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alt. version of Ant and Grasshopper tale

CapriUni 17 Jun 02 - 01:51 PM
Joe Offer 17 Jun 02 - 02:11 PM
CapriUni 17 Jun 02 - 03:03 PM
GUEST 17 Jun 02 - 03:11 PM
GUEST,Wyrd Sister 17 Jun 02 - 03:12 PM
CapriUni 17 Jun 02 - 04:15 PM
Jacob B 17 Jun 02 - 04:28 PM
CapriUni 17 Jun 02 - 05:16 PM
GUEST,Wyrd Sister 18 Jun 02 - 03:06 PM
Mrrzy 18 Jun 02 - 04:50 PM
Mrrzy 18 Jun 02 - 04:54 PM
Uncle_DaveO 18 Jun 02 - 04:55 PM
CapriUni 18 Jun 02 - 05:39 PM
CapriUni 18 Jun 02 - 05:42 PM
Uncle_DaveO 18 Jun 02 - 08:09 PM
CapriUni 18 Jun 02 - 09:11 PM
open mike 19 Jun 02 - 03:48 AM
MAG 20 Jun 02 - 12:02 AM
gnu 20 Jun 02 - 05:59 AM
Mrrzy 20 Jun 02 - 09:54 AM
CapriUni 20 Jun 02 - 08:49 PM
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Subject: alt. version of Ant and Grasshopper tale
From: CapriUni
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 01:51 PM

Many of us are familiar with the fable of The Ant and the Grasshopper: the Grasshopper plays on his fiddle all summer, while the ants diligently, and cheerlessly, work to gather food for the winter. When the winter finally comes, the grasshopper begs for food from the ants, but is turned away as a foolish freeloader, and starves...

Well, many, many years ago, my mother brought home a greeting card from an independant bookstore that had an illustration of the fable (I think from the 1890's, or thereabouts) on the front, and a different version of the story on the back.

In this version, the ants ask the grasshopper to play for them, to make their work easier (an insectoid shantymaster?), but when the summer and the work are over, refuse to pay the grasshopper for playing, because he didn't make any tangible contribution to their stockpile. The grasshopper still dies, but it's the ants who are portrayed as foolish and cruel.

Unfortunately, the card is long gone, and with it, the source information. Does anyone here have any clues as to where that alternative version may have come from?

In any case, I thought Mudcatters would apreciate it. :-)


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Subject: RE: alt. version of Ant and Grasshopper tale
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 02:11 PM

I can't answer the question, but I thought I'd add a link to Leon Rosselson's Ant and the Grasshopper in the Digital Tradition.
Are there other songs that tell this story?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: alt. version of Ant and Grasshopper tale
From: CapriUni
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 03:03 PM

Yes, I found that version in the DT, when I that alternative version resurfaced in my memory...

Though, really, not a pleasant song for a busker to sing, is it? ;-)


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Subject: RE: alt. version of Ant and Grasshopper tale
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 03:11 PM

Not a song, but there is a version of this in Bruno Bettelheim's book for children 'Frederick's Tales', only all characters are mice. I think it is actually the story of the mouse called Frderick. Anyway, he stands around while the others are working. Come the winter, and all the food is gone, they turn to him and ask for his share. He then paints them word pictures which cheer and sustain them through the last hard times until spring. Beautiful, and beautifuly written - this does not do it justice!


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Subject: RE: alt. version of Ant and Grasshopper tale
From: GUEST,Wyrd Sister
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 03:12 PM

Above guest is me. It seems my thingy has disappeared.


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Subject: RE: alt. version of Ant and Grasshopper tale
From: CapriUni
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 04:15 PM

I remember the story of Fredrick. It was a story written and illustrated by Leo Lionni in 1967. An absolute masterpiece! Here's a link to a page about it... and if you click on "transcripts and audio", you'll find a nice critique of the book -- and there's a link where you can buy it from one of your local independant bookstores ;-).

Frederick's Fables is an anthology of some of Lionni's work, and Bruno Bettlehiem wrote the introduction to the 1985 edition (there's also a 1998 edition, where Lionni wrote his own introduction...


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Subject: RE: alt. version of Ant and Grasshopper tale
From: Jacob B
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 04:28 PM

Many years ago, I published (in a small magazine) a version in which a human comes across the grasshopper and the ants, and discovers that the ants are busy toiling away arranging their pieces of grain into a mosaic reproduction of the Mona Lisa, under the direction of the grasshopper. After a discussion with the grasshopper, the human realizes that the grasshopper is much smarter than he is, and he is so appalled by the idea that a grasshopper is a better man than he is that he raises his foot to crush the grasshopper. The grasshopper then shoots him dead.


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Subject: RE: alt. version of Ant and Grasshopper tale
From: CapriUni
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 05:16 PM

hmmm... interesting, Jacob!

Reminds me of another story -- read this many years ago in college, I think, in a Victorian-era collection of "Indian Tales"... it was a university library book, so I don't have the source in front of me, but:

Once, when the world was new, humanity started flexing its muscles with all the tools it could make, and the crops it could plant, and started disrupting the balance of nature. All the animals got together to have a conference about what they could do about to control these wild humans. The mosquitos volunteered to curb the human population by biting them, and spreading disease, and all the animals agreed.

Soon humans were falling, well, if you'll forgive a turn of phrase, like flies, and suffering horribly in the process, with fevers and other nastiness. The plant beings were horrified at this, and agreed that while the crimes of humans had indeed been bad, the mosquitos were abusing their power. So they decided to make medicines in their leaves and roots, so that humans would have a fighting chance.

