|The Grasshopper by Anton Chekov||The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James||Education of Henry Adams by Henry Adams|
|Criticism and Fiction by William Dean Howells||Wintu Woman 19th Century||Pepita Jimenez by Juan Valera|
|Edmund Burke||Walden by Henry David Thoreau||Through the Brazilian Wilderness
by Theodore Roosevelt
|Description of Mongols by Muslim Writers||Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux||Old Goriot by Honoré de Balzac|
|History of the Pelopponnesian War by Thucydides|| The Golden Bough--Magic
by Sir James George Frazer
|The Golden Bough--Wild Animals
by Sir James George Frazer
|A Book-Lover’s Holidays in the Open
by Theodore Roosevelt
|One of Ours by Willa Cather||The Mysterious Affair at Styles
by Agatha Christie
|Monday or Tuesday
by Virginia Woolf
|Notre Dame de Paris
by Victor Marie Hugo
|The Country of the Pointed Firs
by Sarah Orne Jewett
|The Man Who Was Thursday
by G.K. Chesterton
|On The Grasshopper And Cricket
by John Keats
from Criticism and Fiction (1891)
by William Dean Howells
...The time is coming, I hope, when each new author, each new artist,
will be considered, not in his proportion to any other
author or artist, but in his relation to human nature, known to us all, which it is his privilege, his high duty, to interpret.... The
young writer who attempts to report the phrase and carriage of every-day life, who tries to tell just how he has heard men
talk and seen them look, is made to feel guilty of something low and unworthy by the stupid people who would like to have
him show how Shakespeare's men talked and looked...; he is instructed to idealize his personages, that is, to take the
life-likeness out of them, and put the book-likeness into them. He is approached in the spirit of the wretched pedantry into
which leaning, much or little, always decays when it withdraws itself and stands apart from experience in an attitude of
imagined superiority, and which would say with the same confidence to the scientist: "I see that you are looking at a
grasshopper there which you have found in the grass, and I suppose you intend to describe it. Now don't waste your time
and sin against culture in that way. I've got a grasshopper here, which has been evolved at considerable pains and expense
out of the grasshopper in general; in fact, it's a type. It's made up of wire and cardboard, very prettily painted in a
conventional tint, and its' perfectly indestructible. It isn't very much like a real grasshopper, but it's a great deal nicer, and it's served to represent the notion of a grasshopper ever since man emerged from barbarism. You may say that it's artificial.
Well, it is artificial; but then it's ideal too; and what you want to do is to cultivate the ideal. You'll find the books full of my
kind of grasshopper, and scarcely a trace of yours in any of them. The thing that you are proposing to do is commonplace;
but if you say that it isn't commonplace, for the very reason that it hasn't been done before, you'll have to admit that it's
As I said, I hope the time is coming when not only the artist, but the
common, average man, who always "has the standard of
the arts in his power," will have also the courage to apply it, and will reject the ideal grasshopper wherever he finds it, in
science, in literature, in art, because it is not "simple, natural, and honest," but because it is not like a real grasshopper. But I
will own that I think the time is yet far off, and that the people who have been brought up on the ideal grasshopper, the
self-devoted, adventureful, good old romantic cardboard grasshopper, must die out before the simple, honest and natural
grasshopper can have a fair field.
by Edmund Burke
Because half a dozen grasshoppers
a fern make the field ring with their importunate chink,
whilst thousands of great cattle... chew the cud and are silent, pray do not imagine that those who
make the noise are the only inhabitants of the field; that, of course, they are many in number; or that,
after all, they are other than the little, shriveled, meagre, hopping, though loud and troublesome
insects of the hour.
by Henry David Thoreau
And I am sure that I never read any memorable news in a newspaper. If we read of one man robbed, or murdered, or killed by accident, or one house burned, or one vessel wrecked, or one steamboat blown up, or one cow run over on the Western Railroad, or one mad dog killed, or one lot of grasshoppers in the winter--we never need read of another. One is enough.
Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains. I would drink deeper; fish in the sky, whose bottom is pebbly with stars. I cannot count one. I know not the first letter of the alphabet. I have always been regretting that I was not as wise as the day I was born.
Description of the Mongols
by Muslim writers
They are all compleat Men: vigorous and looking like Wrestlers; they breathe nothing but War and Blood, and show so great an Impatience to fight that their Generals can scarcely moderate it; yet tho' they appear thus fiery, they keep themselves within the bounds of a strict Obedience to Command, and are entirely devoted to their Prince.
