Multilingual Folk Tale Database


Author: Ivan Krylov - 1806

Translated into English
  by William Ralston Shedden - 1872

Original title (Russian):

Country of origin: Russia


English - aligned

Add a translation

The Ant

Ivan Krylov / William Ralston Shedden

A CERTAIN Ant had extraordinary strength, such as had never been heard of even in the days of old. It could even, as its trustworthy historian states, lift up two large grains of barley at once ! Besides this, it was also remarkable for wonderful courage. Whenever it saw a worm, it immediately stuck its claws into it, and it would even go alone against a spider. And so it acquired such a reputation on its ant-hill, that it became the sole subject of conversation.

Extravagant praise I consider poison ; but our ant was not of the same opinion : it delighted in it, measured it by its own conceit, and believed the whole of it. At length its head became so turned that it determined to exhibit itself to the neighbouring city, that it might acquire fame by showing off its strength there.

Perched on the top of a lofty cart-load of hay, having proudly made its way to the side of the moujik in charge, it enters the city in great state. But, alas ! what a blow to its pride ! It had imagined that the whole bazaar would run together to see it, as to a fire. But not a word is said about it, every one being absorbed in his own business. Our Ant seizes a leaf, and jerks it about, tumbles down, leaps up again. Still not a soul pays it any attention. At last, wearied with exerting itself, and holding itself proudly erect, it says, with vexation, to Barbos, the mastiff, lying beside its master's cart, " It must be confessed, mustn't it, that the people of your city have neither eyes nor brains ? Can it really be true that no one remarks me, although I have been straining myself here for a whole hour? And yet I 'm sure that at home I am well known to the whole of the ant-hill." And so it went back again, utterly crestfallen.