A friend requested a story to fit her book of illustrations. The illustrations will follow in due course. It is a story with seven chapters (seven illustrations, that is) and the story starts here. In the meantime, I have sketched my impression of Frank (see below).
Frank, like all good frogs, was very good at responding quickly to things.
He saw things. He heard things. He felt things. He smelt things. He tasted things. All this before anyone else in the jungle saw, heard, felt, smelt or tasted anything. Frank was so quick that he almost knew things before they were things! Frank was amazing!
Frank liked to hop about – sometimes. He was a frog after all. A lot of the time, though, you’d find him sitting still on his favourite lily pad. Very quietly. Occasionally making a croaking noise. Just looking around. Blinking every now and then. Quiet. Peaceful. Still…
Before you knew it, he’d caught a fly! Before you even knew a fly was flying nearby, Frank knew.
There’s another one! Frank loved catching flies. None of the other animals in the jungle really liked flies. Which was just as well because Frank LOVED them! Frank was very good at catching flies and very fast! So even if any of his friends, say Gordon or Bernard or Barry, decided that they might like to try eating a fly – just once – well, they would never get a chance to. Frank would have caught it first.
It’s not that Frank was a selfish frog. He was willing to share the flies. He even tried his hand at baking and one day baked a batch of cookies. The animals in the jungle were very excited, thinking that the cookies looked like very yummy chocolate-chip cookies.
But, as they got closer to the pile of cookies arranged artfully on a nearby lily pad and garnished beautifully with a lotus flower, they smelt a funny smell. Actually, the smell wasn’t funny at all. It was awful! It turned out that the cookies didn’t have chocolate chips in them…those little black chunks in the cookies weren’t even raisins…well, you can probably guess what they were.
Still, it meant that Frank got to eat all the cookies himself. Which was just as well because Frank needed lots of energy being a rapid-fire response frog.
He certainly needed lots of energy on that particular day in the jungle.
There he was, sitting on his lily pad when, in the distance, he thought he heard…
Then he heard the beating of wings as Lucy and Lynette the Lamenting Lyre Birds took flight. He knew that when they started to sing, something wasn’t right. He wasn’t really listening to all the words they sung (they were going on a bit!) but he heard the words he needed to hear.
MONKEY! DOWN! Maurice the Fun-Loving Monkey must have fallen off his swing, onto the ground!
Frank leaped into the action! Because that’s what Frog’s do! He needed to leap into action! Someone needed to!
Within seconds he got a sense of the crisis at hand. Maurice the Fun-Loving Monkey was lying silently on the ground. Bernard and Barry the Data-Collecting Bears had assessed the past and present risks and were starting on the future contingencies. Gordon the Complicated Giraffe was simply crying silently as he stood by the tree looking down at Maurice.
Somebody needed to DO SOMETHING! And that somebody was Frank!
Frank politely waited for Lynette and Lucy to stop singing (they were still going on a bit!). Then he took charge and made things happen!
‘Bernard and Barry! Do you have contact details for Doris the Consistently Caring Duck?’
They answered in unison, ‘Why yes, we do!’
‘Good! Get a message to Lucy and Lynette and ask them to fly over to Doris on the other side of the pond! Tell them to deliver the message in one sentence, without embellishment and with no poetry whatsoever!’
‘Gordon! Stop crying and listen!’
Gordon sniffed, for his nose was running. ‘Yes?’
‘Gordon! Dry your neck (for his neck was slick with tears) and bend down here and let’s get Maurice safely up on top of your head.’
‘Why?’ (for Gordon was often asking ‘why?’ about life, the universe and everything)
‘Gordon, now is not the time to ask why. The simple fact is that you have very long legs and will reach Doris faster than the rest of us. Take Maurice to Doris and all will be well.’
Gordon was happy with that. He had been given a purpose, a vision, a plan. He had also been reassured that things could all be well again. He had hope!
So Gordon took a deep breath (which was very deep because he neck was very long), wiped the tears off his head and neck, bent down, lifted Maurice up on his head, and walked with vision and purpose to see Doris.
All would be well!
Frank’s work was done! Doris would be prepared for Maurice’s arrival and she’d look after his long-term recovery.
Frank could now hop back onto his lily pad and wait for the next exciting crisis situation. In the meantime…
He was feeling quite hungry after all that work.
Tune in for the next chapter when Doris will do what she does best, caring with great patience and skill. Please feel free to leave questions, suggested changes, critique about the feasibility of the story, or other editorial comments below. This is a work in progress.