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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

The Grasshopper and the Ant

By Jean de La Fontaine (1621–1695)

Translation of George McLean Harper


All through summer,

Found herself in sorry plight

When the wind began to bite:

Not a bit of grub or fly

Met the little wanton’s eye;

So she wept for hunger sore

At the Ant her neighbor’s door,

Begging her just once to bend

And a little grain to lend

Till warm weather came again.

“I will pay you,” cried she then,

“Ere next harvest, on my soul,

Interest and principal.”

Now the Ant is not a lender—

From that charge who needs defend her?

“Tell me what you did last summer?”

Said she to the beggar-maid.

“Day and night, to every comer

I was singing, I’m afraid.”

“Singing! Do tell! How entrancing!

Well then, vagrant, off! be dancing!”