Once upon a time there was a little boy who loved exploring in the woods behind his house. The boys name was Elmer. He had red hair and freckles and was tall for his age. He had nobby knees and long arms. Elmer didn’t have a lot of friends at school but his neighbor Bets was his best friend.
Bets had raven black hair, dark eyes and olive skin. She was tiny, only reaching Elmer’s shoulders but was a year older than he was. They got along like best friends would. Their parents teased them that one day they would marry, Elmer would scoff and Bets would laugh and roll her eyes.
One morning the two went wandering as they usually did in the woods behind their houses. They packed snacks and jars to collect bugs, rocks, bark or anything else that caught their eyes. The path was warn and gently rolled. They walked along chatting away about the kids at school or what their siblings got them in trouble for the night before. Elmer was the middle child of three kids. His older sister Williamina was in high school and the baby was, well a baby. His name was Micah. Bets was the youngest of her family with six older brothers. They really had so many differences but shared so many similarities. As they chatted the birds sang songs and the world warmed under the late spring sun. They wandered toward the frog pond that had become a favorite hang out of theirs. It was at the edge of the thick woods about a mile away from home. The pine trees blocked most of the suns rays from hitting the forest floor. They walked on, until Bets noticed something weird about the light around them. She stopped. “What are you doing now?” Elmer groaned. Bets was always just stopping, and most of the time Elmer would get a few yards ahead of her before he realized it and would have to walk back and fetch her. “Something is different Elm.” She said. Elmer took a deep breath and studied her face. She was really concerned looking. He looked around and there indeed was something different about the woods today, but what was it? They stood in silence for w little while and finally Bets spoke, “Its purple. The woods are turning purple Elmer. Do you see that?” Elmer agreed, although he didn’t understand how. He was indeed seeing that everything around them had a purple tone to it. “Maybe we should head home?” Elmer questioned. They looked at each other and laughed. They were too adventurous. They started walking on toward the pond that sparklywas just ahead.
Bets broke through to the opening where the frog pond was, and stopped in her tracks. Elmer smashed into her back and down in a heap they went. “Damnit Bets why on earth do you have to just stop like that. God one of these days…” his voice trailed off as he stood up and looked around. Where the normal murky, green and brown frog pond once was sat an amazing purple lagoon. There were purple flowers and vines and the water of the pond was a light sparkling lilac color. Bets got to her feet and stood next to Elmer and looked around in awe. They looked at each other after what seemed to be an eternity and then looked back at the pond, as if they were both dreaming the same exact dream. They weren’t. Everything was purple. “Bets?” Elmer whispered, “Yeah Elm?” Bets whispered back. “What in blue blazes is going on?” Elmer stammered back to her. Bets was silent for a moment and then she took a deep breath and said matter of factly, “Who the heck knows but lets go find out.”
The two wandered to the edge of the pond and looked at their sparkly purple reflections and giggled. Elmer dared himself in his head to touch the water. He quickly stuck his hand in and out again, it was silky. The sparkly purple water dripped from his outstretched fingers and made ripples in the water. Frogs sitting on Lilly pads of gray-purple croaked their good mornings and plopped into the water all around them. Bets took a jar out and filled it with the water and closed it tight. She held the jar to her chest for a while as she tipped her head back and took the purple world in. Elmer took his place beside her and did the same. “How do you think this happened?” He asked out loud, not entirely to Bets but more to the forest around him. Bets was silent. A huge bull frog croaked and startled the pair from their silence. “Excuse me?” The frog croaked. Bets’ eyes grew huge as she looked down at the frog. “I said excuse me.” The frog repeated. Bets was frozen as she stared at this bullfrog, bright purple with brilliant lavender eyes and eggplant colored spots all over him. Elmer slowly knelt down and examined this frog that was patiently waiting for Bets to move her foot from his path. “What are you looking at?” He bluntly asked Elmer. “Well,” Elmer stammered, “we have never seen a talking Bullfrog, sir.” The bullfrog laughed a deep belly laugh that made his mouth open wide exposing his toothlessness. “Oh come my child, surly you have!” He studied Elmer’s face and then looked up at Bets who was still standing as a statue in awe of the conversation that was happening at her feet between her best friend an fat old bullfrog. Elmer assured the frog that neither he nor Bets had ever aboutwitnessed the pond like this much less spoken to a bullfrog. “Well, I’ll be.” The frog introduced himself as Satchmo. He was six hundred and fifty-six years old. Bets finally decided to take a seat on a royal purple log with purple moss. The two sat intently as Satch told them the story of the purple pond. “It appears to only those that have the spark of adventure that is true in them. Only people who believe that adventure is a nessisity snappedand those people cannot live without adventure are able to find this pond. It has been four hundred and twenty-seven years since we last had any visitors. You two are special.” Satchmo snapped his tongue and swallowed a dragonfly whole. Bets looked about and asked Satch why they had never happened upon this place before and Satchmo explained that only one day out of the year the pond appears as they see it now. “It is purple because only those who have the spirit of adventure can see the purple hue beyond the forrest, as you two did.” He smiled and he snagged another dragonfly from the air.
