A Story With Two Little Slippers And One Little Frog

Once upon a time there were two naughty cousins, two little cute girls: beady-eyed Miruna and fair-haired Marina. The little damsels wore their hair in plaits and fastened in ribbons and had frilly, fancy dresses. Except that "little damsels" stands not only for some ladies that are still very young, but also for little girls that are not exactly mean, just a bit mischievous. Since the cousins did not live in the same town and met only in summer time, in the country at their grandparents', they would miss each other terribly. But when they got together, first they kissed, hugged, played and then started arguing. When the summer was hot and the water of the Delta was turbid but still cool, they packed their things – blankets, dolls, water and snacks – and set off on a short trip, accompanied by their parents and grandparents, who carried fishing rods and a small stove. For those who don't know it yet, in summer the Delta is heaven! On the shore the perfumed willows sing a green song, the silvery water caresses your skin, storks gaze at you from across the water, delicate dragonflies hover above, cuckoos call one other, a black boat awaits on the shore with a white foam collar and trust me, you feel just like lazing about: you are so small when face to face with nature! If you cannot stay put and you want to go fishing, you may become the laughter of the smartest fish. Grandpa Andrew had his bait eaten and when he pulled out the hook all he got was an empty can! Grandpa Vasile was luckier and caught two small silvery fish at once! Well, well, these small fish, if more numerous, can be cooked in a tasty salty soup which you will eat up and make you lick your lips! But I have digressed and forgotten about the two little damsels! On the shore, in a hollowly willow, Miruna and Marina made a home for their dolls. They made tiny beds out of twigs, mattresses and duvets out of leaves and pots and pans out of snail shells. "Please do come into my kitchen, lady!" they welcomed each other. "Please do come into the bedroom as well, but make sure you close the door quietly and don't wake up the doll!" But their dolls, called Cristina and Zina, were careless and mischievous and forgot to turn off the light, that is to block the hollow entrance, therefore there was too much sun, plus there was noise all around, so they wouldn't go to sleep. As for lunch, they wouldn't eat grass soup and they also turned down thatch dish. They hardly had a bite of chocolate left over from their moms. A little bit later, the damsels started arguing over a broken shell. "You stepped on it!" said Miruna. "You crushed it!" answered Marina. "You did it!" "No, I didn't! Because my little slippers have eyes and can see, while your sandals don't!" "That's a lie!" shouted Miruna. Who could ever believe that your slippers can see? Do they have eyes and eyelids?" "In case you want to know, they even have eyebrows!" said Miruna. "Alright then, my sandals are made in Japan, if you must know! When I walk in them, they can hear and smell !" Miruna boasted. "What a terrible lie! No-one will ever believe you! " "Then I will take Cristina and go home…" "I will take Zina and good-bye!" All sulky and pouting, the two damsels wouldn't look at each other anymore. But their parents and grandparents hurried up to persuade them to be reconciled. Therefore, the moms of the two dolls had to make up. Now they look down at their feet and see the muddy shoes they have on: one pair of Japanese sandals that can hear and smell everything they step on, and one pair of slippers that can see everything. "You know what," said Miruna watching jealously Marina's slippers, "Let's swap: I'll give you my beautiful Japanese sandals and you give me the slippers to make an experiment with them. I'll enter the water with them and tell you what I see under it." Now there's no way out for Marina. She will have to lend her dear slippers to Miruna. "Alright then, have them! But you must give me a small bar of chocolate and your ring with a bead! " It is simpler to part with the chocolate than with the ring. Eventually, they agree. The longer feet get into the slippers, while the shorter ones into the sandals. The water of the Danube washes the dust away. The girls splash, play and laugh. The sandals are fastened with little belts so they have the time of their life. They hear the worms of the sandbank and smell the turbid waves. But the little slippers won't behave. They don't recognize their little master and slip away from the feet. Miruna gets stuck into the mud. "Help!" she cries, standing on one leg. "Come here, the water is deeper," Miruna calls victoriously, wearing Miruna's sandals. "I can't get out of here! I have lost a slipper!" Miruna whines. Now they both cry. Curious fish jump above the water and want to know: what happened, who got drowned? Alas! A little slipper! It got stuck in the mud and frightened a big frog, which started to croak madly: "Croak, run, run! Croak, the enemy slipper has come!" Eventually, the two cousins came back to the shore. What a mess! They had weeping eyes, disheveled hair, wet, muddied dresses. "My slippeeeeeer!" cries Marina. "She hasn't noticed the mud!" whines Miruna. Then grandpa Vasile, renowned among the fishermen as one of the best ever, decided to fish for the slipper. He tracked the traces of the two cousins and found the silly little slipper, in which a little frog had already found a home! Grandpa Vasile washed the slipper, scolded it and put the little frog in a box to make it a living toy for the two weeping argumentative girls. "Have you calmed down? Look what I have found!" "What?" cried Marina. "Where?" asked Miruna. "Only the little frog can answer you," said grandpa showing them the little box. "The frog showed me the slipper." "It is mine!" shouted Marina. "My grandpa found it and I am the one who will talk to it." In a moment she snatched the box and hid it at her back. "No, it is not yours!" whined Miruna, who in the meantime had retrieved her beautiful sandals but who suffered because she had no slippers and no frog. "Grandpa Vasile brought it for both of us to play with." "No, he didn't!" "Yes, he did!" "Alright, it is yours!" agreed Miruna. "But show it to me for a moment, maybe it is the Princess of Frogs and she can make miracles!" "No, she isn't!" declined morose Marina. "Oh, it's just a little frog!" said grandpa Vasile, angry to see how things had turned out. He took the box from Marina and urged the girls to come with him to the water. "That's it, you little sailor, go back where you belong!" "Good, very good," said grandpa Andrew. "It belongs to the water, while we belong on the shore, on the ground, where we should live only in peace. This is the most sacred belief!" The cousins started playing again. They made up, stopped swapping shoes and stopped fighting. End of the story.

by Passionaria Stoicescu (b. 1946)