How Emily came to the neighborhood.
It was a clear day. Word had spread through the sparrows, of course. They were terribly good gossips. They had seen her coming through the front gate and they flew to spread the word to everyone. Sparrows are like that. They are very excitable. They had told Mama Mouse, who has quite nervous about the whole affair, and had decided to keep the children in that day. One of the children mentioned it to a cricket, who sung about it to the lizards, and it was a lizard who told Frog. It was he that had decided to do something about it.
What he had heard was that there was a something in the neighborhood that looked exactly like one of the big people that lived in the house, except she was only three and a half inches tall. According to the lizard it was definitely not an animal, but must have been some new minute variety of people. So frog went to investigate.
He watched as she came around by the flowers looking at each of the flowers looking at each one in turn as if she was some strange relative of the bees. He doubted that due to her lack of wings, long hair, and brightly colored clothes. Frog had never seen a bee wear clothes. Also she was walking rolling a penny with a stick and as she would roll she would hum a little tune and give the penny a little tap with the stick to keep it on track. Sometimes it would get off track and roll in a little circle flat on the ground. The itsy bitsy girl would get her knees and pry with all of her strength because the penny was nigh up to her waist. Well, not quite but it was still quite large for such an itsy bitsy girl. She also seemed quite young, which was contrary to one of the reports that he had heard that she was one of the big people, who were dangerous. She didn’t look at all dangerous to him rolling a penny down the road, humming a little tune and looking at flowers.
It was then that he decided and so with a leap and a ribbit he came out of his hiding place. The girl was so surprised that she gave her penny a huge tap and it rolled out of control into the jungle of grass, never to be seen again. As he landed, the little girl said, “ Oh, you startled me.”
Frog replied, “Ribbit.” Which is frog for hello, good bye, and many other things including “I love you.” It was a very useful phrase. The girl was startled, but introduced herself as Emily and explained that she was in need of help. She informed him that she was looking to move into the neighborhood. Her previous neighborhood had been destroyed due to landscaping. Frog shivered because he knew the dangers of landscaping. Landscaping was when the large people in the house decided to get busy with shovels, machines that whirred and made noise. This forced animals out of their homes and destroyed weedy sources of food. Luckily, the people in this house only landscaped sporadically. Being understanding of the problem, he told her he would help her find a new place to live and that she could call him “Frog.” Then he asked her what kind of place she would like.
She thought and then responded, “Maybe someplace warm with lots of flowers because I enjoy nectar to eat.”
“What else does something like you eat?” Frog asked.
“Sometimes nectar, sometimes seeds, sometimes vegetables or fruit.” Emily said
“Not usually flies.” she said.
Frog decided that due to her eating habits she would fit in best with the mice or maybe the bumblebees, although he was pretty sure that the bumblebees didn’t want a roommate.
So Emily and Frog ran to the mice’s burrow to see if they were willing to put up boarders. Papa mouse had left some time ago on an expedition and had not yet returned. This left Mama Mouse with a burrow full of young mice to care for by herself. Frog was pretty sure that Emily could help out around the house in exchange for a place to stay.
When they got to the entrance, Frog called out to them, “Hello in there,” and he gave a loud “Rribbbitt” to let them know who it was.
From inside he heard a tiny squeak that said “No one is home.”
Emily turned to frog and said “Did you hear that?”
Frog said, “I afraid of this. They are home; they are just timid. They are just worried about you.”
“Why would they be worried about me, I am just itsy bitsy.” Emily said. She thought that she heard very mouse-like giggles at that, but no matter what they did, even when they banged on the door and called out in loud voices, could they get anyone in the Mouse’s house to come out. Except, they did see the reflection of many young mice eyes and one young mouse was brave enough to peek out at them through the window of the door.
So they decided if some of the other animals in the neighborhood would be interested in an “extra help,” As Frog said. First, they went to the sparrows. They chitter-chattered that they didn’t have any room for a boarder. Then, they went to the robins, who told them that they were busy collecting stuff and they were about to have a brood of their own children and showed Emily and Frog their handsome blue eggs.
No one in the neighborhood seemed to have room. Frog took her over to the lizards to talk to them. They didn’t have room either. They went by the ants. Fire ants don’t tend to be very talkative sorts. As one of their mottos stated, they usually stung first and asked questions later. Frog didn’t think there was much of a chance, he just wanted to be thorough. This particular day was an important day in the fire ant community because they had a new queen and the hive was ready to split into two. When an ant hive was to divide, all of the followers of the new queen swarm to the top of the nest accompanied by the new queen and her consorts, the winged ants. They fly or swarm to a new nest. This is one of the only times that the queen ever leaves the nest. The rest of the time she is deep inside the ant nest laying eggs and reproducing, taking care of the hive. The only ones that go out are the worker ants or the army ants. They tend to be very authoritarian-type figures and rather unsociable, if you ask anyone that knows them. At least, anyone who has stuck a shovel through their nest and has been bit and stung dozens of times.
And on this particular day, just as Frog and Emily were passing by, was when the new queen first emerged from her hole. As they were identifying themselves to the sentries and trying to maintain a safe distance, the queen called out. “ Hello there, come talk to me why don’t you,.”
Emily and frog were both surprised to find that the queen ant was not only amicable, but also very interested in hearing about their dilemma. She even offered to let Emily stay with them in the new hive. But since the new hive was a few feet underground and Emily would have to find an entrance big enough to fit herself in, Emily was pretty sure that she would have a hard time convincing the sentry ants that she was part of the hive. She declined but thanked the queen for the offer. The queen was disappointed because she was often lonely inside the hive. She longed to go outside and see the world. She wanted to have friends that were not ants and told Emily and Frog so.
Frog and Emily sat on a pebble with their head in their hands because they had not found anywhere for Emily to live. They were a bit discouraged. Now Frog had not yet offered to let her stay at his house, and he did have a wonderful little house. He had a spare bedroom that was high up and had a good view of the flowers that he was pretty sure she would like. He didn’t know exactly how to offer such a thing. He had never had a roommate or a child before, but Emily seemed like she would be a good person to stay with. She maybe could be a very good friend. He was not sure she would like to live with a frog like himself. Some people in the neighborhood thought him a bit stodgy since he read so much and his house was filled with papers and books from one end to the other.
The house was quite nice, especially for a frog. And so what he decided to do was invite her back to his house to look at a map of the surrounding neighborhoods to see whom they could come and discuss possible living arrangements for Emily. So Emily went to Frog’s house.
As soon as Emily came in he told her, “wait here, make yourself at home.”
She sat down, looking out the window at the flower bed. The house was situated just on the edge of the porch where it had light in the morning, and also where it was protected from the rain and from dangerous animals to frogs like dogs and cats and people that wished to pick him up.
When frog returned with the map there was Emily looking out the window. Now Emily, feeling very brave, needing somewhere to live, said “Frog, couldn’t I stay here with you.”
For looking down at his feet Frog said. “At least for now, I guess.”
And so it was decided that Emily would stay with Frog at least for the rest of the season, until Frog went down for his winter nap. That gave frog plenty of time to find her somewhere else to stay in the winter time. So that was how itsy bitsy Emily came to live with her friend Frog.
They were inseparable after that. Frog even let Emily ride on his back around the neighborhood. No one that thought they knew Frog could believe he would let a tiny person ride on his back as if he was a horse or something. Riding on a frog is great fun and if you ever get the chance you should take it. Some notable authors have compared it to flying, but it is much more bouncy that that, but still very enjoyable. This was the beginning of many adventures together.