Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Toad's Humanity.... A Short Story Fairy Tale

Toad's Humanity 

By W.L. Wright 

By Wanda Wright

The pixies, Willy, Dilly and Billy all looked closely at the toad sleeping. He was the largest and oldest toad in the forest, dark olive green and every wart worn with pride. He loved to sit on the same toadstool making him an easy target for the pixies that always knew where to find him. They had played many pranks on him and he always forgave them understanding that it was in the nature of pixies to play tricks.

“Do it Dilly, go ahead,” Willy said to Dilly and all three had a grin on their faces.

Dilly raised his wand and made circles around the toad with it. A tiny beam of blue light followed the wands trail until it encapsulated the toad in it.  The toad woke up his eyes big looking at Willy, Dilly and Billy through the brilliant blue light he was in and before he could tell them to stop he was standing naked in the forest as a full-grown young man.

“Okay very funny you silly pixies now change me back, I was getting a good sleep and well,” the toad said but before he finished he stuck his tongue out expecting it to reach the fly going by him and missed him because of his insufficient human tongue and a loud ribbet came out instead.

Willy, Dilly and Billy began roaring in laughter seeing the toad as a man trying to use his tongue to catch a fly and hearing the ribbet come out. The toad started looking at his body and realized they had made him into a young man. He felt his arms and legs and touched around his head to his mop of hair and facial features and he realized he kind of liked it.

“Okay Dilly change him back now,” Billy said but the toad spoke up quickly just as Billy spoke the last word and Dilly raised his wand.

“Stop! Wait, just a moment now, I like this new form. Can I keep it? I mean will I get a whole human lifetime out of this body? “ The toad excited rambled on a ribbet coming out again at the end. Dilly didn’t move the wand, they all three just stared at him amazed he didn't want to be turned back into a toad.

“It’s a joke boys, the toad is joking with us now. Very funny toad, go ahead Dilly do it,” Willy said thinking the toad and been joking and the other two pixies started laughing believing Willy was right.

“It’s no joke boys, I have lived my whole very long life as a toad. Now you have given me the opportunity for a whole new adventure, and as a young man. That is a whole lot more life, I am hoping. Oh what an adventure I will have!” the toad replied quickly wanting to be sure he wasn’t changed back into a toad.

“Toad you know nothing about the life of humans, you don’t even care that you are standing there totally naked. If you were a real human you would be hiding behind a tree by now or grabbing some leaves to cover yourself like humans do,” Willy said believing the toad was being ridiculous.

“I have let you pixies have your fun for a very long time with pranking me, but this time, I want you to let me stay like this. I have been a toad all my life and well, my life doesn’t have much left to it as a toad so I want to live it now as a human. Do I get a longer life by doing this?” the toad asked again another ribbet came out.

Willy, Billy and Dilly came close together putting their arms around each other to discuss what the toad wanted without him listening in. Meanwhile the toad was trying to catch flies with his hands but was not having much success at it as a man.

“Toad we all like you, and we always have. But what you are asking takes more than what you know. First you would have to kill the troll that lives in the cave at the edge of the forest. Then you would have to take his cut off head to the evil witch that lives on the edge of the forest by the castle.

If you can do all that and survive, then there is a princess that lives in the castle and she is truly horribly hideous, hates everyone and treats everyone despicably. If you can get her to fall in love with you then you can remain in this human form.” Dilly said and the other two pixies were nodding their tiny heads in agreement with solemn faces.

“That seems like quite a lot to stay human, but okay, I want to try so where is this troll? I get this princess to fall in love with me and I get to become king right? Wow this is more than I expected out of a human life! This adventure sounds great! I am ready to go for it,” the toad said another ribbet coming out.

The pixies could not believe that the toad agreed and didn’t think he would survive it all because after all he was just a toad. They tried and tried to talk the toad out of the whole idea and after a few hours or so they gave up. The pixies did get him to agree to wait until they returned with human clothes for him to wear before he left.

“Where did you get the clothes?” the toad asked excited about the prospect of his great adventure ahead while he struggled to figure out how to put the clothes on until the pixies finally helped him.

“From a house that is in the forest. So if you pass a house with boxes of tiny purple flowers hanging along the fence don’t stop there,” Dilly replied wanting to change the toad back but he was still respecting his wishes and his agreement with Billy and Willy.

“He needs a name, a human name,” Billy said and they all agreed and started saying out names that they though would suit the toad. But the toad interrupted their discussion and told them he made his decision to be called Gilly so he would always remember where the gift of becoming human came from. The pixies bade the toad farewell feeling sad that he was leaving and would likely never return. Each had tears running down their tiny pixie faces.

Gilly was excited and happy and walked off with gusto towards the troll cave. He loved walking high on his two human legs. He could see the entire world around him differently from this high up and he was enjoying it immensely.  Once in a while he would step into the water and he thought it felt as good as when he was a toad.

