Episode 56: Antz

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When you think about it, we human beings are actually sharing the whole planet earth with millions of millions of animals. We are just one out the millions of millions of living creatures. How much are we interacting with the other creatures every day? How are our behaviors affecting the others? And how is that affect us? It seems in Chinese mythology or in the ancient time in general, people were really embracing the nature more than we do now. Today we are going to talk about a story of a man saving an ant.

This story was earliest recorded in the book QiXieJi 齐谐记 and was also included in the book TaiPingYuLan 太平御览 and SouShenJi 搜神记. It says there was a man named Dong Zhaozhi 董昭之. One day he was on a boat across the QianTang River 钱塘江, while he saw an ant on a short reed floating on the river. The ant crawled from one end of the reed to the other and back and forth like it panicked. Dong Zhaozhi said, “the poor ant is scared of death” and picked up the ant from the water. Other passengers on the boat yelled at him with disgust, “this is a biting gross bug. I have to step on it.” Dong Zhaozhi pitied the little ant and saved it. That night, Dong Zhaozhi had a dream that a man wearing black clothes with a bunch of followers to thank him and said, “I am the ant the king who fell into the river by accident today. Thank you so much for saving my life and please let me know when you need help in the future.”


After ten years or so, there was a robbery happened near the neighborhood where Dong Zhaozhi lived. And he was made the scapegoat by the local government and got arrested. In prison, Dong Zhaozhi thought of the dream he had. However he had no idea how to inform the ant king he was in trouble. The man shared the same cell asked him what was going on. Dong Zhaozhi told him everything he went through. The man said, “all you need to do is grab some ants and tell them. The king will know.” I guess it is pretty easy to find ants in prisons. So Dong Zhaozhi just did so.

At night, the black clothing man showed up in his dream and said.”go run away to the Mountain Yuhang 余杭山. The emperor’s pardons will be given soon.” When he woke up, he found out the shackles on his body was bitten away by ants and he ran away. Not too long after, he got pardon from the government.


齐谐记 QiXieJi

太平御览 TaiPingYuLan

搜神记 SouShenJi


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