There once was a pharaoh who hired a cook, even though his most reliable spy had told him she couldn’t be trusted. He suspected she had swiped his favorite pomegranate pudding recipe and prepared the dish for her cat, but Pharaoh hired her anyway.
One day she was busy kneading dough in the royal kitchen. Her daughter Suzie sat close by, building a model pyramid. Suddenly she saw a flash of green.
“Sproing-a, sproing-a, sproing-a!”
“What’s that hoppity thing jumping around the kitchen, Suzie?” said the cook that Pharaoh never should have hired.
“Oh, nothing. It’s just my pet frog,” Suzie said.
“Since when did you have a pet frog?” asked her mother.
“It just hopped in through the window.”
“We are not allowed to keep frogs in the palace, so you just –”
“Ack! Somebody save me!” the cook screamed. The frog had just landed on her head.
“Don’t worry, Mom. I’ll catch it!” Suzie yelled.
Her mom continued to scream. “It’s tangled in my hair. Get it out, get it out!”
“Hold still, Mom. I’ll get a broom.”
“No, don’t –”
“Splat!” The frog jumped off the cook’s head and landed in the kneading bowl. The cook continued to scream as two more amphibians joined the party. They hopped from the kneading bowl to the cupboard, back into the kneading bowl, off the table, and then to the box from which the cook had stolen Pharaoh’s favorite recipe. Suzie was having fun chasing frogs with her broom.
“Smash!” There went Pharaoh’s famous hand-painted pitcher.
“Crack!” His delicate mosaic lamp crashed to the floor.
“Shatter!” His favorite dessert recipe, inscribed on hand-crafted stained glass, broke into a thousand pieces.
At that moment, Pharaoh poked his head through the door. “Just checking on lunch,” he started to say, just as a frog jumped in his face.
“Whack!” Suzie swung her broom right at it. “Oops, sorry. It was an accident.”
Two days later Pharaoh, his nose swollen like a balloon, was tired of having frogs hop all over him. As soon as he rid himself of one, two more would hop in his face. He hadn’t had a decent meal to eat in three days, due to all the frogs hopping into his food, jumping onto his ear, and messing up his newly shampooed hair. So he called up Moses, yelled at him about the frogs, and asked him to pray for him. Moses said he’d pray, and the frogs died immediately.
The fact that they croaked so swiftly convinced Pharaoh that his cook had poisoned them with the intent of putting them into his food and making him sick. She was trying to kill him, he told himself. So much for Moses telling him God had sent the plague of frogs! In Pharaoh’s mind, it wasn’t God. It was this cook.
Pharaoh fired her, then told Moses he refused to let his people go. After all, he was no fool. If he couldn’t find good help from this sneaky Egyptian lady, then he must stock up on foreign slaves. It was the only way he knew to save his skin.