The Frog in a Well Collaborative Weblogs

Welcome to Frog in a Well. While content is prepared for this about page, read a description of this project found here.

About the Project Name

The “Frog in a Well” project and its blogs are named after an old Chinese proverb (井底之蛙), variations of which can also be found in the Japanese and Korean languages. The story originally appears in the writings of Zhuangzi, one of the founders of the Daoist religion (In the Burton Watson translation of his Basic Writings the story can be found in Section 17 “Autumn Floods” on pages 107-8). A frog tries to convince a turtle to join him in his wonderful well, of which he is a master. After trying to get in and getting stuck, the turtle withdraws and tells the frog instead of how deep and wide the sea is. The frog is left dumfounded. The proverb which grew out of this Daoist fable has come to represent limited vision and even ignorance—of not being able to see outside one’s own immediate environment.

The Japanese equivalent of this in its full version is 「井の中の蛙大海を知らず」 which has an entry in the「日英故事ことわざ辞典」translated as “The frog in a well is ignorant of the (vast) sea.” The dictionary suggests two equivalents to this proverb in English, one of them being the cryptic, “They think a calf a muckle beast that never saw a cow.” The 4th edition of the 広辞苑 gives the following definition, 「考えや知識が狭くて、もっと広い世界があることを知らない。世間知らずのこと、見識の狭いことにいう。」However, in the case of the blogs here at, this old saying is simply meant to indicate that we are all limited in our perspectives, and can all benefit from sharing them.


About the Frog in a Well Logo

The website's logo is based on an original painting by Joseph Y. Lo and used with permission. See an unmodified version of this wonderful image here.

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