Tadpole Soul

Mr. Toad hadn’t always been this way, but he could appreciate the change.

His valet Gardendale Brown attended his morning toilette, having selected Mr. Toad’s fine suit for the day. He helped Mr. Toad step into his fine pinstriped pants and broad leather belt, fastened with the sterling silver buckle. Held forth Mr. Toad’s ruffled linen dress shirt, and exquisite purple velvet waistcoat. Last of all, Gardendale helped with assorted sundries like cufflinks, pocket-watch, starched collar and stick-pin for Mr. Toad’s finest silken tie.

Brushing the waistcoat with care to be certain no speck of dust or stray thread could ruin the otherwise perfect ensemble, Gardendale asked, “What plan for today then, sir?” Borderline impertinent, but from a lifelong and valued domestic of Brown’s caliber, Mr. Toad had long allowed certain small liberties.

“I believe I shall take a stroll by the pond after breakfast, Brown.”

“Very good, sir.” Brown completed the preparations with Mr. Toad’s favorite tall silk top-hat. “I shall supervise the downstairs domestics preparing sir’s breakfast.”

Mr. Toad stepped back and admired the total effect in the full-length mirror.

He cut an imposing figure, in his own estimation.

A long way from his earliest days as a wild and carefree young gutter-tadpole. The elegant and staid Mr. Frog thought didn’t often think of his misspent youth these days.

In the same pond on the manor grounds he now owned, Mr. Toad’s family had lived for untold generations. Each spring, the latest crop of polliwogs and tadpoles burst free of their eggs, and took their first eager wiggles in the world.

Legless, they were little more than tiny fish when first born, swimming and swimming, hiding amongst the lily pads and milkweed patches to avoid the eager hunger of avian predators.

Safer under the water, but not much. Hungry fish were eager to acquire a tasty tad-morsel, when they could catch one.

Much of his spawn perished before growing enough to have legs at all. But the fastest and the smartest, the seekers of the best hiding spots, made it through the test and their legs grew. Their teeth and bodies grew more toad-like, though they still carried residual tails. At this stage they would be called metamorphs. It is only a matter of a few more weeks until their tails vanished forever, the tads left the water for good, and they became respectable full-fledged Toads.

As Mr. Toad was, indeed. Always most respectable.

After breakfast, Mr. Toad took his constitutional to the pond (ignoring the presence of those awful Otter Twins). He first checked over the mass of eggs for development and was satisfied. And peering deep into the murky pond-water, he noticed the first batch of fresh polliwogs, the earliest hatches from this year’s crop. And paled as one little guy was snatched up by a lurking perch.

He dipped the tip of one flipper, with reluctance, into the water at the outermost limit of the pond. And stepped back with a profound shudder.

Yes, Mr. Toad could appreciate and be thankful for the many changes since the Pond.

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Mr. Toad needs his antagonists, the Otter boys, to get something going here. This one sort of started with this post, now we’re going backwards to expand the Toad character…more to come, some day, mebbe.



Get your kicks

If my memory is correct, it’s at least 2400 miles from here to Santa Monica.

That doesn’t sound that far. Unless you’re on foot.

None of Route 66 exists yet. In Illinois, I stand with Lake Michigan at my back and face an expanse of tallgrass prairie that’s pretty much the limit of attractions—at least until I cross the Mississippi River, in the vicinity of where St. Louis will be some day.

It’s difficult to judge how far off-target the Chronos Device dropped me. I haven’t seen any indigenous people at all. At least a millennium too soon?

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Inspired by Friday Fictioneers prompt for this week:

PHOTO PROMPT – © Copyright Jean L. Hays


I found and killed two more immortals this morning. Burned in the fireplace.

Basil Hallward, my predecessor, was a painter who treated his subjects using oils and canvas. But he always contended every painting captured far more of the painter than the subject.

Some American Indians believed cameras captured the subject’s soul.

But given the right artist and subject; the souls of each are equally bound forever in the process.

In my lifetime I have taken hundreds of such portraits, beginning in the late 19th century.

To recover whatever remains of my soul, I must find and destroy every image.

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I think this particular story has a flaw–I think it assumes too much familiarity with The Picture of Dorian Gray. I tried to relieve that dependence, but–only partially successful? I dunno.

Photo/Prompt from 100WordStory.org:

Photo Credit: Perspektivet Museum

Life’s been good

Picture the one person in the world you really wish were reading your blog. Write her or him a letter.

Dear Valerie:

Wait, I’ve already done her. Let’s see what else I have up my sleeve.


Take a look at this list: Most admired man/woman. Do you see any issues with how “trendy” they are, on a yearly basis? Surely true heroes would endure a little bit longer than “who’s in the network news most often this year”?

I find that list pretty disturbing, actually.

So I think I’m going to take a pass on the fickle American public’s views on what makes someone admirable.


My viewpoint maybe  even more trivial, but at guess I can wallow in that?


Hey Joe,

Thanks for taking the time to read. I’m just another fan who views you as iconic to his life.

I just wanted to thank you (and Don Felder) for your work on Hotel California. It was brilliant.

Thank you for the James Gang and The Smoker You Drink. Thank you for Rocky Mountain Way and Life’s Been Good.

I’m listing–sorry about that. Saw you play here in Chicago, the  last time the Eagles rolled through these parts. My wife learned a whole lot of songs she didn’t know were from you, she’s not good at which-bands-did-what-songs. But she got a big kick out of your solo segment of that show. Thanks for entertaining us.

Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for so many hours on my ipod, my play lists, albums and cassette tapes and CDs. And I’m listing again. You’ve been a substantial part of the music for…40 years now? So you probably deserve a  lot of beverages, on me, any time.

Thanks again, man.

Take care.

RecDave Seal

They write me letters, tell me I’m great

Gawd so many ‘thanks’, durp drool. Glad I don’t write much fan mail, I’m terrible at it.