Aesop THE OWL AND THE GRASSHOPPER*

Posted by jlubans on February 26, 2020

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Caption: Illustration by Charles Livingston Bull, 1915

An Owl, who was sitting in a hollow tree, dozing away a long summer afternoon, was much disturbed by a rogue of a Grasshopper, singing in the grass below.
So far from moving away at the request of the Owl, or keeping quiet, the Grasshopper sang all the more, saying that honest people got their sleep at night.
The Owl waited in silence for a while, and then artfully addressed the Grasshopper thus: "I suppose I ought to be angry with you, my dear, for I confess I would rather sleep than listen to your singing.
But if one cannot be allowed to sleep, it is something to be kept awake by such a pleasant little pipe as yours.
And now it occurs to me that I have some delicious nectar with which to reward a musician who sings so sweetly.
If you will take the trouble to come up, you shall have a drop. It will clear your voice nicely."
The silly Grasshopper came hopping up to the Owl, who at once caught and killed him, and so finished her nap in comfort.

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C. L. Bull’s beguiling illustration caught my eye and prompted me to reprise this fable. My first version dates back to April of 2014.
Stickney’s adaptation of this story is faithful to earlier editions. But, he adds a new twist; an implied insult from the singer that honest people get their sleep only at night.
Sometimes annoying someone bigger than yourself may end in your destruction.
The Owl out-foxes the sad sack grasshopper and gains an afternoon snack.

*Source: Aesop's Fables by Jenny H. Stickeny, illustrated by Charles Livingston Bull, published in 1915.


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