Tales: Very, very big

Frog illustration croppedThere was, once upon a time, a small pond, the natural home of a little tribe of frogs.  The frogs lived there much as the folk of any place, concerned with their own affairs, quarrelling and bickering from time to time, and then when the mood took them, singing together in chorus.  But there was among them a frog who was restless and liked to wander, and one day his wandering took him into the nearby meadow.  Hopping along through the heavy grass, he suddenly stopped in amazement, for there before him stood something he had never seen before: an enormous ox.  It stretched above him so high that it blotted out the sun, and its huge hooves sank into the wet ground of the meadow, making pools big enough for the little frog to swim in. When it snorted, it sounded to the frog like thunder.

For a time, the frog sat and stared, gape-mouthed and goggle-eyed in astonishment, while the ox ripped up vast mouthfuls of grass.  Then, full of excitement, he went scrambling back to the pond to tell the others what he had seen.

“Forget your small concerns,” he told them. “We are nothing!  There is an enormous creature. Huge!  Bigger than anything you have ever seen.”

The other frogs were sceptical.  “How big?” they said.  “Show us.”

The little frog puffed himself up.  “Very big!” he said. “It even hides the sun.”

“That’s not so big,” said the others.  “We have seen bigger.”

“You don’t understand,” insisted the frog.  “Very, very big!”  And he puffed himself up more, so that he was twice his size.

“Still not so much,” said the others, dismissively. “Perhaps you had a dream.”

“Not a dream,” declared the frog,  “It was real!  And big, big, BIG!” And to show them, he puffed himself up still more–but then, with a pop, he burst, and the little frog was no more.

The other frogs, not being wanderers by nature, never came to know of the enormous ox–and if, in later days, one or two did stray into the meadow, they never tried to tell the others what they had seen.



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