The Frog and the Ox (with apologies to Aesop)

There was a frog that, hopping along the side of a pasture, hopped above the tall grass and saw an ox in the middle of the pasture.

“Ho!” the frog cried, “What manner of creature are you that you are so humongously large?”

“I am an ox!” the ox bellowed, as oxen do. “I am bigger than you, frog!” — oxen are fond of simple statements — “the head of my see-ox is bigger than you!”

At this, the frog bristled — not literally, for it was not a bristle-toad — and cried: “Why, you boasting animal! I’ll huff and puff and bloat myself to be bigger than you!”

“I wouldn’t like to see that”, the ox lowed. “And I do not think I shall.”

“Galumph”, the frog said, drawing in air; and then it said “Galumph” again and again, swelling like a pale-green balloon.

“Nonsense”, the ox said, shaking its head. “It is not in the nature of things smaller than me to be bigger than me. I may not be a professor in logic, but I know that much for sure.”

“Galumph!” said the frog.

The frog swelled, first to the size of the ox’s head; then to half the size of the ox; then almost to the size of the ox; and the ox watched this with concern.

“You should cease”, it mooed, “or you might burst.”

“Galumph!” said the frog, swelling to just a hair’s breadth of the ox’s size.

“Galumph!” said the ox, hastily gulping in air and pushing its cheeks and fat bellies out.

“Galumph!” — the frog swelled some more.

“Galumph-uh!” the ox gasped, swallowing air and feeling its bellies roil as its cheeks and eyes bulged. “Insolent beast!” it thought — but it had no time to speak, for again the frog went “Galumph!” — and the ox drew in a great breath, `´Galu—”

And then there was a great big wet boom.

“Hiccups!” the frog went, deflating. “Hiccups, hiccups, hiccups!”

And it looked around the pasture everywhere, but of the ox there was no sign nowhere; just a sunburst of blown-down grass where it had stood, a faint smell of methane, and a twinkle in the sky, as if of something big, ox-size, sailing over the sun and the moon.

THE MORAL OF THE STORY. Those that are born big should not think growing up is easy.

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