On its surface, this speculative fiction short story (7,800 words) deals with one man’s obsessive quest for knowledge and the devastating price he must pay for the knowledge he ultimately acq…
THE GRASSHOPPER AND THE ANTS by Aesop (Project Gutenberg, new translation, http://www.gutenberg.org)
One fine day in winter some Ants were busy drying their store of corn, which had got rather damp during a long spell of rain. Presently up came a Grasshopper and begged them to spare her a few grains, “For,” she said, “I’m simply starving.” The Ants stopped work for a moment, though this was against their principles. “May we ask,” said they, “what you were doing with yourself all last summer? Why didn’t you collect a store of food for the winter?” “The fact is,” replied the Grasshopper, “I was so busy singing that I hadn’t the time.” “If you spent the summer singing,” replied the Ants, “you can’t do better than spend the winter dancing.” And they chuckled and went on with their work.
21st Century Version of the Grasshopper and the Ants (by Victor D. Lopez, fan of ants everywhere and every when)
One fine day in winter some Ants were busy drying their store of corn, which had got rather damp during a long spell of rain. Presently up came a Grasshopper and demanded that they give him a fair share of their stores. The Ants stopped work for a moment, though this was against their principles.
“May we ask,” said they, “what you were doing with yourself all last summer? Why didn’t you collect a store of food for the winter?”
“The fact is,” replied the Grasshopper, “I was busy with more important things, like hugging trees, holding hands and singing Cumba Ya with like-minded people. Unfortunately, these activities are not not prized by the stupid elites that unfairly oppress the lower classes and try to exploit them by such means as having them do meaningless, underpaid work that is beneath their dignity.”
“If you spent the summer singing, holding hands and hugging trees” replied the Ants, “when you should have been planning for the winter and building up your stores to see you and your family through the winter, you can’t do better than spend the winter dancing.” And they chuckled and went on with their work.
The grasshopper, who was a very sensitive sort, was deeply offended by the selfishness and intransigence of these wealthy ants who were unwilling to provide their fair share to support the less fortunate members of the community, like himself. “You did not build the corn you reaped through your avariciousness over the summer while more enlightened people than you were hard at work exploring their sensual and artistic natures. You did not cause it to rain, or the sun to shine, or the bees to pollinate the nascent crops. You simply reaped the benefit of the bounty of nature that belongs to everyone and greedily attempted to keep for yourself a harvest provided not by your work but by the grace of mother earth. You are thieves, hoarders, and selfish beasts that would take for yourselves that which nature provides for all of her children in equal measure.” He then stormed off, while the ants shook their heads, smiled and returned to their work.
Later that day, the grasshopper returned with hoards of like-minded people seething about the outrage and disrespect shown them by the selfish, cruel, heartless ants. They fell upon the ants beating them senseless, took the greater part of their harvest and burned what they could not take to teach these evil little ants a lesson, all the while chanting:”Yes we can,” “power to the people,” “no justice no peace” and a range of similarly catchy phrases as they beat the selfish ants, liberated their food stores and burned the rest. It was a great day for grasshoppers who danced into the night around the bonfires of their victory.
That winter, the ants starved, as did the grasshoppers who had gorged themselves upon the liberated stores of the selfish ants in a few days of round-the-clock partying and soon exhausted them, and could find no succor from the other free spirits in their village. As their last act, they gathered, held hands, hugged a tree and sang in unison their final song: “It is all the fault of the stupid ants who brought their destruction upon their heads and ours through their selfish unwillingness to share their hoarded bounty. Stupid, selfish, egotistical, greedy little ants. All their fault. All their fault. If only they had been as enlightened as we.”
Victor D. Lopez [Originally posted by me in Publisheduthors.org]
On its surface, this speculative fiction short story (7,800 words) deals with one man’s obsessive quest for knowledge and the devastating price he must pay for the knowledge he ultimately acquires. Beneath the surface, this story is about deep friendships complicated by unrequited love, split loyalties, the interplay of id, ego and superego, (or Plato’s appetites, reason and the spirited element that Freud “borrowed” and “re-labeled”) and existentialist lessons learned much too late in life.
It is about looking for truth and meaning in all the wrong places and about the deep tragedy of misdirected efforts in the single-minded pursuit of all the wrong things. It is also about love, and the noble and often tragic self-sacrifice that true friendship requires, about the pain of unrequited love and split loyalties, and ultimately the very real tragedy of too many lives spent in the single-minded pursuit of lesser important things. Nothing else I have ever written since those happy, productive days as a college sophomore means more to me, and it remains little changed from the original.
Please enter for a chance to win a free copy and/or share the following link with anyone whom you believe may enjoy a short story that sums up what I believe to be the meaning of life in both fiction and fact. You can enter here: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/f3da20911647f3f8 . Thank you!
The paperback and eBook versions are available for libraries to purchase with library discounts for the eBook version. Please consider recommending it to your local library. Libraries can order the $8.99 eBook for $6.99 through one of my distributors so it won’t break the bank. The list price of the paperback is $18.95 though distributors can price it lower or higher as they see fit. A giveaway for the Kindle version of the book in the U.S. is currently underway as well here: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/d07a803485634cb0. A final giveaway for my Mindscapes short story collection is also still live here: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/57bef69f6b727c97. Thank you for your interest!
Here is a link to a long poem on my dad’s passing – Unsung Heroes: Felipe https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMhHLYK92Js
Here is a link to a few poetry readings and a short story reading from my Mindscapes and Of Pain and Ecstasy books: YouTube
I just posted a trailer with my reading of the general introduction on copyright law from my Intellectual Property Law: A Practical Guide to Copyrights, Patents, Trademarks and Trade Secrets. The book is intended as a general reference or particular interest to authors, artists, librarians, entrepreneurs and anyone who would like to know more about a very interesting but complex subject. Unlike my law related college textbooks, this book is aimed at the general public. The video also provides some front matter from the book and additional biographical information about me an details about my books, textbooks and scholarly articles. You can access it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2XQFQbzG3c.