They are content with any sort of food, and are not curious in their choice of beasts to eat. They are like the Grasshoppers, impossible to be number'd. The neighing of their steeds is enough to make Heaven shut its ears, and their arrows convert the sky to a sea of reeds.
from History of the Peloponnesian War
Athenians were the first to lay aside their weapons, and to adopt an easier and more luxurious mode of life; indeed, it is only lately that their rich old men left off the luxury of wearing undergarments of linen, and fastening a knot of their hair with a tie of golden grasshoppers, a fashion which spread to their Ionian kindred and long prevailed among the old men there. On the contrary, a modest style of dressing, more in conformity with modern ideas, was first adopted by the Lacedaemonians, the rich doing their best to assimilate their way of life to that of the common people.
from The Portrait of a Lady
by Henry James (1843–1916)
Her sister-in-law regarded her with none but level glances and expressed for the poor Countess as little contempt as admiration. In reality Isabel would as soon have thought of despising her as of passing a moral judgement on a grasshopper.
by Wintu Woman, 19th Century
When we Indians kill meat, we eat it all up. When we dig roots, we make little holes. When we build houses, we make little holes. When we burn grass for grasshoppers, we don't ruin things. We shake down acorns and pine nuts. We don't chop down the trees. We only use dead wood. But the white people plow up the ground, pull down the trees, kill everything. ... the White people pay no attention. ...How can the spirit of the earth like the White man? ... everywhere the White man has touched it, it is sore.
from Phantom of the Opera
Christine is imprisoned in the Phantom's quarters next door, and they
are able to converse with her through the walls, but she cannot help them.
Erik has an ornamental grasshopper
and a scorpion in two boxes, and tells her that if she rotates one of them
it will save the men, but if she chooses the wrong one the opera house
will be destroyed. Meanwhile Erik turns up the heat in the torture chamber,
making it so hot that both men fear they will be roasted alive, and they
begin to hallucinate that they are in jungle and desert. Eventually, on
the brink of death, the Persian finds a secret way out of the room, and
they find themselves in another chamber full of barrels of gunpowder. Christine
meanwhile, at the Phantom's urging, takes a chance and turns the scorpion.
The room in which the Persian and Raoul are now trapped is flooded by a
sudden torrent, and they are threatened with with drowning.
from The Golden Bough,1922
by Sir James George Frazer (1854–1941)
§ 2. Homoeopathic or Imitative Magic
Sometimes homoeopathic or imitative magic is called in to annul an evil omen by accomplishing it in mimicry. The effect is to circumvent destiny by substituting a mock calamity for a real one. In Madagascar this mode of cheating the fates is reduced to a regular system. Here every man’s fortune is determined by the day or hour of his birth, and if that happens to be an unlucky one his fate is sealed, unless the mischief can be extracted, as the phrase goes, by means of a substitute. The ways of extracting the mischief are various. For example, if a man is born on the first day of the second month (February), his house will be burnt down when he comes of age. To take time by the forelock and avoid this catastrophe, the friends of the infant will set up a shed in a field or in the cattle-fold and burn it. If the ceremony is to be really effective, the child and his mother should be placed in the shed and only plucked, like brands, from the burning hut before it is too late. Again, dripping November is the month of tears, and he who is born in it is born to sorrow. But in order to disperse the clouds that thus gather over his future, he has nothing to do but to take the lid off a boiling pot and wave it about. The drops that fall from it will accomplish his destiny and so prevent the tears from trickling from his eyes. Again, if fate has decreed that a young girl, still unwed, should see her children, still unborn, descend before her with sorrow to the grave, she can avert the calamity as follows. She kills a grasshopper, wraps it in a rag to represent a shroud, and mourns over it like Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted. Moreover, she takes a dozen or more other grasshoppers, and having removed some of their superfluous legs and wings she lays them about their dead and shrouded fellow. The buzz of the tortured insects and the agitated motions of their mutilated limbs represent the shrieks and contortions of the mourners at a funeral. After burying the deceased grasshopper she leaves the rest to continue their mourning till death releases them from their pain; and having bound up her dishevelled hair she retires from the grave with the step and carriage of a person plunged in grief. Thenceforth she looks cheerfully forward to seeing her children survive her; for it cannot be that she should mourn and bury them twice over. Once more, if fortune has frowned on a man at his birth and penury has marked him for her own, he can easily erase the mark in question by purchasing a couple of cheap pearls, price three halfpence, and burying them. For who but the rich of this world can thus afford to fling pearls away?
