"It's just like the story of the grasshopper and the octopus. All year long the grasshopper kept burying acorns for winter, while the octopus mooched off of his girlfriend and watched TV. But then the winter came and the grasshopper died, then the octopus ate all his acorns and also he got a race car." - Fry from Futurama, Episode My Three Suns, gives his twisted take on the fable.
Time has morphed Aesop
's tale. Early versions ended with the grasshopper being in need of food and shelter and deciding that "it is best to prepare for the days of necessity
" - his fate undecided. By the seventeenth century the fable
had changed to make the grasshopper seem foolish and in a desparate position, with the ants
making catty comments in the vein of
"you were dancing away all summer...now you dance your frozen ass to your grave
" (or as in knifegirls version above).
Today, a search on the internet reveals a plethora of hilarious
- mostly political - paradies
of the original fable. In the year 3000, perhaps The Ant and the Grasshopper WILL have developed to Fry
's mixed up version...
The Ants and the Grasshopper fable is often tailored to suit its audience. A good move - most children
would be distressed to hear "and so the ant was well fed and warm for winter while the silly
grasshopper died out in the cold". The death ending is usually replaced by a compassionate
ant taking the foolish grasshopper in. (Both versions, however, could elicit a discussion about how sharing
is a good thing...).
Historical info from The Farther Shore: A Natural History of Perception, by Don Gifford.