Tim the Tadpole’s Birthday

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Tim the Tadpole from Storynory and the bertie series Before you say it - let us say it first: we've done this story before. And yes, it was from a time when Bertie was still a frog.

We first recorded Tim the Tadpole's Birthday way back in 2006, but somehow the mp3 file was overwritten and lost. All that is left of the original is this experiment in animation.

The video just uses a few lines from the story. Now, for the first time in some years, we present this sparkly story in its entirety.

Would you like us to do more Pond Life Stories? Perhaps as a separate series from Bertie?

Story by Bertie.

Read by Natasha.

Proofread by Jana Elizabeth.

Studious Tadpole
Frog teacher

Tim the Tadpole's Birthday -

This is Natasha,

And this story is a bit of a time warp. We first recorded it ever so long ago - way back in 2006. It's now almost 2015 - Happy New Year by the way. That means we made this story … um - well quite a few years ago - when Bertie was still a frog and I was a wee tiny girl. My how time flies!

Well somehow along the way, we lost the audio when Bertie overwrote the file by mistake. That's why Bertie has asked me to read you the story once again.

This morning, when I paid a visit to the pond where Prince Bertie the frog lives, Colin the carp was grumping about the place, muttering something about his birthday. Tim the tadpole became very excited because he would love to go to a party in the pond.

"Colin," said Tim. "How old are you?"

"Too old," said Colin who is a rather grumpy fish. "And very wise. You get that way, when you are as old as I am. Well some do."

Just then, Sadie the beautiful black Swan glided by. Tim swam up and asked her:

"Sadie, how old are you?"

"Tish Tish, little Tim, didn't your mother tell you that it's not polite to ask a lady her age?"

Tim is a very nicely brought up tadpole, so he apologised to Sadie for asking her age, before swishing his little tale and swimming up to Prince Bertie the frog.

"Oh Bertie," he said, "can I ask you a terribly important question?"

"Ask away, little Tim", boomed Bertie, "a prince knows the answer to everything."

"Bertie, can you tell me how old I am?"

Now all the pond life knew that Tim is always asking silly questions, so Bertie wasn't at all surprised that Tim didn't even know his own age. In fact, secretly, he was rather pleased that Tim's question wasn't too difficult, because in truth, he doesn't always know the answer to every question - not right away, without asking somebody to go and look it up for him.

"Well little Tim, don't you know that you are four and a half?"

"Rubbish!" said Colin the carp, who can be rather rude sometimes, especially to Bertie. "If a tadpole was four and a half years old, he wouldn't be a tadpole anymore. He'd be a ugly green frog, just like you."

"No, no." said Bertie. "Who said anything about four and a half years? Little Tim is four and a half weeks old. I remember because I met him the day after he was born. He looked just like a little piece of green slime, and I almost ate him, until I noticed at the last moment that he was a tadpole."

Now Tim started swimming around in circles, which is what tadpoles do when they are very excited. "Yippee!" he said, "I'm four and a half weeks old. Not just four by itself! Soon it will be my birthday and we can have a party." Then he said: "Oh!" And he stopped swimming round in circles for a moment. "Bertie, just exactly when is my birthday?"

"Why little Tim, it's every Monday," said Bertie.

"Yippee!!!!" sang little Tim, "next Monday's going to be my birthday. Happy Birthday to me! We're going to have a part-y."

And all the creatures who lived in the pond were very happy, apart from Colin, who doesn't like parties, because he thinks that they make little tadpoles get over-excited and disturb his peace and quiet.

Bertie and Sadie the Swan spent the whole weekend planning Tim's birthday party. They decided to hold swimming races, games of hide-and-seek, Blindman's Bluff and offer prizes of green slime, dead insects and stale bread. Bertie wanted to have an egg and spoon race, but Sadie pointed out that eggs were too precious to risk in a silly game. All the pond life were terribly excited about Tim's party. But nobody was more excited than little Tim. When Monday came he was swimming round and round in circles so fast that he became quite dizzy. Bertie sat on a lily pad and called all the pond life to gather around. The ducklings were peeping excitedly, but the geese were the noisiest of all, honking away so that the pond sounded almost like the centre of the city during the rush hour.

"Quiet. Be quiet everyone," boomed Bertie. "Now let's all sing Happy Birthday Little Tim. One two three, Happy Birthday To You."

And all the pond life began to sing "Happy Birthday To You" except for Tim who sang: "Happy Birthday To Me."

But just as the whole chorus was swelling up to - "Happy Birthday Little Tim." And Tim was jumping out of the water with excitement, his mother, who is a green frog, like Bertie, only prettier, hopped onto a lily pad near Bertie. Now Tim's mother doesn't have a very high opinion of Bertie because he isn't a true frog - not really - but only a prince who looks like one. She thinks that he is always putting silly ideas into little Tim's head, and causing him to get over-excited and ask too many questions. So she ignored Bertie and called out:

"Timmy! Timmy! Time to go to Schoo-ool!"

