Aesop on Prepping

The Wild Boar and The Fox
     A wild boar was sharpening his tusks upon the trunk of a tree in the forest when a fox came by and asked, “Why are you doing that, pray? The huntsmen are not out today and there are no other dangers at hand that I can see”
     “True, my friend,” replied the boar, “but the instant my life is in danger, I shall need to use my tusks. There will be no time to sharpen them then.”

History has shown us there will always be unseen dangers to prepare for; but it has also shown us there is complacency and apathy, or just downright laziness and entitlement. An early example of prepping comes from Aesop in the six century B.C.* Aesop pondered life’s truths, and wrote simple moral stories “which everyone knows not to be true, [but by doing so] told the truth by the very fact that he did not claim to be relating real events.”

The ant as a symbol in the prepper community comes from the fable:
The Grasshopper and The Ant
     In a field one summer’s day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart’s content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.
     “Why not come and chat with me,” said the Grasshopper, “instead of toiling and moiling in that way?”
     “I am helping to lay up food for the winter,” said the Ant, “and recommend you to do the same.”
     “Why bother about winter?” said the Grasshopper, “we have got plenty of food at present.” 
     But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil. When the winter came the Grasshopper had no food and found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the ants distributing every day corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer. Dying, the Grasshopper knew: It is best to prepare for the days of necessity.

Through various retellings over the years this simple and straightforward moral has become badly distorted. This was especially shown in the 1934 Disney short film “The Grasshopper and the Ants”. The film ended with the ants feeling sorry for the grasshopper, bringing him in, feeding and caring for him. Too many believe this is what would really happen, either by ‘some government agency’ or neighbors who did take the time to “lay up food for the winter”. Planning ahead and preserving the harvest in preparation for the dark days of winter was the norm from long before the time of Aesop until as recently as two generations ago. Yet somehow today the concept of actively preparing for times of need has been labeled as hoarding, fringe, or extreme.

Be the Ant.

(Friday: “Store What You Eat”)

*Aesop is believed to be a Greek writer who is variously described as both legendary and historical. He was said to have lived in the six century B.C. perhaps as a Phrygian slave. There is debate as to whether or not Aesop actually wrote the fables, some question whether he even existed. Although the origin of Aesop’s fables may be shrouded in mystery, they were retold over generations, and finally transcribed by Babrius, in the second century A.D. Throughout the years, there have been many versions, in many cultures, used to teach morals to people of all ages.