Posts filed under ‘Mao’s Last Dancer’

Frog in the Well

Mao's Last Dancer
Fable from Mao’s Last Dancer by Li Cunxin

Dancing to Freedom

There was a frog that lived in a small, deep well. He knew nothing but the world he lived in. His well and the sky he could see above it were his entire universe.
One day he met a frog who lived in the world above. ‘Why don’t you come down and play with me? It’s fun down here,’ the frog in the deep well asked.
‘What’s down there?’ the frog above asked.
‘We have everything down here. You name it. The streams, the undercurrent, the stars, the occasional moon, and we even get flying objects coming down from the sky sometimes,’ the frog in the well answered.
The frog on the land sighed. ‘My friend, you live in a confined world. You haven’t seen what’s out here in the bigger world.’ The frog below was very annoyed. ‘Don’t you tell me that you have a bigger world than ours! My world is big. We see and experience everything the world has to offer,’ the well frog said.
‘No, my friend. You can only see the world above you through the size of the well. The world up here is enormous. I wish I could show you how big it is,’ the frog above replied.
The frog in the well was angry now. ‘I don’t believe you! You are telling me lies! I’m going to ask my dad.’ He told his dad about his conversation with the frog ont eh land. ‘My son,’ he said with a saddened heart, ‘your friend is right. I heard there is a much bigger world up there, with many more stars than we can see from here.’
‘Why didn’t you tell me about it earlier?’ the little frog asked.
‘What’s the use? Your destiny is down here in the well. There is no way you can get out of here,’ the father frog replied.
The little frog said, ‘I can, I can get out of here. Let me show you!’ He jumped and hopped, but the well was too deep and the land was too far above.
‘No use, my son. I’ve tried all my life and so did your forefathers. Forget the world above. Be satisfied with what you have, or it will cause you such misery in life.’
‘I want to get out, I want to see the big world above!’ the little frog cried determinedly.
‘No, my son. Accept fate. Learn to live with what is given,’ his dad replied.
So the poor little frog spent his life trying to escape the dark, cold well. But he couldn’t. The big world above remained only a dream.
“Dad, are we in a well?” I asked.
He thought for a while. “Depends on how you look at it. If you look at where we are from heaven above, yes, we’re in a well. If you look at us from below, we’re not in a well. Will you call where we are heaven? No, definitely not,” he replied.


March 23, 2015 at 8:25 pm Leave a comment