‘The Ant And The Grasshopper’ By -William Somerset Maugham

‘The Ant And The Grasshopper’  By -William Somerset Maugham

When I was a very small boy I was made to learn (कंठस्थ करा दिया गया) by heart certain (कुछ) of the fables (पशु-पक्षियों की कहानियाँ) of La Fontaine, and the moral (नैतिक सीख) of each was carefully explained (बता दी गयी) to me. Among those (उनमे से ) I learnt was ‘The Ant and The Grasshopper’, which is devise (रची गयी) to bring home (समझाना) to the young (युवावों) the useful lesson that in an imperfect (अपूर्ण) world industry (परिश्रम) is rewarded (पुरस्कृत) and giddiness (आलस्य) punished. In this admirable (प्रसंशनीय) fable (I apologise (क्षमा प्रार्थना करना) for telling something, which everyone is politely (विनम्रता), but inexactly (गलत रूप से), supposed to know) the ant spends a laborious (परिश्रम भरा) summer gathering (इकट्ठा करने में ) its winter store, while the grasshopper sits on a blade (पत्ती) of grass singing to the sun. Winter comes and the ant is comfortably (आराम से) provided for (गुजारा करना), but the grasshopper has an empty larder (भंडार, बखार) : he goes to the ant and begs for a little food. Then the ant gives him her classic (उत्कृष्ट) answer: “What were you doing in the summer time?” “ Saving your presence (श्रीमती जी), I sang, I sang all-day , all night.”

              “You sang, Why, then go and dance.”

I do not ascribe (कारण बताना)it to perversity (हठधर्मिता) on my part, but rather (कुछ-कुछ) to the inconsequence (अपरिपक्वता) of childhood, which is deficient (आभाव, अपूर्ण) in moral sense, that I could never quite (बिल्कुल) reconcile (सहमत होना, स्वीकार करना) myself to the lesson. My sympathies (सहनुभुतियाँ) were with the grasshopper and for some time I never saw an ant without putting my foo on it. In this summary (and as I have discovered since entirely human) fashion I sought (चाहता था) to express my disapproval (असहमति) of prudence (विवेक) and commonsense (सहज/ जनसाधारण ज्ञान).

 I could not help thinking of this fable when the other day I saw George Ramsay lunching (दोपहर का भोजन करते हुए) by himself in a restaurant (जल-पान गृह). I never saw anyone wear an expression (अभिव्यक्ति) of such deep gloom (दुःख, वेदना). He was staring (एकटक देखते हुए) into space (आसमान). He looked as though the burden (बोझ) of the whole world sat on his shoulders. I was sorry for him : I suspected (शक किया, संदेह किया) at once (तुरंत) that his unfortunate (अभागा) brother had been causing (उत्पन्न कर रहा) trouble (कष्ट) again. I went up to him and held out (बढाया) my hand.

“How are you?” I asked.


“I’m not in hilarious (प्रसन्नचित) spirits (मनो दशा, आत्मा, रूह),” he answered.

“Is it Tom again?”

He sighed (आह भरा).

“Yes. It’s Tom again.” “Why don’t you chuck (छोड़ देना) him? You’ve done everything in the world for him. You must know by now that he’s quite hopeless (निराश).”

“Why don’t you chuck (छोड़ देना) him? You’ve done everything in the world for him. You must know by now that he’s quite hopeless (निराश).”

