Tag Archives: song



Once upon a time there lived a frog named Albert. Albert was quite content as a frog. He had his lily pad, his friends and a wonderful voice. Everybody knows that frogs are great singers, but Albert’s voice was something special. Whenever he sang the whole pond would stop and listen to him sing. Albert sang about the moon shining on the pond at night, about sleeping warm in the mud through the winter and about bathing in the warm light of the sun. It was in fact, Albert`s voice that got him into trouble.

In a castle up on a hill, overlooking Albert’s pond, lived a King and his family. The royal family lived content, with the exception of the youngest daughter whose name was Sue. Where princesses were supposed to be graceful and composed, Sue was somewhat ungainly and terribly shy. Somehow she never acted quite like a princess should. Her brothers and sisters taunted her unmercifully. Even the servants in the castle teased her

One spring evening when the air was especially still she stood on the balcony of her room listening to the sounds of the spring night. Since her room overlooked the pond, she of course heard Albert singing.

     “Even a frog has something special that makes him sing so beautifully.” She sighed and leaned her head against the cool glass. “I wish I knew what that frog is singing about so wonderfully. She shook her head. “What nonsense I am thinking tonight to envy a frog his voice.” She turned to go into her room. Just as she was closing the doors behind her she heard a beautiful bass voice singing of the joy of spring under the first star of the night. Transfixed the princess stood and listened to the velvety voice.

“O dear me, you will catch your death of cold.”

Sue jumped and turned to her nurse.

 “You startled me.” She closed the doors and came into the room. she stretched and gave a tremendous yawn. “I’m so tired.”

 “Such a yawn for a princess.” Her nurse clucked and helped her change for sleep. “It isn’t at all becoming.”

Sue blushed and climbed into her bed. When the light was out and she was alone, Sue lay awake and stared at the ceiling.

 “Why do I need a nurse anyway? I’ve grown far beyond the age I need a nurse.” Still grumbling she drifted off to sleep.

The next morning did not begin well. First, Sue was late for breakfast. her mother glared as Sue hurriedly slid into her seat and sent the juice glasses to slopping over onto the white tablecloth.

 “Oh, I am sorry, I slept late.” Sue mopped at the juice with her napkin..

 “My dear, you are a princess,” the Queen said, “you must be punctual. If you cannot be on time, don’t make excuses, and certainly don’t rush about out of breath.”

 After breakfast the princesses gathered to work on their needle point. Sue stabbed herself, and bled so badly that she ruined three months of painstaking work. Her finger bandaged, she was sent outside to amuse herself until lunch, with the order to stay out of the mud, and her sisters’ demure titters ringing in her ears.

What use is it to be a princess if I can’t be a happy princess?  Gradually the warm sun began to cheer her up. Then she heard the wonderful voice from the night singing. Following the voice until she reached the pond Sue saw a large green frog sitting on a stump. She squealed and jumped back. The frog jumped into the pond. The ball which the princess dropped, rolled into the pond.

“How am I going to get my ball back without getting covered with mud?” the princess wailed. “0h, why can’t I do anything right?”


 Albert looked carefully out from under the water. The girl sat on the grass crying bitterly. He had often seen the princesses playing near his pond and felt sorry for the youngest princess. He liked her best because she was the only one who ever seemed to appreciate his pond. On an impulse he dived down into the water and with a great effort pushed the ball to the surface and rolled it to the princess. Sue looked at him in astonishment.

“Thank you, 0h, thank you.” She grabbed the ball and laughed. “They will never believe this in the castle.” Albert was so pleased with himself that he swelled up with song. Sue’s eyes bulged and she almost dropped her ball again.

“It was you singing last night” She gasped in astonishment. “You must be a prince under enchantment. no frog could sing so beautifully.” The princess looked around. “I will take you home and break your enchantment. Then we can be friends.” She quickly caught Albert and ran home to hide him in her room.

 Albert was devastated. This place was cold and hard, and worst of all it was dry. There not a decent bit of water or mud to be found. He missed the sun and the well known murk of his pond. As the day turned into evening his loneliness became so great that he began to sing. It was a terribly mournful song, and as Sue came into her room and heard it, it caught at her heart.

“It must be terrible to be a prince, and have to live as a frog.” She picked Albert up and hugged him. Albert was so sad that he kept singing his unhappy song. “Frog.” Sue said between her sobs, “You are so unhappy. I wish I could make you a prince.” And she kissed him.

