Once again, I am adding another fable to my collection. I will probably add this one to an anthology I’m working on about stories, fables, and fairytales from the Watchmage Chronicles’ world. Now that The Watchmage of Old New York and Cold Iron are both out, I can work on both these and the third book, The Fiddler’s Bow.
Oh, and if you’d like to jump in on The Watchmage Chronicles, the first book, The Watchmage of Old New York, is only 99 cents. Both books are free if you have Kindle Unlimited.
The Frog and the Hen
by C.A. Sanders
Once upon a time, though it happens every day, there lived a frog named Bud. He lived in a swampy pond, not far from a chicken coop. He slept all day and spent all night drinking fly-flavored beer (Coors Flight: “the Buzzy Bullet”) and croaking as loud as he could with his frog buddies, Err and Weis. The croaking was so loud that it kept the chickens awake, and sometimes Weis would play his banjo, making the party even louder.
One day, Henrietta the Hen made a racket, clucking away as loud as she could. Annoyed, (because how dare someone keep him awake) Bud hopped over to the chicken coop.
“You’ve got a lot of nerve,” Henrietta clucked. “I just layed an egg and it’s hard work, harder than you’ve ever done. What have you accomplished in your life? You sleep all day and croak all night while drinking fly-flavored beer. Next time you want to complain, bring some proof that you’ve accomplished something in your pathetic, ambivalent, amphibious life.”
Bud hopped away, embarrassed by Henrietta’s tongue-lashing, especially since Bud’s tongue was so much longer. She’s right, he thought. I’ve done nothing in my life except croak and drink Coors Flight. I’m gonna prove her wrong. There’s nothing a chicken can do that I can’t do better.
Bud first mentioned his plan to Err, who laughed so hard that he fell off of his log. “Bud,” Err said. “You’re an idiot.”
“Why? My mom said can do anything I want if my put my mind to it.”
“First of all, frog-bro, you’re a frog, bro. You can’t scratch, you can’t peck, you can’t fly. How the hell do you not know this? Has the Coors Flight softened your head?”
“Screw you, Err,” croaked Bud. “I don’t need your help. I’m gonna chicken so hard that Henrietta will molt in shame.”
“You’re a dumbass, but do what you want.” Err opened a can of Coors Flight, popping the top with his tongue. “It’s your right as a Swamperican.” Err downed his beer and leaped away.
Bud decided that he needed to observe first He went to the chicken coop. First he talked to the hens, but they all clucked in his face and said “bless your heart.” Then he found Earl the Rooster, all decked out in red and white, with long, sharp spurs in case a chicken with other-colored feathers showed up.
“Hey, Earl,” Bud croaked.
“Hey, Bud,” Earl clucked as he strutted around the coop, full of Big Cock Energy, as most roosters are.
Bud hopped after Earl. “I need some advice.”
“Well, maybe I can give it to ya. I’m the smartest rooster in these here parts.”
Bud held in his comment that he was the only rooster. “I want to do what chickens do, and I want to be the best.”
“Ba-gawk! What!?” Clucked Earl. It took a while for Earl to stop laughing, but when he finally did, he showed Bud how to scratch, how to peck, and how to fly.
But Bud’s froggy body had no claws, beak, or wings, and Earl laughed him right back into the swamp.
Bud had one last friend to go to for advice: Weis, the wisest frog in the swamp. Weis liked to hang out during the day on a lily pad in the center of the pond, picking his banjo and singing about rainbows and connections. Bud sat down next to him.
“I want to be like a chicken,” Bud said.
Weis plucked a string, then turned a tuning peg. “Why do you want that?”
Bud stumbled over his response. Why do I want to do that? Bud thought. While Bud mused on the simple question, Weis played his banjo.
“I think I know,” Bud said. “I want to show Henrietta up, and do what she does better than her.”
Weis said, “Instead, why don’t you do what you already do better than her. Don’t try to be the best her. Be the best you.” With that, Weis broke into a song about being green and how it wasn’t easy. Bud had heard it a thousand times, so he hopped away.
Bud thought all day about what he was best at. It wasn’t hopping. It wasn’t catching flies. It wasn’t drinking Coors Flight. He thought and thought and thought until he had a frog-piphany, which is like an epiphany, but for frogs.
“I’m the best croaker in the swamp! And that’s what I’m going to do.”
That night instead of croaking and drinking fly-flavored beer with his friends, Bud went by the chicken coop “Hey Henrietta! This is what I can do! Listen to this!” And Bud croaked as loud as he could. He croaked and croaked and croaked and croaked and croaked and croaked and croaked the whole night through.
Weis and Err found Bud in the morning, covered with chicken scratches. He had croaked.
The morals of the story: Don’t complain about other people doing stuff if you do nothing all day long.
Or: Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you should be an asshole about it.