Pedro Bernardo traveled up and down the Amazon River by canoe selling Christian books to the villagers he passed. At night he’d find a quiet nook by a protected bank, tie his boat to a tree limb, and drift to sleep amid the muffled sounds of the jungle.
Early one morning he discovered that he’d tied his canoe to a very dangerous tree. No, the limbs and leaves weren’t the problem. It was what lived in the tree that almost cost him his life.
The sting of the fire ant can burn like a flame. If enough of the large creatures sting you, you die. As Pedro slumbered under that particular tree that night, an army of fire ants began marching down the rope, heading straight for the weary literature evangelist.
At that moment a gentle breeze drifted across the waters, pushing the free end of the canoe around until it came to rest against the limb of another tree. Unknown to the slumbering Christian, this tree contained a colony of black ants—deadly enemies of the fire ants. A new army swarmed down the limb, boarded the canoe, and met the fire ants just a couple feet from Pedro’s head.
All night long a fierce, silent war raged, with casualties on both sides. At dawn, when Pedro awakened, he rolled over to discover that his canoe had been a battleground and was littered with dead and dying fire ants. Their black cousins had gained the upper hand and driven the red army out of the canoe, back up the rope, and into their own tree.