Leiningen Versus the Ants

by Carl Stephenson

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How does Leiningen defeat the ants in "Leiningen Versus the Ants"?

Quick answer:

Leiningen finally defeats the ants by running through the army of ants to reach the wheel of the weir, which is nearly two miles away. He successfully floods the basin around his property, drowning the advancing army of ants before they can attack his men and animals.

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When his farm faces an incredible army of flesh-eating ants, Leiningen defiantly wages war on them. The ants prove a formidable adversary, circumventing several physical hurdles that Leiningen places in their path. The ants find a way to bypass a moat, offering themselves as scarifies so that their fellow ants can use their dead bodies as a bridge. They retreat from the petrol until they can buy themselves much-needed time to recover. Later, they chop down leaves and use them as rafts to make their way across the currents surrounding Leiningen's property.

A couple of Leiningen's men become so hopeless that they attempt to escape through the ants; they are quickly covered in the vicious little beasts and, tormented, throw themselves into the river, where they are eaten by crocodiles and piranhas. For a moment, even Leiningen wonders if there is anything that can sweep "this devil's spawn back into the hell from which it came."

Leiningen realizes that if he can reach the wheel of the weir at the dam, he can unleash the force of the river onto his property; this would flood the basin full of ants yet spare his home and outbuildings. He realizes that he is the only one who has the grit to complete the task and informs his men of the plan.

Although Leniningen fully covers himself in clothing, mosquito goggles, and petrol-covered rags, the ants begin to cover him as soon as he leaps into their midst en route to the dam. He reaches the dam, successfully unleashes the force of the river, and floods the basin. By the time he returns to his men, Leiningen's flesh is chewed to the bone in places. Despite the great physical pain Leiningen endures, he is finally victorious over the ants.

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