Saturday, February 1, 2014

Top Shelf Short Stories: The Ant and the Grasshopper

The Ant and the Grasshopper
by W. Somerset Maugham

This story is a play off of the famous fable "The Ant and the Grasshopper." If you haven't heard of this fable, let me break it down for you (it's famous, so no such thing as spoilers here!). The fable tells of the ant who spends his summer storing food for the winter whereas the grasshopper basically chills out on a nearby leaf and watches the ant work. Once winter comes, the ant is all nice and cozy with his hard-earned food and shelter while the grasshopper is desperate to find these essentials. Moral of the story: WORK, damn it. 

Anyway, Maugham's short story takes this famous fable and turns it on its head. He places two brothers with contradicting personalities in the middle of a life-long sibling war. One brother is respectable, responsible and takes care of his younger brother who is simply a mess. After traveling around the world, the younger brother returns to his brother only to take advantage of him again. 


This was a very short story which I enjoyed because I had to find something quick to read in order to be on time for my One Short Story a Day deal. 

But I digress.

This story was a good re-working of the original story. It gets you thinking - though I did find it rather pessimistic. So, beware! You may become a cynic after reading this story! :)

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