The Earthworm wonders where they’ll end up, but no one else cares. They just know the seagulls will hit land at some point. As the peach climbs higher, the Ladybug asks the Old-Green-Grasshopper if he’d play for them. The Old-Green-Grasshopper agrees. James has never heard music so beautiful, even though he’s heard grasshoppers chirp before. The Old-Green-Grasshopper sounds like he’s playing a violin with his wing and his back leg. When the first part of the concert is done, everyone applauds.
For everyone except the Earthworm, this is all one grand adventure through the natural world. With this, the novel implies that James will have more opportunities to learn about himself and the world as he engages with nature. Learning about the Old-Green-Grasshopper’s music is one instance in which James expresses openness and curiosity when confronted with something new.
The Old-Green-Grasshopper asks James if he liked the music. James loved it and says, “It was as though [the Old-Green-Grasshopper] had a real violin in [his] hands.” At this, the Old-Green-Grasshopper says that his body is a violin. When James asks if all grasshoppers play violins, the Old-Green-Grasshopper explains that short-horned grasshoppers, like him, play violins. Long-horned grasshoppers play by rubbing their wings together—it’s an inferior noise and sounds like a banjo, not a violin. James marvels that he has never thought about how a grasshopper makes noise. Gently, the Old-Green-Grasshopper says there’s a lot James hasn’t thought about yet, such as where grasshoppers keep their ears.
During this conversation, the Old-Green-Grasshopper assumes the role of an all-knowing adult mentor to James. The fact that the Old-Green-Grasshopper assumes this role after acting only moments ago like a panicky child implies that there are childish elements alongside adult elements in everyone. When James notes that he’s never thought about these things before, the novel reminds readers to always be open to learning and to realize that they don’t know everything.
Everyone laughs when James insists that grasshoppers must have ears on their heads. Instead, the Old-Green-Grasshopper says, grasshoppers have ears on either side of their tummies—while crickets and katydids have ears on their legs. James thinks this is a joke and insists that having ears on one’s legs is ridiculous. The Centipede says it’s actually ridiculous to have ears on the side of one’s head. He suggests James look in the mirror sometime. At this, the Earthworm tells the Centipede to apologize and stop being rude.
Even though James is generally the most mature and levelheaded one in the group, he still makes assumptions about other people. Everyone, the novel suggests, is susceptible to this. Given that the conversation is about ears, the novel also suggests that it’s especially rude and absurd to make assumptions about people’s bodies. And for that matter, if one takes a step back from their narrow way of looking at things, they’ll realize that just about anything can look absurd—even normal human ears.