When he reached the little house in the forest with the flower boxes hanging on the fence with little purple flowers he remembered what Dilly had said. He had never seen a human house this high up and was fascinated by the detail of it that he could see from this new level.

A very old man came out of the house and looked at Dilly instantly recognizing his clothes and shouted at him, “Thief! You have my clothes!”

Gilly stood there for a moment staring at the old man because up to this point he had seen very few humans in his whole toad life. When he saw the old man starting to charge him he tried to hop away and tripped and fell and a ribbet sound escaped. This stopped the old man for a moment not sure if he had heard the young man ribbet. Gilly was able to get up and run away before he started charging him again.

As he ran he felt the speed he was at was faster than he had ever gone and his legs running felt glorious. He was laughing at the sheer joy of his new form and its new abilities beyond what he could experience as a toad. He was having fun dodging the trees effortlessly as he ran fast through the forest not even thinking about the old man.

Once he noticed that he was getting out of breath some miles down the road he stopped running and walked again. He knew he was getting close to the troll’s cave seeing a marker of a three large trees that were each torn in half by lightning that the pixies told him about. He decided to stop and eat and found many grasshoppers to fill his stomach and wondered for a bit about human food and what it would be like and looking forward to trying it all.

Mosquitoes that previously only tried to stay away from him now were trying to suck his human blood. He laughed as he easily snapped them all up and ate them as snacks as he walked through the forest toward the troll cave. Soon he was very close to the entrance to the cave and knew it because the smell in the air changed from pine to putrid and insects became more plentiful just as the pixies described.

He remembered that he had to kill the troll and decided to plan it out before entering. Once he was confident that his plan would work he entered the cave. 

The cave entrance was dark grey and black stone cut into the mountainside of the forest. A trickle of water was coming out of the cave and the smell only got worse as Gilly went deeper into it. Bones were all over the ground of different sizes and species and Gilly couldn’t figure out all of them. It was obvious to him that this troll liked to eat and he ate a lot.

He walked against one wall so he might be able to see the troll before the troll saw him. Before he expected it he saw the troll stomping towards him. He didn’t see him and Gilly stayed motionless his back pressed against one side of the cave wall. He was hoping he would pass by him and he would get the advantage of being behind him.

The troll stopped in front of him and started laughing. Gilly didn’t know what to do and just stood frozen watching him. He was large but not that much taller than Gilly and his body stank of rot. Rolls of fat encrusted with dirt and blood and smeared over his entire pale torso and hefty pale arms. He had the face of a man but his mouth and nose were disfigured with teeth that were sharpened tools.

“Did you think I couldn’t smell you silly young man? Have you not learned about trolls before you came into a cave of a troll? No matter, you will make a fine dinner for me tonight,” the troll roared and reached out to grab Gilly. Gilly let out a ribbet and reached his hands out putting his fingers into each eye of the troll and pushing deeply into each socket.

The troll hung onto him hard but Gilly pushed even harder ignoring the screams of the troll knowing he stood between him and remaining human. The troll in terrible pain and now blind stepped back to pity himself forgetting that Gilly had just done the deed for the moment. Gilly grabbed a bone and smashed his head with it until he was dead, his clothes now covered in blood.

When he was sure the troll was dead he spent some time trying to cut its head off with the bones and it made his clothes a terrible mess of blood and rot from the troll. He smelled as bad as the troll did now. Finally succeeding in getting the head off he left the cave and animals ran away from him as he walked. He searched for water to wash the stink of the troll off and finding it jumped in happily throwing the troll head to the bank of the river.

He stripped his clothes off and was enjoying the water cleansing the troll off but he lost track of time in the enjoyment and didn’t get out until it was almost dark. The troll head, eyeless looked even more hideous now as he picked it up to find a place to bed down for the night. He was tired now and the journey, though he was enjoying the adventure, was finally taking its toll on him.

He fell asleep by a tree by the water and when he woke up in the morning a fox was nibbling at the troll head. He shooed the fox away more to protect the fox then the head, thinking that rotting troll would likely make the fox sick or worse might even kill him. He picked up the head and started off towards the witch’s house near the castle that he thought was convenient since he would head to the castle next for the princess to seal the deal of his humanity.

The head seemed to become heavier as he walked and the smell of rot was overwhelming, so he stopped to set it down for a moment. He looked at his clothes and they looked dirty but he didn’t think that would be a problem so much for the witch. But he decided if he had a chance after the witch he would find new clothes to change into before he went to woo the princess.

He picked up the head again and walked on to find the witch’s house. When he saw the stick figures hanging in the trees here and there and ever increasing as he walked, he knew that the witch’s house was close. The pixies had told him about the stick figures and he was thus sure of it. A ribbet came out when he saw the house and he ate a mosquito just for good measure and a little extra energy.

