29. The misunderstood frog and rebel bird

 

One reason I enjoyed publishing my monthly on-line newsletter “Outside the Square” was the knowledge that perhaps someone, somewhere would listen to my eccentric ideas and in some way be helped by it. I did not print the ‘Rafter poem’, but used the platform of my website to become a social critic in other areas. The first instance I stumbled across by chance. I read a joke in an email newsletter published by the Speaker’s Club:

 

"Once upon a time in a land far away, a beautiful, self-assured princess happened upon a frog as she contemplated ecological issues on the shores of an unpolluted pond in a verdant meadow near her castle.

The frog hopped into the princess’ lap and said: "Elegant Lady, I was once a prince until an evil witch passed a spell on me. However, one kiss from you and I will once again turn into the dapper young prince I am and then, my sweet, we can marry and set up housekeeping in yon castle with my mother, where you can prepare meals, clean my clothes and bear my children, and be grateful forever for doing so.

That night feasting on a repast of lightly sautéed frogs legs, seasoned in white wine and onion cream sauce, she chuckled to herself and thought: "I don’t think so."

Had the frog come across a woman like my wife of over 30 years, he probably would have received the following reception:

"You may only be a frog, but I believe in you. I see your potential and am taking a chance on you. Perhaps you tell the truth when you claim to be a handsome prince? I'd be glad to bear your children and to nurture them. I love children. The world's future depends on them. I will be a supporting wife so you can prepare to become king when your time comes.

At the end of our lives we can all look back to being a success. You in what you do best and I as your best friend and helper."

                    Last time my wife and I ate frog’s legs we walked out of the restaurant hungry.  

I felt urged to challenge the motive behind this piece of writing. It sounded like anti-family and anti-male propaganda. Later I realized that my wife had not yet reached that platform that I had elevated her to. She read my response to the joke, but I felt that she never fully grasped what I was trying to convey. 

 

I briefly listened to Adelaide’s ABC Radio station 5 AN on the morning after I had uploaded the item onto the website. The topic of the discussion was frog’s legs. By now I was used to co-incidences like this and just pondered them in my spirit. What else could I do? I was not going onto any more tablets or back to any mental hospital. If I imagined that the reporters were referring to my piece of writing (I heard the word social engineering mentioned) and chose to discuss French cuisine just at that time so be it. There a worse mental illnesses that do more damage. I was just having fun.   

 

Originally I had the location of the restaurant included in the article, which was Paris. Later I omitted this detail. I did not want people to think that I had anything against Paris or French people. Later that year, however, I had a bone to pick with the French.

 

A second article I read in a Driving Instructor’s Magazine caused me to response again rather strongly, because I sensed an attitude of resignation in the story. I had to put the record straight:

 

“Once upon a time there was a non-conforming sparrow who decided not to fly south for the winter. However, soon the weather turned so cold that he reluctantly started to fly south. In short time ice began to form on his wings and he fell in to a barn yard almost frozen. A cow passed by and crapped on the little bird. The sparrow thought it was his end, but the manure warmed him and defrosted his wings. Warm and happy, able to breathe he started to sing. Just then a large cat came by and hearing the chirping investigated the sound. The cat cleared away the manure, found the chirping bird and promptly ate him up. The moral of the story:

1. Everyone who craps on you is not necessarily your enemy.

2. Everyone who gets you out of the crap is not necessarily your friend.

3. If you are warm and happy in a pile of crap - keep your mouth shut.

Right-of-reply (by Dieter Fischer, a SA instructor, who could not help himself telling the full story).

The true events happened this way:

The big bad cat was jealous of the birds, because they could fly high into the air. In her anger she persuaded the sparrows to fly in the wrong direction, where they all perished; except one non-conforming little sparrow. It did not listen to the cat and flew south to safety on its own every year.

The cat hated that one non-conforming sparrow more than all the others. She conspired with another cat to ambush and to kill it outside its nest. The little bird was a hard worker. As it was just feeding his young, the cats jumped onto the nest in order to eat up the entire family. But they didn’t know that the big eagle had known of the conspiracy all along. With one mighty swoop it grabbed the two cats and carried them away. The eagle family feasted on the cats for 7 days.

The little sparrow was not alone any more when flying south every year for the winter.

And the moral of the story:

1. Just because everyone does it, ain’t make it right.

2. Non-conformists get the job done, often without saying a word.

3. If you do right, someone is always watching over you.

 

The first story I perceived was just what people were thinking about me. Why don’t you keep your mouth shut and stay warm. At least you’re safe and cosy. No movement has ever succeeded by staying warm and cosy. My sense of justice and longing for truth far outweighed any fear of retribution. I think most people identified with the non-conforming sparrow, which was no longer alone when flying in the right direction.

 

Again in a strange way I perceived my in little story to have been received well. Did I take notice to satisfy my ill mind’s fun loving ego or did people really talk about going in the right direction. I could not help noticing the phrase everywhere; on the news, in the newspaper and in general conversation. Then again, it could just be me making it all up. This was a possibility since nobody ever commented on my story or congratulated me. Perhaps doctors are right when they say there is no cure for my illness, only perhaps a remission for a time.

 

But I could not grasp how taking tablets could change my linking and thinking. If I had an illness, then great! I had fun suffering from it. I made a contribution to society and did nobody any harm. I didn’t even bother Isobel any longer with my co-incidences, which were happening daily. As a matter of fact my home life was happier than it had been in years. I had lost all of the anger I used to display years ago.

 

If I had landed in a pile of manure, I was happy. No cat would ever stop me from whistling.

 

Chapter 30

 

Index

1. More in number      2. A sound mind       3. Now I'm found       4. Candle and the Wind

 

  5. Realm of Nature      6. All in his Hand        7. The Wonder of it All     8. To Think God loves