Raji Singh’s Lore of the Lindian Woods
What is it that Tillie and Ginger, the Toad Sisters enjoy most in all the world? Gathering fruit, and giving it to the sickly creatures of the Lindian Woods. Their kind act helps so many animals and reptiles survive.
One bright and breezy day while crouching on a Lily pad in the pond Ginger Toad ribbits to Sister Tillie,
“Tillie my dear. We have made almost all the critters healthy. Now they do their own fruit collecting. What will become of the extra fruit we’ve put aside? It would be sad if it rotted.”
Tillie scratches her head with her gangly leg and wonders. “Indeed Ginger. We mustn’t waste.” Her movements make the rubbery pad sway like a small sailboat and creates gentle waves that make slap, slap sounds against cattails growing near the shore.
Ginger sniffs at the sweet pungency of apples, plums, and pears wafting from the fruit they’ve banked in their secure vault of thorn berry bushes. Ginger thinks aloud, “An early freeze, an ice storm, or a flood might come. What if we could save the fruit for when there is none to be found, Sister?”
Tillie puts a deep freeze on that notion. “But the fruit has already fallen, so it wouldn’t last.”
“Hmm. You are right Ginger. But I know there must be a way.”
“Do not worry Tillie. There is a way. And we will find it.”
Not long after this Lily pad meeting of Toad minds, an event would happen that shows them how. It would forever change life in Lindian Woods.
It begins with Little Fox. She stoops over and laps water from a hollow stump. The poor vixen makes a dreadful scrunched face and a horrendous yowling cry, “Yech, phew!” She spits it out and licks her soft brown fur to rid herself of the taste. This doesn’t work and she begins to cry.
The Toad Sisters hear their friend from across the Lindian Woods and come hopping to see what is wrong. When they approach Little Fox, they see the stump is full of cherries, apples, and mulberries dropped from nearby trees. Most of it is soft and mushy, barely edible by any creature. Ginger sips the water. “Aach, it’s awful.”
Tillie carefully balances on the stump’s rotting edge, and scoops everything out. “Do not worry Little Fox,” Tillie assures. “After a while the bad taste will wear off.”
Ginger tenderly pets the soft fur of the tearful vixen. “Rain will come, Little Fox. It will dilute your stump water so it tastes good again.”
Little Fox sniffs and smiles. “Thank you Tillie. Thank you Ginger.”
The Toad Sisters go about their way on this merry day. They see their friend, Calico, sipping from another hollow stump. She flits away gleefully, waving, “Try this, Sisters! I’m sure you will like it!”
The sisters hop to the stump. Fruit has been floating in it for a long time and smells temptingly sweet. It is hot in the Woods. Tillie dips her back leg in and uses it to wet her face. Some of the juice drips to her mouth. “Mmm!” She sweeps her long, skinny tongue across the water. “It is delicious, Dear Sister. Try some.”
Ginger leans over to the water and drinks.
Her eyes light up and sparkle. She starts feeling woozy. Her head feels lighter than it ever has. She begins walking crooked, and hopping crooked. Still, she leans over the stump and drinks even more. She feels the beginning of a headache so she stops. “I’ve got it, Sister Tillie! I know how we can use the extra fruit so it lasts an ever so long time.” She licks her lips. “All the hollow stumps in the Lindian Woods: We fill them with fruit and berries. We add herbs and roots. When it rains, VOILA! Our special stump juice is slowly brewed.”
Excited, Tillie adds. “Raccoons can be our stump guards. Young animals can drink only from certain stumps, where the fruit mix hasn’t been in as long. So their juice isn’t strong.”
Ginger quickly nods. “And adults, ones such as you my sweet Sister, are limited to how much of the stronger drink they are allowed.”
The sisters clasp stump juice covered hands and shake to seal their partnership.
Thus begins the Toad Sisters brewing of the highly prized beverage all those of the Lindian Woods call “Toad Sisters Stump Juice.”
Ginger and Tillie always glue the words, via twig letters attached by leaf paste to the side of each stump, “For Medicinal Purposes Only.”
(Join me every Sunday night at the Fiction House, your place for short story, lark, whimsy, and merriment. Meet the many residents as I archive their lives and centuries of adventures. You can read of their origins in my novel TALES OF THE FICTION HOUSE. They are completely different stories. My novel is available at Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.)
©2014 Raji Singh