The frog emerged only three times a year. On the first day of the New Year, on a day lying on the fringes of autumn and winter (his favourite seasons), and a day that was chosen by vote.
But as the number of people flocking to see him grew year after year, the town council decided to request for more frequent or longer appearances. The frog, on the contrary, decided to keep his visits secret.
The mystery of his appearances was, at first, alluring to the townspeople. They spent several days lined up outside the pond, hoping to catch the first glimpse of him if and when he did decide to appear.
Soon summer rolled into autumn, and the children were the first to tire of the wait. They became cranky and their mothers took them home. Their fathers followed soon after as they needed to chop firewood for their homes before winter fell. Only the old and the crippled and the homeless and the dying remained.
That year, it snowed for the first time in the little town. A few kind-hearted people, bless their souls, brought food and blankets for the townsfolk huddled beside the pond.
As the days grew shorter and the nights harsher, someone said it was a good idea to build a temporary shelter with a direct, unobstructed view of the pond. And so it came up, a home run by volunteers for the brave ones lying in wait, with a fireplace and plenty of food and warmth and love.
The frog emerged on the first day of the New Year. At sunset. Most of the townspeople were still at the beach, recovering from the previous night's celebrations, their New Year resolutions already half forgotten. Only the old and the crippled and the homeless and the dying remained still waiting in the shelter beside the pond.
"He's here," someone screamed, and they all shuffled and limped and hobbled out as fast as they could to behold the frog.
He beamed at them for a long time. When he finally spoke, he simply said, "Good things come to those who wait."