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1001 Stories Collection

The Ant and the Grasshopper

Added on 25th June 2020

Oral tradition Ancient Greek fable

An Aesop's Fable about how there is a time for play and a time for work.

Story

During the summer season, a grasshopper sings happily whilst an ant works hard to collect food for the winter. Eventually, the winter comes and the grasshopper realises he has no food. He begs the ant to share his food with him, but the ant has other ideas…

Why we chose it

One of Aesop’s best known fables its seemingly straightforward moral (a time for work and a time for play) can lend itself to deeper discussion about the role of art and music.

Where it came from

Aesop is thought to have been an ex-slave and storyteller, active in Greece around 620 to 560 BCE. Each of his fables uses animals to teach important moral lessons. Aesop never wrote his fables down, and is unlikely to have created all of these stories himself. The first written record of Aesop’s fables came several centuries after his death, most famously by the Greek author Babrius.

Where it went next

The tale was recreated by Walt Disney in a 1934 film adaption The Grasshopper and the Ants. In Hungary, they illustrated the fable onto a 60-forint stamp to promote a savings campaign in 1958. The fable was also satirised in a Muppet Show sketch where the grasshopper ends up in a sports car driving to Florida!

Associated stories

Ants appear in other Aesop’s fables. Ant and Beetle tells the story of a Dung Beetle who doesn’t work to save for winter. Another fable shows the ant in a different light. A man who repeatedly steals his neighbours’ crops is turned into an ant by Jupiter.

Added on 25th June 2020

Oral tradition Ancient Greek fable