The Grasshopper, so blithe and gay,
Sang the summer time away.
Pinched and poor the spendthrift grew,
When the sour north-easter blew.
In her larder not a scrap,
Bread to taste, nor drink to lap.
To the Ant, her neighbour, she
Went to moan her penury,
Praying for a loan of wheat,
Just to make a loaf to eat,
Till the sunshine came again.
"All I say is fair and plain,
I will pay you every grain,
Principal and interest too,
Before harvest, I tell you,
On my honour—every pound,
Ere a single sheaf is bound."
The Ant′s a very prudent friend,
Never much disposed to lend;
Virtues great and failings small,
This her failing least of all.
Quoth she, "How spent you the summer?"
"Night and day, to each new comer
I sang gaily, by your leave;
Singing, singing, morn and eve."
"You sang? I see it at a glance.
Well, then, now′s the time to dance."