1. to lure by or as by music: The Pied Piper tweedled the children into following him.
  2. to produce high-pitched, modulated sounds, as a singer, bird, or musical instrument.
  3. to perform lightly upon a musical instrument.


It was something about the sweet chirping of crickets that always put Ernie at ease. The sweet cadence was the melody of his youth, tied to memories of his large family, their huge meals, and lots of laughter. It comforted him now, as he thought of how it seemed he was the only one left at home. Everyone else had left, starting their own families, moving to places with more “opportunity.”

The moon hung low, reflecting off the surface of the smooth pond, as it often used to when he was younger. The night was clear, the breeze was warm and thick, making his skin stickier than usual.

Everything but the crickets seemed to be sleeping, even the flies, much to his chagrin. He took a gulp of water, contemplating, yet again, if he had it in him to move away from his childhood home and find something better. The thought had occurred to him on numerous occasions. As each sibling moved, Ernie pondered whether he could follow suit.

A change of scenery could be nice…or at least that’s what he told himself. Deep inside he knew that he didn’t want to leave home. He didn’t want different opportunities, or something better. He just wanted…the thought of companionship touched a sore spot that often ached within his soul.

Ernie was about to take a second  gulp of lukewarm pond water when another sweet sound traveled toward him. He felt the sound more than he heard it as notes began to tweedle an unexpected balm, an answer to his dissatisfaction. He lifted his head, water dripping down his neck.

After all of these years, it seemed an impossible sight, but across from him, the moonlight was clearly reflecting off the shimmery, slimy skin of a female frog. She croaked again–longer, more heartily, asking him a question. Ernie was so stunned by her appearance that he doubted she could actually be real–an apparition maybe, a conjuring of his own imagination wanting to soothe his tired emotions. Or maybe something was in the pond water again. Several months ago he had gotten sick and started hallucinating, thinking he was somehow in a dry pond with lots of golden dirt and no water in sight–worst week of his life.

But this seemed more real.

He released a tentative greeting, unknowingly holding his breath as he awaited a reply. Her response surprised him, coming on the tail end of his greeting. His heart began to beat faster as his mind unsuccessfully willed his body to move. For some reason his legs felt weak.

“Hello…hello,” she called, uncertainty infiltrating her tone this time. “Are you still there?”

“Yes,” he said, unable to control his voice. He sounded more like a tadpole than a strong frog.

With one deep breath, Ernie calmed himself. This was what he had been waiting for, what he had always wanted.

“I’ll be right there,” he said, making sure he sounded more confident.

Ernie leapt from the edge of the pond and into the water, swimming toward a future of opportunities in the place he’d always loved.




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