I suppose (मानना) every family has a black sheep (निकम्मा व्यक्ति). Tom had been a sore (पीड़ादायक) trial (आजमाइश) to this for twenty years. He had begun life decently (शिष्टता से) enough : he went into business, married and had two children. The Ramsays were perfectly, respectable people and there was every reason to suppose that Tom Ramsay would have a useful and honourable career. But one-day. Without warning, he announced that he didn’t like work and that he wasn’t suited for marriage. He wanted to enjoy himself. He would listen to no expostulations (आपत्ति, विरोध ). He left his wife and his office. He had a little money and he spent two happy years in the various capitals of      Europe. Rumours of his doings (कारनामें), reached his relations from time to time and they were profoundly (गहराई से) shocked (चौंक जाते थे). He certainly (निश्चित रूप से) had a very good time. They shook their      heads and asked what would happen when his money was spent. They soon found out : he borrowed (उधार ले लिया). He was charming (सुन्दर) and unscrupulous (बेशरम, मनमौजी). I have never met      anyone to whom it was more difficult to refuse (इनकार करना) a loan. He made a steady (ठोस, स्थायी) income from his friends and he made friends easily. But he always said that the money      you spent on necessities was boring; the money that was amusing (आनंददायक) to spend was the money you spent on luxuries (आराम,विलासिता). For this he depended on his brother      George. He did not waste his charm on him. George was a serious man and insensible(अनभिज्ञ, उदासीन) to such enticements (प्रलोभन). George was respectable. Once or twice he fell to      Tom’s promises of amendment (सुधार) and gave him considerable (अच्छी-खासी, मोटी) sums (रकम, रुपया-पैसा) in order that he might make a fresh start (नईं शुरुआत). On these tom bought a motor-car and some very      nice jewellery. But when circumstances (परिस्थितियां) forced George to realize (अहसास, पता चलना) that his brother would never settle down (सुधारना, सफल, स्थायी), he washed his hands (पल्ला झाड़ लिया) of him. Tom, without a qualm (हिचकिचाहट, पछतावा) ,      began to blackmail (भयादोहन, धमकी से ऐठना) him. It was not very nice for a respectable lawyer to find his brother shaking cocktails (मिश्रित शराब) behind the bar of his favourite restaurant of to see him waiting on the box-seat of a taxi outside his club. Tom said that to serve in a bar or to drive a taxi was perfectly decent occupation (पेशा, धंधा), but if George could oblige (मजबूर करना) him with a couple of hundred pounds he didn’t mind for the honour of the family giving it up. George paid.

Once Tom nearly (लगभग-लगभग) went to prison (जेल, कारागार). George was terribly (बहुत ज्यादा, भीषण रूप से) upset. He went into the whole discreditable (बदनामी, अपमान) affair. Really Tom had gone too far. He had been wild, thoughtless (अल्हड, विचारहीन) and selfish (स्वार्थी), but he had never before done anything dishonest, by which George meant illegal (अवैधानिक, अवैध, गैर-कानूनी) and if he were prosecuted (मुकदमा चलाया) he would assuredly (विश्वाश पूर्वक, निश्चित रूप से) be convicted (अपराधी, दोषी सिद्ध). But you cannot allow your only brother to go to gaol (जेल, कारागार). The man Tom had cheated, called Cronshaw, was vindictive (प्रतिशोधी, बदला लेने वाला). He was determined (दृढ-प्रतिज्ञ) to take the matter into court, he said Tom was a scoundrel (बदमाश, लुच्चा, लफंगा, नीच) and should be punished. It cost George an infinite (असीम, अनन्त) deal of trouble and five hundred pounds to settle the affair. I      have never seen him in such a rage (क्रोध, गुस्सा) as when he heard that Tom and Cronshaw had gone off together to Monte Carlo the moment the cashed the cheque.      They spent a happy month there.

For twenty years Tom raced and gambled, philandered (छिनरई करना, ऐयाशी करना, प्रेमालाप करना, आगे-पीछे डोलना) with the prettiest girls, danced, ate in the most expensive restaurants, and dressed beautifully. He always looked as if he had just stepped out of a bandbox (कागज का डब्बा). Though he was forty-six you would never have taken him for more than thirty-five. He was a most amusing (विनोदी, दिलचस्प) companion (साथी) and though you knew he was perfectly worthless(नालायक, बेकार, दो कौड़ी का)) you could not but enjoy his society. He had high spirits (उत्साही), an unfailing (कभी न समाप्त होने वाली) gaiety (प्रसन्नता) and incredible (आश्चर्य जनक, अविश्वश्नीय) charm. I never grudged (कुढ़ना, अनिक्षा प्रकट करना) the contributions (योगदान) he regularly levied (वसूल किया, उगाही किया) on me for the necessities (जरूरतें) of his existence (अस्तित्व). I never lent (उधार दिया) him fifty pounds without feeling that I was in      his debt. Tom Ramsay knew everyone and everyone knew Tom Ramsay. You could not approve (सहमत होना, मंजूर, अनुमोदन करना) ) of him; but you could not help liking him.

