What is The Ant and the Grasshopper?

The Ant and the Grasshopper is one of Aesop’s Fables. Aesop was a famous storyteller living in Ancient Greece between 620 and 560 BC. There aren’t many definite facts about Aesop’s life, but he is renowned for writing an extensive collection of short stories passed down from generation to generation. While they may be over 2,000 years old, Aesop’s Fables remain relevant and famous today. You’ll recognize titles like The Tortoise and the HareThe Boy Who Cried Wolf, and The Lion and the Mouse.

The Ant and the Grasshopper is one of Aesop’s best-loved stories and has been adapted numerous times into different literary works, musical pieces, and ballet. After we learn more about fables, we’ll provide a short The Ant and the Grasshopper summary with a moral lesson, taking a closer look at what this classic fable is all about.

What is a fable?

A fable is a short story that features animal characters and nature settings. In these stories, animals and plants are anthropomorphized, meaning that they are given human qualities, such as being able to talk. This helps us to look at things from a different perspective and consider how the animal and plant characters reflect us.

The other main characteristic of fables is that they always have a moral lesson or message, teaching us something important about life. This is why fables are such popular stories to tell children; they provide a relatable way to talk about good values.

Aesop’s Fables are the most famous in the world. His comprehensive collection remains the gold standard that other moral stories of this type try to follow. Let’s look closely at his timeless fable, The Ant and the Grasshopper, and its moral lesson.

The Ant and the Grasshopper summary with a moral lesson

The story opens on a warm, sunny day in the middle of summer. A grasshopper is lying in a field, enjoying the sunshine, singing, and playing his fiddle. Suddenly, he notices an ant scurrying through the area, carrying an ear of corn. The grasshopper, wanting to chat for a while, calls out to the ant.

‘What are you doing? Come and talk to me for a while.’

The ant shakes his head.

‘I’m sorry, I can’t stop; I’m too busy. I have to gather food for the winter.’

The grasshopper laughs at the ant.

‘The winter is ages away! It’s the middle of summer, and there’s plenty of food,’ he says. ‘Come and talk to me.’

But the ant refuses to stop working. He spends all day scurrying backward and forwards across the field, carrying his supplies. The grasshopper watches on, thinking the ant is missing an excellent opportunity to enjoy himself. The ant is not having a good time, while the grasshopper is entirely content.

All too soon, the winter comes. The weather is cold, and no food can be found anywhere. The grasshopper is hungry and has nothing to eat. He knocks at the ant’s door, hoping the ant will take pity on him. The ant opens the door, and the grasshopper can see plentiful food supplies inside the house.

‘I’m so hungry,’ says the grasshopper. ‘You have plenty of food. Is there any chance you might share some with me?’

‘No,’ says the ant. ‘You laughed at me for gathering food in summer. You’ll have to see yourself through the winter.’

So the grasshopper has to survive the winter on whatever meager rations he can find elsewhere.

What is the moral lesson of The Ant and the Grasshopper?

‘Work hard today to get ready for tomorrow.’

The moral lesson of this story is all about being prepared. If we work hard and plan for the future, we won’t find ourselves in the grasshopper’s position, relying on others.

However, the ant can also learn something from the grasshopper. During the summer, the ant is unhappy, as he doesn’t give himself a break. It’s important to remember there’s a time for work and play, and we need to get the balance right.

In some fable versions, the ant doesn’t turn the grasshopper away. Instead, he invites him in. The grasshopper plays his fiddle for the ant and his family all winter, keeping them entertained in return for food and shelter. This shows us that we all have skills we can use to make our way in the world.

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