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The Frogs Who Wanted a King

From Ancient Greece Comes the Story About What We Have Become

In case you are not familiar with this ancient tale by Aesop, here is a retelling from a website called Fables of Aesop:

The Frogs were tired of governing themselves. They had so much freedom that it had spoiled them, and they did nothing but sit around croaking in a bored manner and wishing for a government that could entertain them with the pomp and display of royalty, and rule them in a way to make them know they were being ruled. No milk and water government for them, they declared. So they sent a petition to Jupiter asking for a king.

Jupiter saw what simple and foolish creatures they were, but to keep them quiet and make them think they had a king he threw down a huge log, which fell into the water with a great splash. The Frogs hid themselves among the reeds and grasses, thinking the new king to be some fearful giant. But they soon discovered how tame and peaceable King Log was. In a short time the younger Frogs were using him for a diving platform, while the older Frogs made him a meeting place, where they complained loudly to Jupiter about the government.

To teach the Frogs a lesson the ruler of the gods now sent a Crane to be king of Frogland. The Crane proved to be a very different sort of king from old King Log. He gobbled up the poor Frogs right and left and they soon saw what fools they had been. In mournful croaks they begged Jupiter to take away the cruel tyrant before they should all be destroyed.

“How now!” cried Jupiter “Are you not yet content? You have what you asked for and so you have only yourselves to blame for your misfortunes.”

In the archaic L’Estrange version, the moral is: “The mobile are uneasie without a ruler: they are as restless with one; and the oft’ner they shift, the worse they are; so that government or no government; a king of God’s making, or of the peoples, or none at all; the multitude are never to be satisfied.”

As I sat down reading in the Santa Monica Main Library this morning, I noticed that the people seated around me look as if they had lost their battle with life. One black man alternately wept and swore; and a bearded youth in a hoodie kept calling his family to beg money for his anxiety medications. The coffee shops are full of people with notebook computers, undoubtedly using social media to communicate with people they don’t know or really care about. The natives appear to be restless.

Well, We Got Our King

This restlessness is probably what elected our current President, who is very much like Aesop’s King Stork. He seems to be comfortable only with billionaires and despots. And what can we expect from him? The answer, in one word is covfefe, and lots of it—brown, gooey, and pungent.

2 thoughts on “The Frogs Who Wanted a King

  1. I think a new word may just have entered our vocabulary. I wonder what the accepted definition will turn out to be and how long it will last.

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