Tadpole

Inspired by a short image series by Tasha Dancy.

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The pond was humble in size, filled with clear water and plenty to live off of, but large enough to to call it home and be comfortable. The occasional rock, the tall, flowing grasses shooting skyward up and out of the water, reaching for a sky they would never touch. It was poetic, it was admirable, but it was also sad.

A small tadpole lazily swam between blades of grass, looking up and wondering how high they would one day be able to reach, once they were grown. They only hoped that, once their full form came to be, they could reach high enough for both the grass and them-self.

As they swerved around another swaying water plant, they paused a moment, spying something bright and shining across from them. There, in a downward beam of sunlight was the most amazing tadpole. It shimmered, seeming to be from the light itself, and swam with a grace the recently born polliwog could never hope to achieve. They were mesmerized by their pond-companion’s presence, but far too shy to approach. Hiding behind the grass, they simply watched and enjoyed the beauty of this creature.

And as time passed, watching became a simple routine. They couldn’t ever bring them-self to pluck up the courage to speak, or approach, and settled for a silent vigil. The tadpole grew, and so did the beautiful, glimmering tadpole, which in turn wasn’t a tad at all. A nymph, born into the pond so that it may grow and thrive to one day care for the surroundings of their small water home.

The tadpole, now a bolder, wiser frog with reach and aim, soon discovered this beauty would leave them to fulfill their innate purpose. The frog was devastated–they’d never even been able to speak to the nymph once, fearful that one so beautiful wouldn’t care to even glance in their direction.

How silly, the frog berated itself. This was no time for doubts! Using their freshly grown limbs, the frog leaped from the pond with purpose and determination.

It took some time, having only had the view from the pond and beneath the water surface to know what they wanted, but the frog returned triumphant, perching on a small rock just as the lovely nymph stepped out of the water and toward the surrounding woods.

The frog’s heart stuttered, and their chest hiccuped in and out before finally a small but obvious ribbit escaped. It did as intended and the nymph paused.

Slowly turning, the nymph glanced around briefly before spying their silent companion carefully settled on the stone. The nymph delicately pointed to them-self, and the frog gave another ribbit to confirm.

The nymph moved softly, barely a sound as the water parted for them to move toward the rock. The frog tensed, suddenly feeling old nerves return and stake claim, but they stood fast.

Reaching the frog, the nymph knelt and tilted their head in curiosity, a small and confused smile on their face.

Croaking in embarrassment, the frog extended its webbed foot and offered the nymph a small flower it had found not far from the pond.

Wide eyed, the nymph glanced between the frog and the flower before pointing to them-self again, a silent “for me?” in their eyes. The frog reached further forward, holding the flower out.

Smiling brilliantly in thanks, the nymph gently grasped the flower and held it, sniffed it, cuddled it to their cheek before carefully maneuvering it behind an ear. Silky white hair was brushed aside to make room for this small offering. The nymph’s bright eyes said all they needed to, and the frog was so overjoyed they felt they could slip right off the rock and into the water below.

The frog no longer thought of reaching high as the pond grass did. Their heart had been sent soaring.

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