One day I caught a frog with small dark bumps all over his skin like a leper, and with one eye partially closed. I had found it in our front yard, and I jumped around to catch this frog hopping away from me. After minutes of hopping, the frog seemed tired and I reached out and grabbed it with my hand. I was excited to catch a live frog with my bare hand. All by myself. I rushed into the house to show it to Mother.
“Mother, Mother,” I yelled. “Where are you?”
“I am in the kitchen.” I heard Mother’s voice.
“Guess what I caught.”
“A live frog,” I yelled. “I caught it all by myself. With my hand.”
I rushed into the kitchen. Mother looked at me while slicing potatoes with a sharp knife on the chopping board.
“Look,” I said while setting the frog on the kitchen table.
Before Mother had the time to figure out what it was, this ugly little thing jumped right at Mother. Her eyes turned round. Then she shrieked and ran away with the knife in her hand, yelling at me to take it outside. It was such a funny sight that I laughed until tears ran down my cheeks while I jumped all over the kitchen trying to catch the slippery frog. It hopped into the tofu soup that she was preparing. I saw the soft flames fluttering beneath the pot from red hot charcoals. I was nervous. That frog’s going to be cooked, I muttered. Hope the soup is not boiling. I put my finger in the soup to fill the temperature, and to my relief it was not hot. The frog was on the edge trying to get out. I quickly grabbed the wiggly frog, ran out of the house and tossed the frog far in the air, as if I was throwing a baseball in a large arc.
That night at bedtime, Mother told me a frog story.
Once upon a time in a wooded pond near a small village lived Papa frog and Mama frog with little baby frogs. They were very happy in that pond because there was plenty of food to eat, and plenty of leaves falling on the pond where they played hide-and-seek. Everyday Papa frog went into the water to catch minnows for the baby frogs, and Mama frog went into a grassy area near the pond to catch flies and mosquitoes for food.
Then one day as Papa frog dived into the water to gather the daily meal, there was a huge fish waiting for him. The fish, in one gulp, swallowed Papa frog and swam merrily away. Now Mama frog was left all alone and was sad. But she did not want to see her little babies go hungry. She was not good at catching minnows like Papa frog. So everyday she went to the grassy area to collect insects. She had to work twice as hard now since Papa frog was not there to help.
One day she could not gather enough food in the grassy area. And she had to move further out toward a dirt road leading to the village. It was getting dark. Right then a little boy with a fishing rod was passing by. As soon as the boy saw the Mama frog, he laid the fishing rod on the road and jumped after her. She hopped desperately all over the road to avoid the boy’s hand, but to no avail. The boy put Mama frog on the hook, and happily walked toward home. Swinging her with his rod.
Meanwhile, those twelve cute baby frogs were waiting for Mama to bring their food. They waited many, many hours for her. But she did not come. It was getting dark and started to rain. The babies started to cry, hoping that Mama frog might hear them. They were getting hungry and missing her. But she didn’t come back. Never again. And to this day, we hear frogs cry loudly, especially at an eventide.
That night, I couldn’t sleep. For some reason, I associated that ugly-looking frog that I had caught with Mama frog in the story. I pictured the frightened Mama frog saying to herself, as I threw her high in the air, O, I am going to be smashed on the ground. Who is going to take care of my twelve babies? They are going to be left all alone without me and Papa, and starve to death. I felt very guilty and couldn’t sleep. I hoped that the frog had landed safely on the soft turf without getting hurt.
As soon as I woke up the next morning, I rushed outside toward the area where I threw the frog, fearing that she might have been smashed to death. I walked around all over, without finding a trace of her. I came back home, somewhat relieved at not finding the dead frog. Since that time, I have never caught frogs again.