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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Frog's Legs

Hua croaked monotonously as he sat on the lotus pad. Flies were buzzing all around him. He thought of trying to catch another with his long, sticky tongue, but it seemed too much of an effort and he didn’t think he could fit one more fly into his tummy. His large, bulgy eyes rolled around in circles as he watched all the other frogs in the pond. There were tongues going everywhere. In fact, there were not only too many flies, but there were far too many frogs. There was no room to leap, no room in the water to cool off and there were two other frogs sharing the same lotus pad with him. It was far too crowded for Hua.

As he sat thinking about this, he was kicked in the face by a hopping frog. As another frog leapt through the air, its leg kicked Hua in the tummy, which was full of flies. Everywhere he looked there were frog’s legs. Not only that but the noise was unbearable. CROAK! CROAK! CROAK! It went all day and night. Hua never got any sleep, any peace, or any quiet.

He decided that he needed to find somewhere else to live. The hot sun had dried up most of the once-huge pond, leaving just this small puddle-like pond of water. No wonder it was crowded. When another frog landed on top of his head with a splat, Hua knew it was time to leave. He squeezed his way through the mass of slimy, squiggly, green frogs and hopped away into the bushes. Before he got too far, he turned and looked back at the pond. All he could see were frog’s legs. He was glad to leave! Surely he could find another pond, maybe one that was bigger.

Hua leapt through the grass. The sun was hot. He could feel his moist skin drying up. He knew he needed to find water soon. When a herd of wild horses went running past, Hua knew a watering hole couldn’t be too far off. He hopped quickly, plopping his body on the grass. He stopped suddenly when he heard a hissing sound. He didn’t move but stayed completely still, listening. Without moving his head, his large, googley eyes turned and Hua saw a cobra sitting on a rock. It was coiled up. Its red tongue was flickering in and out of its mouth. Hua’s mind started racing. How could he get out of this mess? Cobras eat frogs. He mustered all the strength he could find and leapt through the air with a huge leap, leaving the ready-to-strike cobra to wonder where his meal had just gone. He’d have to be more careful and watch where he was hopping.

The cool waters of the pond looked inviting to Hua as he at last sat at the side of it. It was much larger than the last one. He could hear several other frogs, but it wasn’t like the old pond. He jumped through the air, landed in the water and hopped onto a lotus pad. It felt good to have the water rushing over his dried skin. He shut his eyes and rested.

Only a short time had passed when Hua felt his lotus pad being lifted into the air. It went higher and higher. He peered down over the edge to see what was happening. A water buffalo had gone under the lotus and was standing up. The taller the water buffalo stood, the higher Hua went into the air. Suddenly the lily pad slipped off the water buffalo’s back and it, along with Hua, fell into the pond. The water buffalo’s huge feet stomped the lily pad to pieces and barely missed Hua. The frog was scared. He came to the top of the pond and saw that it was full of water buffalo. This pond wasn’t going to be safe after all. He swam to the shore and hopped away.

There were many animals around each of the ponds he came to. He saw leopards, tigers, a wild pig or two, a few lizards and some tortoise. There were also many birds flying down to quench their thirst at the pond’s edge. Hua needed to be very careful.

After hopping for a long, long time, Hua finally arrived at another pond. He couldn’t see any animals there. He didn’t hear any other frogs. He peeked under the water and didn’t see any water buffalo. Feeling safe, he hopped in and sank down into the cool water. He soon fell asleep beneath a dark sky filled with twinkling stars.

When he woke up, he had the feeling that he was moving. He opened his eyes. It was raining and a huge wall of water was carrying him downstream. The pond wasn’t there any longer. It was now a wide, raging river, surrounded by steep banks on both sides. He grabbed hold of some reeds that had been uprooted and caught in the strong current and held onto tightly as he was carried further and further away. Finally the water calmed down. Instead of a raging torrent, it was now a smooth flowing river. Hua swam over to the riverbank and sat down on the sand.

After resting, he hopped around, looking to see where he was. He saw some more wild horses. They were standing at the shallow edge of the river, shaking their heads and manes and snorting. He saw a few water buffalo lazily swimming in the middle of the deep river. Many birds were landing in the water, catching fish in their beaks.

He reached a shallow area filled with lotus pads and hopped onto one. There was now plenty of room for all the frogs and the other animals. There would be no more frog’s legs kicking him and no more frog’s legs bumping him off the lily pad. He let out a loud croak of contentment and stuck out his long, sticky tongue to catch flies. CROAK!

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