The Two Frogs – Elementary Level

Once upon a time in the country of Japan there lived two frogs. One of them made his home in a pond near the town of Osaka, near the sea. The other lived in a little river which ran through the city of Kyoto. As the two towns were a long way from each other, they had never even heard of each other. But, funnily enough, the idea came into both their heads at once that they should like to see a little of the world. The frog who lived in Kyoto wanted to visit Osaka. The frog who lived in Osaka wished to go to Kyoto.

So early one fine sunny morning they both set out along the road that led from Kyoto to Osaka. One started from one end and the other started from the other. The journey was harder than they thought it would be, for they did not know much about traveling. Half way between the two towns there was a mountain which had to be climbed. It took them a long time and a great many frog jumps to get to the top. When they did get there, each was surprised to see another frog coming the other way. At first they just looked at each other and could say nothing. Then they began to talk and talk, each telling the other why they had traveled so far from their homes. They were happy to find that they both had the same wish — to learn a little more about their country. As they were both very tired, they decided that they would sit down and rest a little under a big tree.

“How sad that we are not bigger,” said the Osaka frog. “For then we could see both towns from here, and know what they look like.”

“Oh, that is easily done,” said the Kyoto frog. “We have only got to stand up on our back legs and hold on to each other. Then we can each look at the town he is traveling to. But we must hold each other carefully, so that we don’t fall down.”

This idea pleased the Osaka frog so very much. They both stood up at once, each putting his front legs on the shoulders of his friend. There they both stood, trying to make themselves as tall as they could. The Kyoto frog turned his nose to look at Osaka, and the Osaka frog turned his nose to look at Kyoto. But the foolish things forgot one important thing. When they stood up, their great eyes were in the backs of their heads and not the front. Their noses pointed to the places to which they wanted to go. But their eyes saw the places from which they had come.

“Oh no!” cried the Osaka frog, “Kyoto is the same as Osaka. There is no point in making such a long journey. I shall go home!”

“I had no idea that Osaka was just like Kyoto,” said the Kyoto frog. “If I did, I would never have traveled all this way.” As he spoke he took his hands from his friend’s shoulders, and they both fell down on the grass.

The two frogs then they said goodbye to each other nicely, and set off for their homes again. Osaka and Kyoto are as different to look at as two towns can be. But to the end of their lives the two frogs believed that they were as like each other as two peas.