Ethnic Enterprises

From "Zhabka and Other Ukrainian Folk Tales Retold in English,"


retold Daniel Evanishen
One day long ago, Zhabka, the little frog, was hopping about in the wide world looking for adventure. Coming upon a wooden bucket filled with fresh cream, he jumped in to see what kind of thing this was. He smiled to himself, because the funny white water felt so cool and silky against his skin. He swam and splashed and dove until he had enough. He was tired of the white water, and he wanted to go home and go to sleep. But then, Zhabka found he could not get out of the bucket. The cream was too deep for his legs to reach the bottom and jump, and the sides of the bucket were too slippery to climb out. Zhabka was thunderstruck. It was hard to believe that a moment ago he was having such a good time! He could not bear the thought of drowning, so he kept swimming, hoping that he would think of something. The little frog swam to his left; he swam to his right; and he swam around and around until he was too tired to move. He began to sink but, as he dropped beneath the surface, he spluttered, "No, I will not quit!" And he began to swim once more.

When he became too tired to move, Zhabka stopped to rest again and, once more, he sank beneath the surface. But, once more, he rose up and carried on swimming. This happened several times until, one time when he sank, he felt something beneath his legs. He pushed down and hopped straight out of the bucket. Without knowing what he had done, Zhabka had churned the cream so long that he had made a large, firm, yellow ball of butter beneath his legs!