Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Aesop’s Foibles # 2 The Ants and the Grasshopper
Aesop’s fable about the ants and the grasshopper is set in the merry season of Spring when the whole surroundings seem to be bursting with greens and the air buzzing with frivolity of insects fluttering about.
A grasshopper was merrily leaping from one leafy cluster to another sampling the newly sprouted leaves atop rosebushes that lined the front porch of a humble but pretty looking country house.
He was making happy chatter with his mandibles as he nibbled and spat the fresh shoots of grass and other young plants. Springtime was awash with verdant foliage and there was no end to feasting from one happy day to another. He was picking the most succulent leaf bits and throwing out the less tender and bland tasting ones and was making such a racket with the endless chirping sound of his busy mouth and was creating an enormous litter of unwanted leaves that a troop of ants nearby busily hauling away food to a mound chided him.
“Look here you wastrel you, don’t you ever worry about a thing?” they shouted.
“Soon it will be winter and this bountiful food will vanish. All these greenery will transform into cold, dreary and barren whiteness. What then will you have for food?”
The grasshopper just looked at the sullen and serious ants straining to pull their load up the steep mound then returned to his seemingly irresponsible leisure.
There was a similarity in the earnestness of the ants obsessive toiling and the reckless abandon in the grasshopper’s spree. It was as if the grasshopper was lusting for life and desperately needed to live every single moment.
Soon winter came and as it was in the fable the grasshopper lay dying. The ants gathered around him and with a smirk in their faces rebuked him for his idleness and irresponsibility.
“Didn’t we tell you so”, they muttered in unison.
“Look here you self righteous fools I am not asking you for food. I am not dying of hunger. I am dying because all grasshoppers die in the span of a year.”
The moral of this fable is not so much that industry pays but that of not making hasty judgment of other people.