The Frog in the Shallow Well

a Chinese Fable

Once a frog that lived in a well bragged to a turtle that lived in the Sea.

"I am so happy!" cried the frog, "When I go out, I jump about on the railing around the edge of the well.
When I come home, I rest in the holes inside the wall of the well.
If I jump into the water, it comes all the way up to my armpits and I can float on my belly.
If I walk in the mud, it covers up my flippered feet.
I look around at the wriggly worms, crabs, and tadpoles, and none of them can compare with me.
I am lord of this well and I stand tall here. My happiness is great.
My dear sir, why don't you come more often and look around my place?"

Before the turtle from the Sea could get its left foot in the well, its right knee got stuck. It hesitated and retreated. The turtle told the frog about the Sea.

"Even a distance of a thousand miles cannot give you an idea of the sea's width; even a height of a thousand meters cannot give you an idea of its depth.
In the time of the great floods, the waters in the sea did not increase. During the terrible droughts, the waters in the sea did not decrease.
The sea does not change along with the passage of time and its level does not rise or fall according to the amount of rain that falls. The greatest happiness is to live in the Sea."

After listening to these words, the frog of the shallow well was shocked into realization of his own insignificance and became very ill at ease.

More Frog Fables.