There once was a frolicking, fortunate frog, who lived a simple life of honest work and modest pleasures. This portly bearded green croaker had a boisterous sense of humor and made clever pranks that were enjoyed by the other folk living in his village, but there was one inhabitant who was definitely not laughing at his antics.

In a small, isolated cabin on the edge of the village was a bitter, old grey shrew. When he wasn’t working the land or meticulously maintaining his property, he would make his way into town to criticize the other townsfolk – including small children and adolescents who were having otherwise wholesome, harmless fun.

“You should be studying or doing chores, young man!” the grey shrew says with a shrill tone while waving his cane and adjusting his spectacles.

A few young green frog children hurriedly grab the ball they were playing with and stand closer to the buildings in the main part of the village. They stand there with their heads lowered as the shrew continues grumbling.

Overhearing the commotion, the bearded green frog walks towards the frog children, and they draw closer to him in turn. Standing in-between the young frogs and the aging shrew, he says, “Certainly a little afternoon play isn’t hurting anyone.”

“That’s not the point, young man!” the shrew replies. “They shouldn’t develop bad habits. Though, it’s clearly many seasons too late for some of us.” He pokes the rotund frog in his midsection with his cane, and his face turns sour for a moment before he shakes his head.

“I could say the same of you” the older frog says with a smirk. “I may overdo it sometimes, but I’d rather be like a sweet dessert than withered grapes. Perhaps you need a little reminder of the season in your life when you could appreciate a sweet reward.”

“Nonsense!” the shrew replies. “I was just as disciplined then as I am now, foolish frog. Don’t think you can persuade me otherwise.” With another shake of his cane, and a dismissive wave of his free hand, he walks away from the center of the village towards his lonely cabin.

The older frog turns to the frog children, and with a impish expression he says to them, “It seems to me that he forgot that play isn’t just about games and competition. Sometimes it’s just fun to see what happens.” The frog children look at each other, then back at the older frog, and they all chuckle together in the fading light of the day.

In the days that followed, the frolicking frog set his sights on the stern shrew. Every morning before dawn, with the help of the three younger frog boys, he woke up the shrew with a cacophony of chaotic croaking – before slipping away into the brush.

When the shrew would come into the village, the boy frogs would hide behind buildings and stores to croak at him out of sight. As the days progressed, other frogs – including quite a few adolescent frogs, joined in on the fun.

“I hope you know that this is certainly not appropriate!” the shrew says angrily. “You have much better things you could be doing with your time.”

But instead of answering the shrew, more frogs joined in – as well as bestial adult villagers of many other kinds. The animal calls in the village continued mocking the stern shrew – no longer heeding his bitter words, until his angry protest was buried in a wall of sound.

The frolicking frog leads the other villagers to the center of the settlement, and when everyone stops calling out, he says, “Mockery is far better than humoring the humorless.”