Summary of the Frog and the Nightingale – Vikram Seth Essay
Once upon a time a frog croaked in Bingle Bog all the night beginning from dusk to dawn. All the creatures hated his loud and unpleasant voice but still they did not have any other option. The voice came out from the sumac tree where every night the frog sang till morning. He was so determined and also shameless that neither stones, prayers or sticks nor the insults or complaints could divert him from singing. One night, a nightingale started casting her melody in the moonlight to which both the frog and the other creatures were left dumbstruck.
The whole bog remained, rapt and admired her voice and applauded her when she ended. The frog was obviously jealous of his rival and had finally decided to eliminate her. So, the next night when the nightingale was again preparing to sing, the frog’s croak disturbed her. On being asked about himself by the nightingale he answered that he owned the sumac tree and he had been known for his splendid voice. Also he said that he had written a number of songs for the Bog Trumpet. The nightingale asked him whether he liked her song or not.
The frog said that the song wasn’t bad but too long and it lacked some force. The nightingale was greatly impressed that such a critic had discussed her song. She said that she was happy that the song was her own creation. To this the frog said that she needed a proper training to obtain a strong voice otherwise she would remain a beginner only. He also said that he would train her but would charge some fee. Now, the nightingale was flushed with confidence and was a huge sensation, attracting animals from miles away and the frog with a great accuracy charged all of them admission fee.
The frog began her vocal training despite of the bad and rainy weather where even the nightingale had first refused to sing. But the frog forced her to sing for six hours continuously till she was shivering and her voice had become rough and unclear. But, somehow her neck got clear the next day and she was able to sing again collecting a breathless crowd including rich ladies kings queens etc. To all this, the frog had both sweet and bitter feelings. Sweet because he was earning lots of money and bitter because of jealously as his rival was earning name and fame.
Everyday, the frog scolded her to practice even longer finding out her little mistakes like nervousness not laying more trills and frills etc. He reminded her that she still owed him sixty shillings and that s why the crowd should increase. But the condition of nightingale was getting worsened. Her tired and uninspired song could no longer attract the crowd. She could not resist this as she had become used to applause and thus had become miserable too. The heartless frog scolded her even then calling her a brainless bird. She trembled, puffed up, burst a vein and died.
The frog said that he had tried to teach her but she was foolish, nervous and tensed and moreover much prone to influence. Then, once again the frog’s fog horn started blearing unrivalled in the bog. The moral of the poem is that being inspired and influenced by someone much unknown and strange is indeed a foolish work. The nightingale could have very well judged that how could the frog with such a harsh voice be music maestro and she had to suffer for her misjudgment. Many people in the human society also try to take advantage of the innocence or ignorance of the people.