The Smoking Toad
A young man, not short of ambition, built a balloon that would carry him over the lake and the mountains. A toad, big as a Volkswagen Beetle, would sit nearby contentedly with his feet in the water, sucking on a branch from an apricot tree, blowing out thick clouds of hot, fruit scented smoke.
The young man invited the toad to help him launch his machine in exchange for a reward. The frog, intrigued by the young man’s ingenuity, agreed to help him. He puffed on his pipe, inflating himself to an enormous size and in one breath filled the balloon. The craft lifted and began to float along the bank. The young man, quick to run alongside it, hoisted himself into the carriage. Using large canvas wings, he directed the craft towards the mountains.
“But what of my reward?” asked the toad, on the ground. The boy shrugged, and exposed his bum with a grin. Calmly, the frog puffed like a devil and flooded the lake and the mountains with a thick smoke. Blinded, the young man soon found himself marooned on a peak, his craft destroyed. By morning, with the smoke cleared, he limped his way home.