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Stories from Home Series: A Spanish Fable

The Frog that Wanted to be an Ox by Maria Jacinta Ncha Biebeda (ESOL Entry 1)

Whenever a splendid ox walked proudly in front of a frog, the frog would look at him enviously and then walk over to a pond to admire his little figure. But each time when he looked at himself, he felt sad and depressed. This helplessness increased his envy even further, and he would cry bitterly. One when he was sitting next to a stream and moaning loudly, “Why am I so small, and the ox is so big and fleshy? I want to be like him.” Another frog overheard him and advised, “You can’t be an ox.” “You are a frog, and you should be proud of what you are and how you look.” “How not? If I want, I can swell up to his size.” Saying this, he opened his mouth wide and sucked in as much air as he possibly could. The frog swelled up a bit.

He jumped joyfully and exclaimed, “I’m already as big as the ox?”. The other frog laughed and taunted, “No, you have a long way to go yet”. Listening to the taunt, the little frog opened his mouth again and sucked in more air, and swelled up a little more. He looked at the other frog for approval but got a negative answer. The frog, determined to grow much larger, began to suck in more air and swelled more and more until his skin could not take it anymore, and then the frog burst and died on the spot, swollen with vanity.

Moral: If you try to be someone else, you may end up paying for your envy or vanity with your life.

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