The Betrothal Gifts: The Story of Kubik and the Frog
A farmer who had three sons was much troubled in his mind as to how he should leave his property. “My farm is too small to divide,” he kept thinking to himself. “If I divide it into three equal parts and give each of my sons one part, they will all be poor cottagers, and yet, if I give it all to one son, I shall be unjust to the other two. My grandfather always said that it is a father’s duty to treat all his children alike and I’m sure I don’t want to depart from his teachings.”
At last he called his sons together and said: “I have hit upon a plan whereby fate shall decide which of you shall be my heir. You must all go out into the world and find brides, and he who brings back as a betrothal gift the most beautiful ring shall have the farm.”
The sons agreed to this plan and the next day they all set out in different directions in quest of brides.
Now the youngest son, whose name was Kubik, was not considered as bright as his brothers, for he was kind to beggars and he never drove a hard bargain. His brothers often laughed at him and his father pitied him, for he thought that Kubik was too gentle to make his way in the world.
Kubik’s path took him into a deep forest. He walked on and on until suddenly a little frog hopped up in front of him and said:
“Where are you going, Kubik?”
Now Kubik had never in all his life heard of a frog that could talk. At first he was frightened but even so he was too polite not to answer a civil question. So he told the frog about his father and the farm and the quest for betrothal gifts upon which he and his brothers were bound.
The frog listened and when he was finished she said: “Come with me, Kubik, and my daughter, Kachenka, will give you a more beautiful ring than any your father or brothers have ever seen.”
Kubik hesitated, but at last not to hurt the frog’s feelings he agreed. “But if your daughter Kachenka looks like you,” he thought to himself, “Heaven help me, for she’ll be a pretty dear price to pay for a farm!”
The frog led him to a deep valley at one side of which rose a high rocky cliff that was honey-combed with caverns.