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Stories

Froko and Lettuce
By: Jenni Cargill-Strong

One night, when my son Tamlyn was just a baby, I was putting him to sleep, and I looked up at the window and in the golden glow of the bedside lamp, I could see a baby green tree frog- clinging quite easily- to the outside of our bedroom window.

I had never seen such a tiny frog so close up and I had never seen one stuck to glass before. I could see it’s pale belly, the perfect outline of its toes and its little face looking in at us.

I squealed in delight, picked up Tamlyn and showed him the baby frog. We didn’t see him again until the next Summer when he appeared in the kitchen sink. He had grown a little bigger, just as Michael had.

Every Summer the little frog came back and every Summer he and Tamlyn had both grown. By the time my boy could talk he named the frog ‘Froko’. Froko got too big to stick to the glass, when he tried he’d just slide down. He loved to eat cockroaches in our kitchen late at night. We’d hear a splat noise in the kitchen and we’d know Froko had arrived. Sometimes he’d sit on one of our home grown pumpkins and sometimes he’d hide behind the toaster.

If Tamlyn put his hand out, Froko would hop on and stay there for ages. Sometimes he’d hop onto Tamlyn s head and he’d even stay there a while as Tamlyn carefully walked around the house.
But usually if anyone else put their hand out he’d hop away.

When it rained, we’d hear Froko and his friends singing happily and loudly in the downpipes.

One day we found out that you shouldn’t touch frogs in case you give them frog fungus, which is harmless to us but deadly to frogs, so we stopped handling him then.

One Summer, we went away for a week. We closed up everything, except the kitchen window, so Froko could come and go. My niece from the city came to stay in our house. We left long instructions about Froko and that she mustn’t close the toaster cupboard or close the kitchen window.

But she was in a hurry to leave and wanting to take good care of our house she closed everything up as you do in the city. When we got home I opened the toaster cupboard and got a terrible shock for there, behind the toaster was one very shriveled, very still little Froko. He was so dried out, he looked like he’d been sundried. His outer layer of skin was hanging off him like a baggy coat. He looked so stil, I thought at first he was dead! I shrieked and everyone came to look.
"Oh no please don’t let Froko be dead!" We all thought.

Carefully we filled the sink with cool filtered water, put Froko in it and said a few prayers.

Within a few minutes Froko had swelled up to nearly his normal size and opened his eyes. We all sighed with relief when later that day he hopped away looking fine, though a bit skinnier than usual.

The next Summer, Ruby came in to tell us that she had taken a frog to the vet because it had a terrible gash in one arm that it was nearly falling off. She thought a dog or a cat had probably tried to eat it but the frog had escaped. The vet said she couldn’t sew it back on so she put the frog to sleep and carefully and neatly cut the leg off. The little frog healed quickly and got around very well.

Some weeks later, Froko turned up in our kitchen with another green tree frog. It was smaller than him and only had three legs Tamlyn and Layla said it had to be the one Ruby had rescued. Tamlyn who had learned all about frogs from Ruby announced that it was a girl frog, so Layla named her ‘Lettuce’.

One night we saw Froko sit mouth to mouth with Lettuce - almost like a very still kiss and we wondered if this frog was Froko’s girlfriend.

Froko and Lettuce visited us for another few years and each year we were relieved to see them for we knew they faced many dangers out in the world.

On Tamlyns eighth Summer, Froko and Lettuce spent hardly any time in our kitchen. The next Summer we waited hopefully, but they never appeared. Green tree frogs can occasionally live up to thirty years in captivity, but in the wild they live much shorter lives. We were quite sad when Froko and Lettuce didn’t come back, but then something happened to cheer us up.

Two baby frogs started appearing at our window and then in our kitchen. We like to think they are the babies of Froko and Lettuce.

This Summer, we made our own little frog ponds at the back step. We bought some very big pottery pots, sealed the bottom and filled them with rainwater, water weed and a lotus plant for them to hide under. The sides of the pots are high enough to keep low jumping cane toads out, and we put a thick stick in each- to help frogs hop in and out.

Froko and Lettuce’s children are about two now. We are hoping that one day, they may even raise tadpoles in our little frog ponds. Then we may hear the pitter- patter- splat of baby frog footsteps - of Froko and Lettuce’s grandchildren, great grandchildren and great, great grandchildren!

***
Story by J.R.Cargill © Nov, 2009 Find Jenni’s stories at Amazon.com.

Author Information:
Name: Jenni Cargill-Strong
Website: http://www.storyteller.net/tellers/storytree
All stories are under the copyright of the author. Do not use without written permission.

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