Folklore Children

When friends come a-visiting

Let’s read an African folk tale about two great friends — Grasshopper and Toad.

The two spent almost every waking hour together. They only bid goodbye to each other when they had to go home for meals. Everyone thought it strange that such good friends had never ever shared a meal together. They remarked about this to one another and soon the friends got to hear of it.

One morning, Toad said, “I say, Grasshopper, why don’t you stop by for dinner tomorrow? I’ll cook something special for you.”

Grasshopper was a bachelor, and an invitation to a good dinner was welcome. The next evening, togged up in his Sunday best, he waltzed up to Toad’s door and rang the bell. They spoke about this and that, the weather and the government, until it was time to go in for dinner.

Before sitting down to eat, Toad washed his forelegs. He said, “I say Grasshopper, why don’t you wash your forelegs too?” So, Grasshopper washed his forelegs. But, when he did so, it made a loud noise.

“Can’t you leave your chirping behind?” asked Toad. “There is so much noise, I cannot eat.”

Try as he might, Grasshopper could not prevent his forelegs from coming together and making a noise. Every time he chirped, Toad complained and asked him to be quiet.

Before leaving, Grasshopper said, “Toad, I invite you to my house tomorrow, for dinner.”

The next evening, when Toad appeared, Grasshopper led him straight to the dinner table. But, before he could be seated, Grasshopper washed his forelegs and said, “Hey Toad, why don’t you wash your forelegs before you sit down to eat?”

Toad quickly washed his forelegs and hopped towards to table. Grasshopper frowned and said, “My dear chap, you had better go back and wash again. All that hopping has made your forelegs dirty.”

So, Toad did as he was told. He reached out for some food when Grasshopper frowned again and said, “Please be a pal and don’t put your dirty paws into the food. Go and wash them.”

All through the meal, Toad hopped from the water jar to the table. Not a morsel went down his throat. By the end of the evening, he was livid. “You do not want me to eat with you. You know very well that I must use my paws and forelegs to hop. I cannot help it if they get dirty.”

Grasshopper smiled, “You started it. Remember yesterday, when you complained about my forelegs making a noise?”

Toad had the grace to blush. He was remorseful syet, both friends were annoyed. They never spoke to one another again. That is, until the monkey came by and noticed it.

But, that’s a story for another day.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2020 9:31:38 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/when-toad-and-grasshopper-shared-a-meal/article32832908.ece

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