Once upon a time not so long ago, a young leopard frog by the name of Jeremy Jumper emigrated to Walliwag Pond in the fair county of Higgeley Hills. His old home, Cogglum County, was a dreary land with many mud puddles and few ponds. Yet here the sun shone brightly and the water was as clear as a crystal.
“Ah,” he sighed, drinking deeply of the glistening cool water, “I do believe that I shall stay here forever!”
After swimming a while, he wandered about the perimeter of the pond in search of his brand new neighbors. He found several and all of them were both friendly and hospitable. Offering to give him a tour of their cottage, the Mathocks, a jovial family of bullfrogs with 13 children, cordially invited him into their home and served him algae tea with mosquito muffins. After tea, he enjoyed a challenging game of Dominoes with another neighbor, Dr. Nob Sowdag.
Mr. Bariglee, an older carpenter frog with a long nose, showed Jeremy the sturdiness and snugness of his house, wisely advising Jeremy to build his own home in a similar fashion. Scrunching his brow perplexedly, Mr. Jumper asked, “Why do you make your dwellings so warm? Here, the sun shines kindly all the day. It seems to me that you and your families shall roast!”
Eagerly his newly found neighbor replied, “Oh, this land is not always so generous! For though today is warm and mild, soon it will be winter. The weather changes overnight.”
Jeremy Jumper found this advice helpful and mentally added, “build house” to his list of things to do. “But first,” he thought, “I shall enjoy this fine day!” Throwing himself onto a lily pad and stretching out his long, spotted legs, Jeremy proceeded to soak in the sunshine. Because the following weeks continued to be as lovely as the first day, he continued to do as he had when he first arrived. It wasn’t long before his friends began to badger him about his need to build himself a cottage.
“You have already been here a month and summer is nearly over,” mentioned Edgar Eggleton, a Marswamp War veteran with two webbed toes missing. “When are you going to build your home? For we are fully willing to come and aid you.”
Nonchalantly, Mr. Jumper replied, “Why work on such a lovely day as this? The sun is beaming and I have you to visit with. Right now if it rains I may find shelter beneath the bushes or in a hole. When it is cloudy I shall begin my work.”
The very next day brought a terrible rainstorm. The waters, which the skies had been withholding for the first month of his residency, began to show themselves. Sheltered under a bush, Jeremy read a book and thought to himself, “Well, I most certainly can’t work today. The rain would wash away any mud walls I tried to build. Besides, I might catch cold.” And so he continued to reason the days away. On the cold, breezy days, he hopped over to visit his neighbors; on warm, cloudy days he leapt into the pond for a swim. Day after day, Jeremy foolishly waited for the perfect weather conditions to finally begin to construct his home.
Suddenly, the weather took a terrible turn. The pond turned to ice overnight. The soft mud on the banks became solid. And the shrieking wind tore the leaves, twigs, and branches from the trees, driving them far, far away. Mr. Jumper had no building materials for his house! Soon the snow began to fall onto the frozen ground. After huddling on the bank for some time, Jeremy pulled his dinner jacket tightly around himself and sought the shelter of his neighbors’ homes.
“Please,” he cried, pounding on their doors, “might I room with you for the winter? It is bitterly cold and I haven’t yet a cozy home like you.”
Sorrowfully, his friends replied, “Yes, our homes are cozy but they’re also snug. We simply haven’t any room for you! One more person would make us much more cramped than we already are. But if you had built your home when we advised, you would have been as comfortably situated as we.”
Finally, Jeremy arrived at Mr. Eggleton’s cottage. “Please, sir,” he pleaded, “might I stay at your home for the winter?”
Edgar Eggleton nodded his head. “I am afraid there is not enough room in my home to lodge you, but you are welcome to take refuge in my root cellar while the winter lasts.”
Anxious for any kind of shelter he could find, Mr. Jumper gratefully accepted the offer. After hauling his baggage down the two flights of stairs to the the cellar, he lit a candle and surveyed his new home. It was dark and cool under the ground, but at least he was safe from the sharp bite of winter outdoors. Sitting on his knapsack, Jeremy resolved, “When spring returns, I will build first and enjoy myself afterwards. Also, from now on I will be quick to heed the benevolent voice of experience.”