My answer to Duffy’s challenge using ludicrous swimmer and cauldron.
If you ever get down to the deep forest glades where all the well-trodden trails end, you are bound to stumble on smaller animal trails. They lie hidden under the great weeping willow trees, winding here and there through the currant patches and the dense forest underbrush. Many of them lead to the bubbling creek, but over on the south side are a few that lead to the still, swampy pools where the bullfrogs live.
Beecham the Bullfrog is the largest and loudest, and has the profound respect of all his fellows; but it was not always so. When he was a youngster, he just didn’t grow as fast as his cousins did, and was sorely plagued by the lot of them. They were many, too. Dozens and dozens of pollywogs had birthed that year. They swam and played in the warmth of the dappled pool behind the fallen old oak tree until their legs grew strong and firm, and they began crawling up on the lily pads to soak up the sun and learn everything frogs needed to know. That was where Beecham’s trials began.
Beecham just couldn’t seem to get the hang of jumping out of the water. He could crawl out, and he could dive in, but to leap straight out of the water seemed an impossible task. His aunts and uncles chided him, his father scolded him, and his brothers and cousins made his life miserable. Every time he tried to jump, one of them was there to knock him back in the water again. Soon they began chasing him cruelly. Beecham learned to use his strong hind legs to dive down instead of leaping up, in order to get away. He got so good at it, in fact, that he was able to escape them all; but how ridiculous he looked, diving instead of leaping! His father was ashamed of Beecham. “Look at him – ludicrous!” he’d say. “Beecham the ludicrous swimmer. He’s no son of mine!”
Poor Beecham spent most of his time alone, for he grew tired of being chased. He often wandered far from home, and learned the little trails and all the land surrounding them. He also learned of the rude hunter’s shack that stood in a clearing not too far away. It was a curious place, that empty shack, full of hard round cans and empty pots and wicked-looking pointy things that hurt when Beecham touched them. He didn’t understand what the place was, but one unique odor prevailed there that he smelled no-where else in the forest. It was the smell of Man, and though Beecham didn’t know that then, he remembered the smell.
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