Tuesday, July 31, 2007
The Ant and the Grasshopper
Æsop. (Sixth century B.C.)
The Ant and the Grasshopper
IN a field one summer’s day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart’s content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.
“Why not come and chat with me,” said the Grasshopper, “instead of toiling and moiling in that way?”
“I am helping to lay up food for the winter,” said the Ant, “and recommend you to do the same.”
“Why bother about winter?” said the Grasshopper; “we have got plenty of food at present.” But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil. When the winter came the Grasshopper had no food, and found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the ants distributing every day corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer. Then the Grasshopper knew:
“IT IS BEST TO PREPARE FOR THE DAYS OF NECESSITY.”
CLASSIC VERSION THE SECOND
One bright day in late autumn a family of Ants were bustling about in the warm sunshine, drying out the grain they had stored up during the summer, when a starving Grasshopper, his fiddle under his arm, came up and humbly begged for a bite to eat.
"What!" cried the Ants in surprise, "haven't you stored anything away for the winter? What in the world were you doing all last summer?"
"I didn't have time to store up any food," whined the Grasshopper; "I was so busy making music that before I knew it the summer was gone."
The Ants shrugged their shoulders in disgust.
"Making music, were you?" they cried. "Very well; now dance!" And they turned their backs on the Grasshopper and went on with their work.
There's a time for work and a time for play.
TODAY'S MORE REALISTIC VERSION
The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks he's a fool, laughs, and dances and plays the summer away.
Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.
CNN, CBS, and the NYT show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.
America is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?
Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper, and everybody cries when they sing "It's Not Easy Being Green."
Jesse Jackson stages a demonstration in front of the ant's house where the news stations film the group singing "We Shall Overcome." Jesse then has the group kneel down to pray to God for the grasshopper's sake.
John Edwards exclaims in an interview with Peter Jennings that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and calls for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his "fair share".
Finally, the EOC drafts the "Economic Equity and Anti-Grasshopper Act," retroactive to the beginning of the summer.
The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the government.
Hillary gets her old law firm to represent the grasshopper in a defamation suit against the ant, and the case is tried before a panel of federal judges that Bill appointed from a list of multi-generation welfare recipients. The ant loses the case.
The story ends as we see the grasshopper finishing the last bits of the ant's food while the government house he is in, which just happens to be the ant's old house, crumbles around him because he doesn't maintain it.
The ant has disappeared in the snow.
The grasshopper is found dead in a drug-related incident and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the once peaceful neighborhood.
MORAL OF THE STORY:
[Your thoughts here.]