- The Ant and the Grasshopper
"The Ant and the Grasshopper", also known as "The Grasshopper and the Ant" or "The Grasshopper and the Ants", is a
fableattributed to Aesop, providing a moral lesson about hard work and preparation. In the numbering system established for Aesopic fables by B. E. Perry, it is number 373. [cite book |author=Ben Edwin Perry |title=Babrius and Phaedrus |series= Loeb Classical Library|year=1965 |publisher=Harvard University Press |location=Cambridge, MA |isbn=0-674-99480-9 |pages=p. 487, no. 373 ] The fable has been retold or adapted in a number of modern works.
The story has sometimes been used as an example of a
Libertariansociety. [http://www.boogieonline.com/revolution/politics/activism/gifts.html Libertarian themed stories, Young Children 5-9]
The fable concerns a
grasshopperwho has spent the warm months singing away while the ant(or ants in some editions) worked to store up food for winter. After the winter has come, the grasshopper finds itself dying of hunger, and upon asking the ant for food is only rebuked for its idleness. The story is used to teach the virtues of hard work and saving, and the perils of improvidence. Some versions of the fable state a moral at the end, along the lines of:
:"Idleness brings want"
:"To work today is to eat tomorrow":"It is best to prepare for the days of necessity"
Versions of the fable are found in the verse collections of
Babrius(140) and Avianus(34), and in several prose collections including those attributed to Syntipasand Apthonius. In a variant prose form of the fable (Perry 112), the lazy animal is a dung beetle, which finds that the winter rains wash away the dung on which it feeds.
La Fontaineretold the story in a well known version of the 17th century.
Finnegans Wake, James Joyceadapted the tale into a story known as "The Ondt and the Gracehoper".
*"Happier" versions of the fable show the ants taking pity and giving the grasshopper some food, on the premise that turning the grasshopper away in his time of need is also morally questionable. A prime example is the 1934
animated short subjectproduced by Walt Disney. The Queen of the Ants decrees that the grasshopper may stay in the ant colony, but he must play his fiddle in return for his room and board. He agrees to this arrangement, and the ant tunnels become a grand ballroomwhere all the ants happily dance to the music of the grasshopper, who finally learns that he needs to make himself useful. Notably, this short introduced the song "The World Owes Me a Livin'", which would later become a signature tune for Goofy.
*Disney also adaptated the story, less directly, in the "Mickey's Young Readers Library" segment "Mickey and the Big Storm"; in this adaptation,
Donald Duckand Goofy spend the first day of a winter snowstorm playing out in the snow and don't bother to stock up on supplies. Fortunately for them, Mickey has more than enough supplies for himself and his friends.
*The "Timon and Pumbaa" episode "Wide Awake in Wonderland" featured a parody of the story with Timon in the role of the grasshopper and Pumbaa as the ant.
Friz Frelengtwice put a spin on the tale in his Warner Bros. cartoons. " Porky's Bear Facts" depicts Porky Pigworking hard while his lazy neighbor refuses to do anything, only to suffer during winter. " Foney Fables" shows a brief version of the story, in which it turns out that the grasshopper has a war ration card and thus doesn't need to work.
*In the film "
Things Change", Don Amecherecalls an alternate version where the grasshopper eats the ant in the end.
*The fable was retold on "
The Muppet Show" in the episode guest-starring Bernadette Peters. Sam the Eaglenarrates the story which ends with the being stepped on and the driving his sports car to Florida.
*Elements of the fable were loosely adapted as part of the storyline of the
Pixarfilm " A Bug's Life". In this instance, though, there are multiple grasshoppers, and they act as Mafia-like tyrants who demand a tributeof food from the ant colony, even though the ants within far outnumber the grasshoppers.
*"The Ant and the Grasshopper" was made into a song by
Leon Rosselsonin the 1970s. The song tells the story much as Aesop did.
Toni Morrisonwrote the 2003 children's book "Who's Got Game?: The Ant or the Grasshopper?" in which the old fable is given a new spin in order to provoke a discussion about the importance of art. The grasshopper represents the artisan. Some times the Leo Lionnibook "Frederick" touches upon similar issues of art versus gathering winter food stores.
*The story is briefly alluded to in the song STALKER, by the Japanese band
The Pillows. The line can be translated as "A rocker working like an ant/ Are you harvesting for the winter?". In comparison to the story, this line (spoken by the Last stalker in the song, who claims to always have time for fun) could easily be attributed to the grasshopper.
Futuramaepisode " My Three Suns," Fry recounts the story of "The Grasshopper and the Octopus" as a rationalization for laziness: "All year long the grasshopper kept burying acorns for winter, while the octopus mooched off his girlfriend and watched TV. But then the winter came, and the grasshopper died, and the octopus ate all his acorns. And also, he got a racecar. Isn't any of this getting through to you?"
Lee and Herringparodied the fable on their series Fist of Fun. In which Richard Herring references the fable to illustrate his diligence to writing the script whereas Stewart Lee would lazily leave all his work. Stewart Lee then recites his amended fable of The Ant and the Man, which demonstrates that tales involving animals have no bearing on human behaviour as we are capable of rationalised thought above natural instinct.
