Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ants and grasshoppers

Do you know the story of the grasshopper and the ants? It's a fairly simple one.

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 was dying of hunger while every day the ants distributed corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer.

I remember an old cartoon in which the grasshopper danced and played a fiddle while the ants worked and stored up food for the long winter ahead. Come winter, the grasshopper fell at the doorway to the ants' home in the midst of a blizzard. He was nearly dead of starvation and hypothermia. The ants took him in, revived and fed the grasshopper and he repaid them by playing his fiddle and dancing with the ants in the warm comfort of their winter home.

I'll bet that when spring came the grasshopper went back out into the greening world and played his fiddle and danced the warm months away while the ants went back to working and saving. He hadn't learned a thing. He wasn't going to waste his time working throughout the warm and beautiful days; he knew the ants would follow their nature and store up food that he would share all winter long. They'd been generous with him before and he no doubt thought they would continue to be generous and there'd always be a handout waiting for him, so why change and give up having a good time?

That is all. Disperse.

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