Here’s another installment of my book-in-progress, Grandma’s Masks. If you missed the previous installment on July 24th, click here to read it. Or click the Serial Fiction tab to read all the previous posts of Grandma’s Masks. Today you might find out how to leap like a frog – or will you?
Frog pulls the old woman to her feet and they both stand on the seat of the canoe. “Hold hands,” Frog commands, and grabs the old woman’s hand with his long fingered green one. It feels cool and damp and sticky.
“Now stretch those toes,” he directs, and the old woman feels her toes stretching, stretching, until they are as long as frog toes. She splays them wide and presses them hard into the seat of the canoe, anchoring herself firmly.
“Bend your knees,” calls Frog, and they squat down low. The old woman’s bottom brushes the canoe seat. “Now thrust upward and stretch!” Frog says, and they stretch their legs out to the farthest length they can go, which to the old woman’s surprise is very far indeed – she can see the tops of the trees!
“Squat again down low,” says Frog, and they go down again. “Now up again,” he calls, and up they go, this time stretching even further – now the old woman can see over the trees.
“Down!” says Frog, then “Up! We are getting ready to jump,” he says. “Practice! Practice!”
Up Down, Up Down, Up Down, they go, practicing, practicing. Every time they go up the old woman can see the course of the river, the whole river system going down to the sea. The sea is getting closer and closer. She can see that they are approaching the mouth of the river. She can see the waves of the Western Sea lapping the land. She can see Old Trout still swimming by the canoe, his tail fin moving back and forth, back and forth.
It is nearly dark by now, but on an upward stretch the old woman sees the expanse of the Western Sea, and on it a big, white, gleaming, Cruise Ship. The Cruise Ship is decorated with bright twinkling lights that are reflected on the waves. Sparkling dance music echoes over the water.
“Okay,” says Frog. “We have practiced, and now we are ready. We are going to jump! We are going to jump right onto that Cruise Ship.”
“Are you kidding?” says the old woman in alarm. “We can’t jump that far – over the trees, over the water, over the river mouth, high up onto the top deck of that huge ship!”
“Oh, I think we can,” says Frog. “In fact, we must. It’s the way home, you know.”
The old woman sees Old Trout give a shiver of delight from his position alongside the canoe. “Old Trout is there,” she tells Frog, pointing him out.
“Yes,” says Frog, nodding. “We must jump well. We must jump high and long. If we miss the Cruise Ship, we will fall into the river, and then Old Trout will gobble us, for sure. So it’s important not to miss.” He smiled at the old woman, wiggling his long red tongue at her.
“Grab hands!” orders Frog, catching hold of the old woman and pulling her to her feet. “Up!” he calls, and they stretch up; “Down,” he calls, and they squat low. “Up, down,” he calls again, and they stretch again.
“Okay,” he says, “This is it. At the top of the Up stretch, release your toes and leap!”
Do you think the old woman will leap onto the cruise ship – or will she fall into the water and be gobbled up by Old Trout? Check back next Wednesday and find out …