from The Golden Bough,1922
by Sir James George Frazer (1854–1941)
LIII. The Propitiation of Wild Animals By Hunters
Sometimes the desired object is supposed to be attained by treating with high distinction one or two chosen individuals of the obnoxious species, while the rest are pursued with relentless rigour. In the East Indian island of Bali, the mice which ravage the rice-fields are caught in great numbers, and burned in the same way that corpses are burned. But two of the captured mice are allowed to live, and receive a little packet of white linen. Then the people bow down before them, as before gods, and let them go. When the farms of the Sea Dyaks or Ibans of Sarawak are much pestered by birds and insects, they catch a specimen of each kind of vermin (one sparrow, one grasshopper, and so on), put them in a tiny boat of bark well-stocked with provisions, and then allow the little vessel with its obnoxious passengers to float down the river. If that does not drive the pests away, the Dyaks resort to what they deem a more effectual mode of accomplishing the same purpose. They make a clay crocodile as large as life and set it up in the fields, where they offer it food, rice-spirit, and cloth, and sacrifice a fowl and a pig before it. Mollified by these attentions, the ferocious animal very soon gobbles up all the creatures that devour the crops. In Albania, if the fields or vineyards are ravaged by locusts or beetles, some of the women will assemble with dishevelled hair, catch a few of the insects, and march with them in a funeral procession to a spring or stream, in which they drown the creatures. Then one of the women sings, “O locusts and beetles who have left us bereaved,” and the dirge is taken up and repeated by all the women in chorus. Thus by celebrating the obsequies of a few locusts and beetles, they hope to bring about the death of them all. When caterpillars invaded a vineyard or field in Syria, the virgins were gathered, and one of the caterpillars was taken and a girl made its mother. Then they bewailed and buried it. Thereafter they conducted the “mother” to the place where the caterpillars were, consoling her, in order that all the caterpillars might leave the garden.
Of course, most of them were like children, with a grasshopper inability for continuity of
thought and realization of the future. They would often act with an inconsequence that was really
puzzling. Dog-like fidelity, persevered in for months, would be ended by a fit of resentment at
something unknown, or by a sheer volatility which made them abandon their jobs when it was
even more to their detriment than to ours. But they had certain fixed standards of honor; the
porter would not abandon his load, the gun-bearer would not abandon his master when in
danger from a charging beast—although, unless a first-class man, he might at that critical moment
need discipline to restrain his nervous excitability. They appreciated justice, but they were neither
happy nor well behaved unless they were under authority; weakness toward them was even
more ruinous than harshness and overseverity.
The personal attendants of Kermit and myself established a kind of "chief petty officers' mess"
in the caravan. Not only his own boys, but mine, really cared more for Kermit than they did for
me. This was partly because he spoke Swahili; partly because he could see game, follow its
tracks, and walk as I could not; and partly because he exercised more strict control over his
men and yet more thought and care in giving them their pleasures and rewards. I was apt to
become amused and therefore too lenient in dealing with grasshopper-like failings—which was
bad for the grasshoppers themselves; and, moreover, I was apt to announce to a man who had
deserved well that he should receive so many rupees at the end of the trip, which to him seemed
a prophecy about the somewhat remote future, whereas Kermit gave less, but gave it in more
immediate form, such as sugar or tea, and rupees to be expended in the first Indian or Swahili
trader's store we met; on which occasions I would see Kermit head a solemn procession of both
his followers and mine to the store, where he would superintend their purchases, not only helping
them to make up vacillating minds but seeing that they were not cheated.
from Through the Brazilian Wilderness, 1914
by Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919)
VI. Through the Highland Wilderness of Western Brazil
We came across many queer insects. One red grasshopper when it flew seemed as big as a
small sparrow; and we passed in some places such multitudes of active little green grasshoppers
that they frightened the mules.
from The Education of Henry Adams, 1918
Henry Adams (1838–1918)
VII Treason (1860–1861)
As for Henry Adams, fresh from Europe and chaos of another sort, he plunged at once into a
lurid atmosphere of politics, quite heedless of any education or forethought. His past melted
away. The prodigal was welcomed home, but not even his father asked a malicious question
about the Pandects. At the utmost, he hinted at some shade of prodigality by quietly inviting his
son to act as private secretary during the winter in Washington, as though any young man who
could afford to throw away two winters on the Civil Law could afford to read Blackstone for
another winter without a master. The young man was beyond satire, and asked only a pretext for
throwing all education to the east wind. November at best is sad, and November at Quincy had
been from earliest childhood the least gay of seasons. Nowhere else does the uncharitable
autumn wreak its spite so harshly on the frail wreck of the grasshopper summer; yet even a
Quincy November seemed temperate before the chill of a Boston January.
from Old Goriot
by Honoré de Balzac (1799–1850)
Mlle. Michonneau, that elderly young lady, screened her weak eyes from the daylight by a
soiled green silk shade with a rim of brass, an object fit to scare away the Angel of Pity himself.
Her shawl, with its scanty, draggled fringe, might have covered a skeleton, so meager and
angular was the form beneath it. Yet she must have been pretty and shapely once. What
corrosive had destroyed the feminine outlines? Was it trouble, or vice, or greed? Had she
loved too well? Had she been a second-hand clothes dealer, a frequenter of the backstairs of
great houses, or had she been merely a courtesan? Was she expiating the flaunting triumphs of
a youth overcrowded with pleasures by an old age in which she was shunned by every
passer-by? Her vacant gaze sent a chill through you; her shriveled face seemed like a menace.
