It was an unremarkable day, a day like most other were it not for the misty fog (which might explain some of what was to happen), when the lovely Princess Pea happened upon a warty toad in her palace garden. Perched on a moss ladened rock half submerged in the garden pond, the bumpy and warty toad might easily be mistaken for someone or something else. And, indeed, that is exactly what happened.
“Hello froggy!” exclaimed the excited Princess.
The toad did not reply since it was neither a frog nor one to engage in idle chit-chat.
Undaunted, the Princess leaned closer, a bright smile of friendship beaming across her face, and exclaimed much louder,
“I do say, HELLO FROGGY!”
Not being a frog nor a social critter did not mean the toad was without means to reason. And after a little bit of toad reasoning he concluded that he should either answer the Princess or simply jump away. Jumping might have been the wise thing to do, but this is not a story about a wise toad. To be honest he wasn’t looking forward to trying to find another moss ladened rock quite as comfortable as this one. And so after great thought the toad drew a deep breath and replied, “Toad”.
“Oh, so nice to meet you Mr. Toad Froggy!”
At this point in the narrative the corporate lawyers would like us to pause and reassure the reader that the characters in this story are all fictitious and even in general terms, as fictitious-not-real-characters, are not meant to denigrate or over generalize any race, gender, nationality, species, or sub-species. The characters could just as easily be an orange and a dust mote, although the dialogs and overall suspension of reality might be a bit more strained should that be the case.
Back to the garden.
The toad, seeing where this was going, limbered up his vocal tract and replied, “Not frog,” hoping that would settle the matter.
You may have not yet had the occasion to engage in dialog with a garden toad, so let us assure you that is not an altogether easy endeavor and the Princess was well within her rights to miss a few of the finer fricatives.
“And a fine Gna Frog you are, Sir!”
Not wishing to further the discussion of the frog’s lineage … they do tend to prattle so … the Princess continued,
“I was wondering, kind frog, if I might be so bold as to ask of you a great favor? When I was but a child my Great Nanner told me that a married woman who wants a child need only ask a frog such as yourself and her wish would be granted. Many years have passed and now that I am older and happily wedded I have been longing for a child to call my very own.”
The toad, still annoyed at being mistaken for a frog, was quite surprised. Frogs granting wishes for babies? What an absurd idea! Sure, he’d to cast a spell or two from time to time, but frogs being trusted with populating the world with human babies was simply too much to consider. Frogs were such simpletons; hardly a lucid thought stirred between tympanic eardrums from morning to night and yet they are entrusted with this? Why, a toad leads a much more diverse and interesting life, who better to undertake such a serious endeavor.
“I know it is very much to ask, Mr. Toad Frog, but we would be so much indebted to you for this one wish.”
“Beebee” he replied, a bit too hastily we might add, doing his best to think like a frog and casting an impromptu spell on the lovely Princess Pea.
The Princess smiled a lovely, knowing smile. She kissed the tip of her index finger and gently placed the finger between the toad’s eyes and whispered a gentle Thank You.
The toad watched her walk quietly out of the garden, a warm glow seeming to envelope her in the morning fog. A flicker of doubt itched at his mind and he pushed it aside …
What could go wrong?