The Frogs And The Fairies





In a pond in a dell lived a big family of frogs, and one day when the

sun was shining all the young bullfrogs came up out of the water and

hopped on the bank. "I think it would be good fun to see what is in

the dell beside this pond," said Billy Bull, who was a young and

inquisitive frog.



"What do you fellows say to a lark to-night by the light of the moon?"



"We'll go, we'll go, Billy Bull," said all the other young frogs in

chorus.



"Better stay home, better stay home," croaked old Grandfather Bullfrog

from his seat on a stump by the edge of the pond.



"Oh, hear old grandfather croaking!" said Billy Bull; "he never went

out of this pond in all his days, and what does he know of the dell?"



"Better stay home, better stay home," croaked Grandfather Frog.



"You can, Grandfather Frog, if you like, but we young frogs are going

for a lark tonight, and when we come back we will tell you what is in

the dell," said Billy Bull.



That night when the moon was up and shining through the trees, out of

the pond leaped all the young froggies.



"Better stay home, better stay home," croaked Grandfather Frog from his

seat on the stump, but the young froggies only laughed as grandfather's

warning followed them through the dell--"Better stay home, better stay

home."



It happened that the Fairies were holding a party that night, and when

Billy Bull and all the other young frogs hopped and leaped into the

middle of the dell they saw the bright lights of the fireflies'

lanterns.



"Looks to me like all the fireflies in the world had gathered for us to

feast on," said Billy Bull. "What luck for us."



Away off they could still hear Grandfather Frog croaking his warning:

"Better stay home, better stay home." But it was no warning to the

young froggies; they only saw the fireflies and the feast in store for

them.



The froggies had never seen the Fairies before and they thought they,

too, were little insects, so, without stopping to think or look closer

into the midst of the Fairy revel, in leaped Billy Bull and all his

cousins.



But the Fairies were as quick as the frogs, and no sooner had they

leaped than up went all the fairy wands, and there stood each frog

still and stiff. They were not able to move; they could only stare and

listen.



"What are these creatures that dare to disturb us?" asked the Queen.



"Your Majesty, they are frogs," said a fire-fly, "and I expect they

intended to eat us."



"Eat the lantern bearers of the fairies!" said the Queen. "They shall

suffer for this."



"Off with a toe on each front foot, and then perhaps these frogs will

stay at home and not hop about at night. Where do they live?" asked

the Queen.



"In the pond at the end of the dell," said the fireflies.



"Send them home," said the Queen, "and every time they wander far from

their pond they shall lose a toe."



Down on the foot of the froggies went the fairy wands, and where the

frogs had five toes there remained only four on each of their front

feet, and then with their wands on the heads of the froggies the

fairies turned them around and drove them back to their pond.



"Better stayed home, better stayed home," croaked their Grandfather

Frog as the young froggies leaped sadly into the pond and buried

themselves in the mud at the bottom.



And that was the way it is said frogs came to have five toes on each of

their hind feet and only four toes on each front foot. If they had

listened to their grandfather's warning they would still have their

other toes.





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