The Ant and the Grasshopper

My informant is my mother. She is 53 years old and is Spanish, Croatian, and Yugoslavian. She was born and raised in Florida, but keeps up many of her ancestors’ traditions from these countries.

I asked my mom to tell me any story that her dad had told her. Her dad was a very clever man and seemed to always bend the rules and switch things around to make them humorous. I asked her if he told any stories that had some moral context in the end. She told me “The Story of the Ant and the Grasshopper”, as told by her father.

Informant: “The ant was very hardworking. He spent all year collecting food so that when winter came around he had enough supplies to live. The grasshopper on the other hand was always messing around. The ant would warn the grasshopper that he was going to be in danger when the winter came. Well, winter came and the ant was ready for the harsh weather but the grasshopper was screwed. The ant looked at the grasshopper and told him, “I told you so”. So the grasshopper ate the ant and took all his food. My dad did stuff like this all the time, he would always twist endings like this and we thought it was hilarious. The real ending is that the grasshopper dies and the ant flourishes because he had worked hard, but this was my dad’s take on the story. I still remember the story because of the element of humor, I don’t think I would remember it if it was told the normal way.”

Analysis: This piece is interesting because it offers a view on the anti-climactic story. Many of these stories are popular in America. The story seems to be leading you somewhere and then it just drops off and takes itself in a whole new direction. It is also interesting to note the presence of work ethic again in these stories told by Americans. It seems as if this is a reoccurring theme in America because of the heavy influence of the “hard worker” ideal. From the vastness of these stories come these variations with anti climactic endings that offer a more humorous ending to these stories that are supposed to give some moral lesson by the end.