The Lady of the Legs

In a pool near Paris there lived a frog who thought she was wonderful.

“I have the largest lily pad, the deepest dive, the prettiest eyes, and the finest voice in the world,” she croaked. “You also have the most succulent legs on earth or water,” said a human voice one day. It was the voice of a renowned Parisian restaurateur, who was passing by when he heard all the bragging.

“I do not know what succulent means,” said the frog.

“You must have the smallest vocabulary in the world,” said the restaurateur, and the foolish frog, who took every superlative for praise, was pleased, and flushed a deeper green than ever.

“I should like to set you before a certain celebrated bon vivant,” said the man, “a distinguished gourmet, a connoisseur of the grande haute cuisine.”

The frog almost swooned with delight at the elegant sound of these strange words.

“You will be served like a queen,” said the restaurateur. “Provençal. Under my personal supervision, of course.” “Tell me more,” said the rapt and rapturous frog.

“You will be served with the most excellent vintage wine in the world,” said the man. “A great Montrachet, I should think, would be perfect.”

“Go on,” urged the vain and foolish frog.

“You will be talked about whenever devotees of the culinary art assemble,” said the restaurateur. “You will be remembered as the daintiest dish in the history of gastronomy.”

At this the frog swooned in a transport of joy and an excess of misplaced self-esteem, and while she was unconscious, the renowned Parisian restaurateur deftly removed her succulent legs and took them to his restaurant, where they were prepared under his personal supervision as he had promised, and served, Provençal, with a bottle of Montrachet, to a celebrated bon vivant.

MORAL: Fatua cruraque mox separabuntur.

The Lady of the Legs

James Thurber

James Grover Thurber (December 8, 1894 – November 2, 1961) was an American cartoonist, author, humorist, journalist, playwright, and celebrated wit. He was best known for his cartoons and short stories published mainly in The New Yorker magazine, such as "The Catbird Seat", and collected in his numerous books. He was one of the most popular humorists of his time, as he celebrated the comic frustrations and eccentricities of ordinary people.

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