Have you ever been to Danbury Swamp?
It's a hard place to get to, I can assure you.
It is very, very far away.
You first, have to walk down a high, long and winding blue road.
You know that road…
It's that road that takes you past the blue whispering willows and yellow cherry tree groves. It's that road that takes you up past those yellow brick rambling houses with gardens of orange daffodils and green petunias in their front yards. Those yellow brick houses with narrow wood porches where slender people with narrow feet stand on all day drinking pink lemonade, with big smiles on their faces. The people will always wave to you and wish you well, but they never leave their porches, that is, as far as I can tell.
After you pass those yellow brick houses the blue road will lower you down to the ground, where the road becomes dirt and is very brown. This road now becomes quite full of brown dust, and takes you by several junked cars that have all turned to rust, and into a forest full of trees, that I think are White Ashes and along a clear stream that constantly splashes. Until around a big bend the road will come to an end, and there you will see, in front of your feet, the mightiness of Danbury Swamp.
Danbury Swamp is quite large, I must say. I couldn't walk around it if I had all day. But, the swamp is much longer than it is wide. It does not have much distance from side to side. About the middle of Danbury Swamp sits a very odd sight, as odd a sight as has been anywhere seen.
There in the middle of Danbury Swamp, sits one very large brown and blue toad. This big toad sits on a very large log. A log that I'd say was surely made for a frog. I could not understand why a toad with such girth, was sitting on a log that was not touching the earth.
"This is a very strange sight", I said to myself. "I've got to stay and try to understand if I can, why in the middle of a swamp a giant toad is sitting on a log. Why he sits on a very big log, a log that was surely made for a frog. For toads don't sit on logs that are made for frogs, toads in their mirth would rather sit on the earth. So why, oh why, are things such as they are?"
So I sat down in the warm morning sun and began to ponder this thing that I'd seen. To try to unravel the great mystery of the toad in the swamp that was sitting on a log, a log that was surely made for a frog.
As I watched, I noticed that the toad had just awakened.
His eyes were quite bloodshot and swollen. He raised his great blue head and slowly moved it from side to side, and after some time he opened wide his mouth. He let out a big yawn that was followed with a groan. I could surely tell that he often did moan. He seemed to be blathering about the need of some tea.
He shifted slowly from side to side, not once, and not twice, but three times in all, all the while slowly opening his eyes. He was a big toad, a toad that was bigger than most. I am sure of his size he certainly did boast. As he opened his eyes, I could see that they were swollen, swollen and bloodshot in a bad sort of way. His large yellow eyes had red cracks on both sides, not the type of eyes that should be starting each day. His head was quite large and very bright blue, like the color of the sky at a quarter past two.
He raised his great blue head and slowly moved it from side to side, and after some time he opened up his mouth wide. He let out a big yawn that was followed with a groan.
I could surely tell that he often did moan from the sound that he made from that really big groan.
He seemed to be blathering about the need for some tea.
He moved to the far side of the log and out of a hole pulled an old beat up teapot and rusty old cup. He opened the lid of that teapot and looked long and hard inside it. As he stared, his mouth remained shut, but his jaw moved slowly back and forth. He pondered the teapot's contents for a moment or two before pouring a red liquid from the teapot's spot and into his old rusty cup.
Then the toad put the cup to his lips and took one mighty big gulp.
He then took another and then another and then another, until finally, the cup was empty. He seemed to cheer up and a faint smile crossed over his lips. He filled the cup up again and as quickly as he had gulped down the first cup, he gulped down the second.
After some time the toad began to sing. He sang sweet and he sang sad, but of all he sang clear.
Oh Cranberry tea, oh cranberry tea
How I love thee my cranberry tea
You make me feel good, you make me feel fine
Your smell is so sweet, your body, divine
Take me down my love into the blue sea
Unshackle my feet and let me roam free
And swim in the waves of the mighty blue sea
Just you and me dear, my cranberry tea
We'll go to the moon in a hot air balloon
And jump in a crater and dance like a loon
We'll hide in the hills in West Nester Bree
Just you and me love, my cranberry tea
Oh Cranberry tea, oh cranberry tea
How I love thee my cranberry tea
You make me smart, you make me see
It's just you and me dear until a quarter past three
And so the toad sang throughout the long morning. He sang past the noon until a quarter past three. At which point the toad gulped down his last gulp of tea and stared so sadly into his empty teapot and empty old rusty cup. A tear formed on his eye and rolled down his nose. The tear plopped quietly in the still water of the swamp, I suppose, making beautiful round circles that grew wide and wider from where the teardrop had fallen, until they splashed ever so gently on the swamp's muddy shore.
I had never seen anything quite like this before.
"Alas, it is time to part my love, for you are all dried up", sadly sighed the toad as he stared into his old rusty cup.
The swamp grew quiet around the big toad. Not a sound was heard. Not a rustle in the reeds, not a tussle in the trees. The only sound that was heard was from the flowers and their visiting honey bees.
Suddenly a sound came from out of the still and quiet air. It came from around the swamp's bend where there grew bundles of green saw grass. It came from around the swamps bend where no one could see. It came just past a big and dead oak tree. It sounded like laughter at first, but, then again, laughter is something that someone usually does when they are happy. This kind of laughter didn't sound happy at all, at least not the type of happiness that comes from laughter that I have grown to know. This type of laughter seemed spiteful and mean. Like the laugh of someone who has just knocked over your fresh glass of huckleberry herb tea, just to watch the glass' contents spill upon your right and left knee.
That's pretty mean, I must say. Cleaning up a mess like that could take you half a day.
But before I could think more, from around the green bend came a low flat brown boat that was rowed by rats. They were the surliest rats that I'd ever seen.
At first, I thought they were just ordinary swamp rats. You know what I mean. Those big burly brown rats who live on the edge of the swamp. Those rats that are furry and nice and will always offer you a bowl of their piping hot steamed rice. Those big brown rats who wear felt stovetop hats on the heads. Those rats whose presence no one needs ever to dread.
But, these rats didn't have stovetop hats.
These rats weren't burly or nice.
These rats didn't have any bowls of piping hot rice.
No, these rats were something totally different. From the looks of them, I didn't like them one bit.