A Fable Retold: The Ant and the Grasshopper
One long summer days ago, there lived a little ant worker, Annie the Red Ant, and a big green grasshopper, Happie the Grasshopper in a land where there’s only a winter and a summer.
One sunny day, Annie the Red Ant huffed heavily as she carried on her back a grain of sweet seed thrice her weight. She paced and pushed herself up into a thread of a terrain. She paused for a moment. Then, she climbed up to a small boulder, put the grain down and rested. Over the mound, she looked around the wide field of grass before her.
“How beautiful!” she exclaimed.
The grass all over the field reflected a soothing panorama of green, yellow and brown sparkles. Their blades lifted their hands in praise of the beauty of the day. Annie’s joy overflowed.
“ It’s not as warm today,” she whispered as the gentle breeze rocked and swayed the grass left and right. The greenish blades and the yellowish ones seemed to dance in pairs as if dancing with her in heartbeats of rhythm and delight. The sun, too, stood at attention – waiting to dance with the clouds; smiling at her.
“What a delightful day to work, indeed,” Annie exhaled.
A sudden distraction got her back from her reverie. Happie the Grasshopper carelessly hopped by, yelling as boisterously and mockingly.
“Hey, Annie, why work yourself to death on this beautiful day?” Happie the Grasshopper yelled with a wicked grin twinkling on his large eyes. Happie seemed to have no worries at all. His strong legs and his fast wings catapulted him here and there, hopping back and forth and around the hardworking red ant worker.
“Come and play!” He mocked. “Why won’t you have some fun, little girl?” He sneered. “Your queen’s not around and not one ant soldier’s watching,” he teased.
“I have fun doing my job,” Annie sweetly replied. “Why won’t you enjoy working on this wonderful day, Happie?” she said with genuine concern.
“Naah, this day is too beautiful to waste,” Happie the Grasshopper snorted. “Let’s eat, hop and be merry for tomorrow we die,” he laughed without a hint of care of the present or the future.
“I can work some other time, you know,” Happie reasoned. “Now’s the best time to play and rest and play some more and sleep and sleep some more and…” he sang as merrily without end.
Day in and day out that whole summer, Annie the Red Ant carried sweet seeds and grains and food of all types from all places. She stored them for the winter days ahead when all ants’ breathing and metabolism would slow away down. When she’s not collecting food, Annie took great care of some of the larvae by feeding and washing them. The industrious ant worker labored with joy unmindful of the end of the summer days.
While Happie the Grasshopper hopped his days away, Annie the Red Ant had great fun working, collecting, caring and preparing for the hard days ahead. Annie was joyous while Happie was merely happy in those wondrous days.
Then, the harsh winter came. Snow covered the once greenish and brownish field. The blades of grass bowed low and pressed down by the heavy weight of winter. An all-white blanket suffocated the place. A strong wind splattered flakes, snow and ice. Happie the Grasshopper was care-free no more. He’s scared. He’s cold. He’s hungry.
“I’m starving,” cried the grasshopper. “My legs got numbed; my wings got frozen,” he groaned. “What on earth am I doing with my short summer days?” He moaned.
Annie the Red Ant, on the other hand, snuggled as securely and as comfortably in her colony. With all of the ant workers and soldiers and the ant queen with all of her larvae, they’re well-fed, well-cared for, well-rested, well-protected from the deathly cold of cruel winter.
Amidst the winter storm, Happie the Grasshopper torturously turned to ice with his wicked grin showing mockery and regret of the lazy bone that he was - in all those joyous, wondrous summer times.
Moral Lesson of the Story:
“Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider her ways and be wise! Without any chief, officer or ruler, she prepares her food in summer and gathers her sustenance in harvest.” (Proverbs 6:6-8, RSV)
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