So-Slow the Frog

    “So-Slow the Frog,” Friend, May 1972, 2

    So-Slow the Frog

    Georgie began his life as a little black egg in a crystal-clear ball of jelly and grew very, very slowly.

    He was slow to grow his tail and slow to nibble at the jelly for his meals.

    He was slow to grow his front legs and even slower to grow his back legs.

    Everyone called him So-Slow, but he didn’t mind—at least not while he was a tadpole.

    But he was sad the day he lost his tail and became a real frog, because real frogs can jump and So-Slow didn’t know how to jump. Everyone in Green Pond laughed at him.

    So-Slow went to his mother. “Mother, I can’t jump,” he cried.

    “Just try,” his mother croaked.

    So-Slow went to his father. “Father, I can’t jump,” he sobbed.

    “Well, try,” his father croaked.

    “I have tried,” groaned So-Slow.

    “Try harder,” advised his father.

    So-Slow swam across the weedy pond. He was quite a good swimmer. “If only I could jump,” he said to himself.

    After scrambling onto a shiny green lily pad, So-Slow decided he was going to jump. So he perched himself right on the edge of the leaf and pushed and pushed, but he only fell head first into the cold still water.

    Shrieks of laughter came from the frogs all around. “Did you see that mighty jump!” they roared.

    So-Slow climbed back onto the swaying lily pad. He smiled at the other frogs, although he felt like crying. A moment later he tried again. This time So-Slow managed to go in feet first. Again and again he kept trying to jump—climbing out and then trying again.

    The other frogs soon grew tired of watching and laughing. Since So-Slow did not seem to notice them anyway, it was not much fun laughing at him.

    By sundown that evening, So-Slow could make a tiny jump instead of a slither. He could tell by the noise in the water that he was doing better. His jump was more splashy.

    The next morning So-Slow was up before anyone else. He had practiced jumping a long time when the first frog appeared. Now So-Slow could spring from one green lily pad right over a little water and onto another lily pad.

    “Pooh!” said the other frogs. “All that practice and you still can’t jump as far as we can!”

    So-Slow said nothing. I won’t stop practicing, he thought, until I can jump right over the pond. No one else can do that.

    His mother and father watched So-Slow every day. They were very proud of him because he was trying so hard.

    One wet day when raindrops were spattering spotted patterns onto the pond, a loud voice was heard above the rain. It was Jamie the Jumper. “The cat,” Jamie shouted. “The cat’s after us. Help!”

    So-Slow trembled. He was afraid of the cat, but he knew someone should do something. Should I? he wondered.

    “I will,” he decided.

    Climbing quickly onto the bank, he put his feet down firmly in the grass and took a deep breath. Then jump! So-Slow soared right over the pond and landed almost on the cat’s nose. The cat was so frightened that it took off over the field.

    The cheering of the frogs was so loud that the noise was heard at Farmer Miller’s duck pond miles away.

    After that Georgie was never called So-Slow again.

    And as for the cat—it stayed on the farm with the mice!

    Illustrated by Charles Quilter