The crane was called to the frogs. Quite officially and even officially. To a hearing, so to speak. And he complied with this summons – quite calmly and serenely – and met them of their five (frogs) at the very bottom of their old well. The five frogs sat with their muddy legs complacently in the shallow murky well water and when the crane floated down to them from far above at the appointed time through the well hole (it was rather a fluttering than a hovering, since the well was so narrow that the crane could not spread its wonderful wide wings properly at all), then all of a sudden and out of the blue a collective horrible coughing fit overtook the frogs. And the frogs coughed and squinted their eyes and coughed and turned around and patted each other on the back and coughed and coughed and were so busy with themselves and the coughing that they paid no attention at all to the crane in its descent. Only when he sat in front of them and bathed his feet in the muddy water as well, did the coughing abruptly stop and, gasping for air and with pinched, reddened eyes, the frogs suddenly noticed the crane full of surprise. „Ah, oha! There you are already. We didn’t see you coming. A little sneak, huh? Well, all right. Now you’re here! Then we can begin.“ And the frogs, with professorial, serious faces, quietly croaked and sat down in two rows, with two frogs in the front row and the remaining three in the back row. One of the frogs in front said, „Well, my dear, we have summoned you to us because we have received word of strange stories that are said to have come from your throat. Of impossible stories. Stories that drive some here crazy and make them lose all sense of reality. We are especially interested in your story about this ‚Seeeaaa‘. Tell us: What is this thing you call ‚Seeeaaa‘ all about? Don’t be shy. We’ll be happy to listen to you!“
„Well, I will gladly tell you. I will gladly share this truth with you,“ said the crane kindly. And the crane thought of the sea and he had to smile (as far as how a crane can smile. Maybe it was more a smile of his eyes. Or an inner glow. Or something like that). And he told of the vastness of the sea and of its blueness and of its greenness and of its motion and of its depth and of its power and of its inhabitants. And of the vast sky that spanned it.
And while he spoke, an amused chuckle of individual frogs could be heard again and again. They then looked at each other and grinned mockingly and full of disbelief about these in their eyes inconceivable fantasies (Well, they grinned as far as frogs can grin. Maybe it was more of an aura they had. Something toxic, something smoky dark breath taking and at the same time something sharp pointed and steely. Something like that, perhaps 🙂
When the crane had finished his description of the sea, silence reigned for the time being. While the crane was still reveling in his memories of the sea and still tasting the salty air and listening to the oceanic roar and roar, the frogs‘ look changed from amused to pitifully saddened. Serious they had become. „Well….“ spoke the second frog in the front row, weighing his words. „Well…. Now you are a strange frog. Let that be sent ahead. It is not meant to be a prejudice or anything like that. It is simply an obvious fact. Every normal frog knows that the world is round and surrounded by a wall. That there is nothing behind it. Nothing can be. Because if you knock against the wall, it doesn’t sound like there’s anything behind it. That in addition. The light comes from above and the sky is round and small. The water is shallow and muddy and live here the crayfish, newts, larvae, isopods and some creatures more, which I save myself to enumerate. Everyone has learned that in school. Now, quite factually, how should there be something like ’seeeaaa‘? So deep. How should the frogs sit there in the mud?! So ‚almost infinite‘ – your words! – big. Quap-fftttt! What kind of wall should there be around it!? And these colors and this movement! Such a nonsense! Look in front of you at your funny feet and tell me what color the water is! And how it moves!“ The frog’s voice grew louder and louder as he talked himself into a frenzy. The other frogs accompanied his words approvingly with a collective „Quaak-Quaaak-Quaaaaak? Quaak!“ „No newts? No woodlice? Instead, seeaaals, dooolllphens, whaaaallle? What is all that? Look around you in the world! None of this is there! And the sky! Look up. There is the sky. Circular and small. What else is there to be…..!“ The frog, who during his speech had started to jump up and down, came to rest again. A little out of breath, he said, turning to the crane and the other frogs, „Well. Well, we’ll leave it that way for today. But in the long run, we’ll have to think of something. Something that will prevent anyone from getting such absurd ideas in the first place. We’ll certainly think of something to get frogs with too much imagination back down to earth. And you, you strange frog, are now dismissed. You will have many disadvantages if you continue to talk such nonsense. Better, you turn around and look at the world as it is. Look at the world as we do. Look around and come to yourself!“ The frog made a sweeping gesture with its small arms and looked at the crane urgently.
„Well, I thought something like that,“ replied the crane kindly. „After all, it’s not the first time I’ve told these truths to frogs like you. Frogs with temporary and sudden asthma. I’m a crane, by the way.“ There followed an impatient groan from the frogs at the next incredibility they were about to hear. „Claims, always claims!“ some shouted. The crane smiled between mildly and somewhat sourly. Then he continued: „And you can’t re-educate beings like me, you can’t even get hold of me. I have offered it to many of you. The way to the so wide and so deep sea, but unfortunately all of you got a coughing attack which seemed to be life-threatening and therefore could not accompany me. So be it. I am leaving you now. I wish you all the best and that you will live a happy life and leave others their own happy life.“ After these words the crane spread its wings and accompanied by a sudden resounding croaking and coughing and snorting of the frogs it rose as high as it could in this confinement and disappeared through the well hole into the light. „It tires me out!“ he thought to himself, leaving the well-hole farther and farther below and behind him. „But it’s not the frogs‘ fault, nor mine, that I have wings and they don’t… Just that damned cough! If it weren’t for that, at least they could see something. See flying. Maybe see the sea with me! Maybe then they could grow wings of their own… Well, who knows…. But I keep trying anyway. If I can show a single frog the sea, then the effort has already been worthwhile… Only this chatter, it is really very, very, very tiring…“ So the crane concluded his train of thought, while down below, at the bottom of the old well, the frogs suddenly recovered from their bad coughing fit and looked around sniffling with watery eyes, realizing that this strange frog must have hopped away in the meantime. „Quaaak.“ goes the first one. „Quaaaa-aak! goes the second. QUAAAAAK! QUAAAAK!“ they all join in the chorus. And pleasantly bathe their feet in the muddy water.