Folktales > The Lizard and the Frog

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Narrator: Once upon a time in Uganda there was a lizard.

Lizard: Abracadabra, hocus pocus-

Narrator: No no, not a wizard. A lizard.

Lizard: Ah. Ssssssss……

Narrator: Who lived in a treetop.

Lizard: Ah, what a splendid view from my penthouse suite. Only thing I have to worry about is that crazy dude who swings through on grapevines and crashes into my parlor.

Narrator: And there was a frog—

Frog: Woof! Woof!

Narrator: No no no no no. Not a dog, a frog.

Frog: I don't know what a fog sounds like that.

Narrator: Frog, frog.

Frog: Ribbay. Ribbay.

Narrator: Ribbay??

Frog: Sorry. I grew up in France. I meant ribbet, of course.

Narrator: Ah. So this multicultural amphibian lived on an island in the middle of a lake.

Frog: Ah, what great real estate. My very own island. I'm so lucky to be able to afford this.

Narrator: Of course, what a frog calls an island, we call a lily pad. But it made him happy. One day, the frog and the lizard met each other.

Lizard: Hey brother. I spotted your pad from my pad, I thought I'd invite you over tonight to barbecue some flies.

Frog: Hey, sounds cool to me.

Narrator: So the Frog went to the tree where the Lizard lived, but when he got there, he found that there was a little problem.

Frog: Yoo hoo! I'm here.

Lizard: Great. Glad you could make it. Come on up.

Frog: Well, that seems to be a problem. I can jump out of a tree. And I can jump around in a tree. But I cannot jump up into a tree. Especially such a high one.

Lizard: Not to worry, I have an elevator.

Frog: What is an elevator?

Lizard: A rope. I will lower it down to you, and you just tie it around your tail, and I will pull you up.

Narrator: Yes, you heard right. And the lizard was not seeing things. The frog really did have a tail. Things were different back in those days in once-upon-a-time times. Or so they say. Whoever they are. So the lizard lowered the rope.

Frog: Hey, this rope looks kind of frayed to me. And a frayed rope makes me afraid too. How often do you replace it?

Lizard: Whenever it breaks, of course.

Frog: Oh. Very well, I'll try it I guess.

Narrator: So the frog tied the rope around his tail, and the lizard pulled…

Frog: Ow!

Narrator: And pulled…

Frog: Ow, ow, ow !!!

Narrator: Until… (POP) the frog's tail popped right off. And the lizard laughed and laughed. (LIZARD LAUGHS.)

Frog: Hey, what's so funny?

Lizard: You are. You look so comical. Like… a snake without wings or something.

Frog: Well you wouldn't think it was so funny if it was your tail. How am I going to swim without a tail?

Lizard: Sorry, I just can't help myself. (LAUGHS)

Narrator: Well the Frog got very mad, and went back to his island. Meanwhile, the Lizard took great delight in telling all his friends about how the frog lost his tail. And they all laughed as well. The owl in particular thought it was quite a hoot. The Frog stayed mad for a long time, and didn't speak to the lizard again. Until one day…

Frog: Hey Lizard, why don't you come down to my island for dinner.

Narrator: And the lizard, figuring the frog was no longer angry, replied…

Lizard: I would, but I do not know how to swim.

Frog: No problem. I have a ferry.

Lizard: What's a ferry?

Frog: A rope. I will tie it around your neck and pull you out to the island.

Narrator: So the frog tied the rope around the lizard's neck, and began pulling him through the water.

Lizard: Hey, I didn't realize the water would be so deep. I wanna go back to shore.

Frog: Nonsense. I've got you.

Lizard: No, I wanna go back, I wanna go back.

Narrator: The lizard got very scared and struggled to get back to shore, while the frog was struggling to pull him forward. The lizard did get back to shore. But then he discovered…

Lizard: Ouch! That rope was so tight it made my cheeks puff out.

Narrator: And the frog thought this was very funny. (FROG LAUGHS) He laughed so hard he almost croaked. And from that day on, lizards have had puffy cheeks, and frogs have had no tails. Both of them still live in Uganda. But they are not friends.

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About this Story

The Lizard and the Frog is an origin story from Ugunda. Origin stories are tales made up to explain how things came to be the way they are.

@ Your Library

For more great American Folk Tales and legendary heroes go to your local library. You will find Folk Tales in the 398 section (Dewey Decimal System)

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