Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories | Annotated Tale

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Why do the ants feed the cricket?

The Story of Alexander and the Knight.
There is another legend of the origin of the cricket which leads us to the cycle of the Alexander legends.


IT IS told that in the time of Alexander there lived a young man who, when he was sixteen years old, was more beautiful than any one had been before him, or after him. The princesses were fighting for him, calling one another as many names as the moon and stars, and each one vowing that hers only he was to be, none other was worthy of him. Still more beautiful was his singing, for when you heard him your mind stopped still, so sweet was his voice. Even the mothers of the maidens fell in love with him. And grey-haired old kings with long, white beards and bushy eyebrows, would lift their brows to see him, who was as beautiful as a wonder and dear as a ball of gold. But whilst everyone liked him, Alexander could not suffer him. He must hate him, for though Alexander was the mightiest emperor of the world, yet none could please him, no not one even of those princesses. For this reason there grew up an enmity between them, which became so strong that even the sun, which used at that time to walk about on the earth, could not make peace between them. Alexander might perhaps have made peace, but he would do so only on the condition that the other would not make love to his own favourite.

               But the young knight would not hear of any conditions, and in order to spite him still more, he went more often than before to Alexander's favourite wife, and sang to her as much as he could. When the sun told how insolent he was, Alexander turned on him and drove him out of the house. The sun chased him and burned him, so that from the white that he was he turned as black as a coal, and from the big and tall man that he was he shrivelled up and became as small as a hazelnut, and hid himself away under the hearth of a poor woman's house, from which he squeaked "Griji, Griji ( = take care) that the sun does not catch me." When the sun heard it, he said, "Now thou shalt always live here where thou art, and hungry and thirsty shalt thou cry Griji, Griji without stopping." When the beautiful maidens heard what had happened, they became very angry, and then, turning into ants, they brought food to the poor cricket. To this very day they bring him food, so that he may not die of hunger.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Why do the ants feed the cricket?
Tale Author/Editor: Gaster, Moses
Book Title: Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories
Book Author/Editor: Gaster, Moses
Publisher: Sidgwick & Jackson
Publication City: London
Year of Publication: 1915
Country of Origin: Romania
Classification: unclassified

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