One day the sun was coming up over the hill and the sunlight began to emerge through the thick branches of the pine trees, to the lake that welcomed its rays glowing with joy and that spread them unselfishly through its reflection. All the birds were competing not in flight but in song and the swans began their dance on the shore.
Five little hopping frogs, just awakened and full of energy, decided to sneak out of their mother’s watchful eye, so they could do whatever they wanted. This is how they began to race in the woods, making a lot of noise. And they kept jumping around carelessly until they saw a hole that none of them had noticed before. The three elder sisters started betting, each of them convinced that only she could jump over it. But as all five of them were convinced of their own success, they lined up on the edge and jumped one at a time. Unfortunately, only three of them succeeded; the smallest two failed to reach the other side. They were lying silently on the bottom of the hole…
Their game had turned into a tragedy.
The two littlest frogs could be barely seen from above, and no matter how much their elder sisters thought about how to pull them out, they arrived at the sad conclusion that it was impossible. They cried loudly for their sisters who, if they hadn’t already died, would be gone in just a matter of time, because neither of them would be able to jump high enough. The bigger frogs knew that there was no escape. Their tiny sisters, who had been stunned at first, woke up frightened and began to jump as high as they could, but in vain.
The little frogs didn’t even approach the edge of the abyss. At first, glad that their sisters were still alive, the three elder frogs jumped around the hole, each one higher than the next, to encourage the smaller ones. Soon, one of the big frogs realized that they were only hurting the little ones, because the higher they tried to jump, the more they would get injured, and, in the end, they would still fail to come out. So they started shouting in unison:
-Don’t bother anymore, it’s too deep, you won’t manage it and will only hurt yourselves, because in the end you won’t escape.
But no, the two little frogs kept on jumping. The noise got the attention of another grown-up frog that was passing by. It came near the hole. When the three other frogs saw it, a ray of hope entered their souls, because this was the most hopping frog in the whole forest.
If someone could get the little frogs out of this trouble, it certainly was her. Seeing the situation, the hopping frog remembered another hole, a smaller one, in which she had fallen and had hardly been able to jump out. So she figured there was no possibility that the two of them could be saved. She began shouting as well:
-Don’t jump anymore for nothing, save your energy because you’ll die there!
Hearing her, one of the little frogs stopped jumping and thought:
-It’s right for sure, they are all right, it makes no sense to keep on jumping.
The little, disappointed, deterred frog quit jumping and sat in a corner waiting to die. Meanwhile, over the hole came another old frog. She was the lake’s wisest frog. There was no other frog who had lived longer or seen more. Analyzing the situation, the wisest frog remembered a brave frog that had jumped higher than anyone else and whom no one could ever match. She remembered with sorrow that when they found that frog, it was lying in the same hole and no one was able to pull it out. So she said to the others on the edge:
-Tell this crazy frog not to jump anymore and to take her sister’s example, because there’s nothing left to do, they’ll die in there.
That being said, they all began to shout their loudest:
-Stop jumping, take your sister’s example!! Stop jumping, stop!!! There’s no point in continuing. You’re too little to succeed. Don’t try anymore, you’re too frail! You have no chance! You’ll never succeed!”
The little frog kept on jumping, and the others kept on shouting at her to stop and to quit. But the little frog didn’t lose hope and the louder the ones on the edge were shouting, the higher she jumped, so that in the end, to everyone’s surprise, after a great many attempts, she managed to jump out. After she got out, the other frogs realized that she couldn’t hear a thing because during the fall she had banged her head, which left her deaf. When the others were fretting and shouting at her to quit, she thought they were encouraging her, that they were all screaming:
“Come on, you can do it!”
“You must jump higher!”
“Don’t lose hope like your sister!”
“Now or never, jump higher!!!”
Because the little frog was deaf to the discouraging words of those around her, she saw it all as encouragement. What made the difference was the fact that she believed in her own strength.
This story has more than one lesson.
The first is to pay attention to what you say to someone who has to pass a test, as your words can help them or hurt them.
The second is not to let the majority’s negative attitude make you think your goal is impossible. You should see it all as encouragement.
And the last but not least is the most important lesson: namely, you should believe in yourself, even when others don’t.