THE COLLINS PRESS
Today Elfree told me a story about reputation, pride and frogs.
"Elves care a lot about their reputation,
For themselves and for their nation
And even young elves know they should
Give folk a reputation that is good;
For reputation is what you leave behind you
And paves the way that lies before you."
And life is easier," said the elf,
"For other folk and for yourself
If all the good things that folk do
Are well spoken of and remembered too.
So we feel reputation deserves protection
And, if sometimes it needs correction,
We try to do it very quickly,
That way life is much less prickly."
"This is a tale of a frog at the age
Where he'd just grown out of the tadpole stage
And he found himself, as most frogs do,
At the edge of a pond, deep and blue.
This little frog was handsome and green
And as he sat on a stump, surveying the scene,
He saw a sulky old trout being teased by
A swiftly darting dragonfly
And various other flying things
With the sun shining brightly in their wings.
He saw a fork-tailed swallow flying fast,
Skimming the water as it flew past
And a butterfly settling softly down
On a water lily's golden crown.
He saw a beaver building a dam of logs
But what interested him most were the other frogs.
A noisy lot, they flopped about,
Rippling the water and scaring the trout.
Leaping from one lily-pad to another,
Croaking and jumping and splashing each other.
They seemed to be having a lot of fun
As they played in the pond in the summer sun;
Then he heard a frog quite close to him say,
'Let's see who can leap the farthest today.'
And onto the beaver's dam of logs
Scrambled a group of eager frogs.
They jumped into the pond, one by one,
Then an old frog said, 'Your turn son'
No one noticed that the little frog had
Jumped no distance at all, but he felt bad.
So he climbed back up onto his stump
And would not try another jump.
Too proud to lose, he felt ashamed
And wouldn't play anymore games.
As the summer changed to early fall
Our frog grew bigger, but he still felt small,
So he sat alone and never joined in,
He would not play if he could not win.
'The games are silly and stupid.' he'd say,
When other frogs asked him to play.
And so he got the reputation
Of saying 'no' to every invitation,
Until, one day while he was watching
A competition of long distance jumping,
A smelly monster came bounding up;
A yapping, hairy, hound-dog pup.
To a frog he was a horrible sight
And he gave our frog a terrible fright.
He leaped into the pond and, to his surprise,
Found he could jump rather well for his size;
And from that day on, I'm glad to say,
He joined in all the games that pond frogs play,
Not caring at all if he lost or won,
Just so happy at last to be part of the fun.
Some little frogs are not proud you see
And they flop about quite merrily,
Not caring at all if they come in last,
Or whether they swim slow or fast.
They are the ones who learn through play
And, because they like it, they win one day."
Said Elfree looking very wise.
I glanced at him in some surprise.
"I know that you too can be a proud little elf."
"Yes, and I make things hard for myself."
So we went looking for seeds around the pond
And found some on a ferny frond.
So that's how it's done!