If you saw my Saturday Snapshot post, you know we have cicadas at the moment. They “sing” all day long, a drone that you can even hear inside. So, I went looking for a cicada folktale. “The Ant and the Cicada” is a fable by Jean de la Fontaine.

Having sung the summer through,
Cicada found herself quite destitute.
And when the North Wind blew,
Provisions being less than scant,
She crawled on down to neighbor ant
With cries of famine,
Hoping to borrow just a bit of seed
To tide her over till the coming Spring.
“I’ll pay of course,” she tried to plead,
“Before the month of August,
Both interest and principal.
Come, trust a fellow animal!”
The ant however is no lender;
Lending is the least of all her flaws.
“Could you tell me what you did
On all those hot dry days?”
She asked the borrower.
“Night and day, my pardon to you ants,
I sang, for one and all.”
“You sang? I am enthralled!
Now all you have to do is dance.”

The understanding then it that the cicada ends up dying. I’m not sure which is more important here – the value of working hard or the virtue of compassion. The ant probably had enough to share. On the other hand, I’ll be more than glad when the cicadas are gone.

Thursday’s Tales is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all. Feel free to join in.


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