Late Night Conversation Between Bullfrogs


Father Porcupine was telling the congregation about original sin when an apple
fell on his head and the forest grew very very quiet. What would God do about this? Had
Father Porcupine done something terrible?
Pretty soon there was a great loud roar and the whole apple tree fell down and
everybody waddled for their very lives.
O fearful masses huddled in your hollows, what spiritual storm awaits your
progress to the next plateau?
Eventually Brother Badger could resist offering charity no longer and he delivered
a surprise gift of apple sauce to Father Porcupine. Who do you suppose found this
Scorn the blows of bitter kings and laugh at the fears of the righteous. That was
Brother Badger’s philosophy and he had practiced getting it right.
To defy or to deify, that is the question.
“These apples have been purified by death,” interjected the ghost of Brother Snake.
Fortunately, there were not enough martyrs in the kingdom to demonstrate the truth of
such wisdom.
“Can a disembodied spirit really teach us anything?” asked several forest creatures
when no one dangerous was there to listen. What Have I Ever Learned from an Apple?
became the working title of Sister Woodpecker’s latest collection of epistolary efforts.
Pretty soon an antique fog descended upon the forest village and everyone grew
frightened when it stayed for days and days. Everyone except Brother Badger, who
dressed up in a piece of old gray cloth and went around mischievously knocking on
hollow trees and whistling in front of caves and mumbling in a very very deep voice,
“The end is arrived! The end is arrived!”
Of course he could have been right because when the fog finally cleared, there was
a conspicuous absence of neighbors where the lumberjacks had cut away all their
neighbor’s houses on the north side of Apple Canyon.
Father Porcupine reminded them all of the warning he had received and urged them
to renew their commitment to their fear of God.
Brother Badger was soon delivering candied apples with a pert little know-it-all
smile to each and every forest resident.
Sister Woodpecker meanwhile had not yet become famous for even fifteen
minutes. There were still so few readers tall enough for her style.
“Wear your smile like a bag of seeds and the world is yours,” whispered the rain’s
renewed religion, already mocked mightily by Brother Badger’s diligent digging.
“A creature is as a creature does,” proclaimed Brother Owl when nearly everyone
was asleep. And Brother Owl went looking for some mice to eat. Along the way he saw
Father Porcupine eating a fermented apple in the moonlight. He was giving a sermon to
the trees and seemed very happy with himself.

Rich Ives is the author of Tunneling to the Moon: A Psychological Gardener’s Book of Days currently being published in serial @ Silenced Press everyday in 2014 and forthcoming in paperback. Begin from the beginning, catch up, read daily. Just refer to the Burrow Guide.