Monday, February 21, 2011

The Toad

(Based on a story related to me by a housewife in a remote village of Borneo)

A young housewife in a rural village found a large toad sitting on her kitchen counter one morning. Frightened by the warty creature, she used her broom to shoo it out the open kitchen window. The following morning the toad was back. This time she whacked the disgusting annoyance out of the window, and when she went to sleep that night she made sure to shut all the windows and doors. She believed that would be the end of the toad.

But day after day the toad kept returning, and the woman soon concluded that she was cursed. She began to pray that God would break the curse so that she would no longer be greeted each morning by that awful toad. Despite her solemn plea, there was no change; the toad was there every morning.

Growing increasingly depressed about her misfortune, the woman decided one evening to relate her troubles to a neighbor. As they sat down together in the neighbor’s kitchen over a cup of tea, two cockroaches scurried across the floor and under the cabinet. To the neighbor’s surprise, the young housewife shrieked at the sight and shivered in disgust, but she quickly calmed down and they went on sipping tea and chatting away.

The night was getting late and the woman finally mustered the courage to confide in her neighbor about the curse. As the details slowly came forth, the neighbor did not react with sympathy but rather with an informed grin. Amused by the young housewife’s distress, the neighbor gently inquired, “Did you know that toads eat cockroaches?”

That night the woman realized that she was not cursed but greatly blessed. Thanks to that toad, hers was the only roach-free home in the village.