I met a toothless, tailless toad just walking blithely down the road and when accosted by two enquiring lads who’d never seen a toad before – as they were city boys whose main delight was at the floodlit skateboard park each night; in fact it was from there they just had come and so surprised by meeting such a lumpy but emphatic gent who ambled with such a firm intent; they stopped me to inquire what manner of beast was this which met their eye.
Familiar as I was with things amphibian I could see this was indeed a common toad and though they’d thought to see him hop as does his cous’ the frog whose nature is both like and similar; Mr Toad prefers to walk which may be easier with his portly bulk which had not deterred him from his evening stroll – Though maybe he’s not headed for that famous ‘hole’ ( in which a more culinary toad is rumoured to reside,) but something more appropriate to his kind. A shady garden fern or damp, dark corner; or a pot with overhanging lugs – some place where dinner waits in the form of slugs !
‘I have the very thing right here ‘ I cried, ‘ and there are others of his kind in my back garden where they hide.’ So said I, and prompt picked up the unexpected guest. ‘Wow’ screeched the lads, ‘we thought it was a pest!’
They squirmed a bit but then I showed a closer view of Mr Toad whose dignified and lugubrious stare quite surprised that young pair. ‘Hey it’s really cool’ said one, ‘like an Alien with little hands and a big fat tum.’
‘He’ll be quite happy in a gloomy garden nook, much safer there than on the street away from cars and clumping feet, and passers by with curious dogs who may incline too take too close a look.’
‘That’s great’ they said as they went on their way, ‘we’ve learned a bit about an animal today.’ I said goodbye and gently carried Mr Toad to introduce him to his new abode. So in my garden now reside a little group of frogs and toads, my greatest hope of eco-problem solving – that of slugs, of which there’s loads and loads!