Goly and the ants

trueish story about symbiosis by Hrvoje Bielen


It is widely believed that golems are made of clay by God or Gods who inserts scroll with a magic word in their mouth to give them life. Well, the truth is much more down to earth. Actually pretty low on Earth itself. Small bugs scarabs roll balls of dung while small patches of dust stick to it in the process. When it dries up in a smelly lump they fall off. Is it something in the dung or what not that adds small parts of life in it, no one knows, but that’s beside the point.

It lives!

If nature chances a rain and small living parts start to float down the small stream they collide with each other strangely attracted. Small lumps slowly become bigger. And that’s how golems became. True at first they just roll around looking for other rolling stones, but when they meet there is much rejoice that results in what is closest to sexual encounter if it can be called that. The result is one bigger ball which can eventually after few similar tete-a-tetes extend small extremities. In this stage they are called golemites and are extremely fragile and scared. Scared shitless. Which is weird since that same material gave them the spark of life in the first place. In any case they lay low trying not to be seen but still led by their noses or something that works in similar fashion they find each other, stick together and grow.

If golemite is lucky, it can grow to fully grown golem in one to two hundred years, but sometimes it can last as long as a millennium. The golem that is part of this particular story wasn’t a lucky one. He grew for seven hundred years until it finally felt complete. After that final encounter it stretched its hands and back. There was a dull sound like when your mum decides that small lemon tree in a corner of the terrace would be better of on the opposite side and, with some cussing involved, drags the big clay pot to the other side. Add some gravel and dirt to the mix and you get the sound of golem stretching its limbs.

For the sake of the story and to build upon the character, let’s name our golem Goly. Goly was pretty heavy at this point. His one ton of clay, dirt, dung and straw pressed pretty deep with every step leaving huge prints everywhere he walked. Some were just circles in dry floor, but some were little puddles of mud or rain. After those hundreds of years of hanky panky with other golems it’s hard to push aside old habits so his main preoccupation was in looking for Golyana. Well, don’t get misled at this point. Golems don’t have sex, but for reader’s sake it is easier to consider all other golems to be girls and Golyana is a suitable name. Don’t you think? In his pursuit of Golyana it was easiest just to look for the footprints which he did vigorously. Even sexless sapients find great pleasure in encounters with partners interested in some hanky panky activities. But Goly also looked around him. He found great interest in his surroundings. Sky and land, water and sand. It all fascinated him beyond belief. And since golems don’t ever sleep or stop doing what they do he haven’t missed anything. He saw such landscapes that if he had a photo camera, or at least a notion what strange device actually is, the National Geographic would feature him as photographer of the decade.

On his endless stroll he chanced upon a field seeded with hundreds of huge ant hills. While walking among them and examining every one he passed by he noticed all kind of activities done by small creatures. Collecting food and bringing it to their home hills. Warrior groups marching between hills and low trees in lookout for any threat or just someone to fight with. His mind was so taken aback by all this that he didn’t notice a soft rain started to pour and little by little grew to a storm. His feet were drowning in deeper than before since ground took moist. With every step depth increased. Suddenly soft ground gave up and he fell in. Sank to such a depth that only his head was above ground. Instantly he was covered by ant armies and other interested parties. They tried to fight him, but it just didn’t make any effect. His clay skin was untouched by anything they tried. Wet dirt was pouring in in a muddy stream. He was stuck. Finally he was completely buried up to his chin in a thick mud. Rain stopped and the Sun showed up behind departing clouds. Mud became a solid ground around him rendering him completely unmovable. What could he do? Golems don’t have a notion of passing of time so he just stayed there and looked at ants milling around him. Eventually some interaction or at least wishful communication had to happen. Ants started to walk up and down his face region usually occupied by nose on human faces. Just repeatedly up and down. Up and down. Up and down. If it was some kind of ant language, Goly couldn’t say. Some time later he spoke in his earthy dry and deep voice.

— Hoy Anties What Are You Doing? — Yes, golems are not big on interpunction, intonation and possibility of wrong interpretation. When they talk it’s closer to just piling words together. Each one as a start of a new sentence.

