As winter approaches we find ourselves taking stock of our cabinets and ourselves. Many of us will be cashing in food for fines over the next few days. As we do this we ask ourselves, "Do we have enough to last the colder season? Have we done enough to help those around us?"
The December, Children’s Fable Podcast, features a classic tale which touches on the above themes – in the ancient and modern telling. Most of us know the tale of the Grasshopper and the Ants from the 1934 Walt Disney Silly Symphony telling. In this version the hard working Ants show compassion for their idle Grasshopper neighbor and share food and shelter during the harsh cold season. In exchange the Grasshopper must earn his keep and entertain the Ants with his fiddle playing.
The Aesop version of the tale is a bit different, and reflects the world in which it was originally written. In the original, the Ants work diligently during the warm months preparing for the winter and, like in the Disney version, the Grasshopper chooses to play instead of preparing for the coming cold. Once winter arrives the Grasshopper asks the Ants for food, instead of being invited in and saved, the Grasshopper is instead turned away to die, because of his past idleness.
While much could be written concerning the Disneyfication of classic tales or even the societal views expressed through tales – one thing is sure, the story of the Ants and the Grasshopper has been a constant in every time and place and is now available for listening here, so enjoy.