*On 5th of November, 2006, Jong-Cherl Yeon wrote in his comic-book format diary known as
Marinebluesan alternate version of this fable in which the price of the grasshopper's house rises by 300,000,000 Won after 3 years of lazing about, and the ant only earns 3,000,000 Won despite working hard for 3 years.
*A modern satirical version of the story, making the rounds since at least 2002, has the grasshopper calling a press conference at the beginning of the winter to complain about socio-economic inequity, and being given the ant's house. This version was written in 1994 by Pittsburgh talk show guru, Jim Quinn. [http://www.warroom.com/antgh.php] Conservative columnist
Michelle Malkinalso updated the story in connection with the proposed 2008 banking rescue package. [http://michellemalkin.com/2008/09/26/the-ant-and-the-grasshopper-2008-edition/]
*An alternate version was shown during a wartime cartoon that has the grasshopper not worried about food because he invested in warbonds.
W. Somerset Maughamwrote a short story, published in 1960, titled "The Ant and The Grasshopper". It concerns two brothers, one of whom is a hard worker, and the other is a dissolute moocher. At the end of the story, the "grasshopper" brother marries a rich widow, who promptly dies and leaves him a fortune.
*An episode of
Super Why!tells this tale in a slightly different way, wherein the Ant tells the Grasshopper that there is food atop a tall mountain, and shows the grasshopper how to get there. However, when the Grasshopper arrives, a Cricket has taken the last of the food. In "Super Why!" style, the "Super Readers" change the story, and the Grasshopper is then given Winterberry seeds, which he plants and they grow into a holly bush, resplendant with holly berries. This is a way of teaching a central "Super Why" character to get prepared early, instead of delaying his preparations until it is too late.
The story can be translated into different outlooks on life. The reader can interpret the ant as both
collectivistand individualist. On one hand, the ant represents the sharing of resources among equals in a way similar to how ants function in colonies. On the other hand, the staunch refusal of the ant to provide basic life support to the dying grasshopper can be seen as an example of strong individualism. This view of individualism would be similar to the writings of Ayn Randand Libertarianswho advocate a lifestyle of strong self-reliance. Another one of Aesop's much lesser-known fables that takes a slighly different tack is The Den of Wolves, which talks about socialismand leadership by example.
In the 20th century, depictions of the story often toned down the consequences to the grasshopper as it was no longer morally acceptable to allow the grasshopper to die. Such modifications of the story still provide the same moral lessons to the reader, but allow more room for forgiveness. In this way, modern versions reflect the social safety nets set up by western governments which provide basic subsistence living to the most destitute of society. In fact, a popular conservative version of this story satirizes this perceived difference in the function of society. In this version, the grasshopper receives government aid for his hedonistic lifestyle while the hardworking ant suffers. Other versions have shown a grasshopper playing the
race card, arguing that the ant has an unfair advantage over "disadvantaged grasshoppers".
A Bug's Life
* [http://www.mythfolklore.net/aesopica/perry/373.htm Perry 373 at Aesopica]
* [http://www.mythfolklore.net/aesopica/perry/112.htm Perry 112 at Aesopica]
* [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1571/is_15_18/ai_84971459 Moral has changed in updated tale of the ant and grasshopper (2002-04-29)]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
The Man in the High Castle — … Wikipedia
The Triplets — ( ca. Les Tres Bessones) are three fictional characters (Anna, Teresa and Elena) created by Catalan children s literature illustrator Roser Capdevila.The Triplets were created in 1983, based on Capdevila s own daughters, three actual triplets… … Wikipedia
The Talking Mother Goose — was an animated character toy created by Alchemy II and Worlds of Wonder, in 1986. An interesting notion about this incarnation is that Mother Goose is a goose, not a human as usually portrayed. How Mother Goose Worked Like most Worlds of Wonder… … Wikipedia
The Little Red Hen — is an old folk tale, most likely of Russian origin. The best known version in the United States is that popularized by Little Golden Books, a series of children s books published for the mass market since the 1940s. The story is applied in… … Wikipedia
Grasshopper — Taxobox name = Caelifera fossil range=Late Permian Recent image width = 250px image caption = Immature grasshopper regnum = Animalia phylum = Arthropoda subphylum = Hexapoda classis = Insecta ordo = Orthoptera subordo = Caelifera subdivision… … Wikipedia
Ant — For other uses, see Ant (disambiguation). Ants Temporal range: 130–0 Ma … Wikipedia
The Bugaloos — Infobox Television show name = The Bugaloos format = Children s television series runtime = 0:25 (per episode) producer = Sid and Marty Krofft starring = John McIndoe Caroline Ellis John Philpott Wayne Laryea Martha Raye Billy Barty Sharon Baird… … Wikipedia
Superman character and cast — Superman, given the serial nature of comic publishing and the length of the character s existence, has evolved as a character as his adventures have increased. Initially a crime fighter, the character was seen in early adventures stepping in to… … Wikipedia
Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? — Bob and Terry in Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? Format Sitcom Starrin … Wikipedia
List of the animals in the Bible — See main article Animals in the Bible. The following is a list of animals whose name appears in the Bible. Whenever required for the identification, the Hebrew name will be indicated, as well as the specific term used by Zoologists. This list… … Wikipedia