Readers of Algy’s books will know that Algy is very fond of frogs. So when he saw a distinctive shape crouching by the edge of a wee pool in the quiet burn, he hurried over to talk to it, but just as he fluttered down to land by the side of the pool, the frog jumped into the clear water and swam away beneath the weeds, being too busy with its own business to stop and chat just then.

Algy perched on the grass at the edge of the water and gazed into the depths, trying to spot his frog friend at the bottom of the pool. As he stared at the new spring growth of weeds, he was reminded of a short poem by Goethe:

A big pond was frozen over;
The little frogs, lost in the deep,
Were not able to croak or hop,
But they promised themselves, half dreaming,
That if they could only find space above,
They would sing like nightingales.
The thawing wind came, the ice melted,
Now they paddled and landed proudly
And sat on the banks, far and wide
And croaked, as they had in former times.

Ein großer Teich war zugefroren;
Die Fröschlein, in der Tiefe verloren,
Durften nicht ferner quaken noch springen,
Versprachen sich aber im halben Traum,
Fänden sie nur da oben Raum,
Wie Nachtigallen wollten sie singen.
Der Tauwind kam, das Eis zerschmolz,
Nun ruderten sie und landeten stolz
Und saßen am Ufer weit und breit
Und quakten wie vor alter Zeit

[Algy is quoting the poem Die Frösche (The Frogs) by the early 19th century German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and his own translation from the German 🙂 ]