Fairy Tales for Kids: The Ant and the Grasshopper

The Ant and the Grasshopper

The Ant and the Grasshopper is one of the most famous fables ever written by Aesop. The story and the moral have been rewritten many times by many different writers. We hope you enjoy our take on this classic tale.

Our version has been simplified for young readers. If you would like to compare it with other versions, we have included an older version of the text and some YouTube versions at the end of this post.

The Ant and the Grasshopper

It was a bright, sunny summer day.
Instead of playing, an ant was hard at work.
The ant went out and found food.
Then, the ant brought it back to his home.

the ant with an acorn

The ant wanted to play, but he couldn’t.
He needed to store lots of food in his home.
That way, he would not be hungry during the winter.

the grasshopper making music

While the ant worked, the grasshopper did not.
The grasshopper made music and danced all day.
The grasshopper was having lots of fun.


Day after day, the ant worked while the grasshopper played.
Soon it was autumn, and then it was winter.
It was cold and snowy.
There was no food on the ground.

ant, resting in a chair in front of his fireplace

The ant stayed in his home. 
He was comfy and warm.
The ant’s belly was full of the food that he had saved all summer.

a knock on the door

Then, the ant heard a knock on his door.
The ant opened the door and saw the grasshopper.

Grasshopper asks for food

The grasshopper was cold and hungry.
“Can I have some food,” asked the grasshopper.
“What did you do all summer while I worked?” asked the ant.
“I played all summer and forgot to prepare for winter,” said the grasshopper.

ant tells grasshopper he must help next year

“I have enough for the both of us,” said the ant.
“Thank you so much,” said the grasshopper.
“But, next year, you need to help me store food so that both of us can play,” said the ant.

dining table

The grasshopper came inside.
The ant and the grasshopper had dinner.
They spent the rest of the winter playing games.

ant and grasshopper carrying a sandwich

The next spring and summer, both ant and grasshopper went out and worked. 
Day after day, they worked hard.
Soon, they had stored enough food for winter.

The End

With all the food stored, they could relax.
They spent the rest of the summer and autumn playing games.

The Moral: Hard work now will pay off later.

What Can We Learn With This Story?


Throughout our version of this story, we see the words during and while. These words are important because they allow us to create more complex sentences. During allows us to say what happened in a certain time period:

During the summer the ant worked hard.

While allows us to show two different things happening at the same time:

While the ant worked, the grasshopper played.

For younger readers, this may be too difficult. but, for learners that are reaching an intermediate level, this is key vocabulary that allows for more complex sentences.

The Seasons

In this story, we touch on every season. You can use this story to review season vocabulary. Even young readers should be able to know the four seasons. So, if your child is struggling with this vocabulary, make sure to review it with them.


The Original Version of the Ants and the Grasshopper

You can find this version with illustrations over at the Library of Congress.

One bright day in late autumn a family of Ants were bustling about in the warm sunshine, drying out the grain they had stored up during the summer, when a starving Grasshopper, his fiddle under his arm, came up and humbly begged for a bite to eat.

“What!” cried the Ants in surprise, “haven’t you stored anything away for the winter? What in the world were you doing all last summer?”

“I didn’t have time to store up any food,” whined the Grasshopper; “I was so busy making music that before I knew it the summer was gone.”

The Ants shrugged their shoulders in disgust.

“Making music, were you?” they cried. “Very well; now dance!” And they turned their backs on the Grasshopper and went on with their work.

There’s a time for work and a time for play.

The Best YouTube Versions

Reading is great for learning, but so is watching and listening. Here are some free resources on YouTube to help you get the most out of this story.

What is the Moral of the Ant and the Grasshopper?

The moral of the ant and the grasshopper is to get work done when you need to. Or, “there’s a time for work and a time for play.”

Read More Stories with the Learner’s Nook

We believe that reading is one of the most powerful ways to learn a new language. For that reason, we have been putting out new short stories every week aimed at people learning English. To see our collection, you can click on the image below or on this link to our fairy tale stories for children.

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