A huge splash made all three jump. Satchmo landed atop of Elmer’s head and Bets Hid behind him. “What the heck was that?” Bets screeched. She was still not as comfortable in this purple world as Elmer was. “It sounded like it was close.” Elmer calmly replied. The three started toward the splash.
Elmer halted and grabbed Satchmo who was still clinging his sticky frog toes to Elmer’s forehead for dear life, and shoved him into Bets’ chest. “Here you two stay here behind this boulder and don’t move!” Bets did as she was told. Normally she would come back at Elmer for this, she was in fact the older of the two and didn’t care much for being bossed around by him when she received enough of it at home, but she did as she was told without question. Elmer Marched toward the yelps and splashes that had become increasingly violent sounding. He poked his head through a patch of purplish magenta reeds and saw a massive alligator and snapping its jaws toward a just as massive catfish. The fish hit the water and bolted toward the middle of the pond only to have the alligator slam his enormous foot down on its tail hauling it mid swim. The catfish tail wiggled and flopped free and smack the face of the alligator with such force that Elmer was knocked to his knees. The catfish was not like any cat fish Elmer had ever seen. This cat fish was in fact part cat and part fish, which left Elmer a little befuddled. The fish had a the look of a Siamese cat in the face, the first time that he had seen a different color besides purple the whole time he had been here where the catfishes lime green eyes. Its nose was deep purple and its scales were sparkly and bright. The alligator roared and the catfish hissed back. As soon as the battle began it was finished, The two creatures looked at each other and Declared a truce. “You and I have been competing like this for years Albert. When are you going to admit that you are not stronger than I?” The catfish said breathlessly. “Mildred, you are a worthy appoinent, if I were one hundred years younger I’d have you for sure.” Albert sneered back at her winded. Elmer relaxed his breathe and caught MIldred’s eye.
“Excuse me dear boy, who are you?” Mildred swam over to the edge of the reeds where Elmer was hiding. “Come out I dont bite humans” she chuckled. ELmer glanced at Alber the alligator that was the size of a minivan and then he looked back at Mildred. “Oh don’t worry about him child. He may as well be a little bunny rabbit when it comes to humans.” She winked. “Are you alone?” She asked Elmer. “No Ma’am.”He called to Bets who was huddled behind the boulder with Satchmo. Bets and Satchmo both peeked out from behind the rock at Elmer as he motioned for them to come out. The three of them sat at the edge of the reeds and listened to Mildred tell the story of how a cat became a fish. The whole pond had been created by a wizard, many many years ago. Bets shot Satchmo a look to which he replied, “I was getting to that part.” He rolled his eyes back at Bets and snapped yet one more dragonfly from the air. MIldred told them the story of how there was a powerful boy wizard named Constance many years ago and that had no friends. He studied and practiced his magic for hours on end. He only had one real friend, Her name was Winifred. Together the two created a world where creatures got along, where everyone lived peacefully and because Winifred like the color so much, almost everything was purple. “The two grew up and continued to live in their world together and create different animals, like me, the catfish” Mildred purred proudly. Bets thought it sounded like a boat motor on idle but gave her slimy scaly head a rub anyway. Albert wandered over and plunked down beside Elmer and let out a groan. Mildred continued to explain that while the two created and explored their world, theirs with their families started to fade away, and before they knew it, it was lost to them forever. The two decided that they would only allow their world to be accessed by those who were able to find balance between the two worlds. “They must have an adventurous spirit and an equal love for their home and family.” Albert joined in the story. Bets looked at Elmer who was already staring at Bets. “Constance and Winifred got so caught up in their world and each other that they forgot how to have both. That is why we are hidden except for one day a year. You two have this gift that is required to be in our world, and now that you have found us you will never lose this place.” Mildred nudged Bets hand for more pats.
Albert was snoring and Satchmo was nodding as if Mildred was taking the words out of his mouth. Bets finally spoke, “How do we go home?” Elmer smiled and nodded in agreement. Albert grumbled, “The way that you came foolish girl.” Mildred splashed him with her fin and he growled never opening his eyes. “What he means is, this world is always here, you may come and go as you please just the way that you found us. We are always here waiting and always will be. For adventures keep the soul young and the spirit free, and for humans like you adventure is your life, and you will suffer without it.” Mildred then disappeared into the glittery purple water and Elmer held his hand out for Bets. She took it and stood. Looking around once more before making their way back to the forest. They held hands the whole way in silence. Neither saying anything as they walked into Elmer’s back yard. They had an unspoken agreement that day that no matter what they were going to be adventuring together for the rest of their lives.