“Who is that man?” the King thundered from the doorway. Sue didn’t answer, for she was staring at Albert in amazement. Albert had turned from a frog into a man.

“Why are you in my daughter’s bedroom?” The King roared at Albert, but Albert didn’t answer either he was looking at himself in amazement.

“Why frog, you are a prince.” Sue squeaked.

“Hardly a prince if he appears like that in a princess’s bedroom.” the King bellowed, since, being a frog, Albert had no clothes.

The King and Queen were up all night discussing what they were going to do. They finally decided that the only way to avoid a scandal was for Albert and Sue to get married, immediately. So they planned the wedding for the next week.

 Albert found the change to palace life very difficult. He wasn’t sure how to eat with knife and fork. Clothes were strange and uncomfortable. But most of all he missed being a frog and singing in his beloved pond all day. The only thing that made it at all bearable was the princess. She taught him how to eat with utensils and helped him choose the most comfortable clothes. She even stood up for him when he chose his entire wardrobe in green. But each evening Albert would slip out of the castle and go down to the pond. There he would sit in the light of the moon and sing. They were sad songs, and Sue listening on her balcony would determine to try even harder to make her prince happy.

One day while Albert and Sue sat in the sunny courtyard escaping from the wedding plans for a brief time Sue’s nurse came out to bustle Sue back into the castle.

“I’m about to be married. I don’t need a nurse.” Sue yelled in rebellion. “Go away, and don’t bother me anymore.” The old woman looked at Sue then slowly and silently left.

“Why did you yell at her so?” Albert asked. “Surely she is only trying to help.”

“She’s been my nurse longer than I can remember. But I don’t need a nurse anymore, and I don’t like being fussed over.”

“If you don’t need a nurse, maybe she needs you.” Sue looked at him quizzically.

“Why should she need me. I’d think that she would be glad to do something else for a change.”

 “What?” Albert asked reasonably. “She has always been Nurse.”

“I don’t know. That’s her problem anyway.” Sue grumped.

“You are her princess. I think that makes it your problem.” Albert pointed out. “You should give her something else to do if you want her to stop bothering you.”

Sue looked at him for a moment.

“I hadn’t thought of that.” She jumped up. “I’m going to go and talk to her.”

“What are you going to ask her to do.” Asked the frog prince.

“To be the nurse for our children!” Sue laughed, and ran off to find Nurse. Albert sighed and wandered down to the pond. He thought wistfully of his old uncomplicated life as a frog.

Yet as the days before the wedding shortened, Albert’s common sense made itself felt. Even the King found himself discussing difficult problems with his guest. The Queen went so far as to admit one night while she and the King worked over the proclamation for the wedding that Albert might make quite a suitable match.

“By the way dear, have you found out exactly who Albert is?” She asked. “We really can’ t have a proclamation reading ‘Today the Princess Susan Aurelia Constance Esther marries Albert.’ We need to know a little more about his background.”

 “Quite right, You should ask Sue in the morning.”

The next morning, the day before the wedding, Sue walked down the stairs to breakfast.

“Good morning.” She smiled, and glided into her place.

“Good morning Sue.” The Queen nodded. “Your father found a minor detail that needs to be cleared up. We need to know Albert’s full name and a little more about him for the proclamation.”

“I have been so busy that I never thought to ask him.” Sue said. ” I will ask him today.”

Out in the courtyard, which had become their favourite place, Sue found Albert. He was staring moodily through the gate down toward his old pond .

“Albert, my mother asked me what your other names are.”

“Other names? I only have one name.”

“But Princes always have lots of names. Like me, I have four.”

“I like Sue best,” Albert said with a smile.

“But you are a Prince, you must have other names.”

“No.” Albert sighed “I have no other names. I am not a Prince.” Susan stared at him, then laughed.

“You must be a Prince. Why would anyone enchant somebody who wasn’t a Prince?”

 “You did, Sue.” Albert said looking at her with an expression she couldn’t quite fathom.

“Oh Albert.” Sue blushed.

“But you did Sue. You turned me into a Prince.”

“And if I turned you into a Prince, what were you before?” She demanded.

“A frog. I’m a frog Sue. I was never a prince until I met you.”

“You are not an enchanted Prince?” Sue’s face turned red. “You let me think you were a Prince all this time, and all the time you were just a frog? What am I going to tell my father? That I’m marrying a frog?” Sue stood now, screeching at him.

