The Grasshopper and the Ant – retold (alternative ending)

I previously wrote a fable about a grasshopper who cared only about self improvement, and cared not at all for politics. It had a happy ending. I’ve decided to change that… read on at your own risk.







Clip from the comic book “Watchmen”


One week into winter, the grasshopper was relaxing next to it’s piles of food and a small fire. It heated up some hot cocoa and watched the snow fall lazily through the window. Ahh yes, it had been a good year. It was tough, no doubt about it. But, when reflecting further on all the grasshopper had learned about philosophy and practicing guitar, decided that it was worth it. It always was, it seemed. He picked up his guitar and began to jam, losing himself in the moment. He became entirely consumed by the music. He had achieved “flow” and was now one with the guitar.
There was a knock at the door. But the grasshopper didn’t hear it. He was too busy rocking out. Another knock. Then a pounding, “OPEN UP, BY ORDER OF THE ROYAL RED QUEEN HERSELF”.

When there was still no answer, the Army Ants busted down the doors. The scanned the small hut for safety, feared for their lives, and shot the grasshopper’s pet aphid immediately.

That got the grasshopper’s attention! “What’s is going on here? This is my home! What are you doing in my home! Spot! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO HIM!”
The Army Ants’ only reply was a thoughtless mechanical: “Sir, stop resisting. We are here to arrest you and take you back to the Royal Hall for questioning. Your cooperation is appreciated.”
The grasshopper didn’t get a chance to think. They were already putting cuffs on his many hands and marching him out the door.

Outside, stood an ant. “Mr. Grasshopper, this could have been avoided. Don’t you see? The election of the Red Queen instead of the Black Queen was less than a 1%. That vote could have been you. You could have avoided this. Now all of us must live under tyranny for at least four years at best, and the rest of our lives at worst. Now you will be taken, interrogated, possibly tortured as an enemy of the state, and quite likely live the rest of your days in prison. Don’t you feel foolish now?”

Mr. Grasshopper looked at the ant, square in the eyes. “No.”
“NO???” Cried the ant incredulously.
“No.” Said the grasshopper. “I have nothing to fear. I have spent the last 10 years facing my fears and now they have no weapon to torture me with.”
“But surely you don’t want to live in prison!”
“I have lived in this simple hut for 10 years, enjoying the finer things in life. I don’t have much already, so I have little to lose. I can eat food without spices. My automobile was a burden, I will be glad to not need it. I can make an instrument out of most objects I find, so music will never be far. What I lack most are friends, and there is no better place to make friends than in jail, especially with others that have not committed a crime, especially when I already speak another language so I can speak in secret.”
“They will rip out your tongue so you cannot taste at all! They will break your fingers so you cannot make music! They will mar your face so that you are so ugly, that people will not want to be your friend!”
“Then I will enjoy being full, for hunger is the best spice, after all. And I will hum. And I will enjoy the solitude, no one will bother me or interrupt my humming. With enough practice, I should be able to write an entire symphony in my head.”

“All of this for what, though? Why suffer when it is unnecessary?”
“Indeed, where were you for the past 1,000 days? Why didn’t you bring up these issues earlier? You knew these people who voted against you, have existed all that time ago. What were you waiting for? Why did you wait until this election to start this discussion? If you do not want your Queen to be so terrible, maybe it would be safer to not give so much power to your Queen in the first place! Maybe it would be best to not have a Queen. The past is behind us. The only thing to do is to accept it and learn from our mistakes. If you imagine the world can only change once every four years, then you are doomed to suffer for four years at a time. If you accept that you can change the world yourself over the course of four years, you will see how little difference one vote can make. The question is “What are you going to do, now?”

And with that, the grasshopper was carried away, never to be seen again.