The Grasshopper and the Ant – retold

In a field one Spring day, a grasshopper was planting seeds for Summer. It was a happy grasshopper. It kept a song humming all day long. The work wasn’t very engaging, but it didn’t need to be.

Along came an ant. The ant said to the grasshopper, “Why don’t you join me? We are about to have a discussion of the candidates running for Queen.”
The grasshopper thought about this for a minute. He wasn’t dumb, but he didn’t have much knowledge of politics. What he did know, was that the queen was more of a figure head than an actual leader. Knowing that Summer would soon be around the corner, the grasshopper decided against it, and decided to focus on what was important and actionable in his life: planting food for later.

One Summer day, the grasshopper was pulling weeds and watering his crops. This was the grasshopper’s favorite time of year. The sun was warm. The grass was a pleasant green, his favorite color. The work wasn’t fun, but it allowed him to enjoy the things he enjoyed.

Along came an ant. The ant was hurriedly telling any passers by, “Tonight is the election. It is very important that you watch it so that you know who to vote for. Queens make lots of decisions so it’s important that everyone is educated about the candidates.”

“Important?” Thought the grasshopper. That seemed unlikely. He had never met a Queen, nor ever expected to. Nothing the Queen did had ever directly affected him or his work in the past. Sure there were a few changes, for better and for worse over the years. Ultimately, even if the grasshopper were smart, he wouldn’t be able to predict the actions of the next Queen to know which of the candidates was the lesser of two evils. Queens were tricky like that; known to shroud their intentions behind vague statements depending on who they were talking to, and known to change their statements when it was convenient. The grasshopper wasn’t paranoid by any means. It was a well known fact that Queens did this.
The grasshopper decided to focus on what was actually important and actionable: cultivating his crops to the best of his ability. “Actually I have a lot of work to do,” said the grasshopper.

It was late, almost winter. The crops had been harvested and stored. There was nothing the grasshopper could do but wait until Spring again. Well, not “nothing”. the grasshopper was reading, listening to a podcast, exercising, practicing guitar, and learning a new language. Anything he could do to improve his skills was a worthwhile pursuit. Not all of his pastimes were profitable, but all of them were enjoyable, and improved himself in some way.

Along came an ant. The ant was screaming for it’s life! “Help! Help! We’re about to elect the WRONG QUEEN! Tonight is the election. You must vote! It is essential that we have the right woman for the job.”

Essential? Would the Queen put food on the grasshopper’s table? No, only hard work would do that. The grasshopper had many luxuries: a fancy automobile, an mp3 player, exquisite spices from abroad. He could do just fine without them. Even if the Queen took away those things by royal decree, the grasshopper would be just fine. No, those were not essential, so voting must not be either.
The grasshopper decided to focus on what was essential: self improvement.

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.
There was a knock at the door. The grasshopper put down the guitar it was practicing on and answered. There was an ant, sniveling and with baggy red eyes. It looked up and said “Please, Mr. Grasshopper, can you tell me what it takes to live a good life?”