Colita de Rana

Illustration by Haven Jovel Morales


There once was a small remote pond that flourished for generations. All types of aquatic life lived in relative harmony. That was of course – with the exception of the frogs that battled for power and ruled with impunity. They took, they withheld, they controlled.

Then came the years of drought. Slowly, the pond shriveled up and death became the only certainty. Soon, only the three most powerful frogs remained: Phyoretic the Perilous, Gered the Graceless, and Droghain the Draconian.

Each frog owned a section of the pond and sought to lengthen their own survival. Droghain stockpiled food and refused to share. Gered possessed land in the most shaded region of the pond. Phyoretic had no advantage of his own: he held no food and had land in the sunniest section. Fearing his demise, he attempted to make separate deals, but to no avail.

With his final desperate plea, Phyoretic exclaimed, “My lineage has been known to assassinate those unworthy and has created allegiances to those who aid in times of need!”

Gered jumped at this opportunity, and proudly yelled, “Exterminate Droghain, and you shall share my spoils until the day you die!”

Before Droghain had time to realize what happened, Phyoretic leapt up and stomped him into the ground. A quick and painless death, but one that put fear in the eyes of Gered. He realized the disadvantage he was at now.

“If you could have taken our resources that easily, why didn’t you take them earlier?” asked Gered.

“Well, it’s simple really,” said Phyoretic. “I needed to see which of you two was the most desperate to survive. The least desperate was not long for this world, better for them that their life was taken quickly and –”

Gered, interrupting him and realizing the peril he was in: “Since I promised an alliance, I will share my shaded land once you share your resources!”

Phyoretic scoffed at this idea. “Deals are for the weak, and you’re in no position to offer anything to aid my survival,” said Phyoretic. “Your wickedness serves me no purpose as an ally and for your treasonous act of calling for the death of another frog, I sentence you to a slow and painful death!”

As the days passed, Gered pleaded and pleaded, but Phyoretic refused to help. Soon, Gered weakened from starvation and floated up to the surface of the pond. As soon as he reached the surface, a great big heron swooped down and swallowed him whole. Just then, Phyoretic remembered the predators outside were much more strategic than frogs. For now, he took pleasure in finally controlling his own kingdom once and for all. All that was needed, was just a little bit of rain to ensure his survival.

What he got was the opposite: a harsh sun that refused to surrender. That shaded region of the pond soon shriveled up into nothingness by the following nightfall. Phyoretic understood that his only means for survival was to find another pond before morning. He ventured out of the safety of his shriveling kingdom and began his search for an aquatic paradise. After hopping for hours and using camouflage for protection, he soon found himself near a pond.

“What luck,” he thought to himself. “My life will be spared and stories of my exploits will be passed down to subjects within this pond!” 

Just as he took his final leap into that deep blue pond, a large garter snake grabbed him with its mouth. This garter snake took its time working the frog into its stomach. Phyoretic desperately tried leaping and pleading, but his efforts were ineffective. Just before reaching the snake’s stomach acid, he heard the sound of rain hitting the ground. Drawing his last breath, he cursed mother nature for her cruelty and died as wickedly as he lived.

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