Willard was his name, and he had a very nice, but simplelife at the edge of the lake. His lily pad was the envy of some, but not all, and that was just the way he liked it. A simple frog, every spring, as he shook off the ice of winter, he would go out on a hunt to make his pad a happy place to live. He would decorate it with the best of what he found sitting on the muddy bottom floor. Willard would painstakingly swim from north to south, and then east to west. He would seek out well-worn pieces of stone and glass and push them back to his lily pad with his strong feet. Then, he would drag back weeds that were wrapped around each other like twine; the fine hairs on the ends of them waving in the wake of the water.
Then one day he made his greatest discovery of all – he found the Wellups.
The Wellups were small elongated pieces. They were a green that even a frog of Willard’s stature could envy. Covered with tiny bits of blue and gold, they were a temptation that was hard to resist. When piled together, they gave off a mild light when darkness overcame the world. Willard, who was known for his strength, managed to move a large pile of them to the base of his pad, where he laid them end to end, encircling the stem. They were a grand sight, and every time darkness stole the light from above, he would thrust his head under the water to watch as they glimmered and glowed
Willard’s collection of Wellups was astonishing to all the other frogs. They would come from yards away to see how he had displayed them. This was no random pile tossed together at the base of his pad. No sir, this was an artistic endeavor. Suddenly Willard was known as a fine artist, instead of his strength. Frogs would bring their tadpoles to see the great artistry of Willard and his Wellups. They brought him offerings of mosquitoes and dead mayflies in honor of his greatness.
This gave Willard a confidence he had never had before. As the frog clan would descend to the base of his pad, Willard would swim around and around, his strong back legs kicking out behind him like proud scissors. Then he would point out the uniqueness of each Wellup.
“That one has more gold than blue, so I turned it towards the east . It will glow in the light more.”, he would say.
“The round one was the hardest to move, but with my ample legs I finally got it to the base.”, his voice full of pride.
For a time, the frog clan was in awe of his Wellups. They came by daily to see the beauty and uniqueness of his display, and to bring their offerings. Many wished they too had Wellups to decorate their home and bring them light. One by one they began swimming from north to south, and east to west. Slowly, each frog discovered their own pile of Wellups, which they managed to move to the base of their pads. Then one day, they all came to Willard and said, “You’re no longer special or unique, Willard. We don’t have to swim over to see your Wellups, we now have our own.”
Willard was no longer the great artist. He no longer felt extraordinary. He was once more just an average frog with a nice, but average lily pad. This disheartened Willard. He had never before been thought of as special. He missed the praise, and the croaks of delight. Willard became so low that he no longer found pleasure in watching the gleam of the Wellups at the dark time. He spent his time sitting still on his pad eating flies, and watching the other frogs praise each others Wellups.
Then one day, as the lake waters began to chill, one of the youngest frogs of the clan swam up to Willard’s pad and asked, “Why aren’t you down below, swimming around your Wellups,Willard?”
Willard replied, “Why should I. Everyone has them. They are no longer special or unique, and neither am I.”
The young frog thought for a moment.
“Willard, don’t you see, you were the first one to find the Wellups. You are the one who brought them to us. As a young tadpole, I was in awe of your Wellups. I learned so much from you. I learned about color and contrast. I learned about patience and strength. You brought us the Wellups and they made our world a more beautiful place. I never would have seen the green or the glow if it hadn’t been for you. You helped us all be special and unique.”
Willard fell silent for a moment, and then said,
“Well screw you punk, I want the glory. I want the praise. I could give a shit about educating you, or creating a better world for you to live in. I want mine, Who the hell do you think you are anyway kid.” and he jumped off his lily pad and swam away, only to be eaten by a large carp.
Don’t become too prideful of your artistic endeavors.There is always someone around who could do what you do, maybe even better.
Be careful who you say “Well up yours” to, because you never know, they may have made friends with a large fish.