The Grasshopper and the Ants: A Fable
The Ant and the Grasshopper
From Aesop’s Fables
In a field one summer’s day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart’s content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.
“Why not come and chat with me,” said the Grasshopper, “instead of toiling and moiling in that way?”
“I am helping to lay up food for the winter,” said the Ant, “and recommend you to do the same.”
“Why bother about winter?” said the Grasshopper; “we have got plenty of food at present.”
But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil. When the winter came the Grasshopper had no food, and found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the ants distributing every day corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer. Then the Grasshopper knew: “It is best to prepare for the days of necessity.”
Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.
Disney made an eight-minute animated film of this fable in 1934, tweaking the basic fable to add themes of mercy and redemption. Unfortunately, the video cannot be embedded, but you can see it here: The Ant and the Grasshopper, Disney 1934.
As you watch this short video, consider how the historic context of the Great Depression may have influenced Disney’s retelling of the story.
The best preparation for the future is the present well seen to,
and the last duty done.
Read more of Aesop’s Fables in the online Milo Winter edition at the Library of Congress: Aesop’s Fables.
The 1911 Encyclopedia Brittanica tells us, “AESOP (Gr. “Αίσωποѕ”), famous for his Fables, is supposed to have lived from about 620 to 560 B.C. The place of his birth is uncertain—Thrace, Phrygia, Aethiopia, Samos, Athens and Sardis all claiming the honour. We possess little trustworthy information concerning his life, except that he was the slave of Iadmon of Samos and met with a violent death at the hands of the inhabitants of Delphi.” Read more.