The Violet Fairy Book HTML version
The Two Frogs
Once upon a time in the country of Japan there lived two frogs, one of whom made his
home in a ditch near the town of Osaka, on the sea coast, while the other dwelt in a clear
little stream which ran through the city of Kioto. At such a great distance apart, they had
never even heard of each other; but, funnily enough, the idea came into both their heads
at once that they should like to see a little of the world, and the frog who lived at Kioto
wanted to visit Osaka, and the frog who lived at Osaka wished to go to Kioto, where the
great Mikado had his palace.
So one fine morning in the spring they both set out along the road that led from Kioto to
Osaka, one from one end and the other from the other. The journey was more tiring than
they expected, for they did not know much about travelling, and half way between the
two towns there arose a mountain which had to be climbed. It took them a long time and
a great many hops to reach the top, but there they were at last, and what was the surprise
of each to see another frog before him! They looked at each other for a moment without
speaking, and then fell into conversation, explaining the cause of their meeting so far
from their homes. It was delightful to find that they both felt the same wish--to learn a
little more of their native country--and as there was no sort of hurry they stretched
themselves out in a cool, damp place, and agreed that they would have a good rest before
they parted to go their ways.
'What a pity we are not bigger,' said the Osaka frog; 'for then we could see both towns
from here, and tell if it is worth our while going on.'
'Oh, that is easily managed,' returned the Kioto frog. 'We have only got to stand up on our
hind legs, and hold on to each other, and then we can each look at the town he is
This idea pleased the Osaka frog so much that he at once jumped up and put his front
paws on the shoulders of his friend, who had risen also. There they both stood, stretching
themselves as high as they could, and holding each other tightly, so that they might not
fall down. The Kioto frog turned his nose towards Osaka, and the Osaka frog turned his
nose towards Kioto; but the foolish things forgot that when they stood up their great eyes
lay in the backs of their heads, and that though their noses might point to the places to
which they wanted to go their eyes beheld the places from which they had come.
'Dear me!' cried the Osaka frog, 'Kioto is exactly like Osaka. It is certainly not worth such
a long journey. I shall go home!'
'If I had had any idea that Osaka was only a copy of Kioto I should never have travelled
all this way,' exclaimed the frog from Kioto, and as he spoke he took his hands from his
friend's shoulders, and they both fell down on the grass. Then they took a polite farewell
of each other, and set off for home again, and to the end of their lives they believed that
Osaka and Kioto, which are as different to look at as two towns can be, were as like as