154. The Lion and the Frog

A LION SAT IN a cave, licking his forepaws casually, when he noticed a green frog crouched in front of him, frozen in fear. The lion swiped at the frog with his paw, flicking it against the cave wall. To his surprise, the frog bounced back, so the lion swiped it again, and back again bounced the frog. After each swipe, the frog said, 'Sire, I am honoured.' The lion quickly tired of the game and, with a final, brutal swipe, sauntered out of the cave and into the golden morning, without another thought for the frog or its fate. As for the frog, the lion’s last swipe was delivered with such force that its body burst open upon hitting the wall. This time the frog didn't bounce back, but instead slid down the wall rather slowly. His entrails, splattered upon the wall, must have had some adhesive quality, for gravity’s pull floorward was slow. Soon ants gathered around the frog and began to feast upon its innards. The frog himself was still clinging on to consciousness, so close to death that it was no longer in pain. It began to reminisce on his encounter with the lion, and on how it had so faithfully bounced back each time until it was no longer required, and only then did it allow himself the indulgence of spilling its guts. It was proud of itself, and as it sank into the big sleep it was quite certain that it had brought honour not only to its species, but to the whole jungle.