Once upon a time in the heartland of America, an ant and a grasshopper were discussing the future on a bright spring day.
"I'm going to gather a little extra food each day and store it away for the winter," the ant said. "That way I'll have enough to last until next March, when the grass and seeds will start growing again."
"Oh, that's too hard!" exclaimed the grasshopper. "Besides, there's time to do that later. I'm going to take some time off to enjoy the summer and have some fun!"
So every day, the ant would work hard gathering food, carrying it past the grasshopper, who played his fiddle and paused only long enough to smirk or laugh at the ant.
"You work too hard!" he observed. "Who do you think you are?"
The ant answered "I'm someone who intends to survive another year!" and kept on going.
This continued all summer and into the fall.
Little by little, the food became scarcer and harder to find.
The ant didn't worry; if he didn't find enough food in a day, he would take a small amount out of storage to fill his plate. With careful rationing, he'd still have plenty to last until spring.
But the grasshopper grew hungrier and hungrier and became resentful of the ant.
"Who does that greedy little ant think he is, hoarding all the food?" he muttered to himself. "He thinks he's too good to share with those less fortunate than him!"
When the grasshopper's appetite grew too voracious to control, he petitioned the Deer Leader, a tall, lanky creature with protruding ears, whose job it was to make all the decisions the woodland creatures had to live by.
"Look at all the food that greedy ant has, Deer Leader, and I don't have ANY! If I don't get something to eat, I'll be dead by November! It's not fair!" he implored.
So Deer Leader paid a visit to the ant.
"It's not fair that you have so much, ant," he said, "while the grasshopper has so little."
The ant cried, "But I worked hard for every piece of food that I have! If you take it, all that work will have been for nothing!"
Deer Leader snorted derisively, "Then maybe you shouldn't have worked so hard!"
Angered, the ant asked "And why is it that the grasshopper had NO responsibility to work HARDER, instead of playing his fiddle all summer?"
Deer Leader snorted again, "What an insensitive question!"
Deer Leader seized half the ant's food and took it to the grasshopper.
"Here, grasshopper," he said as he dropped the food on the grasshopper's doorstep. "When the rich, greedy ants won't share, remember that Deer Leader will take care of you, because I CARE."
The leaves fell, and soon the snow did too.
As December faded into January, the ant, who had gathered enough food to last until March, and the grasshopper, who hadn't even gathered enough to last through November, starved to death, dying in fact on the same day.
And Deer Leader laughed and laughed and laughed, because their Outcomes were Equal, and in the end that was the only thing that mattered.