“Read to Me” Click Play below
Retold by Tiil Books
Once upon a time there was a little girl with a very strange name. She cried so often that everyone took to calling her Tearful.
Now, Tearful cried over everything! If she could not have her own way, she cried. If she could not have everything that she wished for, she cried.
One day, Tearful’s mother took her aside. They sat on the back porch and shared cups of hot cocoa. Tearful’s mother said, “you’re just like the boy who cried for the moon. Even if they had given it to him, he still wouldn’t have been happy. What possible use could the moon be to any one out of its proper place?”
“No use at all,” sniffed Tearful. Thinking about the sky without the moon made her cry even harder. The tears made her hot cocoa taste awful.
“That is the way with you,” said her mother. “Half the things that you cry for wouldn’t be of any use to you if you got them. You don’t have anything that needs to be printed out, so you don’t have a printer! You have no balls to attend, so you have no need for a diamond necklace. The phone that you have works just fine, there’s no reason to get a new one.”
The words seemed more like a scolding than a warning. They just made Tearful cry harder.
One morning, as Tearful walked to school, she thought about how badly she wanted to go back to bed and began to cry again. She had math today, and she hated math! She hated the girl that she sat next to in history, and she didn’t want to run laps during P.E!
At one of the cross walks, Tearful noticed that she wasn’t alone. There was a frog hopping along beside her.
“Why are you following me?” she asked, looking at him through her tears.
“Because you will soon form a pond around you with your tears,” replied the frog, “I have always wanted a pond all to myself.”
“I’m not going to make you any pond,” said Tearful, scrubbing at her face with the back of one hand. The lights changed color, so she crossed the street.
The frog crossed the street too.
When they got to the other side of the street, Tearful stamped her foot. She wiped at her face with one hand, trying to brush away the tears. “I don’t want you to follow me either!”
The frog follows Tearful all day.
It follows her through the school. It follows her through the cafeteria. And, when Tearful starts the lonely walk back home that evening, the frog continued to follow her.
“Go away,” sobbed Tearful. She took off running, but the frog just hopped faster. It didn’t matter where Tearful ran, the frog was not far behind her.
Eventually, Tearful was too tired to run any more. She sat down on the sidewalk, just outside of the local park. A dog could be heard barking in the distance. “I don’t want you to keep following me!”
“I’ve always wanted a pond,” insists the frog. “There aren’t any in this awful town! The roads and buildings have taken over. I can’t swim in cement, you know!”
Thinking about how much the city has taken from nature makes Tearful cry even harder. She cried so much, and so hard, that there was no time for the tears to dry up. For hours, Tearful sat outside of the park and cried. When she was finally able to open her eyes again, it was to find that a small pond had formed around her.
“Awful,” bellows the frog, from his place on the edge of the cement island. “This isn’t what I wanted at all!”
Tearful says, “that’s a lie! This is exactly what you wanted!”
The frog says, “no, I wanted a pond! And this – this is nothing but a small ocean! The water is far too salty. It would dry out my skin if I got in there.”
“I can’t even cry correctly,” wails Tearful, who always finds the worst part of the situation. “This is the only thing that I can do, and I can’t even do it correctly!”
Tearful starts crying harder. She sobs until her eyes burn, and then she cries even harder.
“Stop,” shouts the frog. He jumps around wildly. “Stop! If you keep crying like that, we’re both going to drown!”
“I don’t know how to stop,” admits Tearful. “I’ve been crying for so long, I can’t remember how to be happy!”
The frog tells her, “there is only one way that I know of to get out of this mess. You must smile! If you smile, then the pond will dry up and we can both escape! You can go back to your home, and I can go back to searching for a pond!
“I don’t feel like smiling,” wails Tearful. Her eyes are rimmed with red. Her cheeks are raw and wet. “I don’t think I remember how to smile! And I’m not sure that I want to go back home!”
“Everyone wants to go back home eventually,” says the frog. “You should consider yourself lucky! Your mother loves you very much, and she works hard to give you everything that you need!”
“But not everything that I want!”
“If we always got the things that we wanted, there would be nothing to keep working for. You have good clothes and yummy food. You have a nice house and games to play with. They might not be the most expensive, but they work, don’t they?”
“What was the last thing that you asked for?”
“A new smart phone,” sniffs Tearful. She pulled out her old cellphone and held it out. “See? Mine is getting old.”
The frog says, “it might be old, but it works. I don’t have a phone, you know, and I’m sure there are plenty of girls out there who don’t! My, my, I do love the way my reflection looks in that glass!”
Tearful laughs. She offers, “I can take your picture, if you would like?”
“I would love it! No one has ever taken my picture before!” The frog is quick to grab up a stick and jam it into the ground. Already, the tear-pond is starting to dry up. He leaned on the stick with one arm and crossed his feet.
“Smile,” says Tearful. “And say cheese!”
Instead of doing either, the frog snaps his tongue out and grabs a fly just as the flash goes off.
When the picture comes up on her phone, Tearful laughs even harder. She shows him the picture, and says, “look how handsome you are!”
“My,” says the frog. “I’ve never seen myself reflected so clearly! Can I take one of you?”
“Of course,” said Tearful, handing the frog her phone.
“Now look pleasant,” he said, as he seated himself in front of Tearful. “And don’t forget to smile.”
Tearful did as he requested. The flash went off, and the phone was passed back. There was mud on Tearful’s face in the picture. Now, she was giggling so hard that it hurt.
“I do not think either of us are photographers,” said the frog.
“I don’t think so, either.” Tearful looked around her. “The pond is gone.”
“I told you. It would dry up as long as you were smiling,” said the frog, for he was a very wise frog. During his search for the perfect pond, he had seen a great many things. “And I think that we’ve both learned a very good lesson, today! I know it’s one that I won’t soon forget.”
Tearful asked, “what lesson did you learn?”
“I learnt to never ask for my own pond,” said the frog. “I would be lonely without my companions. Not to mention that a pond of my own might not be worth swimming in! Just look at this one. I can still feel the salt all over me!”
“I will try not to cry over the little things again,” said Tearful, looking down at her phone.
It’s not a bad phone, after all. Tearful might not take very good pictures, but that’s hardly the fault of the phone.
“I feel better when I smile,” said Tearful, softly. “And you’re right. I might not have everything that I want…but I have everything that I need. Like you, my very good friend.”