by Jean de La Fontaine (1621 - 1695)
Translation © by Emily Ezust

La cigale, ayant chanté
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
La cigale, ayant chanté
Tout l'été,
Se trouva fort dépourvue
Quand la bise fut venue.
Pas un seul petit morceau
De mouche ou de vermisseau.
Elle alla crier famine
Chez la Fourmi sa voisine,
La priant de lui prêter
Quelque grain pour subsister
Jusqu'à la saison nouvelle.
«Je vous paierai, lui dit-elle,
Avant l'août, foi d'animal,
Intérêt et principal.»
La Fourmi n'est pas prêteuse;
C'est là son moindre défaut.
«Que faisiez-vous au temps chaud?
Dit-elle à cette emprunteuse.
-- Nuit et jour à tout venant
Je chantais, ne vous déplaise.
-- Vous chantiez? j'en suis fort aise.
Et bien! dansez maintenant.»

About the headline (FAQ)

See also La cigale vengée.


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive):

Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

  • Also set in German (Deutsch), a translation by R. Sprato ; composed by Anton Grigoryevich Rubinstein.
  • Also set in Hungarian (Magyar), a translation by Dezső Kosztolányi (1885 - 1936) , "A tücsök meg a hangya", first published 1916 ; composed by Ferenc Farkas.
  • Also set in Russian (Русский), a translation by Ivan Andreyevich Krylov (1769 - 1844) , "Стрекоза и Муравей", appears in Басни (Basni) [an adaptation] ; composed by Anton Grigoryevich Rubinstein, Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich.

Other available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Emily Ezust) , "The grasshopper and the ant", copyright © 2016

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 22
Word count: 99

The grasshopper and the ant
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
The Grasshopper, having sung
All summer,
Found herself extremely deprived
When the cold winds began to blow:
Not even one small morsel
Of a fly or a worm.
She cried famine
At the home of her neighbour the Ant,
And entreated her to lend her
Some grain on which to subsist
Until the next season.
"I shall pay you", she told her,
"Before august, upon my word as an animal,
Both interest and principal."
The Ant is not a money-lender -
That's the least of her problems!
"How did you spend the warm days?"
She asked this borrower.
"Night and day, to all who came,
I sang, if you don't mind."
"You sang? I am glad.
Well! now you can go dance."


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2016 by Emily Ezust

    Emily Ezust permits her translations to be reproduced without prior permission for printed (not online) programs to free-admission concerts only, provided the following credit is given:

    Translation copyright © by Emily Ezust,
    from the LiederNet Archive --

    For any other purpose, please write to the e-mail address below to request permission and discuss possible fees.

Based on:


This text was added to the website: 2016-11-12
Line count: 22
Word count: 122