A puddle who yearns to see the ocean beseeches a frog to tell him all about it
There was once a river. For years, this river had flowed gently all the way from the top of a great mountain down into a forest, where it joined up with tributaries and eventually ran into the sea.
Until, that is, it stopped. The river had been blocked up with sticks and stones at the place where it ran out of the forest and into the sea. No matter how much the poor river tried, it could not trickle in or around this blockage.
The river began to dry up. The sun became high in the sky, until at last the river was nothing but a puddle in the shade of a large willow tree. The puddle was within sight of the ocean, and every day he yearned to reach it, and yet he couldn’t.
One warm summer’s evening, a young frog hopped up to the puddle and began to splash around. The puddle spoke to him.
“Have you ever been to the sea?” he asked the frog. The frog looked around in surprise, and then realized it was the puddle speaking.
“Yes,” replied the frog. “Many times. Have you?”
“Once I was there every day,” said the puddle mournfully. “Until my river was blocked, and I dried up to the size of a puddle. Tell me of it,” he begged. “I long every day to be able to flow into its wonderful coolness, and yet I can’t.”
“Alright,” said the frog. “It is a vast, deep-blue blanket that covers the world. In the summertime, the waves are calm and gentle, and dolphins frolic in the shallows. In the spring, willow trees drape their leaves over the rock pools, and fish dance in the waves. In the autumn, colored leaves are blown from afar and come to rest on the choppy waves.”
“And what of the winter?” asked the puddle eagerly.
“Ah yes, the winter. In the winter, waves rise as high as mountains and crash down upon harbors and boats. There are many shipwrecks during the winter, as boats get tossed and turned and eventually sink in the fierce, angry waves.
“And then the waves begin to calm, and then the sun comes out from behind the dark clouds and it is springtime again,” finished the frog. “Has that satisfied you?”
“Greatly,” replied the puddle. “But promise me that you shall return.”
“I shall,” said the frog, as he began to hop away. “Until next time.”
A few days later, the frog returned. He told the puddle of his encounter with a whale when he was a child, and how he had nearly died.
The puddle valued this time listening to the frog immensely, and every time he heard the frog returning, he would rise up with impatience.
“Ah yes, the winter. In the winter, waves rise as high as mountains and crash down upon harbors and boats.
This arrangement went on all through the year, even through the winter, when the frog was forced to break a hole in the ice that covered the top of the puddle and speak from the edge instead of splashing around while he talked.
Over time, the frog’s visits became less and less frequent, until one evening the puddle asked him if he was alright.
“I am old,” said the frog sadly. “I have lived my life. I fear I shall die soon and that this will be our last meeting.”
The puddle began to weep, distraught at the fact of losing a great friend, and his source of knowledge of the sea. Suddenly, he had an idea.
“Why, frog, I have the most splendid plan!” said the puddle excitedly. “Is it possible, perhaps, for you to take me in your mouth and bring me down to the sea’s edge? I know that your mouth and throat can expand.”
The frog, even though he was tired, agreed, and, taking the puddle gently into his mouth, and trying not to swallow, hopped slowly down to the water’s edge and dropped the puddle into the sea.
“I am forever grateful,” said the puddle. “I shall never forget your kindness to me.”
“Goodbye, my friend,” said the frog, and hopped quietly away. The puddle never saw him again