Monday, May 08, 2006

The Frog and the Lily Pad

I was sitting beside the Japanese pool in the Hermitage gardens, when I was privy to a magical event—a frog in conversation with a lily pad—now, who ever heard of such a thing?

The Frog and the Lily Pad

“Good Morning, Lady Millicent Mist,” said Samuel Sun, one bright, spring morning.

“Why good morning, Sir Samuel,’ replied Millicent.

Millicent was in a wonderful mood this morning and didn’t really want to leave the pond, which was magical in the morning light. Her presence added a sense of mystery as she danced lightly over the water, which reflected green from the surrounding trees and shrubs.

“Will you do me the honor, Lady Millicent, of dancing with me this morning?”

Now Millicent knew only too well that dancing with Samuel Sun would cause her to dissipate in his warm embrace and that she would not be able to return to the pond until the next morning, when once again she could tip toe between the lily pads, play hide and seek among the shrubs, and rise seductively into the branches above. But, she could not resist Sir Samuel’s invitation to dance. She knew that no matter what, he always got his way with her and that she always felt wispy when she danced with him.

“Why, I…” She wrapped herself into a delicate spiral, and blushed a little pink in his light. “Why, Sir, I do believe I will.”

Millicent felt light headed as Sir Samuel wrapped his rays around her and, together, they floated through the tree branches in a lovely, choreographed display of light and shadow as Sun’s rays mingled with her silk-like form.

They twirled in a soft and silent ballet until Millicent faded away in Sun’s golden embrace. Soon, she was gone.

“Lovely, lovely,” cheered Lady Lily Pad who resided in the pond and chatted with Millicent whenever she visited.

“Thank you, Lily Pad.” Millicent’s voice was distant, no more than a whisper.

“Good Bye, Millicent,” said Lily Pad. “Do visit the pond again soon.”

“I will.”

Lily Pad could barely hear Millicent now and could not see her, but she knew that she was not far away—that she was more than likely dancing around the light house where she could tease Samuel Sun by hiding behind Brother Fog. Soon though, Samuel would chase him off and then he would dance with Millicent again before she retired into the drawing room of her day. It was there that she would stitch her pearl and silver gown together again, ready to visit the pond on the morrow.

* * *

“Ribit … ribit.”

“Is that you, Fillipe Frog?”

“Ribit. Yes, it is, Lily Pad.” Fillipe landed on a large, floating leaf next to where Lily Pad resided. In doing so, he splashed minute drops of pond water onto Lily’s still partially closed petals.

“Do be careful, Fillipe. I shall be upset if my petals droop because of your splashing about.”

“Ribit…ribit.”

“What’s the matter, Fillipe, do you have a frog in your throat?” Lily giggled shyly.

“If that is supposed to be funny,” Fillipe said, “I am not amused.”

“Where’s your sense of humor?” Lily asked, stretching her petals toward the warming sun.

“Just isn’t funny, that’s all.”

Fillipe, jumped onto a platform of reeds so that he could face Lily. “And what’s with Millicent going through that ballet routine with Old Samuel every morning--makes a fool of herself if you ask me. He just dances with her so he can send her away.”

Lily frowned as best she could, being a lily pad and all. “Fillipe, you’re a grouch this morning, more so than usual. What’s your problem?”

“Ribit…ribit.”

“Frog in your throat…”

“Cut that out, Lily. I’m worried, and you don’t take me seriously at all.”

“Is there something you’d like to tell me?” Lily asked, turning her creamy white petals toward Filippe, so as to give him her full attention, “Tell me what’s bothering you?”

“Ribit…You’ll just laugh.”

“No, I won’t. I promise.”

“All right then.”

“Well, go on.”

“All right already. What’s bothering me is that nobody loves me.”

“What?” Lilly frowned her best lily pad frown, which is hard to do with petals and all. “That’s not true and you know it.”

“I don’t know it, Lily.” Fillipe paused to expand his throat. “Every day people visit the garden and the pond and they ooh and aah over you and your friends, they delight in the way light and shadow paint the pond, and they gaze lovingly at the shrubs and trees, but they don’t even notice me. I want someone to notice me,”

“Little boys love you,” Lily said, in a most kindly tone.

“Little boys are beasts, Lily. They’re so rough. They stick me in their pockets and use me to frighten their mothers and their sisters. Then, sometimes they forget to bring me back to the pond right away and I get all dried out and sick. A couple of times I almost croaked.”

Lily raised a petal. “Croaked?” She stifled a giggle.

“That’s right,” said Fillipe, “croaked, died, passed away, you know what I mean.”

“Yes, I know what you mean.”

Fillipe jumped back onto the leaf.

“Watch your splashing, please.”

“Ribit…ribit. “Yeah yeah, I’m sorry, but a little splash isn’t going to hurt you.”

“Now, Fillipe, you were saying?”

“I almost croaked a couple of times from drying out. That’s what happened to Ham, you know.”

Lily frowned. “Ham?”

“Yeah. Hammer Toad. He was my distant cousin. They tortured him something fearful, then they let him dry out. When they threw him back in the water, it was too late. He was gone. So young, too.”

