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The Rat and the Toad

The rat one day said to the toad: "I can do more than you; for you do not know how to run. You do nothing but hop—that is the only way you can run!"

When the toad heard these words of the rat, he said to him: "We will see whether you can do more than I. Tomorrow I will do something; if you can do it without anything happening to you, then I will admit that you can do more than I."

The rat agreed to the toad's proposal.

The next day the toad waited until noon, when the sun was overhead and all the workmen went to sit down in the shade of a tree to eat their luncheon. Then he hopped over to the men and passed in and out among them.

"See that toad!" said one of the men; but no one wanted to touch him.

Then the toad hopped back to the rat.

"You saw what I did," said he. "Now you do the same."

The rat laughed at such a simple task, and ran at once across to the tree where the men were sitting in the shade.

But when the men saw him they exclaimed, "Here is a rat!" and they grabbed up sticks and tried to kill him. The poor rat barely managed to escape, and ran back, all bruised and sore, to where the toad was waiting.

"Brother Toad," said he, "I thought that I could do more than you; but you have shown me that you can indeed do more than I!"

No one can excel in every way.


Source: The Rat and the Toad
African Native Literature, by the Rev. S. W. Koelle, Wikisource, CC BY-SA 3.0

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