Hi! My name is Florence and I am a frog. You know what a frog is don't you? Of course you do! We are small green creatures with long, foldy back legs and large hands and feet. We hop a lot. we also have a sound that is unique. Once heard, never forgotten.
I live with my parents and my brothers and sisters in a large pond. In another pond, close by, live my aunts, uncles and cousins. One of these cousins whose name is Ferdy has been chosen for the next "See who can hop highest" competition. this is a great honour and he spends his days practising. Our ponds lie in the grounds of a famous house and garden. They are surrounded by rare trees, unusual plants and shrubs with pretty flowers. There are also fountains and marble statues. In our ponds are many large water lily pads and we live on these.
Our peaceful and enjoyable lives came under threat one late October day. It was chilly with the promise of rain. Rain has never bothered us as water is our natural element, but the problem was the wind. It had been gusting all day and when night fell it reached storm force. We had our supper and sheltered as best we could.
In the middle of the night we heard a fearful, rending sound. The wind had uprooted one of the big trees near us and it had fallen across our pond. The water was filled with broken branches, leaves and bark. My father realised the danger we were in, so did the rest of the family in the other pond, and their distressed croaking filled the air. He took charge immediately. By hopping between the debris he realised that one of the fallen branches almost reached the other pond. If he could get us along this branch, as born hoppers we could easily clear the remaining distance and land in the other pond.
My mother was close to panic as were my brothers and sisters. I joined forces with my dad. Together we argued, we weedled, we cajoled until finally we got them on the branch. The family in the other pond uttered increasingly encouraging croaks. By the time it was nearly daylight we could see where we were hopping and, one after the other, we jumped to safety, father bringing up the rear.
The following morning the gardeners came to assess the damage. When they saw the fallen tree in the pond they started to search for us. One of them then laughed and pointed to the other pond where we were all gathered.
It took time to restore our pond to its original beauty but when it was finally done, we were glad to be helped home again.
Ferdy, whose daily training had been disrupted by the storm, redoubled his efforts and won the "See who hops highest" competition. We were all proud of him but I am even more proud of my dad who led us all to safety that stormy night.
Copyright Jacqueline Hastings 2009