The Creek That Croaked


It’s what the frogs would have wanted

This story is our second creative piece by Carraway Best.  

The two companions hopped up and down through the sea of towering pines. They were rather jovial as they each went along this way and that, letting the trees guide them. A cedar’s limbs would groan or an oak’s leaves would rustle, and the fellows would take that as nature’s counsel to carry on in a certain direction. This method of navigation left them wandering along the deer-hoof paved paths of the forest floor. They would take in all the splendor of their overgrown habitat, gazing at the woodland residents with boyish awe.

As they tramped along in the wilderness, the two entertained themselves with flights of fancy such as tossing pine cones back and forth, being careful to avoid the spinney prick of a freshly fallen conifer. When a moment’s game elicited some sort of excitement, one or the other would ribbit to his friend of what glee he felt. They also passed the time by holding competitions to see who could reach a treetop faster than his counterpart. Although the chums were swift from branch to branch, they often paid the price for their haste and would plunge downwards after a misplaced leap. When one did make such a lumbering mistake, the other would stick out his amphibian tongue in jest. 

Each of them shared a complexion not terribly different from a finely concocted split pea soup. This personal quality the pair thought little about. The contemplations their wart covered heads were concerned with, regarded the next place they would take a midsummer dip. Although the trees provided some relief from the sweltering heat, the two were still confoundingly thirsty by the time afternoon arrived. Both began to feel their skin drying, and their lids closing harshly against their moisture deprived eyes. This condition started to severely dampen their previously harmonious odyssey, until they came across a stupendous discovery.

Neither were carrying a thing with them, but if they had been, the fellows would have dropped their possessions in order to spring towards the ambient sound of rushing water. Within a few breaths, the companions found themselves in an astonishing scene of which their parched eyes could hardly fathom. A beautiful brook of crystal, clear running water trickled down the stone scattered slope. It smelled of morning dew, of deep green moss, of soil ripe for planting, and it glistened like a mirror. Just for an instant one of the two glanced downwards at his own reflection. Before he could make any substantial observation, his chum splashed in the image before him, thus ruining the makeshift looking-glass. This mischievous lark did not discourage either of them though, and they went on wading in the current.

Each of them would begin swimming with their two front arms out straight in a touching position, then they would fan their arms outwards and back. They would mimic this technique with their back legs as well. For a while, they were occupied with propelling themselves in the shallow, narrow river, but eventually both of them grew bored of this restricting body of water. So they set about on an industrious mission.

They got out of the water and began piling the surrounding rocks in a sort of wall structure. After boulders were piled high, they fashioned mortar out of mud from the canal’s bottom in order to close any remaining gaps. As the sun lowered into the horizon, the two stepped back from their work to admire their freshly constructed dam and watch the waterway’s liquid pool up.

In the span of a couple hours, the once slender stream had been transformed into a deep, lethargic lake. At this sight, the pair was incredibly pleased. With enthusiasm they jumped into their personally crafted pond. With the moon now hanging overhead, they could not contain their excitement and began to bellow out their most content croaks. “I haven’t swam like this since I was but a tadpole,” one of them declared in a throaty voice. Beyond that night, the creek flowed no more, yet the frogs were unbothered. They simply bathed and dreamt of the lily pads that might grow in their new home.