Albert flinched with each question.

“You creature. You abominable creature. I hate you.” The princess turned and fled from the courtyard.

Albert sat for along while, then slowly he stood and walked down to the pond, a sad, shrinking figure in green.


The Princess locked herself in her bedroom. She refused to talk to anyone. Other than to tell her father through the door that the wedding was off; that everything had been a terrible mistake. She closed the window then wept on her bed for three days.

Finally, she got up and washed her face. Squaring her shoulders, she unlocked the door and went down to breakfast. Her family greeted her with a wary silence. The Queen gave her an approving nod.

Things returned almost to normal. As the weeks passed, Sue floated quietly through life, her face cold and pale. She rapidly lost weight. One morning she no longer had the strength to get up.

The King and Queen worried about her. They begged their daughter to tell them what was making her so unhappy. But Sue simply stared out the window and said nothing. The old nurse came to the princess’s room to be by her side. She bustled about cleaning and tidying, opening the window to let the fresh summer air in. The day passed and as the evening came Sue heard a voice singing outside her window. It sang of the summer night, and the sorrow of a love lost. It sang of the moon shining on the pond and of a beautiful princess named Sue. It sang of enchantment and a broken heart.

“Albert,” the princess whispered. She stood and staggered to the window. “Albert.” His deep, sad voice soared through the night, telling of the joy and sorrow of his love.

Sue sat on the balcony and listened to the song through the night. In the grey of the early morning she slipped out of the castle. Walking slowly but with iron determination she made her way down to the pond.

“Albert.” She called into the silver mists. “Albert, I’m sorry. I love you.” The effort of walking overcame the weakened princess and she fainted beside the pond. There Albert, once again a frog, found her.

My poor Sue.” Albert said as he kissed her. “I wish I could make you happy.”

The rising sun shone gold on two happy frogs as, hand in hand, they hopped into the pond.

Coming up in 2017 and a Christmas story.

I have lots of things planned for 2017. A young adult dystopian novel coming out late winter, a fantasy novel to be released late spring and a thriller set in the northern winter, ironically being released during the summer. Somewhere in there I’m releasing a small book of poems and mushroom pictures.

While you wait for all these goodies, here’s a Christmas story for you:


The carollers were off key again. Hank took a swig from the bottle in an effort to drown the exuberant caterwauling coming from next door. He glanced at the label Laphroig it said, twelve years aged in oak casks. It didn’t matter Hank had stopped tasting anything after the first bottle. It was his father’s booze anyway, or at least it had been before tonight. Now it was Hank’s.

Marge would be furious. She would say that he should have kept his father’s scotch collection as a souvenir and sipped careful drams on special occasions. Marge wasn’t here either. The love that had burned so hot twenty years ago had slowly dissipated until all that was left was a cool regard and a reluctance to spend money on divorce lawyers. Marge had gone to her sister’s right after the funeral. Candace did have cancer. She needed her older sister’s help to manage her house and four kids. Candace’s husband had no qualms about paying divorce lawyers.

Hank could hear the carollers laughing and talking as they walked past the front door. They wouldn’t stop at this door. Hank’s father hadn’t believed in Christmas. To be truthful, Hank’s father hadn’t believed in much of anything except his own correctness. That he was right in every argument was as much an article of faith with him as transubstantiation was for the Pope. Hank swallowed the last of the Laphroig and carefully dropped the bottle in the blue recycling bin. Hank had brought it from home. His father didn’t believe in recycling either.

Hank staggered out of the kitchen and just managed to catch himself on the doorjamb. He was drunk. Hank hadn’t been drunk since…. well he couldn’t actually remember the last time he got drunk. Seeing all those bottles of scotch, it seemed a reasonable response to the old fart’s death. He manoeuvred himself over to the couch and half sat, half fell onto it.

His father wouldn’t have got drunk on scotch. He was too full of life to waste it getting drunk. He would have walked ramrod straight out to the top of the line Mercedes Benz he drove and started it up. He would have revved the big eight cylinder engine to hear the roar and feel the power in the steering wheel. Then he would have driven away at speeds that made lesser men pale. (He didn’t believe in speed limits.) He would have raced in and out of traffic keeping up a running commentary on the shortcomings of the other drivers, until he hit that tiny patch of black ice. The law of physics didn’t care whether Hank’s father believed in them or not. The bridge abutment cut the car in half. It pretty much cut his father in half too.