The thing I remember most is the commentary at the end from the 19th century editor: that isn't that a silly superstition the pagans had, to think that little mosquitos could be the source of disease? (!)

Heh, heh...


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Subject: RE: alt. version of Ant and Grasshopper tale
From: GUEST,Wyrd Sister
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 03:06 PM

Oops. Thanks, CapriUni. I think Bruno Bettelheim stuck with me because of some of his other work. Thank you for correcting my too-hasty contribution. Glad you like the story though. I love the one about the Carnival too. And Swimmy. And ...


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Subject: RE: alt. version of Ant and Grasshopper tale
From: Mrrzy
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 04:50 PM

I remember this as La Cigale et la Fourmi (Vous chantiez? J'en suis fort aise. Et bien, dansez maintenant!) - wish I could remember the rest. Will look it up somewhere...


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Subject: Lyr Add: LA CIGALE ET LA FOURMI (de la Fontaine)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 04:54 PM

Here you are, I thought it was Jacques Prévert, but it's de la Fontaine.

La Cigale et la Fourmi

La Cigale, ayant chanté
Tout l'été,
Se trouva fort dépourvue
Quand la bise fut venue:
Pas un seul petit morceau
De mouche ou de vermisseau.
Elle alla crier famine
Chez la Fourmi sa voisine,
La priant de lui prêter
Quelque grain pour subsister
Jusqu'à la saison nouvelle.
"Je vous paierai, lui dit-elle,
Avant l'Août, foi d'animal,
Intérêt et principal."
La Fourmi n'est pas prêteuse:
C'est là son moindre défaut.
Que faisiez-vous au temps chaud?
Dit-elle à cette emprunteuse.
-Nuit et jour à tout venant
Je chantais, ne vous déplaise.
- Vous chantiez ? j'en suis fort aise.
Eh bien! dansez maintenant.


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Subject: RE: alt. version of Ant and Grasshopper tale
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 04:55 PM

When I was a child (in the 30s) a national women's magazing--I think Good Housekeeping--as I recall used to occasionally have a children's story section in the center, cartoon illustrated. I remember a version of The Ants and the Grasshopper which made the grasshopper out to be not only improvident but unpleasantly scornful of the hard-working ants. Come winter, when he was starving and freezing, the kindly ants took him into their warm burrow out of the kindness of their hearts, where he played his fiddle to pay for supper!

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: alt. version of Ant and Grasshopper tale
From: CapriUni
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 05:39 PM

Interesting, Mrrzy -- I don't read French, but I think the that may be the version (The systran translator engine didn't know all of the French words, an its English wasn't idiomatical ... I think the key variaton I remember as:

Grasshopper: I made music -- at your request

Was translated as:

- Night and day with all coming I sang, does not displease to you.

I suppose a more accurate translation would be a blend of those two: "I sang while you came a went all day and night. And you enjoyed it plenty!

That's certainly closer to the version I remember than most others I've read, at least in terms of sympathy for the grasshopper/cicada.


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Subject: RE: alt. version of Ant and Grasshopper tale
From: CapriUni
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 05:42 PM

Uncle Dave --

Yup! That sounds like the "wholesome" storytelling style of the '30's: give the little tykes a strong moral lesson in their stories, but for gosh sakes, don't give them any unhappy endings!


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Subject: RE: alt. version of Ant and Grasshopper tale
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 08:09 PM

Sort of proto-PC!

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: alt. version of Ant and Grasshopper tale
From: CapriUni
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 09:11 PM

Exactly!

Though I don't really think non-Gates PC is a new thing... it's just a new,"PC" term [heh].

Back in the old days, it was called "proper"...


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Subject: RE: alt. version of Ant and Grasshopper tale
From: open mike
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 03:48 AM

I SEEM TO RECALL A DISNEY VERSION?? PERHAPS AN EARLY CARTOON?? I DO NOT THINK IT WAS WITH JIMINY CRICKET.. THOUGH CRICKETS AND GRASS HOPPERS BOTH FIDDLE A BIT...


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Subject: RE: alt. version of Ant and Grasshopper tale
From: MAG
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 12:02 AM

My version of this is in the storytelling section ...


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Subject: RE: alt. version of Ant and Grasshopper tale
From: gnu
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 05:59 AM

Heard a version on CBC Radio years ago on Dr. Bundolo's Pandamonium Magic Show from the Medicine Pit at UBC (have I got that right ?)...

Ant works. G-hopper twiddles thumbs and his only lines are all, "Twiddle twiddle." At end of sketch, G-hopper is partying with Ant's wife while he lies outside in the cold, his skull crushed by powerful thumbs... "Twiddle twiddle."


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Subject: RE: alt. version of Ant and Grasshopper tale
From: Mrrzy
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 09:54 AM

Yes, I seem to recall an animated one, too. Anybody remember The Cricket In Times Square?

And I love what your translator did to LaFontaine, CapriUni!


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Subject: RE: alt. version of Ant and Grasshopper tale
From: CapriUni
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 08:49 PM

Mrrzy -

yeah -- I love translator engines, too... this one was Babelfish. It's the page you get if you click on the Translate link after each thread...

Sometimes, I use these automatic translation engines to help me write poetry: Put a cliched phrase in, translate into another language, then translate it back to English, and you definitely won't get a cliche out.

mag' - I love your version... In any case, these stories (including the modern story Frederick) are as much about valuing the arts as they are about hard work (is spending the summer making music a "waste of time" or not?)

gnu - Groan.... Reminds me of this thread: Better things to twiddle.

While I'm at it: also of tangential interest is this site: Aesop's fables online. It has a couple different versions of The Ant and the Grasshopper, and a whole bunch of lesser-known ones...


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