants because he felt they could do him no harm.
Several months passed by, and the elephant forgot all about the tiny ants. Then, one night, what do you think happened? The elephant was sound asleep in his great house. Suddenly, the house began to shake. Then, there was a terrible noise – a crash! The great wooden house, roof and all, crashed to the ground, and the mean old elephant was buried under the mighty trees. Trunkey moaned and groaned and suffered. But there was no one to help him and finally, Trunkey, the mean old elephant, died.
Now, what make the elephant’s house fall and crush him to death? Just this! When Trunkey refused to be kind, the tiny ants called together all their friends. And what do you think the ants did? Every night, hundreds and hundreds of little ants dug tine holes in the wood of the great house of the mean old elephant. Of course, at first, the holes were very small and could hardly be seen. But each night the holes became larger. For months and months the tiny ants worked away — making their holes larger and larger. Those holes make the house weak — finally, the house fell. The tiny ants, by digging their little holes, destroyed the big house and the mighty elephant.
Boys and girls, no matter how strong and powerful you may think you are, there are small things that can destroy you. Venial sins, you know, are small sins. Yes, venial sins can help to destroy your soul. The little holes made by the ants didn’t amount to very much at first, but, after a while, those little holes became big holes and they did lots of damage. You may think that venial sins don’t hurt your soul, but they do. Little by little, venial sins lead you into mortal sin. Venial sins make mortal sin easy.
The man who robs a bank doesn’t start his bad life by robbing banks. Oh no! He starts by stealing little things. If he doesn’t get caught stealing little things, then, he starts to steal big things. If he doesn’t get caught stealing big things, he gets very bold and starts to rob banks. The little sins lead him to big sins. And it’s the same way with you. If you make little sins – venial sins – and don’t try to stop making them, someday the venial sins will lead you into mortal sin.
Be careful, children, and try not to make the smallest venial sin! If you learn to hate venial sin and keep away from venial sin, you’ll never have to worry about making a mortal sin. I know that you are going to try.
Note: Taken from the book "Going His Way" by Fr. Brennan