The king of all the animals was very tired one evening and wanted to rest. But he could not sleep because he kept hearing the high-pitched, croaking laughter of his frog guards outside his chamber. Enraged, he summoned his guards and ordered them put to death in front of him.
“But sire,” protested the frogs, “it was only because we saw the snail crawling by, carrying its house on its back. It was a very funny sight, so we could not help laughing.”
The king thought this seemed reasonable, so he allowed the frogs to live. He then summoned the snail and ordered it put to death before him.
“But sire,” protested the snail, “it was only because the firefly was flying around with its lamp lit. I was afraid it might set fire to my house, so I carried my house with me to keep safe.”
The king thought this seemed reasonable, so he allowed the snail to live. He then summoned the firefly and ordered it put to death before him.
“But sire,” protested the firefly, “it was only because the mosquito was out hunting, and I couldn’t see it in the dark. I was afraid it would bite me, so I kept my lamp lit to watch out for it."
The king thought this seemed reasonable, so he allowed the firefly to live. He then summoned the mosquito and ordered it put to death before him.
“But sire,” protested the firefly, “it was only because I must hunt in order to eat, as the firefly must light its lamp in order to see, the snail must have its house in order to hide, and the frogs must croak in order to communicate. Surely you will not kill me for following my nature?”
The king thought that this, too, seemed reasonable. He therefore summoned all the animals involved and told them, “Mosquito, from now on you must hum as you hunt, so that the firefly will not have to keep its lamp lit all the time. Firefly, you must light your lamp only when you truly need to see, so that the snail will not be frightened. Snail, you must carry your house all the time, so that everyone will become accustomed to the sight and will no longer be amused. And frogs, if you must laugh, you must do so only in low and melodious tones, so that I may sleep.”
So no one was put to death, and each of the animals survived and thrived according to its nature and the dictates of the king. And this is why frogs have low and musical voices; why snails carry their houses on their backs; why fireflies blink on and off all night; and why mosquitoes hum when they hunt.
Just messing around a bit with Filipino folklore; seeing what can be done with style and substance. We'll see.