by Myra King -
Christabella the Large Fairy loved all the riding frogs at the Fairy Frog Stables. And for as long as she could remember, she had begged her mother and father to buy her a frog.
She had books on frogs. She had stuffed toy frogs, frog print pillow cases and sheets, a frog beach towel, a frog toothbrush and hairbrush, a plastic frog cup, and even a sweater with a green frog knitted into the weave. But no real live frog.
Now, most of the other fairy children had frogs they kept at the Fairy Frog Stables.
The Bottom of The Garden was in drought so the water in the Stable’s ponds was rationed and recycled. Two older fairy children ran the stables and gave riding lessons. They schooled the fairies and their frogs over show-jumps to get them ready for the annual show. They also taught them about frog care, which is harder than you might think.
Every Christmas and birthday, Christabella would begin her pleading. And every time the conversation would go like this:
“Mum, can I please, please, please have a frog?”
“What do you want with a frog? Wouldn’t you rather have a lovely Fairy Bride doll?”
“Yuk, Mum, Fairy Bride dolls are so stupid. I want a frog. My friend Donna has a frog. Most of the girls at school have frogs.”
Then her father would say, in his practical voice, “You know it costs a lot to keep a frog. All those water bills. Anyway, it’s not that much fun owning a frog. Lots of work mucking out their ponds. Keeping their coats slick and damp and finding all those insects to mix into their feed.”
Even though her parents were too kind to say, deep down Christabella knew the real reason why they would not buy her a frog. She knew the frogs at the Fairy Frog Stables were too small and she was too large.
A riding frog’s height is measured at the base of its neck (quite difficult to find) and down to the ground. There were Pony Frogs 1.1cm high and Galloway Frogs 1.2cm high and they didn’t come any bigger than that.
Every weekend Christabella would go down to the Stables and help Donna with her frog, who was called Phunder. Phunder was a top Showjumper. He was sleek and slippery and seldom brought a rail down or did a slow time over the jumping course. But he could kick.
Donna was always warning Christabella not to walk behind him. And Christabella was always forgetting. She had the bruises to prove it.
Phunder had what they called a mean eye. The other eye was okay though. And Donna loved him because he was so beautiful and fast.
Christabella loved all the frogs.
One night Christabella heard an unfamiliar sound. Then she realized it was rain on the roof. She went to close the petals at her window and looked out into the lamp lit night. The rain was falling softly and, just beside the last tomato bush in the garden, she saw something moving. It looked like the earth was coming up in a strange mound...