In a certain lake there lived two fish, Multiwit and Centiwit by name. In course of time they became friendly with a frog named Uniwit. The three of them would spend some time by the lakeside, experiencing the pleasures of good conversation; then they would return again into the water.

Once, while the three were engaged in a colloquium at sunset, some fishermen passed by the lake with nets in their hands and many fish they had caught on their heads. Seeing the lake, they said to each other: “O this lake seems to have many fish and not too much water. We will come here in the morning.” Then they went home.

The fish, their faces gloomy, also consulted each other. The frog said: “O Multiwit and Centiwit, did you hear what the fishermen said? Now what is better to do? Flee or stay put? Say what will be more appropriate now.”

Hearing this, Multiwit laughed and said: Don’t be frightened, friend. Hearing mere words is no cause for fear. So, don’t be afraid. It is said:

Two Fish and a Frog [Illustrations by: Amarjeet Malik]
Two Fish and a Frog [Illustrations by: Amarjeet Malik]

“The goals of snakes and villains
Cannot possibly be gained,
Nor those of the evil minded,
By this is the world sustained.”

“Those fishermen may not come at all. Even if they do, I will protect you and myself with wit, for I know many ways of moving about in the water.”

Then said Centiwit: “Well spoken, sir. Indeed you have a multiplicity of wits.” It is well said:

“There’s nothing impossible
For feats of the brains,
By Chanakya’s wits
Were Mighty Nandas slain.”

“What the sun cannot reach,
Where the wind cannot go,
That the wise man’s wit
Can always know.”

“We cannot abandon the home of our fathers, our birth place, just on account of some words. It is said:

“The land of our birth,
However simple,
Gives joys impossible
In heaven’s temple.”

So, we should never go. I too will protect you with my wits.”

“Gentlemen”, said the frog, “I have but one wit, and that is inclined to flee. So I will go with my wife to another place today itself.” Having spoken thus, he departed that very night for other waters.

Two Fish and a Frog [Illustrations by: Amarjeet Malik]
Two Fish and a Frog [Illustrations by: Amarjeet Malik]

The fishermen came at dawn. They caught aquatic creatures of all types: the higher, the lower and the middle; the fish and the turtles, the frogs and the crabs. Multiwit and Centiwit, fleeing with their wives, protected themselves for a while with their expert movements. But at last they fell into the net and were slain.

At mid-day the happy fishermen proceeded homewards. Because of the weight of the fish, one carried Centiwit on his head, while another carried Multiwit hanging. Seeing them carried thus, the frog who sat by a well told his wife:

“Look, look my dear,
“Multiwit goes hanging there,
And Centiwit on head does stay,
Though I, my dear, have but one wit,
In clear waters still I play.”

505 words | 5 minutes
Readability: Grade 6 (11-12 year old children)
Based on Flesch–Kincaid readability scores

Filed under: folktales
Tags: #fishermen, #turtles