Oban's Myths & Legends
The Ant and the Grasshopper
Aesop fable retold by Oban
On a beautiful summer day a grasshopper hopped around lazily in the grass. He was warm, happy and well-fed, and he was chirping and singing to himself because life was good.
Suddenly he heard noises coming from some taller leaves, something being dragged along, then soft panting and a sigh.
The grasshopper hopped closer and pushed aside the leaves with one of his front legs so that he could see what was happening.
An ant was slowly dragging a large ear of corn, its back legs bent under the weight. Every step was an effort and the ant was breathing hard.
The grasshopper hopped in front of the ant. “What are you doing?” he asked. “It’s much too hot to be working today.” The ant stopped and looked at him. “I’m moving corn to our nest” he answered, panting again.
“Come and hang-out with me,” invited the grasshopper, “instead of wearing yourself out. We can sit in the cool and chat.”
The ant sighed. “I can’t. We’re storing food for the winter and I’ve got to do my bit. You should be doing the same.”
“Oh, I’m not bothered about winter,” laughed the grasshopper. “There’s plenty of food around. It’s been such a good year. Come on, rest in the cool for a while.”
“Can’t,” muttered the ant as he started dragging the corn ear again. “Moving this corn is really important.”
“Okay then,” said the grasshopper, “see you around.” And he hopped back through the leaves and started singing again while the ant kept working.
Summer turned to autumn. The days were cooler but the grasshopper still found food easily so he was happy. But when winter arrived the snow fell earlier than usual and finding food each day was more difficult for the grasshopper. He didn’t sing any more and he felt cold all the time.
He had to keep moving and looking for food, but some days he found nothing but snow to eat. He got weaker and weaker until one day he couldn’t move at all. Several ants came by as he was lying in the snow. “One of their nests must be close by” he thought. “The ants will give me food.”
But he was too weak to move and the ants didn’t know he was there. He called out: “help, please help me. I need food,” but the ants were too far away and too busy to hear him. They were running around in and out of their nest, bringing food to each other and making sure everyone had enough to eat.”
The grasshopper knew then that the ant he had met back in summer had been right. He should not have wasted all his time when food was plentiful.
He hadn’t thought that this winter might be worse than usual. And because he hadn’t stored food for himself or helped anyone else to do it, he would not live to see another summer.
What is the moral of this story?
It is best to prepare for winter because winter always comes, and some winters may be worse than others.
There is a time for work and a time for play.
Save for a Rainy Day.