Once upon a time, very long ago, there was a frog who had a burning desire to sing. The other frogs thought he was strange to have this wish, but the more he listened to the world around him, the more intense became his longing, Therefore, the frog went to a cuckoo, whose melodious voice was known throughout the forest, and begged to be taken as a student.
“My soul yearns to be released in song,” the frog said. “If you will accept me, I will devote every moment to your instruction.”
This surprised the cuckoo, but also kindled his pride. His reputation as a fine singer would be still greater if he could bring melody from the throat of this croaker. “Very well,” said the cuckoo. “I accept you.”
They began at once, the cuckoo singing the notes of the scale, and the frog echoing with tuneless croaks.
“La – la – la …”
“Croak – croak – croak …”
They continued all day long, and the next day and the day after that, the bird singing the notes and then the frog attempting to respond, but always with the same hoarse noises. It was not easy for the bird to have his ears filled all day with the rough croaking of the frog, but his pride would not let him stop.
After some months, the cuckoo thought, “Perhaps there is some progress. Now if I make the frog give a recital, the pressure will bring him further.” Therefore he invited all the birds of the forest to come and hear his student.
When all the birds were assembled, the cuckoo perched above the frog, puffed out his chest importantly, and then began to sing the notes for his student to follow. But instead of his melodious voice, all that came out were – hoarse croaks! He had listened so long to the frog that he had lost his own music entirely.
All the bird laughed at the cuckoo, and with his pride shattered he fled away into the forest. He never again was able to sing, but only croaked, and from shame his feathers turned completely black – and that was the beginning of the family of the crows.