A collection Fairy tales from Russia. Vsevolod Garshin:
The Frog went travelling.
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Once upon a time there lived a Frog. She lived in a swamp, caught midges and mosquitoes, and in spring croaked loudly together with all the other frogs. She would have lived there happily till the end of her days-if a stork did not eat her up, of
course - but something hap-pened one day which upset all her life.
She was squatting on a snag that stuck out of water, enjoying the warm drizzle. "What a lovely, wet day! How
wonder-ful to be alive!" she was thinking.
The rain fell on her spotted, shiny back; the drops trickled under her tummy and behind her legs, and it was so pleasant that she all but croaked from delight, but fortunately remembered in time that this was autumn and frogs do not croak in autumn-spring is the season for croaking. So she bit back the croak, and went on enjoying herself in silence.
Suddenly, she heard a thin, whistling, breaking sound high over-head. There is a breed of wild ducks whose wings make a singing, or rather a whistling sound as they cut through the air. They usually fly so high that you can hardly see them, and only know the flock is there from the sound. This time. the ducks came lower and, after describing a huge semicircle in the air, alighted on the very swamp where the Frog had her home. "Quack-quack," said one of the ducks. "We've a long way to go, so we'd better have something to eat here."
On hearing this, the Frog quickly hid in the water. She knew that the ducks would not eat her, a big and fat frog, but still it was safer to duck under the snag.
But she so wanted to hear where the ducks were going, that after a little thought she ventured to poke her goggle-eyed face out of the water.
"Quack-quack," said another duck. "It's getting cold. We must hurry to the south, we must hurry to the south!"
And all the other ducks began to quack in loud approval. "Forgive me for butting in," the Frog said timidly. "But what is that place where you are hurrying, that south?
The ducks flocked round the Frog. Their first thought was to eat her, but then each of the ducks decided that she was too big and would stick in the throat. And then they all began to scream together, flapping their wings:
"It's lovely in the south' It's warm there now. There are such nice, warm swamps' And such fat worms! Oh, it's lovely in the south!"
Their excited screaming almost deafened the Frog. She got them to keep quiet at last, and begged the duck which seemed
to have more sense than the others to tell her just what was the south.
And when the duck told her, the Frog thought it truly wonderful, but she was a cautious soul, and so she asked to make sure:
"Are there any midges and mosquitoes there?"
"Oh, clouds of them!" replied the duck. The Frog gave a croak,'and quickly turned round to see if any of her friends had heard her croaking in the autumn. But she simply could not help croaking, if only once. 'Take me with you," she said to the ducks.
"The idea!" replied the surprised ducks. "How can we take you along? You've no wings."
"When are you starting?" asked the Frog.
The Frog's breath caught from the terrible height to which the ducks raised her; besides, they did not keep in line properly and jerked the twig. The poor Frog swung in the air like a paper clown, clenching her jaws with all her might for fear of loosening her hold and dashing on the ground far below. Even so, she soon became used to this strange position and began to take a look round her. Hanging from the twig she could not very well see the fields, meadows, rivers and hills which flickered past very quickly, but still she could look up and see behind her a bit, so she was proud and happy just the same.
"Aren't I clever to think of this!" she said to herself.
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which was written by Tatyana, when she was
11 year old. These fairy tales were published in the local newspaper in