“The Pond” by Hadrian Hazzlit

See that old house yonder? That house that stood apart from the rest of the dwelling-houses? Yes, that house with broken windows and collapsing roofs and walls covered in vines.
It was once a beautiful house, the most beautiful house of the village. But something sad and tragic happened in that house.
But our story did not happen in that house nor tragic.
Behind that dilapidated of a house was a pond, where the three children of the rich couple who once lived in that house used to play and swim. It was here that our story happened.
The parents were dead, and so were the children. They all died at the same night, and killed by the same masked man. This was a long time ago. But our story just happened a week ago.
Now the pond was surrounded with overgrown grass and prickly shrubs, and the water was muddy and reedy. Here and there in the water were also water lilies floating. No children would ever decide to swim in that pond again.
Upon a lily pad, floating in the middle of the murky water, crouched a female frog. On the bank, camouflaged among the leaves and grass, a male frog rustled and jumped into the pond; creating a ripple on his wake. Then a few seconds later, he emerged above the surface of the water and scrambled to the floating leaf not far from the other frog.
He bellowed a croak; the female frog produced a trill of a reply. Then the pond was filled with their racket.
How you wish you could understand a frog talk.
Here is the translation of their conversation:
“Isn’t it a fine early morning to tell a story?” the male frog said as a greeting.
“I could spare a moment of my time to hear one from you,” the female frog replied.
A moment’s thought, then he said: “Do you know the story of  ‘The Frog Prince?’
“I might’ve heard of it.”
“Would you believe me when I tell you I’m the Frog Prince?” Somewhere among the trees a bird twittered as if to give a comment of disagreement with the Frog Prince.
“Yes, I’m that Prince,” he added when he saw her disbelief.
“Forgive me,” she said, “if I offended you. But how can you be that Frog Prince of once upon a time, if we frog can only live for a short time, I wonder.”
“A reasonable doubt, I see. Now I quite understand your skepticism,” he said. “But it was a part of the curse that I should live forever– to suffer for what I’ve done a long, long time ago. Death will only have power against me if I turned back into human again.”
“Quite a story, it is!” she said indifferently. “And what have you done?”
A dragonfly fluttered and alighted near him. A stupid mistake to make. A flick of red, and the dragonfly found itself inside the frog’s mouth. He swallowed. “That tastes good.” He turned his attention back to her. “Seriously, you didn’t know my story.”
The female frog did not say anything. She just averted her gaze.
The male frog took it as a yes. “I insulted a witch. I told her what an ugly hag she was.”
She guffawed. “That’s rude of you, to say such things to a woman, witch or not.”
“I didn’t know she was a witch. I would not insult a witch, I know better. So affronted, she turned me into a frog, and after that she told me that only a kiss of true love can undo the spell.”
“And you never find your true love?” she said, though the answer was obvious.
“Do you think that a princess or a lady or even an old woman would kiss me even if I told them I’m a prince cursed by a witch?”
“I don’t think so.”
“I told a princess once, and do you know what she did to me?”
“She threw you at the wall,” she said, looking away.
“You know my story then.” she blushed, if that was even possible for a frog. “Never mind! Yes,  she threw me at the wall. I almost died that day.”
“Didn’t you turn into human again after she smashed you at the wall?”
“The story is all a lie. I didn’t know who started it. All I know is that I was almost killed by that horrible princess.”
“I’m awfully sorry for you,” she said sincerely.
“Because I almost died?”
“Because you didn’t find your true love.”
The Frog Prince was silent for a moment. Then he said, “I’ve found her already.”
“She’s right before me.” She looked away, blushing.
“You are the most beautiful frog I’ve ever met. And I’d be the luckiest frog if you marry me. Would you be my wife?”
Drank with flattery, the female frog consented. Then they both jumped into the dark water– the Frog Prince and his princess.

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