Do or Be, Ant or Grasshopper? A reflection on my favorite Aesop's Fable

“The Ants and the Grasshopper” fable by Aesop resonates with me on many levels. http://read.gov/aesop/052.html

I think that I relate to both the ant and the grasshopper. I feel that I am a blend of both, shifting balance often in my life.

Perhaps we could look at this fable in different ways, on different levels? 1. What are the dark and light aspects of the ants and the grasshopper? 2. How can I be both an ant and a grasshopper? 3. How can our community be both ants and grasshoppers? 4. What do you feel is the neglected side of you more often? 5. Do you project the ant or grasshopper more to those close to you? In public? 6. Who do you feel you have more in common with on a private level? What are your reasons? 7. What do you save for? What/who do you protect? 8. What artistic/creative expression do you enjoy doing? How did it feel to be engaged in it? 9. Which question did I leave out here that you feel would be good to include?

Here’s my alternate, paraphrased ending to the referenced fable: Some of the ants clicked their mandibles in disgust. "Making music, were you?" they cried. "See what that does for you! We have work to do." And they turned their backs on the Grasshopper. Other ants stayed a while. Wondering. Listening to the Grasshopper resume his fiddle playing. The sound stirred something within. Ant Shadow aspects Reactive; attacking; aggressive; overly protective; not enough independent thought; lack of introspection

Light aspects Building; guarding/protecting at a balanced, appropriate level; working effectively as a team; productive; saving/harvesting/storing for later use in other words being proactive in the event of calamity or loss Grasshopper Shadow aspects Self-absorbed; Planning ahead not a strength and therefore more likely to be dependent on others for survival/basic needs; Perhaps more emotional and less rational

Light aspects Living in the moment; Self-expressed; In touch with creative side; Well-developed inner life; Enjoys time alone


Here's a poem I wrote in response to this fable and a dream I had last night:

The ant of my body and mind

The one who works hard

The one who works as a team

To protect and direct energy

Keen and vigilant

Following the scent

To where it went

Tracking building biting

Making a hill

No intent to kill

Just protect



It’s the grasshopper I forget

Waiting in the wings

As he quietly sings

With the music of his body

The throat, the legs

Sometimes he begs

Forgets basic needs

When his soul bleeds

He doesn’t heed

The violent change of weather

Nor cling to a creed

To be safe

Just making art

Of himself

Channeling, filtering

Releasing what is within

The light

Not a fight

Just a different kind of work

That deserves a place

A space

To grow and be.


I hope you'll share your thoughts on this fable too. How would you change the fable?




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