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Try, Try Again!

Fifty Famous People

James Baldwin

There was once a famous ruler of Tartary whose name was Tamerlane.
Like Alexander the Great, he wished to become the master of the whole
world. So he raised a great army and made war against other countries.
He conquered many kings and burned many cities.

But at last his army was beaten; his men were scattered; and Tamerlane fled alone from the field of battle.

For a long time he wandered in fear from place to place. His foes were looking for him. He was in despair. He was about to lose all hope.

One day he was lying under a tree, thinking of his misfortunes. He had now been a wanderer for twenty days. He could not hold out much longer. Suddenly he saw a small object creeping up the trunk of the tree. He looked more closely and saw that it was an ant. The ant was carrying a grain of wheat as large as itself.

As Tamerlane looked, he saw that there was a hole in the tree only a little way above, and that this was the home of the ant. "You are a brave fellow, Mr. Ant," he said; "but you have a heavy load to carry."

Just as he spoke, the ant lost its footing and fell to the ground. But it still held on to the grain of wheat.

A second time it tried to carry its load up the rough trunk of the tree, and a second time it failed.

Tamerlane watched the brave little insect. It tried three times, four times, a dozen times, twenty times—but always with the same result.

Then it tried the twenty-first time. Slowly, one little step at a time, it crept up across the rough place where it had slipped and fallen so often. The next minute it ran safely into its home, carrying its precious load. "Well done!" said Tamerlane. "You have taught me a lesson. I, too, will try, try again, till I succeed."

And this he did.

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