“Did you ever see such greed?” gasped Billy Mink.
“Why don’t you pull it out and start over again?” shouted Little Joe Otter.
Now this is just what Grandfather Frog was trying to do. At least, he was trying to pull the fish out. He hadn’t the least desire in the world to try swallowing it again. In fact, he felt just then as if he never, never wanted to see another fish so long as he lived. But Grandfather Frog’s hands are not made for grasping slippery things, and the tail of a fish is very slippery indeed. He tried first with one hand, then with the other, and at last with both. It was of no use at all. He just couldn’t budge that fish. He couldn’t cough it up, because it had gone too far down for that. The more he clawed at that waving tail with his hands, the funnier he looked, and the harder Little Joe Otter and Billy Mink and Jerry Muskrat laughed. They made such a noise that Spotty the Turtle, who had been taking a sun-bath on the end of an old log, slipped into the water and started to see what it was all about.
Now Spotty the Turtle is very, very slow on land, but he is a good swimmer. He hurried now because he didn’t want to miss the fun. At first he didn’t see Grandfather Frog.
“What’s the joke?” he asked.
Little Joe Otter simply pointed to Grandfather Frog. Little Joe had laughed so much that he couldn’t even speak. Spotty looked over to the big green lily-pad and started to laugh too. Then he saw great tears rolling down from Grandfather Frog’s eyes and heard little choky sounds. He stopped laughing and started for Grandfather Frog as fast as he could swim. He climbed right up on the big green lily-pad, and reaching out, grabbed the end of the fish tail in his beak-like mouth. Then Spotty the Turtle settled back and pulled, and Grandfather Frog settled back and pulled. Splash! Grandfather Frog had fallen backward into the Smiling Pool on one side of the big green lily-pad. Splash! Spotty the Turtle had fallen backward into the Smiling Pool on the opposite side of the big green lily-pad. And the fish which had caused all the trouble lay floating on the water.
“Thank you! Thank you!” gasped Grandfather Frog, as he feebly crawled back on the lily-pad. “A minute more, and I would have choked to death.”
“Don’t mention it,” replied Spotty the Turtle.
“I never, never will,” promised Grandfather Frog.
OLD MR. TOAD VISITS GRANDFATHER FROG
Grandfather Frog and old Mr. Toad are cousins. Of course you know that without being told. Everybody does. But not everybody knows that they were born in the same place. They were. Yes, Sir, they were. They were born in the Smiling Pool. Both had long tails and for a while no legs, and they played and swam together without ever going on shore. In fact, when they were babies, they couldn’t live out of the water. And people who saw them didn’t know the difference between them and called them by the same names—tadpoles or pollywogs. But when they grew old enough to have legs and get along without tails, they parted company.