After some years had passed, the people came to regard the Frogman as their adviser in all matters that puzzled them. They brought all their difficulties to him, and when he did not know anything, he pretended to know it, which seemed to answer just as well. Indeed, the Yips thought the Frogman was much wiser than he really was, and he allowed them to think so, being very proud of his position of authority.
There was another pool on the tableland which was not enchanted but contained good, clear water and was located close to the dwellings. Here the people built the Frogman a house of his own, close to the edge of the pool so that he could take a bath or a swim whenever he wished. He usually swam in the pool in the early morning before anyone else was up, and during the day he dressed himself in his beautiful clothes and sat in his house and received the visits of all the Yips who came to him to ask his advice. The Frogman's usual costume consisted of knee-breeches made of yellow satin plush, with trimmings of gold braid and jeweled knee-buckles; a white satin vest with silver buttons in which were set solitaire rubies; a swallow-tailed coat of bright yellow; green stockings and red leather shoes turned up at the toes and having diamond buckles. He wore, when he walked out, a purple silk hat and carried a gold-headed cane. Over his eyes he wore great spectacles with gold rims, not because his eyes were bad, but because the spectacles made him look wise, and so distinguished and gorgeous was his appearance that all the Yips were very proud of him.
There was no King or Queen in the Yip Country, so the simple inhabitants naturally came to look upon the Frogman as their leader as well as their counselor in all times of emergency. In his heart the big frog knew he was no wiser than the Yips, but for a frog to know as much as a person was quite remarkable, and the Frogman was shrewd enough to make the people believe he was far more wise than he really was. They never suspected he was a humbug, but listened to his words with great respect and did just what he advised them to do.
Now when Cayke the Cookie Cook raised such an outcry over the theft of her diamond-studded dishpan, the first thought of the people was to take her to the Frogman and inform him of the loss, thinking that of course he would tell her where to find it. He listened to the story with his big eyes wide open behind his spectacles, and said in his deep, croaking voice, "If the dishpan is stolen, somebody must have taken it."
"But who?"asked Cayke anxiously. "Who is the thief?"
"The one who took the dishpan, of course," replied the Frogman, and hearing this all the Yips nodded their heads gravely and said to one another, "It is absolutely true!"
"But I want my dishpan!" cried Cayke.
"No one can blame you for that wish," remarked the Frogman.
"Then tell me where I may find it," she urged.
The look the Frogman gave her was a very wise look, and he rose from his chair and strutted up and down the room with his hands under his coattails in a very pompous and imposing manner. This was the first time so difficult a matter had been brought to him, and he wanted time to think. It would never do to let them suspect his ignorance, and so he thought very, very hard how best to answer the woman without betraying himself. "I beg to inform you," said he, "that nothing in the Yip Country has ever been stolen before."
"We know that already," answered Cayke the Cookie Cook impatiently.
"Therefore," continued the Frogman, "this theft becomes a very important matter.""Therefore," continued the Frogman, "this theft becomes a very important matter."
"Well, where is my dishpan?" demanded the woman.
"It is lost, but it must be found. Unfortunately, we have no policemen or detectives to unravel the mystery, so we must employ other means to regain the lost article. Cayke must first write a Proclamation and tack it to the door of her house, and the Proclamation must read that whoever stole the jeweled dishpan must return it at once."
"But suppose no one returns it," suggested Cayke.