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The Singing Toad and the Handsome Chameleon

By: Andrew P.
California, Age 13

Once upon a time, there lived a singing toad, Jumpy, and a handsome chameleon, Leon. They both were great friends and never argued or hurt each other until one day when a pretty salamander came by.
˘That salamander will be my lover,÷ Jumpy said, ˘I will get her by singing her a lovely tune.÷ However, at the same time Leon happened to be walking on the other side of the salamander.
˘That salamander will be mine,÷ Leon said, ˘I will attract her by my good looks.÷ As the two friends came closer, they noticed each other. The toad saw that his chance to take the salamander was now. Jumpy sang as loud as he could. The salamander heard the lovely tune and came to the toad. Leon saw what had happened. As the couple went off and disappeared into the woods, Leon grew angry.
˘I will get him,÷ Leon said to himself, ˘someday, I will get the salamander and get revenge on Jumpy.÷
The next day, Jumpy and the salamander, Beauty, went for a walk in the forest. Leon stalked the two as they gracefully strode together. He camouflaged into anything that he treaded over. The couple suddenly stopped, lied down, and started taking out food out their leaf basket.
˘So this must be a picnic,÷ the stalker thought to himself. Leon stopped got a small fire burning and took out a piece of the burning wood and waited.
˘I will get some more berries.÷ Beauty said.
˘IĂll stay right here,÷ the toad replied, ˘IĂll set up the rest of the food.÷
Leon saw that this was the perfect opportunity. He leaped out of hiding place and shoved the burning wood down his throat. Then, he dragged him over into the bushes and tied him up. He then returned to the picnic place and saw the salamander was waiting there.
˘Hello,÷ she said to Leon, ˘have you seen my friend Jumpy?÷
˘Yes,÷ Leon replied, ˘he was snatched up by a snake and eaten whole.÷ And then Leon began to fake a cry. As the toad heard what his former friend had said, he tried to yell that it wasnĂt true, but only a deep croak came out. The fire had mangled his vocal chords, so he lost his singing talents. That is why today frogs can only give off an ugly sounding croak.
˘Help!÷ the toad croaked, ˘IĂm in the bushes!÷ No one heard what he had said.
The following day, Beauty and Leon met each other again in the town and started talking and became friends. Since the chameleon had looks that were impossible to resist, Beauty wanted an intimate relationship with Leon. The chameleon was so happy that he bought the salamander all the valuables he can afford.
In the same day, toad was tied up in the bushes and was hungry. Then suddenly, a hawk had spotted Jumpy. The hawk licked its chops and then sped down. Jumpy waited for the hawk to come close. As the hawk was about to strike, he jumped as high as he could. The hawk hit the rope he was tied to instead of hitting the toad. It was shredded apart. He wriggled free of the rope and headed for home.
Back in the town, Leon and Beauty were walking with each other, hand-in-hand, side-by-side. They found a nice tree to sit under.
˘What a great day it is,÷ Leon said, ˘nothing could have been better.÷ As this was happening, toad was silently sitting on the top of the tree.
˘IĂll get my revenge on that brat!÷ Jumpy thought to himself.
The day went on. Wherever the couple went, Jumpy slowly followed. At last, the two lovers stopped at the bottom of the hill. They were having a friendly conversation. The stalking toad was at the top of the hill next to a boulder.
˘I will destroy chameleonĂs good looks,÷ he thought to himself. He pushed the huge rock with all his might. And down it went. Beauty dodged it, but Leon was too busy looking at her. The boulder hit him in the middle of his face. The force hit so hard that it sent the eyes to the opposite sides of the head and flattened out his mouth. That is why chameleons today look like that. The salamander saw how ugly Leon has become so she left him that day.
The day after, the two friends met. They saw how badly they had crippled each otherĂs pride, so they apologized and went on to see how Beauty was doing. As they neared her dwelling place, they saw a male salamander at her door. He had great looks and a lovely voice. The friends got jealous, so they started to march toward their house, but Leon stopped him and his comrade.
˘You can see, we have no chance against that salamander,÷ he said, ˘we have killed each otherĂs charming features. Sadly, Beauty would definitely choose the male salamander instead of us.÷ This seemed logical to Jumpy. Without much hesitation, they started back home.

 

Author's comments

Nice. You capture the folktale mode well. Jealousy is a great destroyer and of frienships and beauty but it is part of the way the world is --folktales don't pull punchyes-- they show things as they are -- and makes us who we are, too. All this is in your tale.

You handles some painful -- even disturbing things head-on with some scarily vivid details. (Poor toad's throat! Ouch!!).

The moral is implicit too without ever jumping out and hitting us the head and squishing our eyes out to the side -- neither of the two friends really were as beautiful as they thought. They had to learn about who they were and find out about their own -- and each others'-characters in action, in life.

At the end they were sadder and wiser perhaps.

And Miss Salamander did end up with an appropriate partner.

One final question. Do we need to resort to logic at the very end? Is there another word or term of conclusion? Was it logical? Could they express some emotion? Laugh? accept the truth of what they have experienced?

Then again, let me I'll question my ownb question. If you leave it as is there's a nice irony after all! Maybe they still don't quite ''get it'' and think that somehow they still might deserve Miss Salamander.Connected as friends, but still somewhat deluded, they head off once again. You're the author and maybe you know better than I do! So I'll think about it, too!!

A nice, clear and interesting little folktale.

Enjoy reading and writing! The more you read the more your own imagination will come alive in its own ways!


With friendship and best wishes from author Rafe Martin