Poor (बेचारा) George, only a year older that his scapegrace (बेहया, निर्लज्ज, नालायक, निठल्ला)-brother, looked sixty. He had never taken more than fortnight’s (15 दिन, पखवाडा) holiday in the year for a quarter of a century. He was in his office every morning at nine-thirty and never left it till six. He was honest, industrious (परिश्रमी, मेहनती) and worthy (योग्य, कुशल). He had good wife, to whom he had never been unfaithful(कपटी, विश्वासघाती) even in thought, and four daughters to whom he was the best of fathers. He made a point of saving a third of his income and his plan was to retire (सेवानिवृत) at fifty-five to a little house in the country where he proposed (प्रस्तावित किया) to cultivate (विकसित) his garden and play golf. His life was blameless (निष्कलंक, स्वच्छ छवि). He was glad that he was  growing old because tom was growing old too. He rubbed (मला) his hands and said;

 “It was all very well when Tom was young and good-looking, but he’s only a year younger than I am. In four years he’ll be fifty. He won’t find life so easy then. I shall have thirty thousand pounds by the time I’m fifty. For twenty-five years I’ve said that Tom would end in the gutter (बुरी दशा, बेकार हालात). and we shall see how he likes that. We shall see if it really pays best to work or be idle.”

Poor George! I sympathized with him. I wondered (आश्चर्यचकित हुआ) now as I sat down beside him what infamous (बदनाम, बदनामी) thing tom had done. George was evidently (बेशक, निःसंदेह) very much upset (परेशान).

 “Do you know what’s happened now?” he asked me.

 I was prepared for the worst (सबसे ख़राब). I wondered if Tom had got into the hands of the police at last. George could hardly bring himself to speak.

“You’re not going to deny that all my life, I’ve been hard-working. decent (शिष्ट), respectable and straight-forward (दूर-दर्शी). After a life of industry and thrift (किफ़ायत) I can look forward to retiring on a small income in gilt-edged securities (सुरक्षित बचत-पत्र). I’ve always done my duty in that state of life in which it has pleased Providence (मितव्ययिता, आर्थिक स्थिति) to place me.”


 “And you can’t deny that, Tom has been an idle, worthless dissolute(लम्पट, एय्यास, व्याभिचारी) and dishonourable (नीच, बेइज्जत) rouge (दुष्ट). If there were any justice he’d be in the workhouse (कारागार).”


 George grew red in the face.

 “A few weeks ago he became engaged (सगाई कर ली) to woman old enough to his mother. And now she’s died and lift him everything she had. Half a million pounds, a yacht, a house in London and a house in the country.”

George Ramsay beat his clenched (भींचा, कसके बांधा) fist (मुट्ठी, घूंसा) on the table.

“It’s not fair (उचित, ठीक), I tell you, it’s not fair. Damn it (सत्यानाश), it’s not fair.”

I could not help it. I burst (फूट पड़ा, नियंत्रण से बाहर) into a shout of laughter as I looked at George’s wrathful (क्रुद्ध, तिलमिलाया) face, I rolled (लुढ़क गया) in my chair, I very nearly fell on the floor. George never forgave (माफ़ किया) me. But Tom often (अक्सर) asks me to excellent (बढ़िया, लज़ीज़) dinners in his charming house in Mayfair, and if he occasionally (कभी-कभी) borrows a trifle from me, that is merely (केवल ) force of habit . It is never more than a sovereign


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