There is one more thing about the golems. Since they’re made from earth, dung and other living material they possess another kind of magic. Natural and living magic. When they speak everyone can just understand them. So, if they ever decide to come out of hiding and start to live among the people they can pursue another fine career beside traveling and documenting and that is a respected job of universal translator. But it is highly improbable they’ll ever venture in any of that since mere sight of humans scares them into oblivion. Can’t say why.

So, Goly asked a question. And ants stood still. Still and stiff for a long time. They just didn’t know what to do or to fathom what they should do or what is expected of them. Little by little they backed away until there was no living ant in sight. They all hid in their ant hill.

Few weeks passed. Or was it a few months? At last one ant with trembling legs came up to his face, climbed on his nose and said.
— Hello, mister golem. — his voice was weak and tiny. Almost whispered.
— Hoy Anty. Where Are You Lot? — Goly asked.
— Why did you… What? Oh, we are down in our home. Thinking and talking about you. We never experienced anything like you before and we don’t know what to do. Thousand of our warriors stinged you, and stinged you, and stinged you. But you seem not to notice anything. So we talked and quarrelled. Emissaries from other ant hills came to see you. And they sting you by thousands. We did our little tests on you. Entered your crevices for a closer inspection, but all we found was a warm and cosy place. And finally we held a big referendum which decided that our whole house move in you. So we dug deep and hard and made a nice little place for us. And then riots broke. Some of our ants insisted that what we did is wrong. So, I drew the shortest straw and here I am talking to you. Asking your opinion and possibly permission to continue our endeavor. — Well, this took some time to be said and even longer to settle down on Goly’s hearing pottery.
— You Did What?
— We stung you and build our home inside you. — The ant started to back away. This was just too much for his small heart.
— We would like, with your permission, to continue tasks given by our Queen. Great Morchella, Mother of all, Queen protector of this ant hill and the Biggest she-ant on this side of the tree.
— Well… I… Who… You Did What?
— We moved inside of you. But I understand. I’ll tell them that you’re furious and we’ll move out. — he added hurriedly.
— Wait A Second There Ant. First Of All Tell Me Your Name.
— Buzzard. My name is Buzzard, first of my name.
— Well Listen Here Bastard… — Buzzard. — Sorry, Buzzard. I’m Little Freaked Out With The Information You Gave Me. And I’ll Have To Think About It. Process It And Come To A Conclusion. I’ll Call You When I’m Done.
— That is all I ask. Thank you, oh Great one.
— My Name Is Goly. Don’t call me. I’ll Call You.
So, the Buzzard went away relieved to be off. Hurriedly if I ever saw someone hurry away.

Goly, left alone, at least on the outside, started thinking. And observing the world around with this new sight of a building block. For the first time since he was buried he tried to move. He couldn’t but for a tiniest measure. The only result was a rumbling sound from inside of him. Golems don’t have indigestion, so that was probably thousand of small ant houses knocking down in terrible earthquake called Goly’s try to move. He didn’t like that. He imagined sad little ants by their destroyed houses. But it was his body, not some hood for ants to simply move in and settle down. This was impossible. This was improbable. This was rape. This was unheard of. At least he never heard of anything like it. Life had to go back to normal. This was unacceptable.

