The Legacy of the Grasshopper
Updated: Dec 11, 2021
By Erin J. Choi
Had it become a norm for one to drown in the sensation of muscles clenching, tightening, and the occasional shots of pain that fired through one’s body, Hopp did not know. But, one thing he did know for sure, was that he was changing. Whether it was for the better or for worse, it remained a fog, but the alien impression that his body was shrinking each day foreshadowed an adverse outcome. It was until one morning, Hopp awoke as a sudden chill that sprinted down his spine greeted him. He began to shiver, trembling as if he was frigid cold, shaking uncontrollably. His bones began to crack, the sound harmonizing with his trembles, filling the air with a faint echo. Screaming in excruciating pain, the once dried bed sheets turned damp in Hopp’s wash of sweat. Not long after, he felt his body levitate, floating as he struggled to retain consciousness, before dropping to the ground with a harsh thud. Everything seemed to be chaotic, yet so peaceful at the same time; a breath of fresh air brushed through, filling the room with the aroma of fresh grass and flowers, but the dizziness and sudden magnification of all the objects in the room were too much to handle. Hopp propped himself up, but realized his legs simply could not support his body, for he needed to roll over and crawl in order to stand. His new set of lime legs ignited a soft exclamation, as he found he was no longer in the same body he had lived in for the past twenty years.
“W-what am I?” Hopp spluttered, utterly startled.
He could not identify himself, but noticed his heightened sense of smell, sight, and the swiftness in his movement. Struggling to regain his balance as his body forced him to jump at every step, he proceeded towards the nearest window. A man, showered in gold and silver jewelry, wore an emerald gown that trailed behind each of his footsteps. His clothing shimmered and danced under the scorching sun, as a group of armed soldiers followed his behind tightly. It took a moment for Hopp to fully recognize the man’s identity: King Yul, the fourth king of the Joseon dynasty. Being one of the most benevolent and intelligent kings to exist, Hopp could not contain his elation as he sought to accompany the king and his men. Hopp quickened his pace as he found himself suddenly fully capable of jumping at a maximum speed, adrenaline coursing through his veins as his small heart palpitated, when he was abruptly stopped by the overwhelming fragrance of sweetness.
Halting in his tracks, Hopp discovered a room stacked with arrays of herbs and tea leaves. The colors were extraordinary, ranging from apricot to violet, and not to mention the penetrating scent of jasmine and vanilla: Hopp was in a bliss of his own. He watched in fascination as the maids mixed around the leaves, brewing it in hot water, and prepared ten cups of tea in a matter of minutes. Inching closer to take yet another whiff, he spotted a servant in the corner, whipping a flask out of her pocket. Ebony powder swirled around the glass jar, and the servant, without hesitation, poured the whole vessel of poison into the newly brewed cup of tea. Hopp began to choke as the odor of the black powder edged towards him, forcing him to leap out of the room. The servant, glancing around suspiciously, shut the cup lid, and headed to the king’s chamber.
Alarmed, Hopp dashed, scurrying as his legs jumped the furthest he had ever jumped, leaping towards the king’s desk, where the tea was to be placed. King Yul, who was fully absorbed in his book, failed to notice Hopp’s presence, curtly nodding to the servant who delivered his beverage. Gathering as much strength as he could, Hopp jumped in time as the king brought the cup to his lips. In surprise, the king dropped the cup, as he screamed at the grasshopper. However, seeing the pool of tea on the ground, King Yul recognized the poison. The servant began to run away as his soldiers seized her. The king however, admired the grasshopper. He then made it a new law prohibiting the killing of Hopp’s kind, worshipping the insect for saving its life.
He chuckled as he exclaimed, “Green as a grass, you shall be known as the grasshopper.”