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Excerpt for Freddie Frog - A Sleepy Tale by , available in its entirety at Smashwords



Freddie frog

A Sleepy Tale


Michael Alick

Freddie Frog Copyright © 2018 by Michael Alick. All Rights Reserved.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short excerpts in a review. 

Cover designed by Zegit Media 



This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. 


Printed in the United States of America 

First Printing: 2018
Zegit Media 

ISBN-9781982967116

For my sons,

Aaron and Jacob

who always loved a sleepy tale before bed.

Home




IN THE BLINK OF A BULGING RED EYE Freddie’s mommy was gone, vanished from the shore of Pickford Pond. Just moments earlier she and Freddie finished a wonderful bug breakfast. First Freddie leapt into the water, enjoying the coolness against his hot skin. The morning sun beat on his mommy’s back and she too went into the pond.

It started out a great day, as the haze burned away Freddie and his mommy leapfrogged the entire way from their home to the pond. Freddie sits on the bottom near the shoreline where the water is shallow and looks up through clear green water to the sky. That’s when he sees a shadow on the pond’s floor and soon the arm of a human reaching into the water. Just as his mommy warned so many times, ‘When you see a human, hop, hop, hop away and hide until it’s gone,’ Freddie slipped under a rock. He patiently watched the arm on the surface. Then! All of a sudden the arm reaches into the water and grabs hold of something and pulls back. With the arm gone and no more shadow, Freddie goes to the surface. It was scary, he was scared, very scared, but he could hardly contain his excitement.

‘Mommy will be so proud of me,’ Freddie thinks.

But mommy is not on the shore. Freddie looks in the water and under a few rocks. She’s gone. He thinks maybe she went home and Freddie ventures back to their home only to not find her there. A thought came to him, a terrible thought he wished he didn’t have: the human took his mommy, just like a human took his daddy a few months ago. And while he missed his daddy a lot, he immediately missed his mommy just as much.

For the rest of the day, Freddie sits alone and crying. At dusk he hears his mommy say sweetly, ‘Here’s a juicy dragonfly, my dear Freddie.’ But she wasn’t there, it was just his imagination.

“I’m so unhappy!” Freddie shouts.

It is something Freddie says a lot but normally his mommy is there to say something to soothe his pain. No this time. Freddie hops back to the pond, it is almost dark and he wants one more look around the pond and shoreline. Perhaps he can find her, maybe she’s hurt, or was attacked, or the human changed his mind and threw her to the ground. Once at the pond Freddie circles it but sees nothing to indicate his mommy had been there. He stares into the pond, now dark and reflecting like a mirror. A sad face stares back at him.

“Why don’t you have friends?” The reflection asks.

“The other frogs make fun of me, they won’t play with me.”

“Maybe you haven’t tried hard enough.”

“Oh I have, I have!” Freddie says as tears flow. “Look at me.”

Unlike the other frogs in the hollow, Freddie is brilliant green, with an iridescent yellow belly and big bulging red eyes with black diamond-shaped pupils. The biggest standout is his feet: dark green, almost black with webbing, like a duck, between his toes.

Other animals, especially frogs, teased him making ‘quack-quack’ sounds when Freddie came near. They made fun of his skin color, bulging red eyes and unusual feet. It makes Freddie sad and he’d go home crying; his mommy would say, ‘There is nothing wrong with you Freddie. The others are jealous because they’re so drab and you’re so magnificent.’

It made Freddie feel better but only a little. Friends were the answer. Oh, yeah, I just know that’s it! Freddie thought about going off to find friends in the forest but never told his mommy, she’d be too upset and worried. In all of Farnsdorf Hollow, a small part of the forest park system crossing the county, there are others who will be my friends. Freddie knows it, feels it. And now, he could go and do it. Why stay around the pond where everyone makes jokes at his expense.

When Freddie daddy disappeared, Freddie asked his mommy if he would come back.

“I’m afraid that we will not see your daddy again. When humans take frogs, they disappear forever.”

“I don’t like humans!” Freddie shouted!

On the night his mommy disappeared, Freddie fell asleep thinking about his parents. Mommy calls him lucky, lucky Freddie but how can you be lucky when you don’t have a father? Or a mother? The memories of his daddy fade each day and Freddie worries that one day he won’t remember his daddy at all. Would the same happen with his mommy?

