A Story about the Seasons
Once upon a time there was a grasshopper that had an ant for his friend. During the spring-time, when it began to get warm, they came out and played together. They were both very young and they thought that play was better than work. When the flowers appeared above the ground they hopped and ran among them and had a very happy time.
The weather slowly got warmer and the summer began. The grasshopper and his friend the little ant danced about and were happier than ever. One day, an old ant came and saw them playing.
“Listen to my advice,” he said. “It is summer now, and the time for play. But remember, that autumn is not far away and then it will be time for work.”
“What does he mean?” asked the grasshopper. “I do not want to work at all. There is a lot of food for us. We can run about the flowers and find all the food we want. Why does that old ant say that very soon we must stop playing?”
Then the weather began to change. Clouds appeared in the sky. In the morning and at night it was cool, sometimes it was very cold. The little ant knew that the autumn had come.
“Friend Grasshopper,” he said, “autumn has come already, the harvest is finished, soon the winter will begin. After the harvest, the farmers left a lot of little seeds lying about on the ground. I am going to gather them up and hide them in the hole. Then I shall have something to eat during the winter. Take my advice, my friend. Get ready for the winter. Work.”
But the grasshopper did not agree with him, “Oh, no my friend. The weather is still warm, the leaves are still on the trees, and we have lots of food. Why should we work? I shall not take your advice. I do not agree with you. I think you are foolish to work during this beautiful weather.”
“Very well,” said the ant. “I cannot help that, but I know that I am right and you are wrong. We may play sometimes, but we must not play all the time. Sometimes we must work. If you do not listen to me, you will be very sorry when the winter comes, when the leaves are all gone and the seeds are hidden beneath the snow. Go on playing if you like, but I must work. I must gather my food for winter. Good-bye my foolish friend.” And off he went. All day long he was busy gathering seeds. When he found one, he carried it quickly to his hole in the ground and then he returned in a hurry to look for some more. He worked from morning till night. But the grasshopper just played about and did nothing.
At last the winter came and the ground was hidden beneath a covering of snow. The poor grasshopper was left alone, for his friend has gone down into his hole where it was nice and warm and where he kept his food. The grasshopper got thinner and thinner and weaker and weaker. He could not find anything to eat, for the leaves had died and the ground was covered with the cold snow. He was no longer happy and playing about. He was very, very ill, and cold and hungry.
“Oh, dear,” he said. “I wish I had worked like my friend. If I had done so I should have food now. I must go and ask him to give me some.” Very, very slowly and in great pain, he tried to get as far as the hole where the ant lived. At last he got there. But what did he find? The hole was closed. He knocked and knocked, but as he was very weak he could not knock very loudly and the ant did not hear him. He gave one last knock and then it began to snow. The grasshopper was too weak and too ill to do anything more. The snow covered him.
In March the spring came. The weather got warmer and the little flowers appeared above the ground. It was time for the ant to come out of his hole and play in the sun. soon the hole opened and the ant appeared. And there he found his poor friend, dried up and dead. The ant was ready to play among the flowers again but the grasshopper, who has played too long and had not worked at all, was not there to play with him. There is a time to play, but there is a time to work, too. Only foolish people play all the time.