Of Frogs and Men

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In a faraway land, one you have only visited in dreams and storybooks, there stood a forest of ancient trees so old the branches interlocked and tangled, embracing like old friends. Deep within this wood, past wildflowers crowned with gold, past brambles and brook and bark, far past any traveler's intrepid gaze, was a pond.

And in this pond, dear reader, lived four frogs.

The first frog, Buck, was tough as shoe leather, and  looked like it too. He was overly fond of giving advice but not overly fond at receiving it. The second frog, Leaf, had luminous eyes like the moon and spoke only in a series of rather expressive blinks. His slender, pointed body matched the exact shape of the willow leaves dotting the shore. Kevin, who could jump higher than any other frog in the pond, loved nothing more than a good pun.

Each of these three frogs were happy in their small but cozy pond. But not Todd. Todd was rather petite, squeaked instead of croaked, and had neither the warts nor strong legs  that made the other frogs so handsome.  In spite of all these obstacles, Todd desired nothing more than to be a true hero.

Which is why the day a golden ball bounced through the ferns and came crashing into their own murky pond, Todd thought he might finally have his chance.

The tumultuous ripples had not yet faded when another noise came crashing through the undergrowth. It was unlike any other creature Todd had ever seen. The beast was the size of a young sapling, but no bark or leafs hid its dry, sandy white skin. Unsettling red lips, like winterberries, framed curiously square white teeth. It gasped and fumbled toward the lake like a fish stranded on land.

"Toad-ally disgusting," said Kevin with a grin, leaping back into the deep waters.

"A human" remarked Buck, "If I'm not mistaken, which of course I am not, it is also known as a homo sapien. They are mammals characterized by their bimodal transportation and opposable-" Leaf interrupted him with two short slow blinks.

Todd said nothing, observing the wailing creature carefully, realizing he had unknowingly drifted closer to shore. He believed that all things had something beautiful about them and he decided that he would find what was beautiful in this fleshy, cumbersome creature. Spreading his emerald toes wide he inched over the paper-thin lily pads, slinking his way over the green stepping stones to shore. When he drew closer a rare trickle of sunshine slid through the willows, slivered and broken, and at last illuminated the creature. Todd gasped (well squeaked at least).

As sunlight poured onto the creature's hair, long and thick and curly, it burned like the sun itself. Todd grinned. Despite the screeching and ugly dry skin, the creature possessed hair that looked like it was stolen from the heavens. Satisfied, and feeling somewhat accomplished, Todd turned to slink back into the pond when the creature's seedy eyes focused on him, and one long tendril of a finger rose to beckon him closer to shore.

Todd felt as if an ice bucket had been thrown over him. Would the terrible beast eat him whole? But a hero must be brave, so he dragged his quaking limbs closer to shore and gazed shakily at the terrifying creature with sunlit hair.

The hawk-like gaze of the human-creature fixed upon him and his trembling lilypad.

"Fetch me my ball, little frog. And when you do you shall be rewarded. I shall give you a kiss."

Todd shuddered, imagining the horrible red lips and stone teeth coming towards him. Though slightly offended by the thought of a repulsive kiss, Todd puffed out his sinuous green chest and nodded once. He was, after all, an especially brave little frog.

The strange golden orb taunted him from the depths, a submerged moon unwilling to rise. Todd's eyes grew and his heart beat faster. This was his chance to be a hero! He paddled over to his three friends who were gathered on a lily pad, determined to seek their help. Leaf blinked twice, very slowly. Buck's throat swelled and he began an impressive soliloquy on various techniques likely to procure its release, ending with the conclusion it was an impossible task for one little frog. Kevin smiled and, before he launched himself spectacularly across the pond, croaked "Frog-get about it man".

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