The Ant and the Dove

Close-Up Of Ant On Leaf
Apisit Saitananuruk / EyeEm / Getty Images

An Ant went to the bank of a river to quench its thirst, and being carried away by the rush of the stream, was on the point of drowning. A Dove sitting on a tree overhanging the water plucked a leaf and let it fall into the stream close to her. The Ant climbed onto it and floated in safety to the bank. Shortly afterward, a birdcatcher came and stood under the tree and laid his lime-twigs for the Dove, which sat in the branches. The Ant, perceiving his design, stung him in the foot. In pain, the birdcatcher threw down the twigs, and the noise made the Dove take wing.


One good turn deserves another

Key Vocabulary Words and Phrases

  • bank of a river: the side of the river where you can stand
  • to quench your thirst: to drink when you are thirsty
  • on the point of: just about to do something
  • to drown: to die in the water because you can't swim
  • to overhang: to be in a position over something else
  • twigs: small branches usually with leaves attached
  • to perceive: to understand
  • One good turn deserves another: If someone does something to help you, you should do something to help him/her when possible.


  • What did the Dove do for the Ant?
  • What did the Ant do for the Dove?
  • Vocabulary Building: Make a list of words related to these categories presented in the fable:​
    • water
    • trees
    • animals
  • Do you have any stories/fables in your culture that has a similar message? If so, try to tell the story or fable in English.
  • Tell a story of when you helped someone who helped you. Explain why.
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Your Citation
Beare, Kenneth. "The Ant and the Dove." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Beare, Kenneth. (2020, August 27). The Ant and the Dove. Retrieved from Beare, Kenneth. "The Ant and the Dove." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 23, 2023).