The Frog That Came From Riga and The Frog That Came From Liepaja

A Latvian fairy tale, this version is from Tales of The Amber Sea, compiled and translated by Irina Zheleznova in 1974.

In olden times there lived two frogs, one of them in Riga and the other in Liepaja. Now, one of them the one from Liepaia,once bethought her of seeing what life in Riga was like, while the Riga frog told herself that it woudl be fun to see what life was like in Liepaja.

Off set the Liepaja frog on her way, she hopped and she hopped and she climbed a high hill and saw that another frog was hopping towards her from the direction of Riga.

“Where are you going?” asked the Liepaja frog.

“To see what life is like in Liepaja,” the Riga frog replied.

“And I’m going to see Riga to see what life is like there,” said the Liepaja frog.

They began talking among themselves and agreed that the way before them was long, that they had much to fear from storks and that it would not be easy to clear the deep, waterbogged ruts in the roads.

“Look here,” one of them said, “why don’t we stand up on our hind legs and see what Riga and Liepaja look like from the top of the hill! Then we won’t need to walk all these weary miles from town to town.”

No sooner said than done. They stood up face to face on their hind legs and fixed their eyes on the scene before them.

Said the Riga frog when they had gazed their fill: ” Listen, sister, your Liepaja looks just like my Riga!”

“Yes, and your Riga looks just like my Liepaja!” the Liepaja frog returned.

“If that’s the way it is, there’s no need for us to any further,” the two of them decided.

But what they had quite forgotten was that it was in the back of their head they had their eyes, so that standing the way they had, they had been looking not at what lay ahead but at what lay behind them.

And thus it is that the poor fogs do not know to this day that Riga and Liepaja are not in the least alike.

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