GRANDFATHER FROG LOSES HEART
Look before you leap;
The water may be deep.
That is the very best kind of advice, but most people find that out when it is too late. Grandfather Frog did. Of course he had heard that little verse all his life. Indeed, he had been very fond of saying it to those who came to the Smiling Pool to ask his advice. But Grandfather Frog seemed to have left all his wisdom behind him when he left the Smiling Pool to go out into the Great World. You see, it is very hard work for any one whose advice has been sought to turn right around and take advice themselves. So Grandfather Frog had been getting into scrapes ever since he started out on his foolish journey, and now here he was in still another, and he had landed in it head first, with a great splash.
Of course, when he had seen the cool, sparkling water of the spring, it had seemed to him that he just couldn’t wait another second to get into it. He was so hot and dry and dreadfully thirsty and uncomfortable! And so—oh, dear me!—Grandfather Frog didn’t look at all before he leaped. No, Sir, he didn’t! He just dived in with a great long jump. Oh, how good that water felt! For a few minutes he couldn’t think of anything else. It was cooler than the water of the Smiling Pool, because, as you know, it was a spring. But it felt all the better for that, and Grandfather Frog just closed his eyes and floated there in pure happiness.
Presently he opened his eyes to look around. Then he blinked them rapidly for a minute or so. He rubbed them to make sure that he saw aright. His heart seemed to sink way, way down towards his toes. “Chugarum!” exclaimed Grandfather Frog, “Chugarum!” And after that for a long time he didn’t say a word.
You see, it was this way. All around him rose perfectly straight smooth walls. He could look up and see a little of the blue, blue sky right overhead and whispering leaves of trees and bushes. Over the edge of the smooth straight wall grasses were bending. But they were so far above his head, so dreadfully far! There wasn’t any place to climb out! Grandfather Frog was in a prison! He didn’t understand it at all, but it was so.
Of course, Farmer Brown’s boy could have told him all about it. A long time before Farmer Brown himself had found that spring, and because the water was so clear and cold and pure, he had cleared away all the dirt and rubbish around it. Then he had knocked the bottom out of a nice clean barrel and had dug down where the water bubbled up out of the sand and had set the barrel down in this hole and had filled in the bottom with clean white sand for the water to bubble up through. About half-way up the barrel he had cut a little hole for the water to run out as fast as it bubbled in at the bottom. Of course the water never could fill the barrel, because when it reached that hole, it ran out. This left a straight, smooth wall up above, a wall altogether too high for Grandfather Frog to jump over from the inside.