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The Ant and the Cricket

The And and the Cricket (Adapted from Aesop’s fables)


A fable is a traditional story that teaches us a moral lesson. Usually the characters in the fables are animals. This poem ‘The Ant and the Cricket’ teaches us the importance of hard work and planning.


A silly young cricket, accustomed to sing

Through the warm, sunny months of gay summer and spring,

Began to complain when he found that, at home,

His cupboard was empty, and winter was come.


Not a crumb to be found

On the snow-covered ground;

Not a flower could he see,

Not a leaf on a tree.


“Oh! what will become,” says cricket, “of me?”

At last by starvation and famine made bold,

All dripping with wet, and all trembling with cold,

Away he set off to a miserly ant,

To see if, to keep him alive, he would grant


Him shelter from rain.

And a mouthful of grain.

He wished only to borrow;

He’d repay it tomorrow;


If not, he must die of starvation and sorrow.

Says the ant to the

cricket, “I’m your servant

and friend,

But we ants never

borrow; we ants never

lend.

But tell me, dear cricket,


Did you lay anything by

When the weather was

warm?” Quoth the cricket,

“Not I!”


My heart was so light

That I sang day and night,

For all nature looked gay.”

“For all nature looked gay”.

“You sang, Sir, you say?


Go then”, says the ant, “and dance the winter away”.

Thus ending, he hastily lifted the wicket,

And out of the door turned the poor little cricket.

Folks call this a fable. I‘ll warrant it true:

Some crickets have four legs, and some have two.


- Adapted from Aesop’s fables


About the Author

‘Aesop’s fables’ is a collection of fables credited to Aesop, a slave and a story teller believed to have lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 564 B.C.E. These fables became popular when they emerged in print. Several stories are attributed to Aesop even today. The process of inclusion is continuous and new stories are being added. Collections of Aesop’s fables were among the earliest books to be printed in many languages.


Glossary

accustomed to (v) – be used to

gay (adj.) – glad, joyful

crumb (n) – piece of bread

famine (n) – extreme scarcity of food

miserly (adj.) – hesitant to spend money

quoth (v) – said (old English usage, used only in first and third person singular befor the subject)

hastily (adv.) – hurriedly

warrant (v) – guarantee, promise


Based on your understanding of the poem, read the following lines and answer the questions given below.


1. A silly young cricket accustomed to sing

Through the warm, sunny months of gay summer and spring.


a) What was the routine of the cricket?

Ans: The routine of the cricket was to sing.


b) Name the seasons mentioned here.

Ans: The seasons mentioned are summer and winter.


2. Began to complain when he found that, at home,

His cupboard was empty, and winter was come.


a) Who does he refer to?

Ans: ‘He’ refers to the cricket.


b) Why was his cupboard empty?

Ans: His cupboard was empty because he had not stored any food during summer.


3. Not a crumb to be found

On the snow-covered ground;


a) What couldn’t he find on the ground?

Ans: He couldn’t find even a single piece of food on the ground.


b) Why was the ground covered with snow?

Ans: The ground was covered with snow because of the onset of the winter season.


4. At last by starvation and famine made bold, All dripping with wet, and all trembling with cold,


a) What made the cricket bold?

Ans: Starvation and hungry due to upcoming famine made the cricket bold.


b) Why did the cricket drip and tremble?

Ans: The cricket dripped wet and trembled with cold because it was winter and there was no food to eat.


5. Away he set off to a miserly ant,

To keep if, to keep him alive, he would grant

Him shelter from rain, And a mouthful of grain.


a) Whom did the cricket want to meet? Why?

Ans: The cricket wanted to meet the miserly ant to ask for shelter and food.


b) What would keep him alive?

Ans: Shelter from rain and a mouthful of grain would keep him alive.


6. But we ants never borrow;

we ants never lend.


a) Why do you think ants neither borrow nor lend?

Ans: Ants are very good workers. So they store their food and they do not borrow or lend.


b) Who says these lines to whom?

Ans: The Ant says this to the Cricket.


7. ‘‘Not I!

My heart was so light

That I sang day and night,

For all nature looked gay.”


a) Who does ‘I’ refer to?

Ans: ‘I’ refers to the Cricket.


b) What was the nature of the cricket? How do you know?

Ans: The nature of cricket is to sing day and night and be happy. It is said by the Cricket himself to the Ant.


8. Thus ending, he hastily lifted the wicket,

And out of the door turned the poor

little cricket,


a) The ant refused to help the cricket. Why?

Ans: The ant refused to help the cricket since it was the fault of the cricket of not using the summer to collect the food and the ant will end up in starvation giving food to the silly cricket.


b) Explain the second line.

Ans: Since the ant closed the door, the poor little cricket had to turn and go away.


9. He wished only to borrow;

He’d repay it tomorrow;


a) Pick out the rhyming words in the above lines.

Ans: borrow and tomorrow


b) Give more examples of rhyming words from the poem.

Ans: sing – spring, home – come, found – ground, bold – cold


10. My heart was so light

that I sang day and night,

For all nature looked gay.

“You sang, Sir, you say”?


a) Mention the rhyme scheme employed in the above lines.

Ans: aabb


Based on your understanding of the poem, complete the summary using the phrases given below.


In this narrative poem, the poet brings out the idea that is essential for every creature. He conveys this message to the readers through a story of an ant and a cricket. The ant spends all its summer saving some grains. The cricket sings and dances happily in the summer. He doesn’t save anything for the winter. When winter comes, he is worried that his kitchen cupboard is empty. So, he seeks the help of the ant to have saving for future and a warm place to stay. The cricket was even prepared to repay it in the future. The ant made it clear that ants never borrow or lend. He also enquired the cricket if it had saved anything when the weather was fine. The cricket answered that it had sung day and night enjoying the pleasant nature. The ant threw the cricket out and stated in a stern voice it should dance in the winter season too. In his concluding lines, the poet affirms that this is not just a fable but it is true and applicable to human beingsalso.


(the pleasant nature, human beings, doesn’t save, warm place, kitchen cupboard, just a fable, saving for future, some grains, never borrow or lend, an ant and a cricket, sings and dances)

 

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