Crystal Drop Leaf Boats
Leaf boats the size of the entire town floated past above our house,
Jeffrey, the frog and I had just collected our laundry from the green
lagoon, where it had been soaking overnight. It wasn't too dirty,
which meant a quick squish with soapwort plant rubbed inside, and it was
all clean again. But then, as I was climbing up the tadpole stock, to
drape the clothes to dry, there comes by a huge pair of leaf boats.
They weren't empty either, but had all these fantastic crystals on
board. Something is definitely up downriver!
Where-ever they're heading Jeffrey and I intend to follow, 'cause this
is our neighborhood, an nothing gets past us. And that's a fact!
So I'm packing up my backpack, and stuffing in some extra food, in case
it's a long journey. Then, we're heading overland to the cutoff at the
waterfall. If the boats go over the falls, they'll loose their precious
cargo, thats for sure. We want to know who's running those boats, a
nd maybe hitch a ride to where-ever they land!
If they have wings, hidden inside their backs like ducks, then we'll be
able to fly too. I winked at Jeffrey. He looked scaredety, at that
"What if they can't hold our weight?" he peeped at me insistently. " I don't want to fall down into someone else's back yard turf." " Remember
those big crocodile monsters, up at the end of the lagoon?" he said.
"That's ok, if you don't want to come" I said to him. "Stay at home and
miss out on the adventure!"
Then I hopped into the green end of our lagoon, and swam as fast as I
could to catch up. I swam underneath the leaf, intending to haul
myself out on the leding edge. The forward propulsion always gave me
a boost up .
As I came out on a branch, just above the leaf, and was about to make
a flying leap onto it, the bull horn sounded from the village. That
meant that the defense was being rallied, and I had to go to take my
place. Were these leaf boats that dangerous?
Then I noticed something very strange about them. The crystal like
drops sort of looked like eyes. I was hit by a sudden pang of fear.
The closest one was staring right at me. Was it going to eat me? What
if it was really a camoflaged enemy, ready to eat us all?
I sprang out of there, real fast. But I was too late. A large sticky
tongue spurted past me in mid- air, wrapped itself tightly around my
waist and dragged me back underneath the leaf boat.
"Was I in it's mouth?" Water rushed in overtop of me, and flowed down
pulling me tumbling with it. Further down I could hear the rumbling,
churning sound like a giant belly. I was in something like a giant
cave that was alive.
I struggled to swim against the river current . I didn't want to die,
and the stench that arose from below, was like the sewer water spot.
I grabbed as big a log as I could , and thrust hard with my hind
legs, towards the tall stactites hanging in the water. If I could
wedge this log, between something that was not moving I could stop my
Finally, it stuck, and I climbed up on top of it. There I sat, and
wished I hadn't been quite so eager for an adventure. No one was going
to come in here looking for me. I might even starve and die here, and
then I really would end up in that belly down there.
I had to think. I had to come up with a plan to save myself!
A piece of thin fern drifted by my perch. I grabbed it and started
lifting it up as high as Icould reach. Got it! The top of the creature's
gullet, wasn't so high above me that I couldn't reach it with a long
stick. I waved the fern back and forth over the back of the throat.
Soon there came a mighty giggling sound. Then a huge tide of water,
came gushing back up from the belly, going the other way! Out!
I let go the fern branch, and jumped into the reversed tide.
Up ahead all was dark, and it looked like a solid wall!
I squeezed shut my eyes, and thought "open!"at the cave wall. Suddenly,
just as I expected to hit the wall, the mouth opened and I was expelled
back into the lagoon, on a violent shooting spurt of water! I dove down
as fast as I could, to the bottom, and stayed there, hoping to be
invisible. It usually, worked.
After some time, there was Jeffrey, prying loose my frozen, panicy
limbs, from the bottom.
"It's ok now, you can come up!" he shouted . "The crystal leaf monster has been vanquished!"
Was I glad to be able to go home, and get my drying laundry.
I didn't even want to know how they had "vanquished" the leaf monster.
To my surprise, when I got my laundry down off the tadpole branch, there
was a crystal egg inside! Now I would be able to teach my own crystal
leaf how to behave properly, and that would forever include "DO NOT EAT ME!"
Writing by Regina Stemberger