The Frog and The Ox
On a lily pad in the little stream that flowed at the bottom of the meadow, there lived an old Frog. He was a big frog and he was very proud of his size. All the other frogs were in awe of him and treated him with the greatest respect.
So did all the other creatures. The shining blue dragonflies that hovered over the stream during the day took great care to keep far out of the reach of his long sticky tongue. So did the little midges that fluttered by in a soft cloud in the evenings. Even the fishes in the stream were careful not to annoy him. The Frog ruled his watery kingdom unchallenged.
The Farmer who owned the meadow by the stream also had an old Ox. The Ox had worked hard for the Farmer all his life. He had helped him plough his fields. Yoked to an old wooden cart, he had carried his crops to market and his children to school. But now the Ox was growing old. He no longer had the strength to work as hard as he used to.
The Farmer was fond of his old Ox and grateful for all the hard work he had done over the years. He did not want to sell him. Instead, he decided to let the Ox spend his old age in peace, in the meadow by the stream.
One fine morning, the Ox moved into the meadow. He wandered around the meadow, surveying his new home. The grass was soft and green and wildflowers dotted the ground. The Ox was happy. He planned to spend his days grazing on the sweet juicy grass and basking in the sun.
The little creatures of the meadow stared at the Ox in fear and awe. The butterflies flew hurriedly out of his way. The hardworking ants and the busy bees stopped their work as the Ox walked slowly by. They had never seen any creature as big as the Ox. Not even the old Frog on the lily pad in the stream was quite this big! The Ox munched happily on the sweet grass. He did not even notice the tiny creatures.
The Frog heard the dragonflies chattering excitedly among themselves about the huge monster who had come to live in the meadow. The dragonflies had heard it from the bumblebee who had heard it from the ladybird who had heard it from the ants who had almost been trampled on by the monster as it stomped by.
‘It is the largest, biggest, most enormous creature you ever saw!’ cried the dragonflies. It has huge curving horns on its head and a tail so long and so strong that one whisk of it is enough to blow us all away!”
The Frog did not believe a word that the dragonflies said. ‘Ha! This monster of yours cannot be bigger than I am!’ he cried. ‘And horns and a tail, bah! They cannot be more fearsome than my long sticky tongue!’
How could any creature be bigger than him? Was he not the largest, most magnificent frog in the world? The dragonflies were just being rude!
The Frog stuck out his long sticky tongue and would have caught at least a dozen of the dragonflies had they not dodged in time.
Just then the Ox strolled down to the stream. He was thirsty and wanted a drink.
The dragonflies trembled in fear and rose up in a great shining cloud far above the reach of the Ox’s curving horns and long tail.
The Ox drank his fill and walking away from the stream, settled down for a nap.
The old Frog on his lily pad saw the Ox and wondered what all the fuss was about. The terrible monster was nothing but a silly old Ox! And not a very large one either! When the Ox had walked away, he called out. ‘Hey. dragonflies, was this your terrible monster?’
The dragonflies rustled their shining wings and replied. ‘Yes, yes. Frog! Did you see how big he is?’
The Frog laughed scornfully. ‘Big? You call that big? Why, I can be twice as big as that if I want to! Watch!”
And the Frog took a deep breath, huffed and puffed and swelled up like a balloon.
‘There! Am I not as big as him now?’ he asked the watching dragonflies, speaking with a little difficulty.
‘Oh no. Frog, not yet!’ cried the dragonflies. ‘The monster is MUCH bigger. Look at him sleeping in the grass! He looks huge!’
‘Well, then. Watch me!’ said the Frog. He took a deep breath, huffed and puffed and swelled up some more. ‘I must be bigger than him now!’ he gasped.
‘Ah no, Frog.’ Cried the dragonflies.
‘The monster is MUCH bigger!’
The Frog was quite irritated with the dragonflies. His skin was feeling tight and stretched. It was difficult to sit As he felt he would roll over any moment and his cheeks were so puffed that his eyes were almost squeezed shut. He could barely see over his huge belly. He was sure he must be at least as big as the Ox by now! He decided to make one more attempt. He would show the dragonflies who was bigger!
“Watch me,’ he squeaked with great difficulty.
He took as deep a breath as he could manage, huffed and puffed and swelled. He blew and he blew and he blew and he grew larger and larger and larger till suddenly.
The Frog had burst!