Monday, June 12, 2006

A tadpole story

impossible frogs

Once upon a time there was a poor little tadpole who only had one leg. While all the other tadpoles swam and explored the pond, he remained alone, swimming as best as he could in small, sad circles. He continued swimming and swimming and getting nowhere. His friends and brothers and sisters grew big and strong however, they were slowly turning from tadpoles to young frogs. The little tadpole did have one talent that none of his siblings possessed, he discovered one day, while swimming in one of his great pond-wide circles that he could sing.

At first he hummed, quietly and nervously to himself when the other tadpoles and frogs were on the other side of the pond. But as he swam and sang in his watery orbit his confidence grew and his singing became stronger, more tuneful and sweeter. He realised that though he may have had only one leg he could do something his fellow frogs could not, he could really sing. In fact when he was singing he quite forgot about his lack of direction and skill in swimming and concentrated on the sound of his voice.

The other tadpoles had largely ignored him because he was so feeble and different from them. Few cared that he was trapped in his circles and none of them ever offered to help him or steer him across the pond or to listen to his songs. Strangely he did not mind any of this; somehow he knew his singing made him special.

Then one morning a large black crow appeared at the edge of the pond. The other tadpoles all busy swimming and diving paid no attention to him but the little tadpole spotted him from his 360o circling. He didn’t like the look of the crow one bit and hugged the water, staying a little more below the surface than usual and he stopped his regular singing. Every day the crow came back to the edge of the pond, his beady eyes peering across the surface of the water and around the banks. He looked like he was content to wait for his own perfect moment.

Days passed, the crow waited and the little tadpole watched. The other frogs grew up and became more curious; something was calling them out from the pond into the wet grasses and reeds that lay beyond. Some nagging whisper was interrupting their swimming and feeding and vacuous frogging and telling them that the time to leave the pond was coming closer. The little tadpole, now a bit bigger and greener but no better a swimmer was still slowly circling the middle of the pond, still watching.

Finally the day came, without warning and in their own migratory way the young frogs all headed for the bank, for the reeds and grass and the wide world beyond. A phalanx of frogs swimming for the shore leaving, in the middle of the water a very puzzled and anxious one legged frog in their wake. As he watched them swim towards the shore he became aware of many flapping, torn black shadows hovering over the pond, he could not quite look up but he knew what it was, a great crowd of hungry crows. There was only one thing to do, he couldn’t catch the other frogs, even if he could swim straight, he would have to sing.

The notes were not quite right, the sound was not so sweet, it was only the noise that mattered, he sang out at the top of his voice. “STOOOOPPPP!!!” The wave of frogs were almost on the bank, a steady frenzy was building up within them as the new strength of the land called out to them. Could they hear his warning song? Would they hear his warning song? Would they turn back?

Well sad to say they didn’t. The crows dived bombed the frogs as soon as they reached the shore and gobbled them up, not a single frog made it into that green grass or those brown reeds. All perished that day except for one. Nancy a little girl frog who had for some reason stayed behind on the edge. She had heard a distant frog song and for a second turned back. The quick turn saved her as she dipped down into deeper water and avoided the crow's carnage on the shingle shore. Shocked and confused she headed back for the safety of the middle of the pond to meet her singing hero, who despite his one leg, she had always had a soft, slimy spot for.

She gently nudged him and he realised that, with Nancy beside him, steering and influencing him, he could now swim in a straight line. Neither frog wanted to ever go to the shore after the crow experiences, so they set up a simple home on a bright green lily pad and lived happily ever after.

impossible songs

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  1. that is such a sweet story. It reminds me of a tragic tale i heard about a tadpole and a caterpillar who were best friends. I wont give a way the tragic ending right now :(

  2. What a lovely story John. The best thing I've read on a blog for a very long time.

  3. Glad to have gladdened your hearts! (Inspired by Fraser's garden pond life)

    impossible john