Once upon a time in a world long gone, there lived a large green bullfrog at the edge of a pond that rose in the midst of a temperate broadleaf and mixed forest. Day after day he would fill the night with multicroak, quasiharmonic advertisement calls.
One summer’s eve a plain, chinless princess baked medium-well in a spray-on tan decided to take a walk in the bullfrog’s forest. When she came to the edge of the cool, swampy pond, she sat down to rest awhile and sigh.
While lazily gliding around the pond, the bullfrog came upon the princess, whose sighs were now the loudest noise in the forest. Unable to ignore them, he called out, “Why are you sighing, dear princess?”
“I am not sighing. I’m just breathing hard because I’m disappointed and sad.”
“Fine. What has made you so disappointed and sad that you are breathing hard, dear princess?”
“Life,” she replied.
“Could you be more specific?”
The princess thought for a moment. “All of life.”
Confused by the lack of specificity but game to help, the bullfrog said, “Lift me from the water and kiss me, and I shall turn into a handsome prince, marry you, and we shall rule my kingdom together and live happily ever after.”
“Nay, large, green bullfrog,” replied the princess, wrinkling her nose, “for I already have a kingdom. I have brave generals to lead armies into battle. I dispense high, middle and low justice. I have loyal subjects that produce goods and services for internal consumption and export. I need no prince, handsome or otherwise. What else do you have to offer?”
“Lift me from the water and kiss me,” said the bullfrog, “and I will give you a fortune in precious metals and jewels so that you shall never want for anything as long as you live.”
“Nay, large, green bullfrog,” replied the princess, wrinkling her forehead. “I have wise economic advisors who help me maintain a balanced budget with good economic growth and sensible interest rates. Your great riches would devalue our currency, create soaring inflation and cripple our exchange rates. What else do you have to offer?”
“Lift me from the water and kiss me,” said the bullfrog, “and you shall have charm and beauty beyond compare.”
“Nay, large, green bullfrog,” replied the princess, wrinkling a leaf she had been fondling. “It is true that I am plain and have no chin, but charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting. What’s important are a person’s intellectual, emotional, and spiritual qualities.”
The bullfrog, now thoroughly frustrated, asked, “Then what is it that you wish?”
The princess responded, “I want to be happy,” gently lifted the bullfrog and kissed him.
“I have offered you love, riches, and beauty, and you have rejected them all. Yet you desire to be granted happiness from kissing a bullfrog?”
“Good luck with that,” laughed the bullfrog. ”This isn’t a fairy tale, you know.” And with that he leaped from the hands of the princess and was never seen again.
Vincent D. O’Connor is a computer geek and writer. He has written technical manuals and articles, and his poetry has appeared in Talking Stick 19, Studio One, Main Channel Voices, Satori, and SP Quill Quarterly Magazine, among others. He also has a play, Nearly Departed, published by Players Press, Inc.