The Disobedient Frog

A young frog lived with his widowed mother in a large pond. A rascal and a trouble maker, he never listened to his mother and caused her much grief and embarrassment.

If his mother said go play on the hillside, he went to the seashore. If she said go to the upper neighborhood, he went to the lower. If she said do this, he did that. Whatever she said, he did the opposite.

"What am l going to do with that boy?" she mumbled to herself. "Why can't he be like the other boys? They always listen and do what they are told. And they're always kind and respectfuI. I don't know what wiIl become of him if he keeps behaving like this. I have to do something to break him of his bad habits." Mother Frog sighed deeply.

"Ha! Ha! Ha!" Iaughed Little Frog. "Hush aIl that mumbling. You don't have to worry about me. I'm doing fine just the way l am."

"Is that so?" said Mother Frog. "Then why can't you croak properly? You don't even sound like a frog. Let me teach you." With a smile, she puffed herself up and let out a loud Kaegul! Kaegul! "Now you try."

Grinning broadly, Little Frog puffed himself up and let out a loud Kulgae! Kulgae!

"Why you impudent little rascal! You're going to be the death of me!" cried Mother Frog. "You'll Iisten to me if you know what's good for you. Now you..."

"Kulgae! Kulgae!" croaked Little Frog, hopping away.

Day after day Mother Frog scolded her young son but he continued to do as he wished and just the opposite of what she said. She fretted and worried so much about him that she became ill. Still he continued to misbehave.

One day she called him to her bedside. "My son," she said, "I don't think I will live much longer. When I die, please don't bury me on the mountain, bury me beside the stream." She said this because she knew he would do the opposite of what she said.

A few days later Mother Frog died. Little Frog cried and cried. "Oh my poor mother! I worried her so much by misbehaving. Why didn't I listen to her?" he scolded himself. "Now she's gone. I killed her. I kiIled her."

Little Frog thought about his mother and all the trouble he had caused her. Then he told himself, "I always did the opposite of what Mother said because it was fun. But this time l will do exactly what she told me to do."

So Little Frog buried his mother beside the stream, even tough he did not think it was very wise.

A few weeks later there was a storm. It rained so much the stream overflowed its banks. Little Frog could not sleep for worrying that his mother's grave would be washed away. At last he went to the grave to keep watch.

In the pouring rain he sat, crying over and over, "Kaegul! Kaegul! Please don't wash my mother away!" And that is what he did every time it rained.

And ever since then, green frogs have cried Kaegul! Kaegul! when it rains.

Suzanne Crowder Han, 1991, Korean Folk & Fairy Tales

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