A tale of two tadpoles

It was the worst of times and the best of times.’

‘Good morning, Tad,’ said Pole

                                                            (Draw Pole in the box)

‘Good morning Pole,’ said Tad.

                                           (Draw Tad here – but going the other way)

‘But it’s not,’ continued Tad.

‘What?’ said Pole.

‘A good morning,’ said Tad, looking up at the lovely blue sky on the other side of the skin of their dark water home.  So Pole looked up too.   ‘But its lovely,’ said Pole. ‘Why are you so glum?’

‘Because I want to be out there, not here in this dim water,’ said Tad.

‘Be patient,’ said Pole. ‘We will be out soon enough, when our legs have grown.’ 

‘What legs?’ said Tad, looking round at his tail.

‘We grow legs, and little arms’ said Pole, and then we’ll crawl out of here, onto that rock, see?’ 

And they both looked at the rock, leading out of the water, reaching towards the bright blue sky.   ‘I want to go NOW,’ said Tad, angry.  If he had a foot he would have stamped it.   ‘I hate it in here, it’s so boring.  I hate those murky old leaves at the bottom, they’re last year’s and rotten and they SMELL.

‘But look at their colours, said Pole.  ‘Orange, yellow, and brown.’

‘And these stones are dull,’ moaned Tad.

‘No, said Pole, ‘they shine in the sun.’

Tad made a noise like bliddlebleddleblonk, which was tadpole for a very bad word.

‘Don’t be rude said Pole,’ upset.   But if Pole had had any arms, he’d have put them round his friend to comfort him. 

* * *

But no arms

No legs

Not yet.

* * *

There was a noise from above.


They both looked up


                                                             And everything went yellow.

‘Is that the sun?’ asked Tad.

‘No,’ said Pole, ‘it’s a duckling’s bottom.’

‘She’ll help me escape,’ said Tad, and he sent a message in tiny bubbles up to the duckling


‘Get me out of here,’ the bubbles said.

And the duckling looked down. ‘ You’ll get out soon enough,’ she quacked.  ‘Be patient.  I look in the water every day and I can never go there, only to duck down and get an insect or a bit of weed.  I’d love to stay a bit but I can’t.’ 

‘Why?’ said Tad.

‘Because it’s not my home.’

‘Oh’, said Tad.

‘You won’t be there for very long,’ quacked the duckling, ‘appreciate it while you can.’  And she waddled off to find her mum.

‘Wise words,’ said Pole. ‘Come on, let’s go and nibble a leaf, to help our legs grow.’

‘All right, said Tad, grumpy  (or a tad grumpy – ho ho).  But then he looked up again, to that patch of heavenly blue and saw a pink dot, getting bigger and bigger.   It stopped at the edge.

‘Moo,’ it said.

Tad and Pole both jumped together, and wriggled behind a stone.  Neither of them had ever seen anything like that.  ‘I’m frightened,’ said Pole.

‘I’ll look after you,’ said Tad. ‘I’ll leap up, jump in one of those holes and then out the other one. That’ll scare it away. But then Tad said bladdleybubblyblar – which is tadpole for ‘maybe not.’

‘Don’t be afraid,’ said the huge pink beast. ‘ I have just come to look at you in your lovely home, and have a drink.’

‘What? said Tad? Drink up our home?’

‘We love our home,’ said Pole, looking at Tad. ‘Don’t we Tad.’  

‘’Erm, squirm,’ said Tad.

‘Oh all right – I’ll moooooch off,’ said the cow.

Then a chattering – riddip, riddup, riddip

And both Tad and Pole wriggled to the top of the water, excited.  ‘Daddy daddy. Can we come with you.’

            ‘All in good time my little spawn,’ said the frog.  Riddip. ‘I’d love to be in the nursery, wriggling around without a care in the water – Riddip riddip.  Your legs will be with you soon, Riddip and up you’ll come, hopping around with the big guys.

Now draw Tad and Pole playing with the others


Jan Woolf– Lockdown 2020




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