An ox, grazing in a swampy meadow, chanced to set his foot among a parcel of young frogs and crushed nearly the whole brood to death. One that escaped ran off to his mother with the dreadful news; “And, O mother!” said he, “it was a big four-footed beast that did it!”
“Big?” quote the old frog. “How big? Was it this big”? And she puffed herself out to a great degree?”as big as that?” “Oh!” said the little one, “a great deal bigger than that.” “Well, was it so big?” and she swelled herself out yet more.
“Indeed, mother, but it was; if you were to burst yourself, you would never reach half its size.” Provoked at such a disparagement of her powers, the old frog made one more trial, and burst herself indeed.
Men are ruined by attempting a greatness to which they have no claim.