Generally speaking, fables use animals or objects as part of the narrative, yet the message is designed to apply to humans. By doing this, the one who is telling or illustrating the fable is not perceived as a teacher and this reduces any bias listeners may have against this person.
The most famous fabulist would be Aesop who most historians date around 620 B.C. He is attributed with writing several hundred of his fables and today they have many different translations.
With this little bit of background, I would like to give you two versions of the fable that most of us have heard titled, “The Ant and the Grasshopper.”
Here is the old version: The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances the summer away. Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter so he dies out in the cold. Moral of the Story: Be responsible for yourself.
Now, here is the new or updated version. Before I share it with you, I would like to make the following statement: I am not into calling names, putting other people down or partisan politics. What I would like to do is leave a blank where a name or organization would normally appear and let you supply this information based on newsmakers and current events in modern-day America.
This should not only be very interesting but very revealing as to your own values and views of what is happening to our country. Really, this is the essence of a fable. This way you don’t see me as a teacher or someone who is promoting a certain person, political party or point of view.
The new or updated version of the fable “The Ant and the Grasshopper” begins:
The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away. Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be so warm and well fed while others are cold and starving. ____, ____, ____, ____ and ____ show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. America is stunned by the sharp contrast.
How can this be, that in a country of such wealth this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so? Kermit the Frog appears on ______ with the grasshopper, and everybody cries when they sing, “It’s Not Easy Being Green.” ______ ________ stages a demonstration in front of the ant’s house, where the news stations film the group singing, “We shall overcome.” ______ then has the group kneel down to pray to God for the grasshopper’s sake. ________ _______ and _______ _______ exclaim in an interview with ______ ______ that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.
Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity and Fairness to Grasshoppers Act, retroactive to the beginning of the summer. The ant is fined for failing to hire proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the government. ________ gets her old law firm to represent the grasshopper in a defamation suit against the ant and the case is tried before a panel of federal judges that ____ ________ appointed from a list of single-parent welfare recipients. The ant loses the case.
The story ends as we see the grasshopper finishing up the last bits of the ant’s food while the government house he is in, which just happens to be the ant’s old house, crumbles around him because he doesn’t maintain it. The ant has disappeared in the snow. The grasshopper is found dead in a drug-related incident and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the once peaceful neighborhood. Moral of the Story: Be careful how you vote.
As I said earlier, I am not into name calling, putting people down or partisan politics. In every case involving an issue or a principle, I just want what is best for America.
(Editor’s Note: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To support literacy, buy his book, “Learning, Earning & Giving Back.”)