At first Little Tim didn't hear his mother calling, because the singing was so noisy, and he was so excited, but soon she spotted him, and as he jumped over the water she stuck her tongue out and caught him on it. Then she carefully put her little son on her webbed foot, and started to hop away, from one lily pad to the next. There was a hush over the pond. Everyone stopped singing, and heard little Tim's sobs.

"Mummy, Mummy, please no. I don't want to go to school. Not today. It's my birthday. Let's go another day. Please no …"

"Don't be so silly!" said Tim's mum. "How can it be your birthday yet. You're hardly a month old."

"Please Mummy. Please, please, please. I want to go back to my party."

"Enough of this nonsense! Hush right now!"

Little Tim's pitiful pleas were so moving that even Colin the carp felt like crying, until he decided to eat some of the juicy dead flies that were meant to be prizes instead. Sadie the swan sighed:

"Oh Bertie, that's so sad. Little Tim has been looking forward to his party so very much. I didn't even know that he went to school."

"He hasn't learned much," said Colin. "He's the silliest creature I've ever met, apart from Bertie that is."

Bertie ignored this comment, because he knew that Sadie the Swan didn't approve of him fighting with Colin. But secretly, he decided that when he became a prince again, he wouldn't invite Colin to his birthday party. And then Colin would be sorry that he was so rude to Bertie - because Bertie's parties always had lashings of jelly, and popcorn, and the most amazing going away bags anyone ever saw.

"Come to think of it," said Bertie. "I did hear Tim's mother saying the other day that he would be starting school soon. I think this must be his first day.”

"It's not just Tim who's disappointed," said Sadie. "Look at all the little ducklings. They are peeping away and wagging their fluffy tails. They are so looking forward to all the stale bread that we found for them in the rubbish tip behind the Palace, but how can we have a party without the birthday boy?"

"If you were a real prince," said Colin, "and a leader of creatures great and small, like you think you are, you wouldn't stand for any nonsense from Tim's mum. You'd go and rescue him."

For once Bertie thought that sounded like a good idea coming from Colin. He hopped off in the direction that Tim and his mum had gone. He hopped to the end of the lilies, and after that he began to swim up a little stream, pushing against the current with his webbed feet. Finally, round a corner, in a still pool of water protected by a wall of pebbles, he found the school for tadpoles. And there were hundreds, and hundreds, if not thousands and quite possibly millions of them - or at least that's what it seemed like to Bertie. He had never seen so many tadpoles in his whole life. But which one was little Tim? Above them all, on a rock, a wise old frog was asking the tadpoles if any of them knew what the first letter of the alphabet was. A clever little tadpole called out "A."

"That can't be Tim," thought Bertie. "He's too silly to know that."

Next the teacher asked the class if anyone knew what comes out of a duck's egg.

Another little tadpole answered: "A duckling."

"That can't be Tim", thought Bertie, "he's far too silly to know that."

Then the teacher asked what jelly beans were made of. And Bertie was about to put his web-fingered hand up, because even he knows the answer to that one, but then he thought he'd better not, because he wasn't really meant to be there. A clever tadpole in the front row answered it instead.

And after a while, a little tadpole called out:

"Sir Sir! I've got a question."

"Yes, little tadpole," said the teacher. "What is it?"

"What kind of cheese is the moon made out of?"

And right away, Bertie knew that was his little friend Tim. Only Tim would ask such a silly question.

The teacher explained that it is made out of a special cheese called Camembert that is very smelly, which is why nobody lives on the moon. And while he was explaining this, Bertie called out: "Psst … Tim. Come with me. I'll take you back to the party."

Tim was very excited to hear his friend's voice. But he was also very interested in what the teacher had to say. He had learned so many fascinating things since coming to school, and he had only been there ten minutes.

"Bertie," he whispered back. "I mustn't leave school. I'll see you this afternoon when class finishes."

And so Bertie sat and waited for his little friend to finish school. And while he waited, he learned all sorts of interesting things that the teacher told the little tadpoles. Like … it never rains on Tuesdays … you mustn't stand on the lines on the pavement … and jelly babies aren't really babies at all, but just brightly coloured sweets.

When the school finished, Tim sat on Bertie's back and Bertie hopped back to the pond. It didn't take long to call everyone together again, and so they held Tim's birthday party after all. And all the creatures played games and ate lots and lots of green slime, and dead flies, and stale soggy bread, until they all felt quite sick - but very happy.

And so it was that after that, Tim went to school in the mornings, and learned lots of interesting things. And he didn't mind, because on Mondays, it was always his birthday, and he was another week older. Colin the carp says it isn't really fair that Tim has a birthday every week, when most people only have one every year. But Bertie says it is better that way … and when he is King one day, everybody will have birthdays every week, and all the cake they can eat.

From me, Natasha, and all the pond life … bye! bye!