The Frogs and The Fighting Bulls

A frog saw two bulls fighting but wasn’t worried. Another frog said he should be as the loser might come to live in the area. The loser did and frogs died.

Watch out for unintended consequences.

Aesop For ChildrenAesop For Children

Bulls and Frog

Milo Winter (1919)

Two Bulls were fighting furiously in a field, at one side of which was a marsh. An old Frog living in the marsh, trembled as he watched the fierce battle.

“What are you afraid of?” asked a young Frog.

“Do you not see,” replied the old Frog, “that the Bull who is beaten, will be driven away from the good forage up there to the reeds of this marsh, and we shall all be trampled into the mud?”

It turned out as the Frog had said. The beaten Bull was driven to the marsh, where his great hoofs crushed the Frogs to death.


When the great fall out, the weak must suffer for it.

JBR CollectionJBR Collection

A Frog one day peeping out of a lake, saw two Bulls fighting at some distance off in the meadow. Calling to his companions, “My dear friends,” said he, “whatever will become of us?” “Why, what are you frightened at?” asked one of the Frogs; “what can their quarrels have to do with us? They are only fighting which shall be master of the herd.” “True,” answered the first, “and it is just that which causes my fear, for the one that is beaten will take refuge here in the marshes, and will tread us to death.” And so it happened; and many a Frog, in dying, had sore proof that the fears which he had thought to be groundless were not so in fact.

Samuel CroxallSamuel Croxall

Croxall - Frogs and Fighting BullsA FROG, one day, peeping out of the lake, and looking about him, saw two Bulls fighting at some distance off in the meadow, and, calling to one of his acquaintance, Look, says she, what dreadful work is yonder! Dear Sirs, what will become of us? Why, pray thee, says the other, do not frighten yourself so about nothing; how can their quarrels affect us! They are of a different kind and way of living, and are at present only contending which shall be master of the herd. That is true, replies the first, their quality and station in life is, to all appearance, different enough from ours: but, as one of them will certainly get the better, he that is worsted, being beat out of the meadow, will take refuge here in the marshes, and may possibly tread out the guts of some of us: so you see we are more nearly concerned in this dispute of theirs than at first you were aware of.


This poor timorous frog had just reason for its fears and suspicions; it being hardly possible for great people to fall out, without involving many below them in the same fate; nay, whatever becomes of the former, the latter are sure to suffer; those may be only playing the fool, while these really smart for it.

It is of no small importance to the honest, quiet part of mankind, who desire nothing so much as to see peace and virtue flourish, to enter seriously and impartially into the consideration of this paint: for, as significant as the quarrels of the great may sometimes be, yet they are nothing without their espousing and supporting them, one way or other. What is it that occasions parties, but the ambitious or avaricious spirit of men in eminent stations, who want to engross all power in their own hands? Upon this they foment divisions, and form factions, and excite animosities between well-meaning, but undiscerning people, who little think that the great aim of their leaders is no more than the advancement of their private self-interest. The good of the public is always pretended upon such occasions, and may sometimes happen to be tacked to their own; but then it is purely accidental, and never was originally intended. One knows not what remedy to prescribe against so epidemical and frequent a malady, but only that every man who has sense enough to discern the pitiful private views that attend most of the differences between the great ones, instead of aiding and abetting either party, would, with an honest courage, heartily and openly oppose both.


Frogs and Bull C1

Design: Randolph Caldecott, Engraving: J.D. Cooper, 1883

Frogs and Bull C2

Design: Randolph Caldecott, Engraving: J.D. Cooper, 1883

A Frog in his marsh looking at some Bulls fighting, exclaimed: “O dear! what sad destruction threatens us now!” Another Frog asked him why he said that, seeing that the Bulls were only fighting for the first place in the herd, and that they lived quite remote from the Frogs. “Ah,” said the first, “it is true that our positions are wide apart, and we are different kinds of things, but still, the Bull who will be driven from the rule of the pasture will come to lie in hiding in the marsh, and crush us to death under his hard hoofs, so that their raging really does closely concern the lives of you and me.”

Frogs and Bull C3

Design: Randolph Caldecott, Engraving: J.D. Cooper, 1883

Frogs and Bull C4

Design: Randolph Caldecott, Engraving: J.D. Cooper, 1883

1001Ranae et Taurorum Proelia

Rana, e palude pugnam taurorum intuens, “Heu,” ait, “quanta nobis instat pernicies!” Interrogata ab alia cur hoc diceret, cum boves de gregis principatu certarent longeque ab ipsis degerent vitam, “Sit statio separata,” inquit, “ac diversum genus, qui expulsus nemoris regno profugerit, in secreta paludis latibula veniet et proculcatas pede duro obteret. Ita furor illorum caput ad nostrum pertinet.”


Humiles laborant ubi potentes dissident.

Perry #485