Her voice was like the shrill, thin note of the grasshopper sounding from the thicket when
winter is at hand. She said that she had nursed an old gentleman, ill of catarrh of the bladder,
and left to die by his children, who thought that he had nothing left. His bequest to her, a life
annuity of a thousand francs, was periodically disputed by his heirs, who mingled slander with
their persecutions. In spite of the ravages of conflicting passions, her face retained some traces
of its former fairness and fineness of tissue, some vestiges of the physical charms of her youth
from Pepita Jimenez
by Juan Valera (1824–1905)
Part III.—Letters of My Brother
The room in which we ate the strawberries on the afternoon on which Pepita and Luis saw
and spoke with each other for the second time, has been transformed into a graceful temple,
with portico and columns of white marble. Within is a spacious apartment, comfortably
furnished, and adorned by two beautiful pictures. One represents Psyche discovering by the
light of her lamp Cupid asleep on his couch; the other represents Chloe when the fugitive
grasshopper has taken refuge in her bosom, where, believing itself secure, it begins to chirp in
its pleasant hiding-place, from which Daphnis is trying, meanwhile, to take it forth.
from One of Ours, 1922.
by Willa Cather (1873–1947)
On Lovely Creek
There were few days in the year when Wheeler did not drive off somewhere; to an auction
sale, or a political convention, or a meeting of the Farmers’ Telephone directors;—to see how
his neighbours were getting on with their work, if there was nothing else to look after. He
preferred his buckboard to a car because it was light, went easily over heavy or rough roads,
and was so rickety that he never felt he must suggest his wife’s accompanying him. Besides he
could see the country better when he didn’t have to keep his mind on the road. He had come to
this part of Nebraska when the Indians and the buffalo were still about, remembered the
grasshopper year and the big cyclone, had watched the farms emerge one by one from the great
rolling page where once only the wind wrote its story. He had encouraged new settlers to take
up homesteads, urged on courtships, lent young fellows the money to marry on, seen families
grow and prosper; until he felt a little as if all this were his own enterprise. The changes, not only
those the years made, but those the seasons made, were interesting to him.
from The Mysterious Affair at Styles, 1924
by Agatha Christie (1890–1976)
Monday or Tuesday, 1921
Virginia Woolf (1882–1941)
Hilda’s the sister-in-law. Hilda? Hilda? Hilda Marsh—Hilda the blooming, the full bosomed,
the matronly. Hilda stands at the door as the cab draws up, holding a coin. “Poor Minnie, more
of a grasshopper than ever—old cloak she had last year. Well, well, with too children these days
one can’t do more. No, Minnie, I’ve got it; here you are, cabby—none of your ways with me.
Come in, Minnie. Oh, I could carry you, let alone your basket!” So they go into the
dining-room. “Aunt Minnie, children.”
from Notre Dame de Paris
Victor Marie Hugo (1802–1885)
Nothing makes one more boldly venturesome than the consciousness of an empty pocket.
Grainier, therefore, continued his way and soon came up with the last of these weird objects
dragging itself clumsily after the rest. On closer inspection he perceived that it was nothing but
a miserable fragment, a stump of a man hobbling along painfully on his two hands like a
mutilated grasshopper with only its front legs left. As he passed this kind of human spider it
addressed him in a lamentable whine: “La buona mancia, signor! la buona mancia!”
from The Country of the Pointed Firs, 1910
by Sarah Orne Jewett (1849–1909)
I could see that she was trying to keep pace with the old captain's lighter steps. He looked like
an aged grasshopper of some strange human variety. Behind this pair was a short, impatient, little
person, who kept the captain's house, and gave it what Mrs. Todd and others believed to be no
proper sort of care. She was usually called "that Mari' Harris" in subdued conversation between
intimates, but they treated her with anxious civility when they met her face to face.
The Man Who Was Thursday, 1908
G.K. Chesterton (1874–1936)
“I’ve got it now,” cried Bull, “it was because he was so fat and so light. Just like a balloon. We
always think of fat people as heavy, but he could have danced against a sylph. I see now what I
mean. Moderate strength is shown in violence, supreme strength is shown in levity. It was like
the old speculations—what would happen if an elephant could leap up in the sky like a
“Our elephant,” said Syme, looking upwards, “has leapt into the sky like a grasshopper.”
On The Grasshopper And Cricket (1817)
The poetry of earth is never dead:
When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead;
That is the Grasshopper's—he takes the lead
In summer luxury,—he has never done
With his delights; for when tired out with fun
He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.
The poetry of earth is ceasing never:
On a lone winter evening, when the frost
Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills
The Cricket's song, in warmth increasing ever,
And seems to one in drowsiness half lost,
The Grasshopper's among some grassy hills.