You Just Never Know

Once upon a time, there was a swamp that was home to many creatures, including…

… frogs. 

Two frogs decided to see the world.  They went hop-hop, hop-hop, hop-hop down the road in search of adventure.

They came to a big farm, and croaked out a cheery greeting to the dairy cows.

Then they went inside the big barn to explore.

There were so many new and exciting things to see in there!

But as they jumped about, they accidentally landed in a big pitcher of cream.

They tried to climb out, but the sides were too steep and slippery, and they slid back into the cream. Even frogs don’t like to die: they tried everything they could think of to escape.  When that didn’t work, they tried everything they couldn’t think of.

“It’s no use!” said the first frog. “We’re doomed!” And he sank down into the cream and disappeared.

But that second little frog…she kept swimming about with all her tiny frog might, just to keep from drowning.  The cream began to block her eyes and nose. Just when she thought she couldn’t swim another stroke, she felt something strange beneath her feet.  She was standing on a big lump…of butter!  With the brave paddling of her own tiny frog legs, she had churned that cream into butter. She leapt out of the bowl and went hop-hop, hop-hop, hop-hop down the road, in search of another adventure.

All words and images Copyright Naomi Baltuck

Click here for more interpretations of The Weekly Travel Theme: Indoors.



  1. meg says:

    One of my all time, favourite stories!
    Thanking for reminding me and love that frog close – up. M

    1. Hi Meg,

      This is a story I hold forever in my heart. The frog is not a Russian frog, although that’s where this folk tale originated (as far as I know). I snapped that shot in the Amazon, but I liked the look of intelligence in that little frog–it’s almost as if she’s craning her neck to search out the next adventure! Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.

  2. Carol says:

    A www, poor frogs. So glad that one didn’t give up. I want to grow up and be like her.

    1. Dear Carol, you are more like that little frog than you think, andI have a feeling there are many more adventures, big and little, in store for you. Thanks so much for your visit. I always love to hear from you.

  3. scillagrace says:

    I’d love to see how your voice and face animate that “hop-hop, hop-hop”! I bet that’s the favorite part. 🙂

    1. Oh, my gosh! There is much more emphasis on action and character when I tell it to an audience in the same room! But its essence is here, and it’s a story I turn to often, if only in my heart. Thanks so much for stopping by and making me smile!

  4. Love this story. Forever grateful you share your talent with us.

    1. Dear Lisa, thank you so much for your generous response. It originates in Russia, where life was often very harsh, and they had no choice but to keep paddling just to stay afloat. I think we all find ourselves there in one way or another, and I keep this story close as a reminder.

  5. The frogs are fun; ribbit-ribbit. But my favorite, of course, are the love-cows. I love to see cows licking, schmoozing, chewing together. And it’s not just because I’m a cow collector. Cows are among the most productive, docile creatures on the planet.

    1. I didn’t know you were a cow collector. I think they are much more intelligent than we give them credit for–they are very curious creatures, which I find charming!

  6. Beautiful retelling! I used to play Len Cabral’s version . . . “curious frog” and “Keep trying. Don’t give up!”

  7. Lucid Gypsy says:

    But didn’t she miss her froggy friend at all?

    1. Hi Gilly, I’m sure she did miss her friend. This is an old Russian folk tale that reflects the harshness of life, especially for the peasant class–survival was dependent upon looking forward and being pragmatic; they probably couldn’t afford to be too sentimental. Thanks for the visit!

  8. What a wonderful story, Naomi. I had to laugh at the frogs because this morning, I was greeted by multiple baby tree frogs splattered all over our windows. They were so cute!

  9. Roy McCarthy says:

    That frog is doomed – better off heading hop-hop back to the swamp rather than a new adventure.

    1. Hi Roy, It’s quite possible that you’re right, but you never know. If my grandparents hadn’t decided to hop off from their Russian swamp to a new adventure in America, they’d all have been killed like all their relatives back in the Ukraine, who were murdered by the Nazis in World War Two. Thank you for stopping by–it’s always good to hear from you.

      1. Here in America, we are descended from the butter-churning resourceful frogs who kept moving and striving against all odds. I can relate to that story. What a great folktale.

      2. Thanks so much for the visit, and for adding to the conversation!

  10. Pat says:

    Great story with great photos to illustrate. I read it in my reader yesterday and then had the joy of reading it again today when it popped up in my e-mail.

    1. Thanks, Pat. It’s one that I keep in mind, and refer to in a pinch.

  11. Such a cute story, Naomi. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Sylvia!

  12. Miriam says:

    Such gorgeous images Naomi

    1. Thank you, Miriam!

  13. pattisj says:

    What a fun story. You are quite the storyteller, Naomi! I love the picture with the pitcher and blue flower.

    1. Thank you, Patti. I’ve been waiting for the time and the place to use that photo! So good to hear from you–I hope your summer is going well.

      1. pattisj says:

        All is well! Thanks, Naomi. Do you have any new adventures planned?

      2. Hi Patti, Glad you’re okay. We are going up to Alaska for a house-raising, and to Scotland this fall for an international storytelling festival. If our schedules allow, I’d like to visit the kids next spring, as they are going to be in Mongolia for the next ten months!

      3. pattisj says:

        Never a dull moment! I look forward to hearing all about it.

      4. Thanks, Patti. I hope your summer is a good one. I can’t believe August is already just around the corner!

      5. pattisj says:

        Same here, the year is going so fast.

  14. Millie Ho says:

    Great story, Naomi! The frog remind me to always keep trying, to never give up (even if the situation seems dire), because sometimes luck is on your side. Always admire your ability to tie words and images together to create a big impact. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Millie! Blogging has given me a wonderful outlet for combining my photography with my storytelling. I appreciate your visit–it’s always good to hear from you.

  15. Sarah Raplee says:

    What a charming story!

    1. Hi Sarah, Thanks so much for the visit, and the kind word. I hope you are well–I took a mosey over to your website, and it looks sharp. Wishing you continuing success with your writing!

  16. MickETalbot says:

    Reblogged this on My Garden Bio-Diversity and commented:
    Not a story I have heard of, loved it though. Reminded me of a toad I came across twice, initially sad, but it too, had a happy ending. I’ll write it up sometime soon.

    1. I love a happy ending! I look forward to hearing your story. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing the story.

  17. I have never heard that story, glad the little frog didn’t give up 😊

  18. … but if you’re here instead – so be it. 🙂
    Kindness – Robert.

  19. Imelda says:

    Good for the little frog. 🙂 I liked the pictures that went with the story, too. 🙂

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