Gateway to the Classics: Indian Fables by Ramaswami Raju
Indian Fables by  Ramaswami Raju

The Elephant, the Frogs, and the Toad

An elephant named Blackmound was in the habit of bathing in a great pond in a wood. The frequent visits of the elephant put the frogs in the pond to great inconvenience, and almost every day a number of them were crushed under his heavy feet.

Close by the pond in the hollow of a great tree lived the toad Blear Eye, who was remarkable for his wisdom. The frogs went up to him and said, "Blear Eye, not a day passes but some of us are killed by Blackmound. What shall we do?"


The Elephant, the Frogs and the Toad

The toad replied, "Yes, I see your difficulty; the elephant is a bulky animal; but you are little creatures, and you do not know that it is one thing to be bulky and another thing to be bold. However, I will try to help you. Allow me to select some one among you to execute my orders."

"Do help us, Blear Eye," cried the frogs with one voice.

Then Blear Eye called to his side a nimble frog named Lightfoot, and told him what he was to do.

Lightfoot went up to the top of a rock overhanging the pond and addressed Blackmound, who was just then coming towards it, from a distance, in the following terms: "You shall not come to the pond any more; for there is a spirit in yonder tree that has granted to me the power of shattering your huge frame."

"If so," said Blackmound, "I would like to hear the spirit say so, and to see you do it."

"Yes, we have granted the power to our faithful servant Lightfoot," said Blear Eye, who was hidden within the hollow of the tree.

Before Blackmound could recover from his surprise at these words from an unknown quarter, Lightfoot leaped into the pond, where the shadow of Blackmound was reflected on the clear water, and cried, "Now I have done with your shadow: next your huge body shall disappear."

Blackmound was panic-struck, and thought that he would be destroyed, like his shadow, by the aid of the spirit in the tree, if he remained any longer at the place. So he beat a hasty retreat into the forest, never to return to the pond for any more baths; while the toad Blear Eye and the frogs shouted forth, "Hollo, Blackmound, it is one tiling to be bulky and another to be bold!"

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