The Ants and the Grasshopper

The Ants and the Grasshopper

ONE hot summer’s day, a Grasshopper sat under a shady tree and sang loudly, much to the annoyance of some Ants who were carrying food to their home in preparation for the impending winter.

Several weeks later, the Grasshopper realised that the cold season was approaching, for the ground was barren.

The hungry sluggard decided to ask the Ants for food. When he reached the formicary, he knocked weakly on the door.

An Ant opened the door. “Why, it’s you, Grasshopper,” she said. “I thought you had kicked the bucket.”

“Please give me something to eat,” the teary orthopterous creature said. “I want to make old bones.”

“While we were breaking our backs storing food for the next few months, you were singing,” the Ant said, laughing mockingly. “And now you expect us to feed you. Can you beat that!

The Ants held a council to debate the Grasshopper’s plea. They eventually decided, by a show of antennae, to invite the Grasshopper to share their food, but he had to do their household chores for three consecutive days.

The Grasshopper ate like a horse. “Thanks a lot,” he said to his benefactors. “It is very big of you to satisfy my hunger. I’m going to take a leaf out of your book and become an industrious insect.”

(Adapted from a fable by Aesop)


Kick the bucket: To die.

Make old bones: To live to be old.

Break one’s back: To work very hard.

Can you beat that/it!: Have you seen/heard anything as astonishing or ridiculous as that!

Eat like a horse: To eat a lot (either habitually or on a specific occasion).

Be big of someone: To be kind or generous of someone.

Take a leaf out of someone’s book: To imitate someone else’s way of doing a certain thing because he was successful when he did it.

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