Eleri felt like she had been walking for days. Remember, she was just a little kingfisher – who could fit in the palm of your hand – and she had to walk all the way down the winding path to the stream to find the wise, old frog. She really hoped he would be able to help her.
When Eleri made it to the edge of the stream she was worried. She had never seen a frog before so did not know where to look. She could see tiny pebbles in the stream and tiny fish too. She could see a feather floating. She could see the banks which reminded her of her own bank, her own tunnel. She wondered what her mother and father were doing now. Where her brothers were flying to in their new rainbow coats. Eleri waited at the stream because she did not know what to do next.
What would you have done, if you were her, to find the frog? She waited for what felt like forever and no wise, old frog appeared. She called out too: ‘Mr. Frog, are you here? I need your help!’ But no one answered.
Then Eleri remembered what the squirrel had told her: the old frog loves the shade and the water. Maybe he was actually in the stream? Eleri shuddered at the thought of having to walk into the water. She had not even gotten her feet wet in her own lake and worried it would be cold and unpleasant. But, she had already been waiting a long time and had already tried calling. What else could she do?
Eleri took a deep breath and started walking slowly down the bank until she reached the very edge of the stream. She lifted up her tiny kingfisher toe and held it over the water for a moment. You can do this, Eleri she said to herself. After another moment, she plunged her foot in. To her surprise the water was warm and pleasant.
Eleri walked into the stream and could feel the smooth rocks and pebbles under her feet. She could see that there was a shady part just over on the other side of the bank. Can you see it from where you are standing?
Eleri started walking this way when she heard something. It was a deep, strange sound.
Eleri turned around and saw a big frog jump out from a shady spot on the bank. He was nearly the size of her!
‘….Hello’ Eleri said shyly.
‘HELLO!’ The wise old frog said in his booming, croaky voice. ‘What brings a young kingfisher like yourself to my stream?’
‘Well’ Eleri said ‘I met some squirrels who told me you could help. You see, I need to get a pine needle from the top of a tree at the end of this path and I don’t know how to do it because I can’t fly in the woodlands because this is a test…’
‘to get your colourful feathers, right?’ The frog winked.
‘Yes, how did you know?’
‘Well, we wise frogs see and hear a lot around this reservoir. We are good lookers and good listeners.’
‘Oh.’ Eleri said. ‘Well, can you help me get this pine needle?’
‘Are you a good listener, young lady?’
‘Um, I think so.’
‘Well, tell me, what have you heard so far on your journey today?’ The wise, old frog asked.
Eleri thought for a moment. ‘Well, I heard my mother’s voice telling me about this test, and then I heard the sound of the water moving as I flew here, and then I heard scratching and shuffling, hooting and hollering, buzzing and beeping in the woods, and then I heard the squirrels chattering and you ribbit-ing and I think…that’s it?’
‘Ah, but have you heard the trees? Have you listened to what they have to say?’
Eleri was confused. ‘What do you mean?’
‘Shhh, just listen. Listen closely.’
Eleri looked up for a moment and tried to listen to the trees. She could hear lots of other sounds but not them and then SPLASH! The frog was gone. She looked around and called him and walked up the stream again but nothing. He really was gone.
Eleri walked back up the bank to the path, dried her feet and sat down. What was she going to do now? The frog didn’t help her get the pine needle at all. She did not know where to go or who to speak to now. At this rate she’d never get her colourf-
A quiet, soft sound floated towards her. Eleri looked up.
All the treetops started to bend and point towards the edge of the woodland. Eleri stood up and decided to follow them. You should go too.
(story by Christina Thatcher)