By Margo Wayman
Two bronze-colored toads sat on a rock catching flies and mosquitoes with their long, sticky tongues. After doing this for a few hours, they began to get fidgety. This is boring, the largest toad, Youssef, croaked. Lets say we have a leaping contest, although it wouldnt be much of a contest. You know, and I know, that I can leap higher than any toad in Egypt.
I hate to differ with you, Youssef, but I can jump higher than you can, Sharif, corrected. He leapt from the rock into the air, flying a few yards. See!
Is that as good as you can do? Youssef asked, scoffingly. Ill bet you cant jump over that rose bush.
Oh yeah! Watch this, Sharif said, then he jumped. He sprang over the rose bush, feeling the soft, velvety petals brush his moist skin and he passed over them. He landed with a plop back on the hot, amber colored sand. He turned around and grinned at Youssef. See, he smurked. CROAK! CROAK!
Well, that was easy. Anyone can leap over a rosebush. Its not that tall. Lets see you jump over that camel, Youssef challenged, pointing to a fawny colored camel that was standing by a date palm, munching away contentedly.
Sharif took a few small leaps then jumped. He flew over the camel, feeling its scratchy fur as he passed overhead. Wheeeeee, he called out, giggling. When he landed in the sand on the other side of the camel he started laughing. Heh, heh, heh, heh, heh. I told you I could do it.
Youssef wasnt happy. He didnt think that Sharif could jump that high. Well, that still was easy. Ill tell you what. Ill show you whos the best at leaping. Ill jump over that boulder over there, Youssef said, pointing with his long finger. CROAK! CROAK!
Sharif looked at the boulder. Hmmm, thats a big boulder, Youssef. CROAK! Do you think you can do it?
Of course I can. You jumped over that small camel. I can surely jump over that huge boulder, Youssef assured his friend. He swung his body back and forth, preparing for the jump. One, two, three, he went, and flew threw the air. He landed with a thud on the other side of the boulder. Whew! he whispered to himself, relieved that he had been able to do it.
The two toads kept challenging each other, and the objects kept getting taller. Sharif leapt over a mimosa tree, full of brilliant reddish-orange flowers. Youssef jumped over a big-leafed tree that was heavily laden with ripe figs. Sharif hopped over an elephant as it was getting a drink out of the river with its long, snakelike trunk. Youssef, sprung high and flew over a date palm. He got a flew splinters in his legs from brushing over the palm fronds. The dares kept getting bigger, and bigger, and were becoming much harder for the toads to jump over. Youssef was also starting to get tired. That last palm tree had been a close call. Hed almost not made it. It had taken an hour for him to pull all the splinters out.
He knew if he wanted this to end, hed have to find something so big that Sharif couldnt possibly jump over it.Aha, Ive found something I know you cant jump over, the pyramid, Youssef challenged his toad friend.
Sharif looked at the pyramid. It was big. It was so big that he didnt think hed ever be able to leap over it, but he had to try. I think I can do it, Sharif boasted nervously. It isnt that big, he gulped. He let out two loud croaks, and started rocking back and forth. Faster and faster he rocked until he felt he was ready. He leapt through the air with all of his might. He made it about halfway up the side of the pyramid, saw that he wasnt going to make it over the top, and watched as he closed in on it. SPLAT! He hit the side of the pyramid. He just lay still, plastered against it, then began to slide down the bricks to the sand below.
Youssef watched Sharif. Somewhat frantic, he hopped over to his friend, who lay silently at the bottom. Youssef poked his friend. Sharif, are you all right? he asked.
Sharif opened one of his eyes. Maybe you can jump higher than me, he admitted. He lay there for a little while then got up. From now on, the biggest thing Im going to jump over is you!
From that day on, Sharif and Youssef could be seen hopping around on the desert sand. But they werent challenging each other any more. Instead, they played a fun, and very safe game of leapfrog. CROAK! CROAK! CROAK!