Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Frog And The Fly

Here's a quick story I heard long ago. I was reminded of it while preparing the 5th edition of The Carnival of Storytellers due out tomorrow.

The core of the story is recalled, but the exact words, details and flow of it is mine. I looked for some sort of original online but couldn’t find it.

There once was a fly who through no fault of his own lost his wings. He was flying around minding his own business when he realized it was starting to get dark. He set off for home, across the big river, when suddenly out of nowhere a bird swooped down to gobble him up. The beak of the bird just missed the poor fly's head, and latched onto both his wings. With a loud chomp the wigs were consumed, and the fly, separated from his precious wings, fell to earth with barely a sound.

He hid for a time until he was certain the bird was gone, and climbed atop a blade of grass to see which way was home. He saw the river and set out on all six feet to return to his family. When he reached the river he realized there was no way to cross. He had never had to think twice before about crossing the river. It was as simple as a brief flight on his trusty wings. Now, without wings, and with no bridges or dry rocks to travel he was overcome with sadness. He feared he would never see his family again and began to weep loudly.

Nearby a huge green frog watched with interest. He heard the fly's lament about the lost wings and the family never to be seen again. He was genuinely moved, and swam towards the fly to see if he could help.

"My dear fly, I heard your sad story and wish to help in any way I can" said the frog.

The fly was startled and almost fell into the river as he stumbled back in fear. "Stay away frog! I know your kind- I have heard tales about lost friends and relatives to the likes of you. You eat flies- wings and all. You will not help me, you only want to eat me!"

"You have hurt my feelings greatly" said the frog. I only wish to help. Your story has moved me, and while there is no doubt I have eaten a fly or two in my years, I can promise you I will not harm you. I love my family too, and wish only to help you reunite with yours. Climb upon my tummy and I will swim you to the other side of the river so you may continue your journey."

The fly wanted to believe him. Needed to believe him. It seemed the only way to get home. He thought long and hard, and reasoned that if the frog really wanted to eat him he probably would have made a move by now. He talked himself into believing the frog and so agreed, asking for, and receiving, one more promise that there would be no fly eating.

The fly climbed aboard the frog, and the frog set out to fulfill his promise sincerely meaning no harm to the fly.

When the frog reached the half-way point across the river, he realized he was very hungry. He reached out his tounge, and snapped up the fly in a split-second. With one crunchy bite the fly was no more.

The bird that had attacked the fly had watched the whole thing. He was fascinated by the fly's determination to reach his family and had decided to spare the fly. He kept his distance and had watched the fly navigate hills, rocks, grass and all manner of fly eating insects on his way to the river. He watched and listened to the fly and frog discuss the agreement for safe passage, and also watched the frog eat the fly.

The bird flew down towards the frog and introduced himself. He explained to the frog that he had watched and heard all that transpired, and was shocked to see the frog break his promise and eat the poor heartbroken fly. "Why would you do such a thing?" asked the bird.

"You silly bird" said the frog, "I am a frog. And frog's eat flies."

This story suggests that no one can change for the better, can escape the base and evil desires of the heart or change into a better person without a greater power beyond themselves.

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Wm Baum said...

Umm.. It's the scorpion and the frog, and it's quite a different story indeed..

DigitalRich said...


Do tell. Either put it in a long comment here, or post it somewhere with a link to it, or let me know where it exists now online. Would enjoy reading it.