Once upon a time…
a young woman named Penelope took a stroll in the forest, like she usually did in the afternoons. It was early Spring. Crocus and lily-of-the-valley were in bloom, perfuming the trail upon which she walked. Birds were singing from treetops and spring peepers were calling from the pond. Inhaling deeply and sighing, Penelope felt a contentment with the world she could only find at this time of the year.
Lost in her thoughts, Penelope was called back to reality with the loud croak of a bullfrog.
“Penny!,” it croaked.
Seven times the bullfrog croaked her name. Each time Penny stepped towards the sound. By the seventh croak, Penny found herself at the edge of an artesian spring-fed pond. She saw a frog leaping quickly into the water. Kneeling down and putting her face close to the crystal clear, bubbling water, Penny caught a gleam out of the corner of her eye. As her eyes adjusted to the underwater view, she was shocked to see a bullfrog with a crown upon his head. As their eyes met, the frog said,
“Penny, you’ve read a million fairy tales about enchanted frogs who are really princes. I’m not going to feed you a line and say I am one of them. I was born and raised as a frog. Your kiss will not turn me into a prince.”
“I must be dreaming. How can a frog wear a crown and how can you be speaking to me from underwater?”
“Firstly, you’re not dreaming. Pinch yourself and see.”
Penny pinched the back of her hand and it hurt.
“Next, the crown is really a golden ring I found in the creek when I went minnow-hunting one afternoon. It fit perfectly, and it sets me apart from the other frogs come mating season.”
“But how can you speak to me from underwater? There would be a bubbly blurring of your words.”
“Well, Penny, truth be told, I’m not really talking out loud. I’m communicating directly with your mind. Frogs have had to adapt to survive in an increasingly hostile environment. Our breeding grounds are drying up and too many have been bulldozed to make way for strip malls and housing developments. The Maker must have felt sorry for us and so bestowed us with mind-reading and telepathic communication abilities.”
Penny thought I know I’m dreaming now!
“No, my dear, you’re very much awake, but not for long, I fear. Tadpoles get so very hungry in the Spring. As humans have wiped out so many species of fish, the minnows are no longer enough. It’s been a pleasure talking with you, Penny. Sleep well.”
The frogs’ other bestowment from The Maker was a very long tongue with a sleep barb on the end. It shot out and got poor Penny in the carotid. She, asleep, tumbled into the crystal clear water.
The tadpoles ate well that Spring.
Snip Snap Snout the Tale’s Told Out
(may be a traditional ending to Norwegian folk tales — which this is not)
Teresa Grabs is the host of the Daily Writing Prompt. Teresa says:
Your challenge today, should you accept it, is to find your inner child and write your take on the Fantasy subgenre of Fairy Tale and see where it leads…or whatever/wherever the picture takes you. There are no word limits or requirements of any kind. Just see where the picture or genre takes you and have fun.