In time, these lessons and "stubs" will be migrated to the Buzzwords site.
Until then, consider them historical.

Aesop's Fables 3: The Frogs Asking for a King


Do you think people need a king, ruler, or some other kind of government? Or are they OK without one?


The Frogs, grieved at having no established Ruler, sent ambassadors to Jupiter entreating for a King. Perceiving their simplicity, he cast down a huge log into the lake. The Frogs were terrified at the splash caused by its fall and hid themselves in the depths of the pool. But as soon as they realized that the huge log was motionless, they swam again to the top of the water, dismissed their fears, climbed up, and began squatting on it in contempt. After some time they began to think themselves ill-treated in the appointment of so inert a Ruler, and sent a second deputation to Jupiter to pray that he would set over them another sovereign. He then gave them an Eel to govern them. When the Frogs discovered his easy good nature, they sent yet a third time to Jupiter to beg him to choose for them still another King. Jupiter, displeased with all their complaints, sent a Heron, who preyed upon the Frogs day by day till there were none left to croak upon the lake.


Jupiter: also called Zeus, king of the gods in ancient Greece and Rome
Eel: a long fish that looks like a snake
Heron: a bird with long legs and a long beak that eats fish and frogs


Answer these questions about the story in complete sentences:

1. What did the Frogs want? Who did they ask?
2. What did Jupiter (Zeus) send first? What happened then?
3. What did Jupiter send next? What happened then?
4. What did Jupiter send last? What happened then?


Here is some vocabulary from the story:

a. to be grieved: to be upset or unhappy
b. ambassador: a representative
c. to entreat: to beg, to ask urgently
d. to perceive: to see, hear, or otherwise notice
e. simplicity: here, to be "simple" means to be "foolish"
f. to dismiss: to reject, to decide something is not useful
g. to squat: to sit down on one's heels
h. contempt: lack of respect, disregard
i. inert: not moving
j. deputation: group of representatives
k. sovereign: king or ruler
l. to be displeased: to be unhappy
m. to prey upon: to eat, as one animal preying on another
n. to croak: to make the sound that frogs make

Use one of the above terms in each of the following sentences. Be sure to use the correct form. Note that #2 is a double question, and in #8, more than one answer is possible.

1. A good __________ will take care of his people.
2. A wise man __________ good in others where a __________ man sees none.
3. Because the man was __________, I called for an ambulance.
4. Having __________ for others is not a good way to make friends.
5. I love to hear the frogs __________ at night.
6. If there is no chair, you may have to __________.
7. The rich shouldn't __________ the poor.
8. The workers were __________ (or __________) over receiving such low pay.
9. We shouldn't __________ others' opinions just because they differ from ours.


There are no "right" answers. Give your own opinion. If you can, try to talk about these questions in English with a friend. If not, try writing your answers.

1. Why do you think the Frogs wanted a king?
2. Why do you think Jupiter sent first a log, then an Eel, and finally a Heron?
3. What's so bad about the Eel? Doesn't an "easy good nature" sound like a good thing?
4. Is there a deeper meaning to the "actions" of the log, the Eel, and the Heron?


Remember, there may be more than one way to express your answer.

1. The Frogs wanted a king. They asked Jupiter, the king of the gods, for one.
2. First Jupiter sent a log, and it did nothing.
3. Next Jupiter sent an Eel, who was very friendly.
4. Finally Jupiter sent a Heron that ate the Frogs.


1 k sovereign
2 d perceives, e simple
3 i inert
4 h contempt
5 n croaking
6 g squat
7 m prey upon
8 a grieved (or l displeased)
9 f dismiss

This lesson is ©2012 by James Baquet. You may share this work freely. Teachers may use it in the classroom, as long as students are told the source (URL). You may not publish this material or sell it. Please write to me if you have any questions about "fair use."

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