“I’m sorry, Fillipe. And I’ll admit that sometimes little boys are thoughtless, not all of them, just some. But I’m sure there are little girls that love you.”

“Ribit…ribit. Little girls are afraid I’ll give ‘em warts.”

Lily snickered.

“Don’t laugh. I’m serious.”

“I’m not making fun,” Lily said, stretching her petals again, opening them wide. “That’s just an old wives tale. Little girls these days are more enlightened.”

Their familiar bantering was interrupted by a chorus of childish voices, as a group of children led by their teacher came around the corner, on the path that circled the pond.

“Such a clatter,” said Fillipe, preparing to launch himself into the shadows.

“No, don’t go. Stay and listen to what they’re saying.”

“I don’t want to hear—”

“You’ll want to hear this, Fillipe Frog, so you stay right here and listen.”

“Look,” said the teacher, “there’s a perfect specimen, on that leaf next to that lovely water lily.

“Where, where,” replied a chorus of little voices.

“Right there.” The teacher pointed to Fillipe. “Isn’t he a handsome little fellow?”

“Huh? What are they doing, pointing like that?”

“Shut up and listen,” said Lily, who was by now getting tired of Fillipe’s negative outlook.

“Ribit…ribit.”

“See there” said the teacher, who's pretty blonde hair war ruffled by an unexpected breeze, “how his throat bulges when he croaks.”

“What do you mean, croaks? I ain’t croaking, not as long as a pretty young thing like you keeps looking me over.”

“Shush,” said Lily, “I want to hear, too.”

“That little fellow is what we call an amphibian.” The teacher had dropped to one knee so that she was on a level with her attentive pupils who clustered around her. “His kind make up the order Anura, which you will be learning about later, in class.”

Her remarks were followed by a chorus of oohs and aahs.

Fillipe, stretching to his full potential, leapt gracefully into the air and landed perfectly on a floating patch of reeds near the path, and the action.

“Show off,” muttered Lily.

“What’s the matter, Lily, are you jealous because I’m the center of attention?”

“Why don’t you just go soak your head?”

“Green with envy, are you?”

“Not at all, Fillipe. I have purpose in life.”

“And what would that be, Lily?”

“For one thing, I add color and beauty to the pond. And let us not forget that I allow your kind to attach your eggs to my stems.”

“Okay, you’ve made your point. Now if, you’ll shush so I can hear what the pretty, blonde human is saying.”

“So children, frogs are an important part of wetland habitat.”

“Oh, see now, Lily, I missed most of what she was saying.”

“She said you were important to the ecosystem…that should make you happy.”

“I am…I AM! But I’m not loved.”

One little girl, whose hair hung in ringlets of pure gold, stepped closer to the edge of the pond. “Here Froggy. I’m Anna. What is your name?”

“Fillipe, pronounced Fill Leap.”

Anna turned to her teacher. “I just love him and I’m going to study frogs when I grow up.”

Lily was sure that Fillipe’s green skin turned a lovely shade of pink.

“Then,” said the teacher to Anna, “you’ll have to become a herpetologist.”

“That’s what, I’ll do. I’ll be a hertol—”

“Herpetologist, Anna, herp-e-tol-o-gist.”

Anna repeated the word twice, excitedly.

“I’m going to save the planet, said Peter, a redhead and the tallest in the class.”

“Me, too, said John, a freckled face kid with thick glasses.”

“Very good, boys,” said the pretty teacher.

“I’m going to protect the environment,” said Jeannie, a lovely, oriental child with long black hair.”

“And me,” said Robbie, “I’m going to save the rain forests.”

“I can see that I’m going to be hearing a lot about all of you when you grow up,” said the teacher, getting to her feet and counting heads to make sure she hadn’t lost anyone. “It’s time to get back to the bus.”

* * *

“Well, Lily, what do you think of that?”

“I think that you are loved and that you should be very happy.”

“I am. I’m loved—I’m loved—I’m loved,” Fillipe said, as he leapt, quite gracefully for a frog, from one leaf to another before disappearing into the shadows at the other end of the pond..

Now he’ll be harder than ever to live with, thought Lily, sighing as she stretched her petals again, and settled down for a relaxing day in the sunshine.

Vi Jones
©May 8, 2006.

5 Comments:

At 11:39 AM, Blogger Lorijayne said...

This is a very sweet story. Wonderful .

 
At 1:01 PM, Blogger Traveller said...

Vi, the idea of Filippe nearly croaking tickled me pink. Lovely story

 
At 4:22 AM, Blogger Imogen Crest said...

Delicious stuff! I adored this. Every inch of it. I could see it all in my mind's eye. Absolutely great, with a standout message. The connection of things, and the importance of froggies, too. Incidentally, they say that when frogs are present, that is the sign of a healthy world. If they are not, the environmental specialists start to move in. I kid you not. Great to read. Just loved it:-)

 
At 9:58 AM, Blogger Melody said...

Loved it Vi. Thank you so much for sharing this.

 
At 4:07 PM, Blogger Heather Blakey said...

This could so easily be your 'performance' Vi. It is just so whimsical and delighful, captures the essence of your playfulness.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home