Hank lay on the couch and felt tears leaking from his eyes. For all the old man’s faults, Hank would miss him. They had never celebrated Christmas, not all of his wife and family’s pleadings would change his mind, but he wasn’t a miser. At each graduation of Hank’s children the old man had quietly handed his grandchildren a check that would pay their tuition for university. When Hank’s youngest had spent it on carpenter’s tools instead, Hank had expected an explosion. Instead the old man hired his granddaughter to work on the house.

Hank’s tears flowed harder and sobs wracked his body. He was alone in the world. Marge had her life taking care of the kids and her large family. The kids were all independent. They tolerated their mother’s meddling, but Hank didn’t know how to talk to them any more. His father was the last person Hank could pretend needed him. The alcohol that brought out his tears carried him into a merciful sleep.

Hank woke to the sound of singing at the door. He pushed himself to his feet and listened. This wasn’t the raucous carolling from earlier. It was a single, pure voice. Hank could hear each word clearly, but understood none of them. Maybe it was Latin. He looked at the clock on the mantle. Two o’clock in the morning. Who sings Latin at two in the morning? Who sings Latin at all?

Hank through the door open and looked in astonishment at a young child who stood singing with his eyes closed. Hank half expected an angel chorus to leap out, or maybe a camera man. He recognized the tune of one the Christmas carols they sang at Marge’s church. The boy finished the tune and smiled at Hank.

“Merry Christmas,” he said.

“Merry Christmas,” Hank said, “What are you doing here?”


“It’s two in the morning. Shouldn’t you be in bed?”

“Yup,” the boy said, “but I felt like singing. Mom said this was a sad house. I thought I could cheer it up.”

“Sad,” Hank said, “Yes, it is sad.”


“My father was buried yesterday,” Hank said, “He didn’t believe in Christmas.”

“That is sad,” the boy agreed, though Hank wasn’t sure whether he meant the death or the lack of Christmas. The boy started another song and Hank stood listening as it washed anger he didn’t even know he felt away. The tears started again, but Hank didn’t care. He remembered how his father came to all his school concerts and games. He remembered the great booming laugh. The unbelief only became hard and uncomfortable when Hank’s mother died. She had believed in a great many things, but mostly in her husband. Without her love, his father had become uncompromising. Hank realized his tears were as much for his father’s pain as his own. He thought of his father at the grave side saying ‘Well that’s it then,’ and just walking away.

The boy’s song finished and he beamed at Hank again.

“Thank you,” Hank said.

“Merry Christmas!” the boy shouted than ran away through the snow. Hank looked to be sure he left footprints behind.

“Well that’s it then,” Hank said and closed the door. He walked through the house letting it tell him stories. At first they were of the unbending man that was Hank’s father, but gradually they took him further back to when his mother and father would read to each other from books with long and boring titles. Hank didn’t remember what they said, but he remembered the passion his parents’ voices held. He remembered arguments too. His mother and father often shouted at each other trying to make the other see. The only time Hank remembered seeing his father cry was after one argument when his mother had walked out in mid-sentence. When she returned later, his father had held her tightly and cried unashamedly.

His father did believe in something. He dialled his sister in law’s number that Marge had given him before she left.

“Hello?” Marge sounded barely awake.

“Hello,” Hank said.

“What time is it?”

“About four.”

“What do you want?”

“I just needed to talk to you,” Hank said.

“Alright then,” He heard Marge settle herself more comfortably.

“How’s Candace?”

“She had a rough day,” Marge said, “I made her unplug the phone in her room. She needs her sleep.”

“How are you?”

“I don’t know,” Marge sighed, “I’m scared to death that I’ll lose my sister, but I can’t let her see.”

“Dad was scared of losing Mom, but he showed it.”

“I always thought he never recovered after her death.”

“No, he didn’t,” Hank sighed, “Maybe you should let Candace know you don’t want to lose her. It is easy to let people drift away because we assume they know.”

There was such a long silence that Hank wondered if Marge had fallen asleep.

“Are you coming home today?” she said finally.

“I thought I would come by Candace’s and give you a break.”

“That would be nice.”

“See you later.”

“Later then.” Hank heard the click of the phone hanging up. He hung up the phone then went to find his bed. He decided that he believed in Marge. He lay in bed trying to find the words he would use to explain. Just as he was falling to sleep he whispered.

“Thanks, Dad.”