The house looked ominous it was an made of what looked like mud smoothed into a dome tucked into thick forest trees filled with the stick figures. The door was dark wood with a large iron clasp. Gilly walked slowly up with another ribbet escaping his mouth.

The door swung open with a blast and Gilly started to ribbet uncontrollably looking at the witch standing before him. She was large and her face alone caused him to stare. Her eyes were big and yellow with thick lashes and a long nose that shifted to one side. Her face was gaunt almost silver in color and looked like a toad that was desiccated.  Her mouth had jagged teeth between two thin lips that were more yellow then pink.

Her clothes were heavy and layered in black and what looked like spider webs with spiders crawling all over her body. Gilly was awakened from his trance by her laughter after the witch informed him she knew he was a toad.

“How do you know that?” Gilly asked and another ribbet came out and he knew then how she figured it out.

She grabbed the head and invited him in as a guest and Gilly, being told by the pixies just to be careful with her, entered her home. There was a small fire burning in an open hearth and Gilly could see human skulls and other skulls inside it like a fresh burn. The rest of the home looked cozy to Gilly a few plump but dusty chairs and a small table with potions jars in a disorganized mess all over it.

Gilly took a seat and the witch brought over a tub of water for his feet and she was softly laughing. Gilly put his feet in and he felt instant happiness. The witch sat in the other plump chair and just looked at him not saying a word.

“So you wanted the head of the troll?” he asked hoping to start some kind of conversation with her despite her fearful look.

“Are you sure you want humanity toad? What good will that do you?” the witch asked in response. The way she talked was eerie, it was low in tone and high in pitch.

“I am an old toad and this is a new adventure for my life. I am happy to become fully human,” Gilly said sincerely. He still knew his decision to remain human was the right one for him.

“Did they tell you about the princess? No one has gotten her heart and I am not sure she has one. I think she would be better off and more powerful as a witch. I would like you to bring her to me so I can transform her into her fully natural form,” the witch said and her eyes glowing yellow now made Gilly feel that this was not a request.

“I know what the pixies told me but they didn’t think I could kill the troll but I did. You have his head here as proof of that,” Gilly said brushing his hair aside and finally seeing that it was golden blonde. He touched it again in admiration.

“You make a handsome young man, have you not seen yourself? Do you not know what you look like?” the witch asked grabbing a mirror from the small table next to her and passing it to him.

Gilly took the mirror from her but he could see the face of it moving and didn’t want to look into it as he thought it might be a trick. But the witch was staring him down so he peeked into it and saw himself as the toad he was. The witch started laughing and cackling moving up and down in the chair while the spiders continued to crawl all over her.

Gilly got up and ran out of the door while she was still laughing. The door slammed behind him though he never saw her raise up from the chair. He didn’t look back, he just kept running towards the castle.

When he reached the castle he was out of breath and taken back by the largeness of it. He stopped moving to look at the massive structure and find a way inside. The large white stone structure was bigger than he had ever seen before. He really appreciated his size again as he could see it in its full glory at his new height. Large massive stones were piled on top of each other and Gilly had never seen stones like this, so smooth and all one size.

He wanted to sit on one of these stones, to feel what it was like. He had sat on many stones but none like these. It excited him the more he looked at it and realizing he could stay human forever and own all of this if he got the princess to fall in love with him, he became excited and hurried off to find an entrance.

The castle was very large and he had to walk very far cutting through trees until he saw other people. A small ribbet released from his mouth before he walked onto the pathway where the other people were. He wondered if they knew, if they could sense he wasn’t real, that he was really a toad. But he kept walking and noticed females smiling at him. He thought about what the witch told him how he was a handsome young man and hoped that their smiles were because of that.

Finally he saw people rushing in and out of a door and hurried over to it to enter the castle. He thought he would just go right through when a man holding a tall pole with a flag on it stopped him by grabbing his arm.

“What business do you have here?” he asked and as he held Gilly’s arm. Gilly tried his very best not to ribbet.

Just then a man went running out of the castle with a piece of bread in his hands and others were shouting and chasing after him. The man released Gilly running after the man with bread too. Gilly let out a small ribbet and ran into the castle.

There were many people inside and everyone seemed to be doing something, selling something, entertaining others, enjoying the entertainment, eating, talking or listening. Gilly walked through trying to be unnoticed but females kept smiling at him and he started smiling back that was responded to in soft giggles before he passed by.

He went through it all until he reached the inside halls. People were rushing back and forth as if everyone had a serious purpose. Gilly enjoyed watching it all and almost forgot what he was here for until finally seeing young girls dressed in fine soft gowns with sparkling braiding even in their hair and he knew to follow them.

