In collaboration with Isaac L.(13 years old)
Once upon a time, there lived a little green frog in a small stream. Near the stream was a village and beyond it was a big, beautiful castle. A king and his queen lived in the castle. They had been married for many years but did not have any children.
One fine morning, Frog went hopping around in the village. As he reached the thick walls of the castle, he stopped. He was curious to know what was inside the fortified stronghold, so he made his way cautiously through the gates and past the sentries without getting crushed by human feet. Then he slipped into the keep through a small crack in the wall.
Once inside, Frog discovered a lot of wonderful places: the beautifully decorated bedrooms with exquisite tapestries lining the walls and lush oriental carpets covering the floors; a huge dining hall; an equally mammoth ballroom; a busy kitchen filled with the most marvelous smells and wonder of wonders, a well-stocked pantry. By far, this was his favourite room.
The aroma of ham set his round tummy growling for he was starving as he hadn’t had his breakfast. He hurled his sticky tongue out of his mouth and wrapped it around a slice of ham. Then he snapped it back and swallowed the food greedily. Closing his eyes in near reverence, he relished the rest of his meal slowly.
It was Frog’s habit to take a nap after a satisfying meal so he found his way out of the fort and into the lush garden. He could hardly contain his joy when he saw a pond. There was even a small bridge across the pond. With a mighty push from his powerful hind limbs, he glided through the air and landed neatly on a big leaf in the pond. He hid beneath the leaf to enjoy its cool shade and the crystal clear water. Flipping over onto his back, he closed his eyes in ecstasy and instantly drifted into Dreamland.
Sometime later, the king ambled into the garden without his usual imperial entourage. He stepped onto the bridge. He slipped, teetered for a moment and fell headlong into the pond. Frog was rudely awakened by the loud splash which scared him silly. The king’s fall into the water caused a tsunami that was of monstrous proportions to a tiny frog. It took several minutes for his little froggy heart to stop thumping. After getting over his initial shock, he quickly jumped to safety while thinking to himself that being a nimble fella was certainly a useful thing.
The king’s loud cries for help spurred Frog to glance at the direction of His Royal Person. Frog couldn’t fathom why the king was struggling in the water when it only reached his majesty’s chin. Was he stupid? Frog didn’t know that the king being pampered as he was, had never done anything more labourious than to feed himself. His valet dressed and undressed him, shaved him, clipped his fingernails and toenails for him, and bathed him while his ministers ruled in his stead. As he was never put in the position of thinking and fending for himself, the king was hopelessly lacking in the skills department of creative problem solving. He just couldn’t come up with the simple solution of wading out of the pond to reach dry ground.
Frog couldn’t imagine such a foolish king existed until one materialised right in front of his eyes. This one certainly didn’t have a lick of sense. Shaking his head in resignation, he reckoned that he wouldn’t be enjoying any peace if the king continued his absurd antics. If he had to be the sensible one then so be it.
He looked up at the castle and saw an opened window. Grumbling to himself, he hopped and leapt to try to get through the opening but he couldn’t reach the high window ledge. “Saving a slow-witted king is hard work!” he grouched. However, he was a rather persistent fella, so he refused to give up.
He continued to hop and leap. On his 18th attempt, he realised if he didn’t try something else, he would forever remain at the bottom of the window. He figured if he jumped onto a flower pot and hopped on top of a tall plant, it would give him more leverage. Carrying through with his plan, he landed successfully on the windowsill.
Frog looked into the room and discerned he had reached her majesty’s private parlour. Feeling rather proud of himself, he let out a loud victorious croak. It attracted the queen’s attention and gave her a startle. It also surprised her a fair bit for this was the first time she had a frog visitor.
The queen walked towards the window, said hello to Frog and then looked outside. She was amazed to see her royal husband in the pond but being smarter than he, she hastily called the castle guards to rescue him from drowning.
The king and the queen were so grateful to Frog that they made him their royal pet. The servants took very good care of him and served him sumptuous feasts every day. Everyone treated and spoiled him like a prince.
One night, the childless sovereigns prayed for a son. The royal guardian angel heard their desperate prayers and pleaded to the Almighty God on their majesties’ behalf. The very next day, the frog became a real prince. The king and the queen were delighted to have him for their royal son although his skin had a greenish tone. From that day onwards, the royal family of three lived happily ever after with their knights and servants.