The Ant and The Grasshopper

the ant and the grasshopperThis story by W. Somerset Maugham takes its name from a famous Aesop fable. The fable carries the message that hard work is rewarded while laziness is punished. The story presents a more realistic view of the world. Sometimes good things do happen to lazy or even quite bad people, causing them to end up better off than those of us who work hard all our lives.

English Learner Vocabulary Help

The words and expressions in our Pre-Intermediate level Simplified English story which are not in our 1200 word list are: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and .

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ant(n: ant pl ants) A small insect that lives in an organized social group called a colony, thought of as hard-working. 6000

charm(v: charm, charms, charmed, charming) To cause (someone) to like you or to do what you want by being nice, friendly, etc. She charmed everyone with her warm smile. 3000

charming(adj: charming) Very pleasing or delightful; attractive. 3000

cheat(v: cheat, cheats, cheated, cheating) 1. To break a rule or law, usually to gain an advantage at something. She was caught cheating in a test. 2. To take something from someone by lying or breaking a rule. He cheated his brother out of his share of their parents money. 3000

cheerful(adj: cheerful) 1. Feeling or showing happiness. 2. Causing good feelings or happiness. 4000

club(n: club pl clubs) 1. A heavy wooden stick used as a weapon. 2. A group of people who meet to participate in an activity or a place where such people meet. 1000

(n: fable pl fables) A short story that usually is about animals and teaches a lesson about human behavior. 7000

forgive(v: forgive, forgives, forgave, forgiven, forgiving) To stop being angry with someone who has done something wrong or caused something bad to happen. He forgave her for stealing his watch.
(n: forgiveness, noncount) The act of forgiving. He asked for forgiveness. 2000

gamble(v: gamble, gambles, gambled, gambling) 1. To play a game in which you can win or lose money or other things you own. 2. To bet money or other valuable things on an outcome, such as a horse race. 3000

grasshopper(n: grasshopper pl grasshoppers) A plant-eating insect that has long legs used for jumping. 12000

habit(n: habit pl habits) A usual way of behaving; something that a person does often in a regular and repeated way, often without needing to think about it. She had a habit of biting her fingernails when she was nervous. 3000

honor(n: honor pl honors; British honour) 1. Respect given to someone or something that is admired. We fight for the honor of our country. 2. Something [such as a title or medal] that is given to a person as a sign of respect. He has received many honors for his research into cancer. 3. The quality of being honest. He is a man of honor. 2000

(adj: honorable or honourable) Having or showing honesty and good moral character; deserving or winning honor and respect. 2000

jewelry(n: jewelry, noncount; British jewellery) Decorative objects [rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, etc.] that people wear on their body.
(n: jeweler pl jewelers; British jeweller) A person that makes, repairs, or sells jewelry. 3000

(n: morals, plural) Proper ideas and beliefs about how to behave in a way that is considered right and good by most people. 2000

punish(v: punish, punishes, punished, punishing) To make someone suffer for a crime or for something done that is wrong.
(n: punishment pl punishments) The act or way of making someone suffer for a crime or for something done that is wrong. 3000

(adj: respectable) Considered to be good, correct, or acceptable; decent or correct in character, behavior, or appearance. 1000

reward(n: reward pl rewards) A benefit that someone gets or is offered for doing good work, good behavior etc. 3000

selfish(adj: selfish) Having or showing concern only for yourself and not for the needs or feelings of other people. 1000

upset(v: upset, upsets, upset, upsetting) To make someone feel unhappy or a little angry. (เศร้า) 2000

A 23 minute film segment from the 1951 movie ‘Encore’, which featured three of Maugham’s short stories. The introduction to the story is by Maugham himself. To watch online, click here. To download the mp4, click here.

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