Multilingual Folk Tale Database


Author: Jean de La Fontaine - 1668

Translated into English
  by Robert Thomson - 1913

Translated from (French):
La Cigale et la Fourmi

Country of origin: France

Story type: The Ants and the Grasshopper (ATU 280A)

Based on The Ants and the Grasshopper (Aesop)


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The Grasshopper and the Ant

Jean de La Fontaine / Robert Thomson

The gay grasshopper, full of song
All the sunny season long,
Was unprovided and brought low,
When the north wind began to blow ;
Had not a scrap of worm or fly,
Hunger and want began to cry ;
Never was creature more perplexed.
She called upon her neighbour ant,
And humbly prayed her just to grant
Some grain till August next ;
“I'll pay, ” she said, “what ye invest,
Both principal and interest,
Honour of insects –and that's tender. ”
The ant, however, is no lender ;
That is her least defective side ;
“But, hark ye, pray, Miss Borrower, ” she cried,
“What were ye doing in fine weather ? ”
“ Singing . . . nay,! look not thus askance,
To every comer day and night together. ”
“ Singing ! I'm glad of that ; why now then dance. ”