— Oh Hoy Peck. How Are you? How Are Trina And Kids? — Welcoming the interruption, Goly said to the sparrow who landed by his ear.
— We are great. Thank you. And how are you Goly, me dear old friend?
— Oh You Wouldn’t Believe What Happened To Me. I’m Stuck In This Hole Except That It Isn’t A Hole Any More Since Dirt Sipped All Around Me Burying Me In This Anty Hill. Well Not A Hill Any More But An Anty Earth Scraper. — Sparrow watched him, not knowing where to start with questions. So, Goly told him the whole story and Peck listened with his beak open. Wider with every piled word and sentence. In the end he just stood there watching at the giant and tried to process what he heard, but his mind just went blank. There was nothing that could even barely be put in a sentence. Only a big puzzlement and surprise.
— Well, Goly. Me and me family live in your ear for almost our whole lives when we migrated out of the city. There is a nice warm moss there which me Trina just loves and takes care of. We are greatly thankful for your hospitality and hope that our company and worm extermination is almost equal to that.
— What Are You Saying Peck? You’re Not Living Here Just To Work For Me. I Enjoy Your Company And Our Little Talks While I Walk The Countryside. But Nonetheless Thank You Enormously For Taking Care Of My Pest Problem. What Will I Do With These Antys?
— I really don’t know what to tell you me dear old friend. And landlord. I hope you get to the bottom of this. — The sparrow said and flew away after some food he noticed in nearby grass.

What To Do? What To Do? Goly asked himself. Peck and Trina with their kids were nice neighbors, but sometimes their constant yapping just drove him crazy. If there wasn’t a pest problem and sparrow’s control of it, he’d probably finger-pick them out of his ear once and for all. What To D… Wait! I Know!
— Anty! Buzzard! Hoy Anty! — he called.
Few moments later Buzzard came out of his nostril and climbed to the peak of his nose. — Sorry about that, oh Great One. You called? — Yes I Did. Tell Me Anty Aren’t You Antys Good With Digging?
— We are, oh Might one. — answered Buzzard with a trembling voice since he didn’t know where this conversation was going. — Well Could You Dig Me Out Of This Crap?
— It’s funny you should ask this since it’s crap in your body mass that is keeping us warm, nice and cuddly. — Oh Don’t Play Smart With Me Anty. You Know What I Mean. Dig Me Out Of Here And Keep Away From My Nose And I’ll Let You Stay. You Your Queeny And Your Big Family. You’ll Just Have To Figure Out How To Build Stronger Structures To Be Able To Withstand Shaking And Rumbling When I Move About. — I see, oh Gargantuan one. — Stop Calling Me That Before I Change My Mind And Shake You All To Smithereens.
— I am sorry, oh gre… Ups. Sorry, Goly sir.
— Yes Yes All Right.
— We will talk and counsel and I’ll inform you of our answer.
— Yes. Do That Anty. Oh And Buzzard. Don’t Be A Bastard About This. Be Quick About It. I Don’t Have Another Millenia.
Ant went back inside. Not through his nose this time. There are thousands of cracks and crevices on the golem of Goly’s size.

And Goly waited. He never really waited in his long life. Always on the move. Always on the lookout for Golyana. And now, there was nothing for him to do but wait, and look, intake surroundings that weren’t passing by. After a few weeks — or was it months again — he fall asleep. For the first time in seven hundred years. It wasn’t actual sleep, sleep like sensation that humans experience. It was more like standby mode but without red flashing light and inaccurate clock. He had a vision, or maybe more appropriate word would be screensaver, of him running through the grassy fields with his Golyana by his side. She was teasing, which is like being hit with a baseball bat when translated into human touches. He was having fun chasing her and she hid behind giant boulder winking at him and calling him. Then he caught her and the intercourse started. Now let me tell you more so you don’t get the wrong idea. Have you ever seen snails mating? They hug and squeeze. It’s the same, but in the end of golem’s intercourse there is only one emerging from the earthy hug. And that one is larger in every direction. New Goly stretched his limbs and his gaze fell over the boulder. To his surprise there was a human town there. Or was it a village? No matter. Human place is a human place. Second rule of golem’s lore is to avoid humans at all costs. The first is to find Golyana of course. At that moment he turned on into here and now. Still buried in the anthill or the anthole to be precise. He relaxed for a moment. Imagine that it was true. He thought to himself. Phew. It’s not. A fight with humans is the last thing that he needs.

