All the pond life who live with Bertie the Frog agree that the silliest creature by far is Tim the Tadpole. Colin the Carp is always complaining about his silly questions. Even so, the creatures were amazed recently when Tim suggested that all the fishes, frogs, and tadpoles should have swimming lessons. In fact, Colin said that was the silliest thing he had ever heard. But as this brief tale goes to show, even the dumbest ideas can sometimes lead to good ones.
Read by Natasha. Duration 5.5 minutes.
Proofread by Claire Deakin.
As you know, Bertie used to be a handsome prince, but now he's a frog. His little friend, Tim the Tadpole, has been has been asking him about his life in the palace when he was a prince.
"What did you do on Wednesdays, Bertie?" Asked little Tim.
Bertie tried to remember. He was pretty sure that Wednesdays in the palace began like most other days, with his feet in comfy slippers, a copy of his favourite comic on a silver tray, and toast dripping with lots of lovely honey. But what happened after that?
"Ah yes," he said, "Wednesdays were for swimming lessons."
Tim grew very excited at this. "What a wonderful idea! Can we have swimming lessons here on the pond?"
Colin the grumpy carp overheard this suggestion of Tim's and barged in, as is his way, with a rude comment, "That's the stupidest thing I've heard yet. Tadpoles don't don't know much, but at least they're supposed to know how to swim."
Tim swam around in circles for a bit and thought about this. After a minute or so, he came up with another idea.
"Well can we have walking lessons then? I don't know how to walk, and I think it would be a terribly useful thing to know how to do. Please Bertie. Show us how to walk. Princes know everything, so I'm sure you can teach us how to walk beautifully."
Colin was about to point out that the reason that Tim couldn't walk was that he didn't have any legs. But he was in a particularly grumpy mood that morning, and he thought to himself, "What's the point? These creatures are too stupid for words. I might as well talk to stone - it would be more interesting." So Colin sank down to the bottom of the pond to find an interesting stone he could talk to. A little later, he looked up through the water and saw that Bertie had hopped onto the bank of the pond.
"There you are," Colin said to the stone. "That stupid frog is trying to walk. But his legs are too bendy. That's why frogs don't walk. They hop."
And sure enough, Bertie found that walking wasn't so easy as it was in the old days when he was a handsome prince. He tried to put one foot in front of the other, but he couldn't. His legs just weren't made that way anymore.
"Croak!" He said. "Walking is more difficult than I remembered." A moment later, he bent both legs, and than sprang two feet in the air. Little Tim was mighty impressed and called out, "That was great. Go on Bertie, walk again!"
This was too much for Colin. He rose to the top of the pond and stuck his mouth out of the water. "That's not walking," he said. "That's hopping and not very good hopping at that."
"Well," said Bertie, "It's true that tadpoles and frogs are not so good at walking as princes are. But one day, Little Tim will start to grow legs like all tadpoles do when they get older. Then he will turn into a frog like me and will be able to hop on land whenever he wants to, and swim in the pond whenever he wants to. That's twice as clever as you. You'll never be able to hop, you grumpy old fish."
"Pah! Pond life!" Said Colin. He sank to the bottom of the pond to continue his conversation with his new friend, the stone.
But one day, if enough children listen to Bertie's stories, he'll turn back into a handsome prince and he'll be able show everybody how well princes can walk, with straight backs, and holding their chins up high. He'll have swimming lessons every Wednesday again, and perhaps he will invite his pond life friends to joining him in the pool and watch him dive bomb Colin the Carp with a big splash.