By David Madrid
Art by Juliet Welsh
The two friends hiked near the lagoon. They were on a grand adventure.
The air was clean. The sun was bright. Somewhere a toad croaked. The boys were happy to be free.
As they walked deep into the reeds that grew along a crooked trail, they came to a clearing where they met a frog.
He wasn’t just any frog. He was a big old ugly green frog.
Never had the boys seen such a frog; he was huge, about the size of an ape, and he looked sad.
The big old ugly green frog sat on a giant lily pad wiping at gooey frog tears. The boys had never seen such sad eyes. The eyes didn’t seem amphibian to them. They seemed almost human.
“What’s wrong big green frog?” Max asked. He was too polite to call him old and ugly.
“Ribbit,” answered the frog.
“Can we help you?” Zack asked.
“Ribbit,” was the forlorn response. The eyes got sadder.
“Are you hungry? Do you need more bugs to eat?” Max asked.
“Ribbit,” was the answer, but the eyes said no.
“I know!” Max said. “He’s really a prince and he needs a princess to kiss him so he can become a prince again.”
“Ribbit,” said the frog brightening up. His eyes said yes.
“That’s it,” Zack said. “Don’t worry frog. We won’t let you down.”
So off the boys went in search of a princess. They searched high, and they searched low. They put an ad in the paper. They searched the Internet.
Finally, they found a princess. She agreed to meet the boys after school on the football field.
When the final bell rang the next day, Max and Zack ran to the football field. There on the 50-yard line was the most beautiful girl they had ever seen.
“Hi,” she said. “My name is Xala (pronounced Shala). I’m an Aztec princess.”
The boys didn’t doubt her. Only a princess could look like that.
The boys told her about the frog.
“I hate frogs. They are so creepy,” Xala said. “I suppose you need me to kiss this frog.”
“He is a prince. He told us so,” Max said.
So they went to the lagoon, found the zigzagging trail and walked among the reeds until they came to the clearing and the big old ugly green frog on the giant lily pad.
“Ewww. That’s the biggest oldest ugliest greenest frog I’ve ever seen,” a repulsed Xala said. “I can’t kiss that.”
But she was intrigued by the eyes. There was something about those eyes. They looked almost human.
“Are you really a prince?” Xala asked.
“Ribbit,” answered the frog. His eyes said yes.
“Will a kiss turn you into a prince,” she asked.
“Ribbit,” verified the frog.
Those eyes. Sad-looking frog eyes that looked almost human peered into Xala’s soul. She was convinced that only a prince could have eyes such as these.
They were the eyes of the handsomest prince ever. Of that she was certain.
So the princess leaned over and kissed the frog on his big amphibian lips. She stepped back and eagerly awaited the transformation.
The frog began to laugh.
“Ha, Ha, Ha. You kissed a frog,” he said to the princess. “You’re going to get warts on your lips and your face. You’ll be the ugliest princess ever. Oh Ha, Ha, Ha. I fooled you all.”
Xala looked at the frog, whose eyes were definitely amphibian now. They were mean eyes. She looked at the boys, who were clearly horrified.
“The joke is on you,” the princess said to the frog. “I’m not really a princess, and I have cooties. Now you have cooties too, and everyone knows cooties make frogs go cross-eyed. How will you snatch a fly out of the air if you’re cross eyed? Ha, Ha, Ha.”
The frog screamed in horror at the thought of crossed eyes, and he dove into the water never to be seen again.
“You aren’t a princess?” Zack asked. The boys’ confusion deepened at the thought of a double betrayal, first from the frog and then the fake princess.
“Yes, I really am a princess, and I don’t have cooties,” Xala assured them. “I lied to the frog to teach him a lesson. What lying eyes he had.”
“But you will get warts on your face, and it’s our fault. We’re sorry,” Max said.
“I won’t get warts. That is an old wives’ tale,” Xala said. “And don’t fret the kiss. Sometimes a princess must kiss a few frogs before she finds a real prince.”
© 2013 FabulousFables.com
Email: David Madrid