THE ORIGINAL LEGEND
An ant and a grasshopper live in the same field. During the summer the ant works all day and night, bringing in supplies for the winter and he prepares his home to keep him warm during the cold winter months ahead. Meanwhile the grasshopper hops and sings, eats all he wants and procreates. Come winter the grass dies, and it is bitterly cold. The ant is well fed and warm in his house, but the grasshopper has not prepared for the winter, so he dies, leaving a whole hoard of little grasshoppers without food or shelter. The moral of the story is that one should work hard to ensure that you can take care of yourself.
THE MODERN VERSION
The first part is the same, but because it happens in South Africa, there are a few complications. The starving, shivering offspring of the grasshopper demand to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed, while next door they are living in terrible conditions without food or proper clothing. A TV crew shows up and broadcasts footage of the poor grasshoppers, contrasting this with the footage of the ant, snug in his comfortable home with a pantry full of food. The public is stunned. How can this be, in this beautiful field, where the poor grasshoppers are allowed to suffer, while the ant lives in the lap of luxury. In the blink of an eye the AGU (African Grasshoppers Union) was formed. They charged the ant with a species bias and claim that grasshoppers are the victims of 30 million years of green oppression. They stage a protest in front of the ant’s house and trash the street. The TV crew interviews them, and they all state that if their demands are not met, they will be forced into a life of crime. Just for practice, they took the TV crew’s luggage and hijack their van. The TRC (Take and Redistribute Commission) justifies their behaviour by saying that this is the legacy of the ant’s discrimination towards the oppression of the grasshopper. They demand that the ant apologizes to the grasshoppers for what he has done, and that he makes amends for all the ants in history who have done the same thing to other grasshoppers. PAGAD (People against Grasshoppers Abuse and Distress) state that they are starting a holy war against ants.
The president appears on the 8 o’clock news and says that he will do everything he can for the grasshoppers who have been denied the property they deserve by those who have benefitted unfairly during the summer. The government drafts up the EEGAD (Economic Equity For Green and Disadvantaged) act retroactive to the beginning of summer. The ant is fined for failing to employ a proportionate number of green insects and having nothing left to pay back taxes, his home is confiscated by the government for redistribution
The story ends as we see the grasshoppers finishing off the last of the ant’s food while the government house he’s in (which just happens to be the ant’s old house) crumbles around him because he does not know how to maintain it. Showing on the TV (which he and a couple of friends stole from another ant) the president is standing before a group of wildly singing and dancing grasshoppers announcing that a new era of equality has dawned on the field. The ant in the meanwhile is not allowed to work because he has historically benefitted from the field. In his place, ten grasshoppers only work two hours a day and steal half of what they actually harvest. When winter comes again and not enough food has been harvested, they strike and demand a 150% increase in their wages so that they can buy more food which has now been imported because the grasshoppers are not productive enough to produce food locally.
The ant packs his things and moves to another field. He starts a highly successful food company and becomes a millionaire by selling food to the field from where he came.