Read by Anita Rodgers
“Please, tell us the story. You know the one. Tell us how you and Uncle Fred met,” croaked the young frogs.
Aunt Lilly was used to this request. It was a popular bedtime story. She asked, “Again?”
They croaked, “Yes, tell us about you and Uncle Fred!”
Iris said, “We want to hear the love story of how you met. Come on, Aunt Lilly. Please tell us the story.”
Aunt Lilly smiled. She said, “We have to go back in time. Back to when your uncle and I were young frogs, no older than you. We were still learning how to be good swimmers, jumpers, and gliders. I wasn’t too impressed with your Uncle Fred. I had my eye on another handsome frog named Winston. He was from a good family of excellent jumpers. All the girls liked him, but for some reason, he paid attention to me.”
As Aunt Lilly told the story, the cold winter outside their burrow seemed to melt away.
The young frogs felt like they had been carried back in time to a warm summer day on Breakers Island. How they longed for the heat of the summer in Fire Fall Woods.
Aunt Lilly was known as a great storyteller. She said, “All the young frogs had gathered at the pond. It was our special place. The day was hot and we didn’t care that the sun was setting. No one wanted to stop swimming and jumping. The water at the pond was perfect that day.”
Iris asked, “Is that where you met Uncle Fred?”
Tad said, “Iris, please be quiet. Let her tell the story.”
Aunt Lilly laughed. She said, “Yes, Iris, he was there but I didn’t know him then. Fred was quiet and didn’t seem to have many friends. All of my attention was on Winston. He had all the proper markings of a good frog. Winston could swim and jump better than the others.”
She continued, “We knew it was time to go home to safety, but we stayed late. Then, before anyone could sound an alarm, an opossum was on us. Everyone hurried to escape with Winston taking the lead.”
The young frogs gasped in fear. Iris said, “Oh, no, not an opossum! Aunt Lilly, what did you do?”
Aunt Lilly shook her head sadly. She said, “I froze. I couldn’t move. There was no way out. The opossum had me trapped.
Fred saw I was cornered. He didn’t leave with the others. He jumped up and gave a mighty leap into the pond. The water splashed up and hit the opossum in the face. In that moment, the opossum couldn’t see a thing. I quickly jumped to safety and Fred was right behind me.”
The young frogs jumped up and down. They croaked with joy.
Aunt Lilly laughed and said, “The opossum was so mad. He hissed and ran away.”
She continued, “We soon found our friends nearby. Winston rushed up to me and told me I was lucky. They thought for sure that opossum had me. I told Winston that luck had nothing to do with it. Fred had made the jump of his life just in time to save mine.
As you can imagine, everyone gave your uncle a second look. After that, they all wanted to be his best friend. The story of his bravery soon spread and was retold many times. That is how he became the Frog King.”
Iris said, “So you liked Uncle Fred because he was brave, saved you from the opossum, and became the leader of the frogs.”
Aunt Lilly said, “Yes, it’s true, he saved my life, but that is not why I picked him over Winston. I also took a second look at your uncle that day. I found that what was on the inside was far more important than what was on the outside.”
Iris jumped up and down. She said, “And they lived happily ever after.”
Then the young frogs saw their Uncle Fred was behind them. He was listening to Aunt Lilly tell their story.
He smiled and said, “Off to bed, young frogs. It’s time for you to say good night to the Frog Queen.”
What is inside is far more important than what is on the outside.