The Kind Frog
Will Franklin the frog be kind to mean ol’ Jake the snake? (10/2009)
Franklin the frog was a kind frog, always proper and polite. Instead of saying “ribbit,” he said “good day.” After croaking, he apologized. After eating flies, he always wiped his mouth—and not with his sleeve, either. Like I said, he was very polite.
One day, Franklin was waiting in line to get tickets to the opera. Jake the snake squirmed in line in front of Franklin.
“Excuse me,” Franklin croaked. ”You cut in front of me. That’s not fair.”
“Hisssssss,” Jake the snake replied. He did not get out of line.
Franklin thought this reply rather rude.
“Excuse me,” Franklin said more loudly. “It is not fair for you to cut in front of me and the others.”
“Hisssssss,” Jake the snake replied. Again he did not move.
Franklin started to get mad. He hopped up and down.
Jake the snake just wriggled a little dance in reply.
Franklin got even angrier. He croaked as loudly as he could.
Jake the snake uncoiled, rising into the air. He stretched forward and hovered for a moment over Franklin’s head, then coiled back up.
Franklin loved to watch old movies. In the movies, when a gentleman was challenged, he would slap his foe across the face with a glove.
Of course, Franklin didn’t have a glove. So instead, Franklin whipped out his tongue and slapped Jake the snake on his cheek. “I challenge you to a duel,” he said. He even said it with a French accent, just like in the movies.
Jake replied, “What do you have in mind, toad face?”
Franklin ignored the insult. “A challenge,” he said. “Let’s race to the big oak tree on the other side of the meadow. You slither and I’ll hop.”
“You’re on,” Jake said. Then, before Franklin would have a chance to get ready, he quickly added, “Ready, set, go!” and began slithering toward the oak tree.
Franklin simply stood still, remaining in line. A moment later, he was at the front of the line.
“May I have two tickets to tonight’s showing of Don Froggiovanni, please?” he asked the squirrel at the ticket counter.
Just as he was being handed his tickets, Jake the snake slithered back. He hadn’t noticed Franklin’s trick until he was halfway to the oak tree. Now he was tired and angry.
“You tricked me!” he said. He tried to hiss his scariest hiss, but he was so out of breath, it sounded like he was whistling.
“I’m sorry,” Franklin said. “And to make it up to you, I bought you a ticket to tonight’s show.” He held up a pair of tickets.
Jake the snake didn’t know what to say for a moment. Then, amazing even himself, he said, “Why, thank you. That was very kind.”
“Being kind is pretty cool, don’t you think?”
“You’re right,” Jake replied. “I think I’ll try it from now on!”