Friendship with me I wonder that you’re proposing to make :
You live down in the water, while I on the bountiful land
All the goodies of men’s desserts can daily command—
Finest of rolls, mixed biscuits, cheese-cakes, bacon and ham—
Primest of Stilton, with pâtés de foie, and heavenly jam.
None of your green-stuff for me, your duck-meat, or wishy-washy weed.
Such is the trash, I believe, on which pond-inhabitants feed.”
Puff-cheek answered him gently, with smile extremely polite,
“More than enough, my friend, thou boastest a rare appetite.
We too know what’s what, and can skip (thank goodness) beyond
These familiar water : we’re not confined to a pond.
You know only the land : if you’d like to see how we fare,
Jump on my back, and hold tight, I’ll give you a pleasure-trip rare.”
Lightly upon the back thus kindly offered, in haste
Leaped little mouse, and the Frog’s podgy neck securely embraced ;
Pleasant awhile was the ride, for Puff-cheek’s swimming was brave,
While the banks were still near ; but when the darkening wave
Splashed up around, the Mouse wept sore, and in very despair
Tightened the grip of his paws, and tore his velvety hair,
Blaming his folly and rashness, as thoughts of a watery bier
Struck his poor little heart with an icy shudder of fear.
Suddenly, close beside them—oh, monstrous terrible sight ! —
Rose a snake with its towering crest o’er the water upright :
Down in a trice went Puff-cheek, to seek his safety below :
Little he recked of his comrade, if he could escape from the foe.
Poor little comrade ! He squeaked and kicked, and struggled amain—
Sank underneath the billow, then rose to the surface again—
Then, as his waterlogged fur was dragging him down to the death,
Thus to a final effort he summoned his faltering breath :—