The Tale of Freddy The Frog
Freddy was a frog, as beautiful and as handsome as a frog could be. well, at least his mother thought so.
The truth is, Freddy looked just like all the other frogs in the swamp. Much like everything in the swamp, His emerald green skin was covered in brown slime. The only reason he knew his skin was emerald green was because his granny had told him so.
Her name was Sophia, and she often spoke of the good old days of lake adamah, before it became a swamp. Back when the beautiful emerald green frogs were happy and could croak all day if they wanted and were, well, emerald green. Back before the Phobo factory opened.
Sophia was as wise as any of the elders in the swamp, and she often told Freddy stories of how beautiful the lake was, how clean the water was and how happy everyone was.
But when the factory came along to the northern edge of the lake things began to change. Initially some of the elders were in favor of the factory. The water will be warmer some said, there will be more food others said, I’m not so sure said Sophia. But there was little anyone could do to stop it anyway.
The water did get warmer, but It didn’t take long for the moss and the algae to start growing faster and faster. And as the moss and the algae grew so the water got darker and darker, and before long one couldn’t even see more than a few inches ahead.
Then the frogs found it harder and harder to spend much time under water, they needed more and more time breathing at the surface, and all of this made the frogs quite fearful.
You see, at the surface they were always at risk of being eaten by the ever present herons that constantly scoured the swamp for food. In the darkness underwater they were constantly afraid of being eaten by the fish that tormented them as tadpoles and if they left the lake they risked being eaten by the snakes that lay in wait in the reeds.
And so in this fearful malaise the entire colony of frogs slowly become disagreeable, despondent and depressed.
Never-the-less, Freddy was an optimist by nature, he liked to see the good in people and looked for the silver lining in any cloud. Every evening after the sun had set and the predators had gone to sleep, the call to croak would ring out and all the frogs would go to the surface to croak, Freddy would be the first one up and would sing the loudest and with the most enthusiasm. And then, when he grew tired of croaking, liked to sit and listen.
Somehow, over the hum of croaking from around him, Freddy thought he could hear other frogs croaking off in the distance, a beautiful haunting sound that came from out beyond the phobo factory.
His friends just ridiculed him when he mentioned it. His parents thought he was crazy and once, when he asked what was beyond the swamp and the elders had quickly warned him to never venture near the factory because otherwise death was certain.
Freddy learnt to keep his thoughts and his dreams to himself, but he never stopped wondering about the beautiful croaking he heard of in the distance when he sat quietly and listened.
One day, as Freddy sat on the bottom of the swamp, he saw a cloud drifting closer in the water. His friends bolted for cover while Freddy looked for the silver lining. And there it was, the cloud turned into the most beautiful rainbow colour as a magnificent trout by the name of Taekijan swam slowly passed.
No one had seen a fish in these waters for ages and Freddy was most eager to ask him where he had come from. “Excuse me, Excuse me” shouted Freddy. Taekijan could barely see him through the dark water.
“Who are you? Where have you come from, where are you going?”
Taekijan explained that he came from the source of the river, the lake at the pure spring up beyond the foul factory and its effluent of fear. He explained how there was a lake so pure and so beautiful but to get there, Freddy would need to face his fears and leave the familiarity of the swamp and his colony.
That night, when the call to croak rang out and all the frogs dutifully croaked away, Freddy made his way to the northern end of the colony and sat in silence. As he sat, he listened, he listened carefully and now more than ever he was convinced he could hear a beautiful mysterious croaking coming from the distance.
That night he couldn’t sleep, he knew he couldn’t tell anyone and he also knew that he could no longer stay in the swamp without at least trying to reach the lake. There had to be something better than this dark swamp with its fearful frogs and dark predators.
The next morning when everyone went off to their usual feeding grounds, Freddy took off. He carefully made his way beyond the borders of the colony and on towards the factory as Taekijan had instructed. The further he went, the darker it got and this is how he knew he was on the right path. The darker it got, the more afraid he became. Maybe the elders were right, maybe there are more fearsome predators here? Then he thought once more of the beautiful melodic croaking he had heard from the source.
Eventually, he could swim no further and climbed out the muddy bank of the swamp. Up ahead he could see a pipe pouring a dark and steaming liquid into the lake, and just beyond, a small clear flowing stream, just as Taekijan had promised.
Moving became incredibly difficult, the mud was thick and sticky, the reeds made seeing difficult and the hot sun baked down on his sensitive skin.
Then, all of a sudden, something caught his eye. What was that? The reeds had moved to his left, he was sure of it. He was too far from the water but not quite protected by the vegetation. There it was again, was it just the wind? Was that just a stick?
Akatharta the snake.
Freddy jumped just in the nick of time, then jumped again, and again, and again. He kept moving until he was past the pipe and at the stream. Only then did he stop to look back.
He couldn’t see the snake, but the path seemed clear. He was quite amazed at how far he had come.
Then he turned to look at the clear water in the stream, and it was only then that he saw his reflection for the first time. In the clear water of the pure stream from source he could see his muddy skin, brown and dirty from a life lived in the swamp. He felt ashamed as didn’t like what he saw. His grandmother had always told him how beautiful he was, and now it was quite clear that he wasn’t.
But Freddy was determined to reach his goal, and as he dived into the stream to continue his journey upwards the water gently cleansed him. Without him even realizing it, every stroke he took towards source cleansed him of slime and the grime from the swamp.
By the time he reached the source it was evening and all the frogs had come out to croak. He could see the fresh spring water pouring like a fountain from a cliff face. They all looked so beautiful, shining with their emerald green skin under the rising moon. They welcomed him warmly and invited him to join them in their croaking.
They explained that they had been calling for the frogs from the swamp to join them for ages, but no one seemed to hear them.
He promised to join in their beautiful song and sang it with gusto now hearing it clearly for the first time, come home, come home, come home.