Formica et Cicada: The Ant and The Grasshopper by lauragibbs


Find ALL VERSIONS with this link:

Status: reviewed

Queries: none

Comments: Please add your comments below! In particular, please indicate any typographical or other errors you notice that need to be corrected.


  1. I really like this paraphrase! Not sure about a few things:
    a. why "in hieme," "in aestate" and not just hieme/aestate?
    b. speaking of "and not" -- is it OK to say "et non" (p. 14) or is "nec" preferred?
    c. shouldn't it be "ego totam aestatem laborabam" -- accusative for time how long.

  2. Thanks for your comments! You can see "hieme" and "aestate" both with and without the preposition (with more and more use of the preposition the later the Latin is - "in hieme" is already in the Vulgate Bible, for example). As for "et non" and "nec" ("neque") you can always substitute "et non" (just as -que and et are the same); sometimes for paraphrasing it's a big help to use "et non" (it's a stylistic difference, not a grammatical one). As for "totam aestatem" and "tota aestate" I guess you could call it a difference of emphasis - it's not that the ant is trying to say for how long she worked (i.e. for three hours or for two weeks or for one month), but rather that "during the whole summer" or "every day of the summer" (time when), she kept on working and working.

    Doing paraphrases is really interesting because no two people ever do them the same, and the same person might do the paraphrase differently on any given day - I'll sometimes find a paraphrase I did of a poem in the past and I'll be struck by something I did differently. It's fun in a class to have the students do paraphrases and then compare them: it's like with translation - there's not one single paraphrase or one single translation, but all different kinds of ways to do that, especially if the poetry is especially dense (not the case here, but definitely the case with lyric poetry!).

    If you want to play around with the story and do your own version, it's easy to grab a copy of any of these readers, and create a "new version" - keeping the images, and then playing around with the text, adding other images, etc. It's a fantastic way to come up with lots of different versions of the fable, and having lots of versions of the "same" fable is what has kept the Aesopic tradition going strong. Here are instructions on creating a new version of an existing reader.