Monday, December 19, 2016

THE STORY OF THE TOAD (Elementary- Intermediate level)

There was an aged couple, who were very poor. But they had a fish trap, which they set at night; and the fish they caught they exchanged for rice. And one night it happened that no fish got into the trap, but only toads, so that the trap was brimfull. And at early dawn, when the cock crowed, the old man came, and finding the trap very heavy was rejoiced, and hoisting it on to his back waddled away. And when he got home he woke up his wife, crying "Old woman, old woman, not up yet? The day has dawned." So the old woman jumped up, and blew up the fire, and the old couple squatted over it, warming themselves. And the old man said "We are in luck to-day! The trap is brimfull." Then the old woman said "Let's see, let's see." So the old man tumbled out the contents of the trap, and, behold, they were all toads. So the old woman said "We are in luck to-day! We shall have lots to eat to-day!" And the old man bid her kill the toads without further words. And the old woman, taking her stick, ran about after the toads and slew them one by one. But one alone, half dead with fear, crawled under the old woman's stool. But the rest she skinned and cleaned. Then, removing the stool, the old man saw the survivor, and said to the old woman "There is one left; kill that, too!" But the toad called out "Ah! Father, do not kill me. I will plough for you, and hoe for you, and plant out paddy for you!" But the old man replied "How shall a toad do all these things? Your ploughing and hoeing would be a bitter business! You only want to get off being killed." But he pleaded so sore, and begged so hard, that they took pity on him and let him stay in their house. And so the days went by till the rainy season came round, and the toad went off to plough in the field. And as he was sitting on the handle of the plough urging on his cattle, a king came by that way riding on his elephant, and the toad called out to him "What fellow is that? You are knocking down all the balks of my field!" To which the king replied "Who dares speak to me thus," and sent men to fetch him. But he hid behind a clod, so that they could not find him. And when he continued to abuse them without their finding him, the king bade them take away the plough cattle to his house. And the toad, followed secretly behind, and, hiding himself in the thatch of the cowshed, began to abuse the king afresh. And the king searched for him in vain; and at last ordered the cowshed to be pulled down and the cattle to be put elsewhere. And the toad went and hid there, too, and abused the king again. Finally, the king was frightened and called to him: "Oh! Father, are you god or mortal? And what harm have I done you?" And he said "I am mortal of a sooth. And I abuse you because you have carried off my cattle. And if you do not give me your daughter in marriage, I shall remain invisible and abuse you daily." So the king swore that the toad should have his daughter, and the toad came forth. And the king, for his oath's sake, and lest the toad should be  in some sort a god, gave him his daughter, and sent him home with a sedan-chair and elephants and horses. And when he got near his home, the old man and old woman ran clean away. But the toad, their adopted son, seeing their terror, bade them not be afraid, and sent men after them to fetch them. And then they sat down with their son-in-law and daughter-in-law and feasted the men who had come with them. And one day the girl, finding her husband very loathsome to look upon, told him to take a bath. "But," said her husband, "what is the good of my taking a bath? I am a frog and always bathing." But his wife replied
"I know very well that you live in cold water. But I want to get rid of those nasty protuberances on your back, and want to bathe you." So, finally, her husband agreed. So she heated some water to boiling, and called out "Come quick, I must bathe you!" And when the toad came, and asked what he was to do, she said "You jump straight in, and I will bathe you afterwards." So he jumped in, and, turning over on his back, died. And that's all!

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