In a field far far away, there lived a happy-go-lucky grasshopper and the hardworking ant. There were good friends.
The grasshopper love to make merry and play all day long. When hungry he eats, when tired he rests. He has never done a honest day’s work in his life. And planning for tomorrow is something he never taxed his little brain: “Wah lau! Too chime leh. No time lah!”, he likes to say.
The ant is different. Since birth, she has been “educated” by her sisters that there’s no need to think for her own self, the interests of the colony should come first. And her role is to work hard, follow the instructions of Queen Mother, forage, and accumulate food for the colony. In return, she will never go hungry and always have a roof over her head.
Through spring and summer, the ant watched the grasshopper play while she worked. She welcomed the grasshopper’s company as he always makes her laugh. But when the leaves turned yellow and the chill autumn wind starts to blow, she was concerned for her friend.
The grasshopper’s brushed aside the ant’s good intentions: “Silly little ant. Don’t worry, be happy!”
Then winter came.
One winter morning, the ant found her grasshopper friend lying by the side of the frozen lake where they used to hang out for a drink. Her friend does not look well. All the ant could do was to stay by the side of the grasshopper so that he is not alone when the eventuality comes.
The grasshopper, though shivering badly from cold and hunger, had a smile on him all the time. He was in fact comforting his ant friend. In his last breath, he whispered his last words to the ant; and passed away peacefully.
Winter past and spring comes again. The ant watched the seasons go by – working hard all these times – and when she is advanced in age, the colony celebrated her “retirement” from work.
The ant’s reward for her devotion to her colony all these years was a new “cushy” assignment. No more brazing the dangers and strain of working outside the colony.
All she needs to do now was to look after her unborn baby sisters, and do housekeeping inside the “comfort” confines of the colony.
A few seasons passed and when she knew her time is near, she finally allowed herself to question an independent thought of her own. Nothing clarifies than on one’s deathbed!
She can never forget the memory of the smile on her grasshopper’s friend. And the last farewell whisper of the grasshopper now rings loudly in her mind:
“Do not cry for me ant. Although I’ve lived 4 short seasons, I’ve lived a full life. I’ve played with the butterflies amongst the fresh flower blooms of spring, danced with the dragonflies on hot summer days over the simmering lake, and I’ve partied all night long in the chills of autumn and drunk myself silly with the moths”
The grasshopper moans and continues: “I’ve fought with the preying mantis, kicked the ass of the spider, and to have lived till winter is already a blessing!”
Closing his eyes in memory to his grasshopper brethren who have fallen, the grasshopper whispered: “Ant, do take care of yourself. I worry you listen too much to your sisters. Listen to your heart and be yourself.”
With the memory of those dying last words, the ant’s thoughts returned to her dark underground reality.
That night, the ant passed away. No one knew whether the ant smiled.