This week’s theme is FROGS and TOADS. Here is a retelling of part of a Tibetan tale about a very smart frog!
THE TIGER AND THE FROG
Once, long ago, when all animals could speak and understand each other, a frog sat, resting, by a stream. He heard something in the woods nearby. The frog did not have to move to see what it was. His big, bulging eyes allowed him to see all around. He caught a glimpse of Tsuden, the ancient tiger of the woods, creeping up to the stream.
“Tsuden is very old, and he is certainly very hungry,” thought the frog. “He probably thinks I am an easy target, and is sneaking up on me to eat me up!” The frog knew he had to spring into action before he got eaten.
“Why, Tsuden! How are you on this fine day? And what are you up to, here by the stream?” said the frog as Tsuden approached closer.
“Oh, little creature,” said Tsuden, in a quiet voice, as he was very old and very tired. ” I am out for a walk, looking for something to eat. I am so hungry and every beast I find is much bigger and faster than I am at this old age of mine.”
The frog looked at Tsuden. He saw the tiger looking him over very carefully. He knew the tiger was thinking how small he was, and how easy it would be to gobble him up.
The frog took a deep breath, puffing himself up to be as large as he could. “Well, I am the frog king, ” he said with a loud croak. “I may be small, but I can jump across this river. Can you?” and he looked at the tiger with his big, bulging eyes.
Tsuden, tired as he was, didn’t like the fact that a small creature like the frog would dare to do something he couldn’t. “Certainly, I can jump this river,” he said. He walked to the edge of the water by the frog, and just as he jumped, the frog grabbed the tiger’s tail. He held on tightly, and flew over the river with the tiger, who pounced onto the bank on the other side. As the tiger landed, the frog was thrown up the bank, landing several feet above the tiger.
The tiger turned to look for the frog just as he heard, “Heh, look up here, Tsuden!”. The frog called down to him.
“What?” said the startled Tsuden as he turned to see the frog sitting up on the stream bank above him. ” How did you get up there?”
The frog, thinking quickly, croaked and spit up the hair from Tsuden’s tail that had got caught in his throat. ” I may be small, but I have much strength from the tiger I killed and ate yesterday,” said the frog.
He must be a very strong frog, thought Tsuden. If he could kill and eat a tiger, and then jump all the way across the stream, he probably could eat me, too, he thought.
And Tsuden, the ancient tiger, gathered all his strength, and ran by the frog, up over the bank and into the woods as fast as he could.