"OH Father,” said a little Frog to the big one sitting by the side of a pool, “I have seen such a terrible monster! It was as big as a mountain, with horns on its head, and a long tail, and it had hoofs divided in two.”
“Tush, child, tush,” said the old Frog, “that was only Farmer White’s Ox. It isn’t so big either; he may be a little bit taller than I, but I could easily make myself quite as broad; just you see.” So he blew himself out, and blew himself out, and blew himself out. “Was he as big as that?” asked he.
“Oh, much bigger than that,” said the young Frog.
Again the old one blew himself out, and asked the young one if the Ox was as big as that.
“Bigger, father, bigger,” was the reply.
So the Frog took a deep breath, and blew and blew and blew, and swelled and swelled and swelled. And then he said: “I’m sure the Ox is not as big as —” But at this moment he burst.
Self-conceit may lead to self-destruction.
Phædrus, i. 24. Told by Horace, Sat. II. iii. 314. Cf. Martial, x. 79. Carlyle gives a version in his Miscellanies, ii. 283, from the old German of Boner. Thackeray introduces it in the Prologue to The Newcomes. There is said to be a species of Frog in South America, Ceratophrys, which has a remarkable power of blowing itself out.
Frog and the Ox, The
Fables of Aesop, The
Aesop & Jacobs, Joseph
Macmillan & Co.
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ATU 277A: The Frog Tries in Vain to be as Big as the Ox