|Illustration by Peter Newell|
ONCE, ON A TIME and in a place
Conducive to malaria,
There lived a member of the race
Of Rana Temporaria;
Or, more concisely still, a frog
Inhabited a certain bog.
A bull of Brobdingnagian size,
Too proud for condescension,
One morning chanced to cast his eyes
Upon the frog I mention;
And, being to the manner born,
Surveyed him with a lofty scorn.
Perceiving this, the bactrian’s frame
With anger was inflated,
Till, growing larger, he became
For inspiration’s sudden spell
Had pointed out a way to swell.
“Ha! ha!” he proudly cried, “a fig
For this, your mammoth torso!
Just watch me while I grow as big
As you--or even more so!”
To which magniloquential gush
His bullship simply answered “Tush!”
Alas! the frog’s success was slight,
Which really was a wonder,
In view of how with main and might
He strove to grow rotunder!
And, standing patiently the while,
The bull displayed a quiet smile.
But ah, the frog tried once too oft
And, doing so, he busted;
Whereat the bull discreetly coughed
And moved away, disgusted,
As well he might, considering
The wretched taste that marked the thing.
THE MORAL: Everybody knows
How ill a wind it is that blows.
– from Fables for the Frivolous, Harper & Bros., 1898