A Fairy Tale

Blue_water_dropOne day, the little girl sat playing by the lake and a very large frog hopped up. The little girl sat back and watched it, her mouth open. She’d seen frogs but she’d never seen one like this, it’s head big with protruding eyes, it’s body fat and round, and its color the luminous deep green she could sometimes see over the side of the boat when her father took her sailing.

Suddenly, the frog’s tongue shot out and caught a fly buzzing at the little girl’s toe. She was so surprised, she burst out laughing and clapped her hands. “How’d you do that?” she said and tried to stick her tongue out the same way, very fast, straight out.

The big frog chuckled deep. “Not that way, Little Girl. You have to unroll and flip it out.”

The little girl tried once more, lifting her chin, curling her tongue back inside her mouth and flipping it out fast. After a little practice, she could flip it out and touch the pink tip to her chin. Each time she did it, they both laughed.

“You’d make a very good frog,” the frog said. “Would you like to come with me and see what else we do?”

“Oh, yes,” the little girl said and climbed onto the frog’s back. She wrapped her arms tight around its neck as the frog sprang up high into the air in great leaps. She could see the whole lake and the lily pads along the edges. The water was so pure and the contrast of colors, aqua water, green pads, pink flowers, blue sky was like an unwrapped package. Some of the pads had the many-petaled pink flowers, but on others there were frogs of all different sizes and shades of green. Sitting. Just sitting.

“We rest between jumping lessons,” the frog said. “Sometimes we practice jumping high and sometimes long. Jumping high is good because you can take a quick look around and jumping long is good because you can cover a lot of ground in a short time. Then we sit here and remember and think about what we did. And then we sing. It’s a pretty good way to spend the day.

The little girl agreed. She’d heard the frogs at night and liked the different songs they made. “If you listen carefully, you know what kind of day it was and who jumped best,” Frog said.

Frog made two bounding jumps and plopped into the lake. He made a big splash. Little Girl didn’t know if she could swim but she decided to jump in and see what happened. She dove into the water and swam down, looking all around. It was beautiful. Soft ferns waved along the bottom and tiny schools of tiny fish darted in silver brush strokes back and forth. She saw a big rock on the bottom and there Mr. Frog sat. She sat down beside him. Mr. Frog turned his big eyes up and looked through the blue-green water to the sunlight far above.

“If you look for the light,” he said, “you won’t get too confused about which way is up. The way to live in water is to be buoyed up by it rather than weighted down. Not floating, but supported.”

“It isn’t always the safest way to live,” he said, as a big catfish swam past and rolled on its side to see them better. “But it is interesting and amusing.”

“But sometimes, you gotta move quick!” he shouted as the catfish darted towards them, mouth open. With a great bound of his powerful back legs, he shot to the surface pulling Little Girl with him.

“Well, that was interesting,” Little Girl said, panting as she shook water out of her shoes.

“Oh, it’s always interesting,” Frog said and laughed. “It’s just in the way you look at things. Time to go now.”

“Thank you so much,” Little Girl said. “I’ll remember everything you taught me.”

Frog shot out his tongue, capturing another fly. “Well, not right away you won’t. It will take a while, but eventually, you’ll know it all. But every time you laugh,” and his tongue shot out and snapped up a fly right beside Little Girl’s ear, surprising her and making her laugh, “you’ll remember.” With that, Frog leaped high and long into the lake.

So the Little Girl grew up and sometimes she remembered when she looked at the lake, but mostly she forgot, until a sudden surprise would make her laugh and she’d remember. Soon she was a young woman and she’d read everything she could about frogs, about transformation, communication, mystery, humor, and evolution, so she became a science teacher. But her students never dissected frogs.

25 thoughts on “A Fairy Tale

  1. Hello Janet!
    I’ve been away from my blog recently and am just getting back…I’m so glad to read you…and happy summer to you!
    This story was a marvel..so descriptive and detailed that I felt as if I were the little girl…I read it while actually looking at the Hudson River so I couldn’t help but imagine as if the story took place there within the depths of the NYC waterway!
    Thank you for sharing your writing with us…truly a perfect fairy tale for kids and adults alike!
    Have a glorious Tuesday!
    *Lia

    1. Hi Lia! I’ve had my own time away, finishing the memoir. So glad you liked it. Truth is, I found it in an old journal while researching my life in that year. And there it lay, fresh on the page, and hardly needed much tweaking. Except the final paragraph. That was an add-on as I was writing.

      1. Oh, the fact that you found this fairy tale in an old journal makes it even more magical! The final paragraph was very special…I’m glad you added it on…
        Sending you lots of sunshine and friendship on this day and always,
        *Lia

  2. A charming tale! But no prince? Actually, he is a “prince” of a frog, which works just as ell. I missed the singing part, though. Perhaps he and she had a frog in their throats! Or maybe he ran of and went a wooing-go, after practicing his singing.

  3. What a fun, evocative story! And the conclusion is just perfect. Here is my frog story, which I never would have remembered without the help of your frog, the little girl and her older-self science teacher.

    When we dissected frogs in tenth grade biology, I managed to skin my frog in one piece. I patted out the skin, nice and flat, and dried it. Then, I took it home and put it on my mother’s pillow, underneath the bedspread. You should have heard the shrieks!

  4. Your story is wonderfully written. I love the wisdom and humor of Frog and the delight of Little Girl. I can imagine parents and children enjoying reading this together. โค

    1. Yikes!! I do believe you gave me another job!! Ah, Rose. The comparison to the HC Anderson tales is kind. Those tales followed me through my childhood. I’ll take your request seriously….can I get through finishing the memoir first?

      1. You know something uncanny? There was a link to a related post .. Living with Loss .. and I clicked and saw the date June 19th . oh today and carried on reading.
        The post was awesome .. but left me a bit confused for there were related ones for June and I thought how come I missed these. So went back … and found it was today one year ago!!
        And found it was part of the Memoir you are writing which I was going to ask you about ๐Ÿ™‚
        And found I want to continue reading ๐Ÿ™‚
        So … yes please do finish the Memoir soon – and then get onto the HC aka JS tales. There’s so much of love of nature and your environs woven into all – the frogs tale has artistic descriptions thrown in and even the Memoir paints for us all the little little details.
        Sorry about Old Blue … and of course your Mum. Am sure writing helps live with the loss.

      2. So glad you liked “Living with Loss.” Thank you for your kind words. The Mom story is from a collection of personal essays I’ve worked on for several years…it’s about returning to the Kansas farm after forty years of living everywhere else. I don’t yet have enough for the whole book, but that’s the next project. Or one project! The memoir I’m working on currently is a spiritual quest for love, and set between the years when I lived in Hawaii and then Santa Fe where I was ordained.

    1. Thank you! I thought about that ending and how to make it work. Ah, science teacher. But then the visions of me in biology class in HS dissecting a frog was…well, icky. I didn’t even like it at the time. So glad the ending worked for you.

  5. Hummmmโ€”a new Fairy Taleโ€”what brought this on? Although I do believe (and no doubt this will come as a surprise to you ๐Ÿ™‚ that you may have a future in fiction too!!

  6. I love this story! Thanks for sending it. (Hope you and Cliff are doing well and staying cool.) Sheila

    1. Thank you so much for commenting on it Sheila. And I’m so glad you liked it. It made me happy and playful writing it. I am writing a lot; Cliff’s teaching a lot. And it’s almost Solstice! How did that happen??? Hugs to you.

    1. Thanks so much for reposting, Jonathan. You know, it was that ending with her as a science teacher and the sudden memory of me dissecting frogs in high school (which I never never liked) that brought the last line to life. Thanks for noticing.

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