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Aesop's Fables: The Ant and the Grasshopper

13. The Ant and the Grasshopper - synopsis

A grasshopper lazes around in the sunshine, eating and playing music with its wings. It makes fun of a passing ant for working so hard, dragging food back to its nest. The ant is preparing for winter, but the grasshopper can’t be bothered to do that kind of work.

When the winter comes, the grasshopper is starving. Coming across the ant, he asks for something to eat. Remembering the grasshopper’s jibes during the summer, the ant refuses and hurries back to its nest.

The Ant and the Grasshopper - supporting resources:

  1. The Ant and the Grasshopper - print story
  2. Complete Teacher's Notes

Story transcript - The Ant and the Grasshopper

One hot summer’s day a Grasshopper sat on a blade of grass enjoying the sunshine.

‘What a fine day,’ he said. ‘The sun’s shining and I’ve got as much grass as I can eat.’

The Grasshopper spent the whole morning stuffing his face until he couldn’t eat another thing.

‘Right,’ he said. ‘Now I’ll make some music.’

He rubbed his back legs against his wings and made a loud buzzing sound.

‘Lovely,’ said the Grasshopper. ‘Nothing better than the sound of a happy Grasshopper.’

‘Give it a rest,’ said a passing Ant.

‘What?’ said the Grasshopper.

‘I’m trying to work here,’ said the Ant. ‘You’re giving me a headache.’

‘You don’t like my music?’ said the Grasshopper

‘Not my kind of thing,’ said the Ant. ‘Anyway ain’t got time to stand around talking about music. Got stuff to do.’

‘Stuff?’ said the Grasshopper. ‘What stuff have you got to do on a lovely sunny morning like this?’

‘Gotta get this food shifted,’ said the Ant.

The Grasshopper noticed that the Ant was dragging along a huge ear of corn.

‘That looks like hard work, mate,’ said the Grasshopper.

‘Tell me about it,’ said the Ant.

‘What you doing with it?’ said the Grasshopper.

‘Taking it to our nest,’ said the Ant.

‘What’re you doing that for?’

‘Food for the winter,’ said the Ant. ‘Gotta get ready for the winter.’

‘Why?’ said the Grasshopper. ‘Winter won’t come for ages. Won’t be winter till...the winter. It’s summer now. Why worry about the winter?’

‘We always worry about the winter.’ said the Ant. ‘We spend all summer gathering up food for the winter. It’s what we Ants do.’

‘It’s not what Grasshoppers do,’ said the Grasshopper. ‘We Grasshoppers know how to enjoy the summer. Eat...sleep...make some cool music...It’s a fine life. We Grasshoppers know how to live, see.’

‘Right,’ said the Ant. ‘I’ll leave you to it.’

‘Don’t go Ant, mate,’ said the Grasshopper. ‘Stick around. Pass the day with me.’

‘Sorry.’ said the Ant. ‘Like I said I got stuff to do.’

The Ant dragged his ear of corn and struggled off across the field.

‘Please yourself,’ called the Grasshopper. ‘I’m not bothered. I got stuff to do too. Got all this grass to eat. Got the sun to enjoy. Not gonna waste a lovely day like this talking to Ants.’

‘Have you ever seen a more silly creature than an Ant?’ shouted the grasshopper.

It was winter. The Grasshopper was cold. Too cold to hop. Too cold to make his music. And he was hungry. He’d spent all day looking for something to eat. Suddenly he saw the Ant.

‘Hello Ant,’ he shivered. ‘Remember me?’

‘Yep,’ said the Ant.

‘Cold,’ isn’t it,’ said the Grasshopper.

‘Nice and warm in our nest,’ said the Ant.

‘Not so much to eat now is there,’ said the Grasshopper.

‘We’ve got plenty,’ said the Ant. ‘Our store rooms are full of seeds and corn. Got loads of food. Enough to see us safely through to Spring.’

‘Loads of food eh?’ said the Grasshopper. ‘Look...mate...I don’t suppose I could..? I don’t suppose you’d be able to give me..?’

‘You said you’d never seen a more silly creature than an Ant,’ said the Ant.

‘I didn’t mean that,’ said the Grasshopper. ‘That was just a joke. Oh come on. Just a couple of ears of corn. You can spare it. I’ve got nothing.’

‘Sorry...mate,’ said the Ant. ‘If you save up on the days when you have plenty then there’ll never be a day when you have nothing.’

The Ant hurried down into his warm nest knowing that he’d never ever see that Grasshopper again.

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