Penelope the Frog

by Christine on June 4th, 2010

filed under Short Stories

Penelope the FrogPenelope was a frog that lived in Round Pond. She was pretty as far as frogs go – she was had a lovely green color and big round eyes. Penelope was sad though. She didn’t like how she looked or where she lived, or anything about her life, really. She was listless and sad; she slept a lot and didn’t croak at night with the rest of the frogs.  She spent a lot of time moping and dreaming of what could be.

“What’s wrong?” her friend Liz asked her one day while lounging on a lillypad. Liz was her best friend since tadpole-age. They couldn’t be separated.

“I don’t know,” said Penelope. “I just feel down.”

“I know what you should do!” said Liz. “Figure out what you would like to do. Set some goals. Then set about trying to achieve them!”

Penelope thought about that for a minute. “I guess I could do that,” she said.

After some serious contemplation, Penelope decided that her life would be much better if she lost a little weight. She was plumper than the rest of the frogs, and the male frogs didn’t pay too much attention to her. Plus, jumping from lillypad to lillypad was difficult and hard on her knees. Yes, she decided to lose some weight.

So Penelope constructed her strategy. She planned out her meals and exercise for each day. She kept a motivation diary by her bedside, and she asked Liz to support her.  Everything was going great. The weight started to fall off of her! At first Penelope felt great, and she basked in the new compliments that everyone gave her. But soon she fell back into her depression. She was thinner and prettier, and the guys paid attention to her, but she was still sad.  There was something missing in her life.

“Set a new goal!” said Liz. Liz still supported her, although she didn’t get to see her friend every day. Liz was dating a new frog and was often busy going on dates.

After thinking for a while, Penelope decided her life would be better if she was a marathon jumper instead of a lillypad swimmer. She wanted to be the highest frog-jumper that ever lived. She constructed her strategy; every day she had her strength training routine and cardiovascular routine. She practiced for many hours every day. Soon she became the highest frog-jumper in her pond. She went to other ponds to compete, and she won many awards. Soon, she was the highest frog-jumper on the planet!

At first Penelope felt great about her accomplishments, and she basked in the compliments she received and trophies she won. But soon she fell back into a depression. There was still something missing.

“Set a new goal!” croaked Liz while fussing over her nest of tadpoles. She flicked her tongue to keep them in line.

Pondering, Penelope decided that everything would be much better if she had a lot of money. Then she wouldn’t have to live on crummy Round Pond. If she had a lot of money she could do anything she wanted!  But first she had to figure out how to make money.  She decided that she was a good frog-jumper, so she took that idea a step further and made high-frog-jumping-boots! The spring-loaded boots were a huge success, and they sold like hotcakes. Soon Penelope had more money than she could keep on her lillypad! She started a bank of lillypads and loaded them all up with money.  She decided she would move to Sunshine Pond, about a day’s hopping journey away. She hauled all her money with her and soon came to the expensive resort pond, complete with filtered pond water, regular feedings, bright flowers, and gorgeous frogs.  She bought an expensive lillypad in a gated community and sat down to enjoy her new life.

Oh, Sunshine Pond was nice all right, but soon Penelope started to get sad. She didn’t have anyone to enjoy the pond with. She had so much money she ate all the time and started to get fat again. Frogs began to sue her when they discovered that pond water eroded the spring mechanism in the boots.  It seemed like nothing was right in her life. Money didn’t make her happier at all.

Forlorn, she wandered back to Round Pond one day to visit her old friend Liz.  Liz was surrounded by her now-grown little froggies and was playing water games with them. Penelope watched Liz laugh and smile and Penelope became sad that she didn’t laugh and smile like that as often.

“What is your secret to happiness?” Penelope asked Liz.  “What goals did you set to find such freedom?”

Liz looked surprised. “I don’t set goals at all,” she said. “I just enjoyed my life and my Self, whatever stage that I was in. Life is good. I just enjoyed it.”

“You never felt sad or the need to set goals?” Penelope asked.

“Sure I felt sad, but then I would realize that I am very lucky to have all the things I already have.  I didn’t need to set goals: I had all the things that were important to me already!”

Frustrated, Penelope went back to Sunshine Pond, to her expensive lillypad, and sat down to think.  “Maybe the answer was inside me all the time!” she exclaimed.  She took a deep breath and jumped into the water and back-stroked across the pond, noticing for the first time the warm rays of sunshine on her face. Penelope smiled!


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