He cried himself to sleep and dreamt of playing in the pond as four frogs came to the edge. They played hide-and-seek and didn’t know Freddie was on the pond’s floor. Freddie rolls in the mucky bottom and is covered with dull brown mud when he comes onto the shore. The other frogs look at him, not recognizing the bright colorful Freddie and ask him to join them in play. But as Freddie hops the mud falls from his body, having quickly dried from the noonday sun. By the time Freddie reaches the others he is his original self and the other frogs begin to hop at him landing on him and hurting him.

“You’re a freak Freddie!”

‘I’m a freak,’ Freddie silently agreed.

“No one likes you Freddie Frog.”

“Yeah. No one likes you.”

“Why don’t you just hop off into the forest?”

When the four frogs hopped away, Freddie sat and cried again. He was tired of crying, tired of being afraid, tired of being teased, and tired of being alone – being alone, that is the worst of all.

He collected himself and sat eating some earth worms while imagining a great adventure in the dark scary forest. A world of friends awaited him; they had to be there. Friends he could play with, friends who wanted to play with him, friends who never called him names or made him feel sad.

The next morning just as the sun appeared, the mist still covered the pond, and fog hugged the forest floor, Freddie set off stopping just at the edge of the forest. He looked in and saw darkness, it looked foreboding and scary. He turned to look at the lake, quiet and calm.

“I’ll miss you,” he says and hops into the dense woods.

His feet hurt soon after he’s gone just a few hundred feet. The forest’s floor is covered with branches fallen from trees and while he’s very light, the branches dig into the webbing and pinch. No one saw Freddie leave. The only way anyone would even know would be to follow his tiny footprints which are so small, no one was likely to notice.

Freddie marveled at the height of the trees, the thick bushes although the ones with needles hurt when he accidentally hopped off course. Fantastic, he thinks, and scary, new and dangerous with some many other animals lurking among the trees. Bravely, he continues on fast as he could.


Farnsdorf Hollow is a popular spot for picnickers, hikers and families to enjoy nature. Near the pond is a large picnic area with tables and grills and at one of the tables a family is setting up their afternoon picnic. It takes a while to set the table, pin the tablecloth, set up paper plates and cups and the special grill the family brought. They couldn’t use the one in the park itself, no telling what had been cooked on it previously.

As the husband and wife and one son work on the picnic, a small boy, their other son, is playing near the water’s edge collecting shiny rocks. His eyes light up when he sees tiny footprints.

‘Maybe it’s a baby dragon!’ The small boy thinks, hopefully.

Curious, the small boy begins following them toward the forest. He is excited thinking it may be a dragon for they were his favorite animal. How great would it be to find one? In his mind, he saw a tiny dragon drinking water from the pond and cooling off its snout.

When he got to the forest, the small boy looks at his parents and calculates he’d only be gone a short time and takes a giant step into the woods. He walks fast trying to catch up.

Up ahead, Freddie is taking huge leaps, almost like he’s flying. He smiles with every jump. The forest shade made it cooler than out in the sun, Freddie liked that. Every now and then, he search big green leaves to find caterpillars and bugs that made tasty snacks.

“Yum!” Freddie shouts after his tongue reels in a purple bug. He is eating a long worm when he hears a noise close by and getting closer. Freddie hops under the biggest leaf he could find to hide pretty sure he was hearing a human noise.

As he sat quietly, the sound stopped. It is right next to him. Human feet. Freddie sees them, shoes the color of his own feet.

‘The small humans like to take frogs home with them,’ he remembers his mommy saying.

‘But why?’

‘The small ones are children and when they see a frog, they think it is lost and so they take them home to take care of them.’

‘That doesn’t seem so bad,’ Freddie said.

‘Maybe. But I will never see you again.’

That did it. Freddie begins crying. The feet move closer to the leaf he’s hiding under and stops. It’s quiet for a while and the feet move off. Freddie waits before coming out in the open. Slowly, cautiously, he takes one hop, then another. Panic and fear fill him. He sees a small boy with red hair and funny round cap sitting on a rock crying. Freddie hops closer and stares at the boy who hasn’t seen Freddie yet.

“Are you crying?” Freddie asks.

The small boy is startled and looks down at the little frog.

“Maybe,” the small boy says.

“I cry too,” Freddie says.

The small boy just stares, looking fearful and sad. Freddie leaps high into the air! Again and again, until the boys starts laughing.

