Frog and Toad - The Surprise

A Zen-ish children's story told by Arnold Lobel (1933-1987) is titled "The Surprise" (published in Frog and Toad All Year). Kathryn Jezer-Morton comments on it in "Discovering the dharma in 'Frog and Toad'":

To me, The Surprise is about the pleasure of loving-kindness. There is no goal or endgame required in the practice of loving-kindness. It is not a practice that requires a reward; it is its own reward, it reflects back on you. The kindness that Frog and Toad show each other is ultimately invisible, but it warms them both. As Shunryu Suzuki writes in Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, "We do not exist for the sake of something else. We exist for the sake of ourselves."

The story, with a few of Lobel's illustrations from [1]:

It was October. The leaves had fallen off the trees. They were lying on the ground. "I will go to Toad's house," said Frog. "I will rake all of the leaves that have fallen on his lawn. Toad will be surprised." Frog took a rake out of the garden shed.

Toad looked out of his window. "These messy leaves have covered everything," said Toad. He took a rake out of his closet. "I will run over to Frog's house. I will rake all of his leaves. Frog will be very pleased."
http://zhurnaly.com/images/frog-and-toad_arnold-lobel_the-surprise_1.jpg
http://zhurnaly.com/images/frog-and-toad_arnold-lobel_the-surprise_2.jpgFrog ran through the woods so that Toad would not see him. Toad ran through the high grass so that Frog would not see him. Frog came to Toad's house. He looked in the window. "Good," said Frog. "Toad is out. He will never know who raked his leaves."

Toad got to Frog's house. He looked in the window. "Good," said Toad. "Frog is not home. He will never guess who raked his leaves."
Frog worked hard. He raked the leaves into a pile. Soon Toad's lawn was clean. Frog picked up his rake and started home.

Toad pushed and pulled on the rake. He raked the leaves into a pile. Soon there was not a single leaf in Frog's front yard. Toad took his rake and started home.
http://zhurnaly.com/images/frog-and-toad_arnold-lobel_the-surprise_3.jpg
http://zhurnaly.com/images/frog-and-toad_arnold-lobel_the-surprise_4.jpgA wind came. It blew across the land. The pile of leaves that Frog had raked for Toad blew everywhere. The pile of leaves that Toad had raked for Frog blew everywhere.

When Frog got home, he said, "Tomorrow I will clean up the leaves that are all over my own lawn. How surprised Toad must be!"

When Toad got home, he said, "Tomorrow I will get to work and rake all of my own leaves. How surprised Frog must be!"

That night Frog and Toad were both happy when they each turned out the light and went to bed.

(cf Frog and Toad (2009-01-09), ...) - ^z - 2019-05-12