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The enchanted frog

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Mr Charles Carruthers, rector of the parish of St Nicholas In The Fields, was walking along the narrow country lane which linked the rectory in the valley with the church up on the hill, when he was stopped in his tracks by a voice, coming, apparently, from the hedgerow by the roadside. He backtracked, and searched, but found nothing. He was about to continue his walk, when the voice came again. "Help me!"

This time he was able to pinpoint its origin and he crouched, parted the long grass, and was astounded to discover a large frog. Expecting that it would leap off into the undergrowth, he reached out quickly and grasped it, then brought it close to his face in cupped hands.

"Ouch!" said the frog. "You can speak!" said the old man. "You're hurting me!" said the frog. "Sorry!" said the man, and relaxed his grip a little, but not so much that the frog might escape.

"Well, well, well," said the vicar. "It's a miracle. A frog that can talk."

"I'm not a frog, I'm a person. Just like you." said the frog.

"How can that be? You look just like all the frogs in the village duckpond."

"That's because of the old witch. I stole apples from her orchard and she caught me and put a curse on me, turned me into a frog."

"Oh dear oh dear. I'm very sorry to hear that. Will you tell me how to find her, maybe if I had a word with her, she might..."

"She won't. She said I must be a frog forever, or until I get eaten by a heron or something."

"Is there nothing that can be done?"

"I've heard that curses can be reversed by laying from dusk to dawn where a holy man has lain his head."

"That is not something that I have ever heard. But I will see what I can find out for you."

And the kindly old man placed the frog gently into one of the pockets of his cassock and continued on his way to the church.

It must be said that for all his kindly intentions, he was also old, and forgetful, and he forgot all about the frog in his pocket until he came to his bed that night, when he became aware of the lump in the pocket as he removed the cassock. He reached into the pocket and drew out the frog, apparently none the worse for its day sharing living space with pocket fluff, and placed it on the pillow of his bed. Once he had changed into his long nightshirt, he climbed into bed and fell asleep.

The next morning the rector was still asleep when his housekeeper bustled into the room and flung the curtains apart to flood the room with spring sunshine. She turned to the bed, intending to wake the old man, and, lo and behold a true miracle had happened! There beside the rector was an angelic choirboy, naked as the day he was born!

...and there, your honour, and members of the jury, rests the case for the defence.


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I note that I've posted a version of this before:


I wrote the new version without reference to the old version, and I find it interesting to look back now, and see the similarities and differences. Personally, I think my writing flair, such as it was, has declined in the 15 years that separate the two versions.

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