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Carolyn Sherwin Bailey

Mr. Elephant and Mr. Frog

O NCE upon a time, when Mr. Elephant and Mr. Frog lived together in the same wood with Mr. Fox and Mr. Tiger and Mr. Hare and Mr. Lion, the animals were all very good friends.

Mr. Elephant was very, very big, and Mr. Frog was very, very little, but every day they went walking together, Mr. Elephant going in front, tramp, tramp, tramp; and Mr. Frog going on behind, hop, hop, hop.

One night when they came home, Mr. Hare, who was a saucy little fellow, ran to meet them, and he said:—

"Oho, Mr. Frog says Mr. Elephant is his horse."

Then Mr. Fox and Mr. Tiger and Mr. Lion all followed after Mr. Hare, crying:—

"Oho, oho, Mr. Elephant is Mr. Frog's horse."

Mr. Elephant turned around, and he said in a very gruff voice to Mr. Frog:—

"Did you tell them, grandson, that I was your horse?"

And Mr. Frog said in a high, squeaky voice:—"No, no, grandfather."

But all the time Mr. Frog was thinking of a trick to play on Mr. Elephant.

The next day, Mr. Elephant and Mr. Frog started off for a long walk. Mr. Frog had heard of a place where the swamps were deep and muddy. Mr. Elephant knew a place where the bananas grew ripe and thick. And they spent a pleasant day. On the way home Mr. Frog hopped up close to Mr. Elephant, and he said in his high, squeaky voice:—

"Grandfather, I have no strength to walk. Let me get up on your back."

"Climb up, my grandson," said Mr. Elephant.

He put his trunk down for a ladder, and Mr. Frog climbed up. They had not gone very far when Mr. Frog hopped up close to Mr. Elephant's ear, and he said:—

"I am going to fall, grandfather. Give me some small cords from the roadside that I may bind your mouth, and hold myself upon your back."

"I will, grandson," said Mr. Elephant.

So Mr. Elephant stripped some small cords from a birch tree by the roadside, and handed them to Mr. Frog. Then Mr. Frog bound Mr. Elephant's mouth, and they went on a little farther. It was not long, though, before Mr. Frog spoke again to Mr. Elephant.

"Grandfather," he said, "find me a small, green twig that I may fan the mosquitoes from your ears."

"I will, grandson," said Mr. Elephant, so he broke a small, green twig from the birch tree, and reached it up to Mr. Frog; and just then they came toward home.

"See Mr. Elephant," cried Mr. Hare.

"See Mr. Elephant," cried Mr. Tiger.

"See Mr. Elephant," cried Mr. Lion and all the others, "Mr. Elephant is Mr. Frog's horse."

Mr. Elephant turned himself about, and he saw Mr. Frog on his back, holding the reins and the whip.

"Why, so I am, grandson," said Mr. Elephant.

Then Mr. Frog jumped down to the ground, and he laughed and he laughed until he nearly split his coat, because he had played a trick on Mr. Elephant.