The Frog and the Hen (SCA Version)

This is the version I perform at bardic circles

The Frog and the Hen

by C.A. Sanders (Drustan of Old Stonebridges)

The frog lived in a swampy pond, not far from a chicken coop. He slept all day and spent all night croaking as loud as he could with the other frogs, the crickets and the toads. They made beautiful music, but it was so loud that it kept the chickens awake.

One morning, a hen made a great racket, clucking away and waking up the frog. Annoyed, the frog hopped over to the chicken coop and yelled at the hen for being so inconsiderate.

“How dare you,” the hen clucked. “I just layed an egg and it’s hard work, harder than you’ve ever done. I created life! You’ve created nothing! Next time you complain, bring some proof that you’ve done something in your apathetic, ambivalent, amphibious life.”

The frog hopped away, embarrassed by the hen’s tongue-lashing (especially since his tongue was so much bigger), and with his flipper wiped away a tear. “She’s right, I’ve done nothing in my life except croak all night with my friends. But I’ll prove her wrong. There’s nothing a chicken can do that I can’t do better.”

The first told his plan to a cricket, who chirped so hard that he almost fell over, quite a feat when you have six legs. “You can’t scratch, you can’t peck, you can’t fly. You’ll never be a better chicken than a hen.”

“Bah!” said the frog. “What do you know about being a chicken, you’re only a cricket, and you’re looking very tasty right now.” The frog ignored the cricket’s insults and went to the chicken coop. First he talked to the hens, but they all laughed at him. Then he found the Rooster, all decked out in red and white, with long, sharp spurs in case another rooster showed up. Although the rooster thought the frog an idiot, he was happy to give him advice, if only to show off. The rooster showed the frog how to crow, but the frog could only croak. He showed him how to scratch for worms, but the frog’s feet couldn’t scrape the ground. He showed him how to fly, and though chickens aren’t good flyers, the frog was even worse. The rooster laughed the frog right back into the swamp.

The frog had one last idea: to ask the wisest frog in the swamp. The toad liked to sit during the day in a mossy spot shrouded in leaves, sometimes with a bear and pig with him. “What troubles you?” Said the wise frog.

“I want to do everything a chicken does, but even better,”

The wise one turned his head in that creepy way frogs do. “Why do you want that?”

The frog stumbled over his response, scratching at the beard he didn’t have. He never thought of the why, only the how.

“I know,” the frog finally said. “I want to spite the hen for saying that I’ve never done anything.”

The wise one said, “Spite is never a noble action, but if you must, why don’t you do what you’re already good at. Don’t try to be the best chicken. Be the best frog.”

The frog knew exactly what to do. “I’m the best croaker in the swamp! That’s that’s what I’m going to do, and I know exactly where to do it.”

That night instead of croaking with the crickets, toads, and other frogs, he went to the chicken coop. He shouted to the hen, the rooster, and everyone in the coop, “This is what I’m best at. And you’ll never be as good at it as me!” The frog croaked as loud as he could. He croaked and croaked and croaked and repeated himself the whole night through, and it was the loudest, deepest, most ribbiting, most beautiful croaking that the swamp had ever heard, croaking that the rest of the swamp animals would talk about for years.

The swamp animals found the frog in the morning dead, covered with chicken scratches. Yes, he had croaked. But he had croaked with a smile.

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