Written by mikewadestr
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Saturday, 10 December 2011

image for Danbury Swamp Chapter 4

The little girl's words left the toad quite speechless. He really had no answer for her reasoning, because the toad knew, that she was really quite correct in what she said. As he sat and thought about her words the toad began to become angry inside. The anger began to grow and grow inside the toad until he could no longer hold it in. He finally blurted out in an angry voice:

"Those dirty, lying, stinking, cheating rats!" he yelled out. "They've been taking all of my hard earned flies and giving me cranberry tea that they told me was the best from the Valley of Spree! They told me that they got it by traveling over the sea! They told me they fought the giant Larry! They told me that they had to get by a dragon! They told me they did all of that to get the very best jug of cranberry tea and bring it back home to give it to me! And here all along they've never done any of that! No they have not! They've been giving me the same tea everyday, which is not tea from the Valley of Spree!"

"I think you knew that all along", said the little girl tersely. "You even told the rats that the tea was no different than any tea that they had given you before. No, you knew all along. I think that there is something else that you're mad at. I think that you are mad because you are sad. I think that is why you drink cranberry tea, because you are sad".

They sat in silence for some time, that toad and that little girl. Neither one of them spoke or even looked at one another. After some time the little girl broke the silence.

"How long have you been on that log?" she asked.

"Hrrrmph,.. Well let me see", answered the startled toad. "I got on here just this last May, yes I did. Err wait a minute… or was that the May before last?"

Something hit the toad quite suddenly and he was not sure exactly what it was. But one thing was certain, he realized that he really did not know just how long he had been on that log.

"How long now?" the toad said silently to himself. Have I seen one summer… or was it two… or maybe three".

The toad began to realize for the first time that he had been on that log much longer than he ever could have imagined. As he thought and tried to go through the time he had spent there, he realized that he had seen at least 4 summers on that log.

"That makes four years here", said the toad in a very sad voice. "Four years of my life on this log, now how in the world did that happen?"

While the toad was sadly contemplating this revelation, the little girl moved out of the swamp's saw grass and moved down in the mud by the water.

The toad suddenly felt defensive and annoyed at the little girl for the questions that she was asking. The questions were obviously making the toad feel very uncomfortable. He really did not want to feel sad anymore. No he really wanted to go back to drinking his cranberry tea which he had gotten from the rats at a quarter past three. He suddenly became very angry with the little girl and decided that he would tell her so.

The toad looked hard into the little girl's eyes and he was surprised at what he saw. What he saw were eyes that were as brilliantly blue as the sky above, on a cloudless day of course. But, he also, saw so much liveliness, so much animation and … so much…. Love?

"For God's sake for whom?" the toad thought to himself. "Love of whom and why?"

"Don't you have any family?" she asked the toad with a very inquisitive and concerned expression on her face. "Who are you and where did you come from? You surely must have come from somewhere. I can't imagine that you've spent all you long days, just sitting on that log drinking cranberry tea. You had to come from somewhere. Where is that somewhere from whence you came?"

"Well now, I…", started the toad, whose face dropped from the sudden pain of memories long forgotten that suddenly became remembered. He dropped his head down and began to silently sob.

"I do… I do…" he sobbed. I do remember now, I do have a family. Oh my! I have forgotten all about them. How did this ever happen to me? How did I end up here like this?"

As the past memories became clearer to the toad he began sobbing harder and harder. He sobbed for a very long time while the little girl looked at him sadly. After some time the toad finally composed himself and looked at the little girl.

"I remember now who I am and how I got here, I do. I will sing you the tale of my getting here", said the toad.

The toad then took a deep breath and started to sing.

I come from a pond in the meadow of Udall
Where I was known as the greatest fly catcher of all
My tongue was quite fast, it was quick, it was sly
I could catch ten flies in the blink of an eye

I spent my youth playing amongst the pond's green reeds
And hung out with my friends at a school called a-la-meads
I was the pond's best swimmer, I practiced near the bogs
I could swim much faster than all the pond's green frogs

Then there came the war against the weasels of Mystic
I did my part to help out and promptly enlisted
Fighting alongside the frogs in the green platoon
Getting a few medals in the battle of Alou

At a dance that was held in the light of the moon
I met pretty Marie who had me dance like a loon
We got married and moved into a house on the bank
Where we raised two wonderful sons named Dean and Frank

I had so much fun in those days with the kids and Marie
When the kids grew up and left, we moved to the blue sea
Where we spent our days on the shore and playing in the surf
And wiggled our toes in the mud of the sound of Saint Mirth

Then there came a day when our lives were struck by tragedy
When my pretty Marie drowned while swimming the blue sea
I was so alone now for my life had no one but me
I started killing my pain by drinking cranberry tea

Cranberry tea, beautiful wonderful cranberry tea
It made me forget about the loss of my pretty Marie
I sold off the house and began to wander you see
And ended up here on this log where I drink cranberry tea

After the toad sang his song the two of them once again sat in silence, with both of them looking into the swamps muddy brown waters. Neither of them, the toad nor the little girl, seemed particularly interested in looking at the other.

As the two sat in silence, a cool breeze kicked up from around the swamp's bend. It blew swiftly through the swamp towards that toad and that girl, first running right over the saw grass that grew on the swamp's banks, pushing it down to the ground where it was very brown. It then passed by the toad and the girl with a sigh and then jumped into the reeds that were about shoulder high. There it caused the reeds to move in such a way that the cattails on top of them began to sway. It then ran up over the swamp's bank and into the trees into which it disappeared, that nice and cool breeze.

As the cattails began to settle down a blackbird landed on top of one of them with a very sad frown. The bird looked around but could not find his mate, who was supposed to meet him at a quarter past eight. She was running very late and no one had seen her all day. He had a feeling that she had disappeared in the worst of ways. But those are the things that happen in Danbury Swamp, where love can be found and love can be lost.

And so it was for the blackbird that day, which sadly spread his wings before flying away.

After some time it was the little girl who spoke up.

"That is such a sad song", she said. You seem to have such a lovely family. I'm sorry that you lost your pretty wife Marie. Why don't you go back and see your sons? Why not let go of that log and that jug of cranberry tea and go back home to the pond where you once lived and see your sons?"

The little girl's words about leaving his log and his jug of cranberry tea struck a chord of defensiveness in the toad. He quickly shot back at the girl.

"Now wait just a minute young lady! I think I've had enough of you questions. Who are you to be the judge of me and my actions? Why are you asking me these questions anyway? What makes you so special?" he asked the little girl indignantly. "Where do you come from? Where do you live? Who takes care of you? Have you no parents to speak of?"

The little girl looked into the toad's eyes for a moment and then sadly turned away and looked down into the swamp's waters. As she looked into the water she could see the tadpoles quite well. She could see them swimming in a large school near the swamp's bottom and kicking up the bottom's mud and causing it to swell, into a large brown cloud that blocked the sunlight from reaching the ground. She sighed and after some time started to talk again.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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