“You look funny,” the boy says. “Like you’re flying.”

“I know, it’s very cool don’t you think?” Freddie asks.

“Yes.” There is a short pause. “I was following a dragon.”

“A dragon!”

“Yes, a baby dragon I think. I was following some tiny tracks and well they disappeared.” The small boy looks embarrassed but continues, “I was pretending to be a knight chasing a dragon. But I guess I got lost. And there’s no dragon.”

“You don’t know how to get back?”

“No. I’ve never been in the woods before,” the small boy says, starting to cry.

“This is my first time in the forest,” says Freddie.

Children take frogs! Echoed in Freddie’s his mind but he felt sorry for the small boy. If I help him, maybe he’ll be my friend.

Freddie looks up at the small boy and says, “Come with me on my adventure!”

Without waiting Freddie hops away deeper into the woods.

“Wait! Don’t leave me alone!” The small boy runs to catch up with Freddie. “What adventure are you on?”

“I am out to find friends.”

“Here in the woods? Are they lost too?”

“Yes,” says Freddie. “I mean, no! They’re not lost. I want to find new friends.” He starts hopping away again with the small boy right behind him.

The forest is growing brighter as they travel along and soon they reach the edge and are out in an open field. There is a black trail and the forest continues on the other side.

“Hmmm,” Freddie says thinking. “Everyone must be on the other side.”

“But this is a road,” the small boy says. “It’s dangerous. We can’t go across without an adult. We’ll get hit by a car.”

Roads and cars are unfamiliar to Freddie and he is already halfway across standing on a yellow line when he stops to see if the small boy is with him.

“Come back!” The small boy is shouting furiously. He sounds quite scared.

“What’s wrong?” Freddie asks.

At that moment a car speeds past Freddie so fast he is lifted off the ground. Freddie soars into the air and lands on soft grass on the other side of the road. Looking across, he sees the small boy sitting in the grass.

“Bye, froggie. I’m going to stay here and wait for a car to stop. Maybe someone will help me get home.”

The small boy buries his face in his hands. It feels wrong to just leave him, Freddie is thinking, but I want to find friends. He’s not sure what to do. I can’t leave him alone; Freddie decides hopping back across the road. When they are face to face, Freddie says quietly, “I’ll find friends another day. Let’s get you home.”

“I’ll be your friend,” the small boy says.

They start back through the woods, Freddie leading the way, happy and proud that he chose to do the right thing. His mommy’s voice says, ‘when you put someone else’s needs before yours that is something to be proud of.’

His mommy would be proud of him today. But for Freddie, there was something else he thought. If humans took frogs maybe they take children too. He could not let that happen to his new friend. Even though he’s going back to where everyone makes fun of him, it was a great adventure; one he could tell his mommy; then he realized she would not be there when he got back. He will never be able to tell her about anything he does. It brought tears and Freddie stopped for a moment.

“Are you okay?” The small asks.

“Yes, happy and sad.”

“I understand,” the small boy says smiling.

A few minutes later Freddie perked up.

“I can smell the pond. We’re very close!”

Just then a young couple approached. The man is tall and dressed all in black. Freddie is a bit afraid of the man with a long beard and black hat. The woman wore a long skirt and a funny scarf over her head. Freddie hopped under a bush for safety.

The small boy ran toward the couple.

“Abba, Eema!” the boy shouts as the man scoops him up and the two adults smother him in kisses and hugs.

“We were so worried.”

“I’m sorry Eema.”

“Oh, you’re here with us now that’s all that matters.”

Freddie watches as they continue to hug the small boy and kiss his forehead. The father is saying, “Baruch Hashem!” over and over. After a while, the small boy is set down on the ground and they start to walk to the picnic area.

The small boy is excited and talking fast telling his parents about the little frog that helped him.

“He helped me get back. I was lost. I didn’t want to cross the road but he already did and he came back to help me even though he wanted to find friends on the other side of the road.”

“Whoa, whoa, slow down,” the father says. “Where is this little frog?”

Freddie hops onto the path at the parents’ feet.

“That’s him!” The small boy shouts.

“Quite unusual,” the father says picking Freddie up. “I don’t remember ever seeing a frog this color. And look, it has red eyes.”

“We have one in the lab,” the woman says. “Alan found one a few days ago. We’re studying it now.”


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