Grandfather Frog made no reply. He just rolled his great goggly eyes up at them, and they were full of tears.
“Why—why—why, Grandfather Frog, what is the matter now?” they cried.
“Chugarum,” said Grandfather Frog, and his voice sounded all choky, “I can’t get out.”
Then they noticed for the first time how straight and smooth the walls of the spring were and how far down Grandfather Frog was, and they knew that he spoke the truth. They tried bending down the grasses that grew around the edge of the spring, but none were long enough to reach the water. If they had stopped to think, they would have known that Grandfather Frog couldn’t have climbed up by them, anyway. Then they tried to lift a big stick into the spring, but it was too heavy for them, and they couldn’t move it. However, they did manage to blow an old shingle in, and this gave Grandfather Frog something to sit on, so that he began to feel a little better. Then they said all the comforting things they could think of. They told him that no harm could come to him there, unless Farmer Brown’s boy should happen to see him.
[Illustration: “That’s just what I’m afraid of!” croaked Grandfather Frog. Page 109.]
“That’s just what I am afraid of!” croaked Grandfather Frog. “He is sure to see me if he comes for a drink, for there is no place for me to hide.”
“Perhaps he won’t come,” said one of the Little Breezes hopefully.
“If he does come, you can hide under the piece of shingle, and then he won’t know you are here at all,” said another.
Grandfather Frog brightened up. “That’s so!” said he. “That’s a good idea, and I’ll try it.”
Then one of the Merry Little Breezes promised to keep watch for Farmer Brown’s boy, and all the others started off on another hunt for some one to help Grandfather Frog out of this new trouble.
GRANDFATHER FROG’S TROUBLES GROW
Head first in; no way out;
It’s best to know what you’re about!
Grandfather Frog had had plenty of time to realize how very true this is. As he sat on the old shingle which the Merry Little Breezes had blown into the spring where he was a prisoner, he thought a great deal about that little word “if.” If he hadn’t left the Smiling Pool, if he hadn’t been stubborn and set in his ways, if he hadn’t been in such a hurry, if he had looked to see where he was leaping—well, any one of these ifs would have kept him out of his present trouble.
It really wasn’t so bad in the spring. That is, it wouldn’t have been so bad but for the fear that Farmer Brown’s boy might come for a drink and find him there. That was Grandfather Frog’s one great fear, and it gave him bad dreams whenever he tried to take a nap. He grew cold all over at the very thought of being caught again by Farmer Brown’s boy, and when at last one of the Merry Little Breezes hurried up to tell him that Farmer Brown’s boy actually was coming, poor old Grandfather Frog was so frightened that the Merry Little Breeze had to tell him twice to hide under the old shingle as it floated on the water.