By Jonamari Kristin Ordinario-Floresta

(This short story for children is published as a picture book by ABC Education Development Center.) 

Chatkak is the most talkative frog in the lake. He doesn’t get tired of talking if there is something new about the frogs.

So Smarty, the head of the frogs, named Chatkak to be the news bearer in the lake. Chatkak relayed what happened in the lake to everyone. He kept track of what every frog said and did.

One morning, Chatkak passed by the house of Socia, the social climber. He hid at the side of the house and eavesdropped at the conversation of Socia and Curious.

“Look, Curious, my new pieces of jewelry are beautiful. They glitter differently and look like real diamonds.” said Socia.

“You have so much jewelry! You are the richest frog in the lake. Many will envy you!” answered Curious.

“Anyone who looks at me will be envious! The glitter of my jewelry will blind them!” Socia gleefully said.

“Aha! That’s good news to share!” said Chatkak and left jumping until he saw Jealos.

“Jealos! Socia is flaunting her jewels! She said their glitter will blind you!”

“She said that? I’ll be blinded by the glitter?” Jealos wanted to make sure.

“Yes!” replied Chatkak.

“Hmp!” Jealos smirked. “Those jewels are all fake!”

“Oh, Jealos! Socia even said that you are envious of her wealth!”

“All the while, I thought Socia is my friend,” Jealos was red-faced with anger. “Watch out, Socia!”

One afternoon, Chatkak walked past Smarty’s house. Smarty had a runny nose. He was coughing.

Chatkak immediately spread the news. “Smarty is in a really bad condition. He is very sick.”

“Oh my!” the frogs exclaimed. “Can Smarty still be our leader? We’ll find one to replace him!”

Every day, this was the kind of news all over the lake. Chatkak related everything to all the frogs. He added to what he saw or heard.

As a result, there was misunderstanding in the place. Meanwhile, Chatkak was happy to spread more news.

It did not take long when the frogs gathered themselves to discuss the trouble in their place. They discovered that what really happened was different from what they heard from Chatkak.

“Who is the source of all these gossips?” asked Smarty.

“It was Chatkak who spread all these!” the frogs shouted.

“Is this accusation true, Chatkak?” asked Smarty.

“Yes, I spread the news,” Chatkak tearfully admitted. “I like adding and sometimes not telling the whole truth.”

Everyone was dumbfounded.

“I think you can be a good storyteller, Chatkak,” said Smarty.

“Storyteller?” wondered Chatkak.

“Yes!” said Smarty. “You will be the frog that tells stories to children and adults. You will narrate legends and stories—funny, terrifying, magical, anything! And they don’t have to be true.”

So when a celebration came, Chatkak was the storyteller. He told stories about frogs of older days, of frogs that could fly in the sky or swim in the sea.

Nobody scolded him for not telling the truth. They were even amused! And so was Chatkak!

From that time on, Chatkak became the most famous storyteller in the entire lake! Some frogs even bought his stories!