Soon he was at the chamber of the princess and he peered in to assess his chances with her. It was a beautiful room filled with flowers and a large massive bed like Gilly had never seen. He wanted to hop onto it to see how soft it was. The princess had her back to him and when she turned around he almost threw up. For one moment he thought the witch may be right and her true calling was to be the most hideous witch in existence.

He regained himself recalling that her true love alone could keep him human. He didn’t have to marry her. He just needed her to fall in love with him. He just wanted to sit on the stone he didn’t have to own it all he thought to himself.

“You there, come here!” her heard a voice say and he realized it was the princess.

He looked around him and saw that there was no one else that she could mean. He walked over slowly as she grinned at him through her hideous mouth. Her hair was matted and white though her face appeared young.

Her eyes were small and beady and looked like two black marbles that had been pushed into white clay. Her nose was almost not visible it was so small and tiny and only up close could anyone see that there was a nose there at all. Her mouth had two large engorged lips that Gilly had never seen on any human thus far. Her gown was beautiful white with pink accents that glittered but not more than her diamond-encrusted tiara.

Who are you boy? I have never seen you before in the castle or elsewhere around the grounds. Where did you come from? Are you here to kill me you swine!” she screamed at him as soon as he got close enough for her shouting hot breath to be felt by him. She slapped a servant for no reason and Gilly wondered whether he could ever be human forever.

“I am from a town far away and saw your beautiful castle and I just want to sit on a stone. Would you permit me to do that?” he said not knowing what else to come up with and wishing the pixies had given him some special advice for the princess.

“Sit on a stone?” she replied laughing at him but the princess could not resist this young man’s handsome looks so she gave him permission to sit on a stone and followed him outside to do it.

Gilly walked with the entourage of the princess who he could see were not happy but rather trying to be perfect so they could avoid her terrible wrath. She hit them all for no reason and Gilly could see she took pleasure from it, laughing each time she did it. She didn’t raise her hand to him and he was glad for it wondering whether he could resist hitting her back or not if she did.

Finally they got to the top of the castle and a large courtyard was there. Stones to sit on were all along the ledge and available in every direction. Next to the walls were marksmen with arrows at the ready watching the distance.

“Well pick the stone you want to sit on already, there are plenty here,” the princess said her tone sarcastic as though Gilly like the rest were only toys for her amusement.

Gilly walked over to the wall right next to one of the marksmen who shook his head slightly trying to warn Gilly not to sit on the wall. But Gilly feeling defeated outside of his great adventure to this point in becoming human, killing the troll and surviving the evil witch, felt pleased enough if the end happened now. His dream had been bigger but he knew this princess likely had no heart to swoon as the witch said.

He sat on the wall and felt the great stone so smooth beneath him; he couldn’t help petting it with his hands the coolness of it wonderful to his touch. The princess became more irate because Gilly wasn’t trying to swoon her and was instead ignoring her as they all did before him and she began walking away. The marksmen told him to let her go but Gilly decided he would try more. He had made it so far already she was the only thing standing in his way and he knew had not tried hard enough yet.

“My lady thank you for allowing me to sit on the glorious stones that this castle are made of. I will be eternally grateful, can I do something for you in return?” Gilly said hoping she was not going to shout at him again.

“You are just a simple boy what could you do for me the princess of this castle? I have everything, everything I need!” she shouted and slapped the maiden next to her and she fell onto the ground.

“How about love, would you like my love dear beautiful princess?” Gilly said hoping he could melt her icy heart by using the very words of what he needed from her.

The princess grabbed Gilly by the arm and ran away from her entourage and didn’t stop until they were both alone in an abandoned section of the castle.

“Why do you mention love to me? Beautiful boy you cannot love one as hideous as me!” she said and burst into tears.

“Do you have a mirror dear lady?” Gilly asked knowing he might really get what he wanted now that she had shown her vulnerability to him.

“Why? Is this some cruel joke you are playing like the rest have?” she said talking through her flowing tears.

“Because you will see that I am not as handsome as I appear, and you are not as hideous as you think you are either,” Gilly replied not sure if he was right but having an inkling that there was more to this than he knew for now.

She grabbed his hand still crying and ran to her bedroom running to the small dressing table and pulled a mirror out. Gilly took it from her and standing next to her positioned it so they could see both within it at the same time.

Inside the mirror Gilly saw a princess so beautiful that she appeared to be a beautiful goddess and the princess saw Gilly as a toad.  That one moment, where they both saw the truth that they were both under spells they formed an instant bond telling each other their secret.

It did not take much time at all after that before they both fell in love and got married. On the day of the wedding the princess returned to her real form as beautiful a young woman as had ever been seen and Gilly was forever turned into a handsome young man and they lived happily ever after.

Gilly still sits on a stone now and then and remembers his days as a toad but never regretted his decision to achieve a life of a much longer happiness.

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