Couple of weeks later, or was it months, an ant came to his head. Of course, it was a different ant altogether.
— Hello, oh great Goly. — he said.
— Hoy Anty. As I Already Said To Your Predecessor Don’t Call Me That.
— Oh, great one, but I’m instructed not to call you anything else. — said ant slightly embarrassed.
— Why Is That And What Is Your Name By The Way?
— My name is Barry. I’m great great son of Buzzard, the Golem Talker, which is also my calling now. The great council of ants decided that you’re the deity and that we should worship you as such. By the pain of instant death.
— Well… I’m… I’m… I’m Flattered By That Of Course But…
— No buts. Just us ants find your proposal to be godly gift and we wish to comply to your bidding.
— Well That Is Awfully Nice Of You. What Else Did Your Council Decide?
— Well, we.. Oh, they… I mean us… Well, there is no other way to say it but exactly how it is. We wish that you marry our Queen, and after she perishes the next one, and the next one afterwards, and so forth. That way we’ll be familiarly bound to you, as well as you will be bound to us. For us ants, family is a pretty sacred thing, and would mean a lot to us. And the Queen would be crestfallen if you decide to turn her down.
— Well Barry What Can I Say To Such An Offer? We Golems Don’t Marry. We Kind Of Just Go For A Physical Part Of A Relationship. And Will That Marriage Arrangement Get Me Out Of The Ground?
— Oh, it surely will your holiness. — said Barry visibly relaxed. — Queen promised not to wait a second after you agreed to her, I mean our terms, oh great one. It will be done as soon as possible. We will divide our forces. Two thirds will dig around you, and remaining one third will build our structures inside you. So when you’re free of the anthole we will stay together for ever walking the Earth with you.
— Barry I Decided. Tell Your People… I Mean Antsys. I’ll Gladly Accept Your Suggestion And I’ll Marry Your Queens Until The World Ends. — Barry the ant was happy with this answer so he hurriedly went away to tell the news to his Queen.

Goly could hear tiny hubbub from inside and few minutes later Barry emerged with a big grin.
— Queen is very pleased with your answer oh great Goly, God of infinite lodgings. Her royal highness Queen Morchella the third, Mother of all, Queen protector of this ant hill, the Biggest she-ant on this side of the tree, Future first wife to the Great Goly the golem, God of infinite lodgings and her court will be with you shortly. She wanted to present herself and to go forth with the marriage. If you’d address her as Your majesty that would bring a lot of happiness and blessings on the event and future dealings.

Goly sighed and waited. Not long after small litter was carried out by an army of warrior ants. It was made from very fragile material which to Goly seemed like it’s made from spiders web. Tender, light and white. There were few dew drops on it. It looked highly celebratory and luxurious. From the litter the ant queen emerged. She looked directly to her future husband and gave him a big warm smile. You know, like ant. He returned it not knowing what will happen next.
— Are you Great Goly, the God of infinite lodgings and my future husband to be?
— I Am Your Majesty. I’m Asking For Your Hand In Marriage.
— I am gladly giving you my hand oh, great one. All of them.
She took a deep breath.
— Let them all hear that I, Morchella the third, the ant Queen protector of this ant hill, the Biggest she-ant on this side of the tree take this golem as my husband. In the process he is named King of the ants and lord protector of the realm. From now on I shall be known as Morchella the third, the ant Queen protector of ant’s walking realm, the Biggest she-ant, First wife to the Great Goly, King of the same realm, God of infinite lodgings. To you, my husband, I give the freedom to go wherever you wish.
— Great Queen Morchella The Third I Am Your Husband And King. To You My Queen I Give This Body Of Mine To Live In. I Hope You Will Find It Satisfactory.
— My dear husband, you just keep a steady pace and we will be all right. The diggings will commence momentarily and hope they’ll finish soon. I bid you goodbye.
— Good Bye My Queen. My wife.
So, It was finally happening. He just had to wait for a little while and his little tenants will set him free. Little while turned into a couple of years. Well, what did you expect? Ants are small and Goly was huge. When he was free from his waist upwards he somehow struggled out the rest of himself by himself. And that was it. He was free. Free to roam wherever he wanted to. Only now he was married. Of course Morchella perished a long time ago, but her successor, and her successor, and her successor were all his wives and queens, while he was their king. And it lasted for eternity.

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