Says the ant to the cricket, “I’m your servant and friend,
But we ants never borrow; we ants never lend.
But tell me, dear cricket, did you lay nothing by
When the weather was warm?” Quoth the cricket “Not I!
     My heart was so light
     That I sang day and night,
     For all nature looked gay.”
     “You sang, Sir, you say?
Go then,” says the ant, “and dance the winter away.”
The cricket went to the ant and asked for help. The ant said he was the cricket's servant and friend. But the ant also said that ants don't borrow or lend anything. The ant further asked the cricket what he had been doing when the weather was warm enough for him to work hard and save food. The cricket replied that he was very happy when nature looked good and bright. He added that he sang all day and night, out of happiness. The ant replied sarcastically that if he had been singing during the summer, now he can go and dance till the winter ends.
Here the poet refers to the mockery made by the ant. The ant mocked the cricket because the ant was worked hard during the summer months to relax and have food during winter; whereas the cricket, had sung songs all day during summer and now came to the ant for help. This also refers to the poet mocking lazy people. We should always think of our future and save according to our needs. When we have money we should not spend everything, we should save for the hard days.
If we have a valid reason for not saving for the future, others may show pity on us and help us out of a difficult situation; but if we enjoy happily instead of working hard, nobody will come forward to help us. The summer and winter may also refer to our young and old age - if we work hard during our young years and save wisely, we can live happily during the old age without asking help from anyone.
Meanings of difficult words:
quothsaid (in Old English)
dance the winter awayspend time dancing, during the winter
Rhyming words:
  1. friend - lend
  2. by - I
  3. light - night
  4. gay - say - away
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2008). Honeydew. The Ant and the Cricket - adapted from Aesop's Fables (pp. 21-23). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.