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Agnes Taylor Ketchum

My Neighbor in Green

I HAVE a curious little neighbor who always wears a green coat and has some droll ways. The coat is not plain green either; it is relieved by wavy, black stripes and gorgeously trimmed with three bands of gold color down the back. Then he has a most dainty vest of gray, green pantaloons, very tight, and a pair of gold spectacles. He is a very dignified person, and his gold specks make him look as wise as an owl. I said he was my neighbor, and he is, for he lives in a pond not far off. I suppose if you were to see him sitting on the bank there some morning, you would call him a frog!

A droll thing about this little fellow is that when he was a little baby he wasn't a frog but a little fish. He had a tail and gills and swam around in the water like other fish. He was called a tadpole and ate vegetable matter. As he grew a wonderful change came over him. In the first place his gills withered away. After a while a pair of legs burst out of his skin. They grew quite long, and then another pair burst out in front of the first ones, and he became the possessor of a tongue. The next thing that happened was his long tail shrank away, his lungs developed, and at last he hopped out of the water a perfect frog. If you think this too strange to be true you can see the whole thing for yourself. Any time in the spring go to the nearest pond where you will find plenty of the eggs floating on the surface. Gather a few and put them in water. Then keep close watch of them and you'll see all these wonders. During the summer my little neighbor is a great eater, devouring a host of insects, worms and such things. But in the fall he becomes melancholy and leaves off eating. And when the weather gets too cool for his light coat, he has no furs or feather overcoat you know, he buries himself snugly in the mud at the bottom of his native pond and goes to sleep for the winter. A pretty good nap I should think. He is often frozen but he doesn't much care for that. The first warm weather of spring brings him out lively and bright as ever.