Good morning! Good morning, and welcome again to Sunday Griot! I’m happy to be here. It’s been quite a week, and quite a couple of days, and now I’m glad to be back on familiar ground: up here in front of the crowd on a Sunday morning, ready to tell a story. And today’s story goes back to Aesop once again; it’s about what happened when the frogs decided they couldn’t leave well enough alone, and asked to have a king.

The frogs have lived in their ponds almost from the Beginning, and as long as frogs have lived in ponds, they have sung a song:

Knee-deep! Knee-deep! Better-go-round! Knee-deep! Knee-deep! Better-go-round!

Well, one day as the frogs splashed happily in a pond made just for them, stocked with their favorite foods, they decided they wanted a king. Now don’t ask me why they decided they wanted a king. You can’t know everything about a story, even one as simple as this. But for whatever reason, they decided they wanted a king to rule over them, so they changed their song and made it a prayer to Father Io:

Knee-deep! Knee-deep! Give-us-a-king! Knee-deep! Knee-deep! Give-us-a-king!

Now Father Io was in his palace atop Mount Olympus, and he heard the frogs singing Knee-deep! Knee-deep! Give-us-a-king! Knee-deep! Knee-deep! Give-us-a-king! . . . and he thought that was funny. Fall down hilarious! He laughed, and laughed, and finally when he got done laughing, he went over to the corner where he kept the brace of thunderbolts Vulcan had made for him. “I’ll give them the kind of king they should have,” he laughed in his best Geoffrey Holder voice.

He went out on the porch, took careful aim at the pond far below, cocked his mighty right thunderbolt-throwing arm, and . . . BLAM! Scored a hole-in-one at the base of a tree that overlooked the pond. There was a mighty CRACK! as the tree split from the ground, followed by a mighty CREAK! as the tree’s roots tore out of the ground, and finally a mighty SPLASH! as the tree fell into the pond.

All was silent for a moment. If you’ve ever thrown a rock into the frogs’ pond, you know how their singing stops while they all head for cover. But soon it starts again, as it did after the noise of the falling tree had faded away.

Knee-deep! Knee-deep! What-is-that-thing? Knee-deep! Knee-deep! Is-it-a-king? they asked. Knee-deep! Knee-deep! What-is-that-thing! Knee-deep! Knee-deep! Are-you-a-king! they asked the tree, but the tree, which of course had just been through a most traumatic experience and was only now starting on its way to being a log, didn’t answer.

Knee-deep! Knee-deep! What-is-that-thing! Knee-deep! Knee-deep! Are-you-a-king! they asked again, but still, the log didn’t answer them back.

Then one frog, braver than the rest, decided to go swim out to see what this new king was about. He poked his head up out of the water, touched the log quickly, and dove back in even more quickly. Nothing happened.

So he poked his head out of the water again, and this time he poked the log, but he didn’t dive back into the water. Still, nothing happened.

Now a couple of the other frogs joined him. They poked the log, and got the same non-response. Then more frogs came out, and a couple of adventurous frogs actually got up and walked on the log! Soon there were frogs all up and down the log, jumping into the pond and then jumping back onto the log again. I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that frogs are not the brightest creatures Mother Nature put on the earth, right up there with clams, particularly intelligent beds of petunias, and posters at Free Republic. But even the dimmest of these frogs was beginning to realize that, whatever this thing was, it was not going to rule over them. So, they started up their chant to Father Io again.

Knee-deep! Knee-deep! Give-us-a-king! Knee-deep! Knee-deep! Give-us-a-king!

Now Father Io was getting annoyed and tired of the frogs’ croaking, so he sent a stork to the pond. The frogs hailed the stork as their king, but changed their tune rather quickly as the stork began to eat the frogs, one by one.

Better no rule than cruel rule.

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