LUNA LIGHT NIGHT
It was the beginning of the evening festivities on Lake Fibian. The last
of winter’s chilly fingers loosened their grip, as early spring
transformed the earth from barren and leafless to budding and lush.
All around the lake clusters of frogs gathered at the edge of the murky
green water. Above them night-dewed trees rustled and swayed. The warm
evening breeze swirled the scents of the lake through the air – the
damp smell of the earth, old fallen leaves and the lingering salty-sweet
scent of late afternoon rain. Through the trees and dancing above the
glistening water, lightning bugs buzzed around the crowd, casting
shimmer and light on the water.
Some frogs found their favorite spots and remained rooted while others
pushed and slipped into tight-knotted groups. The rest found any place
they could cling to or burrow under, leaving only their curious eyes
The noise level grew and the earth sounded like a symphony tuning up.
Nearing the large trunk of an oak tree, three young frogs rushed to join
“Hurry! Hurry! We’re late.” Cristobel yelled back to her two
friends hopping behind her.
“But, we’re almoth there,” Spyder said. His large blue belly
“Do we have to leap the whole way, Crithobel?”
“The beginning is the best part,” Max chirped. He hopped past them,
a wide grin spread across his green face.
“I think the food is the best part,” Spyder grumbled, which reminded
him of the feast to come. He sped up.
“I can’t wait to get to the lake,” Cristobel squealed. She sprang
forward and caught up to Max. They entered the clearing and arrived at
the mouth of Lake Fibian.
Cristobel and Max stopped and leaned against a squat purple mushroom to
catch their breath while they waited for Spyder to catch up.
When Spyder arrived, huffing and puffing, they hopped forward and looked
for a spot close to the water’s edge. Their laughter joined the
cacophony of frog voices as they watched the band, The Spadefoots, tune
Cristobel hopped up and down, then chirped. “Can you feel it?”
“Feel what?” Max asked.
“You can feel my belly gwumbling, can’t you?” Spyder asked. His
belly was demanding, always rumbling with its need for food.
“Not your stomach, silly.” Cristobel raised a hand and rubbed her
flat fingers against her ear. “Something exciting is going to happen
tonight. I can feel it.”
“Maybe there will be new appetizers,” Spyder said. “I’d love
some worm puffs or snails wrapped in crispy beetle legs.”
Cristobel puffed out her cheeks and continued to hop in place. Max gazed
around and noted a few missing frogs.
“I wish one of us lived closer to the lake.” Max grumbled. “We
could have stayed home and watched from the windows.”
Max looked over at a nearby tree and saw frogs from different species
clinging to rough bark like autumn leaves. He sighed when he saw
mushroom-topped roofs and tall twig condos covered with squirming
Chirping in revelry a rushing group of Spring Peepers pushed Cristobel
“Hey, watch out!” Cristobel cried. She bumped into Spyder’s
stomach, bounced off his round belly and landed on her bottom. Max and
Spyder laughed and helped her up.
The boys stood on either side of Cristobel. She looped her arms through
theirs, linking them together. It was harder to get knocked down this
Once a month, on Luna Light Night the Anura —the entire frog
nation —gathered around Lake Fibian to celebrate the unity of the
lake. The bright, circular orb suspended high in the air, lit the lake,
and lured frogs from every tree, burrow, or lily pad together to swap
stories, share a laugh or sometimes to discuss problems or concerns, but
mostly, it was to celebrate.
Cristobel looked out over the water, then at her two friends. “It’s
hard to believe we wouldn’t be friends if the Anura still fought each
Lake Fibian’s history, to the shock and delight of the leaplings, was
a mixture of battles, secrets, and misdeeds. It wasn’t only the frogs
who fought. All the animal species that lived at the lake fought each
other, but the worst battles were between the different species of the
Cristobel, Max, and Spyder, affectionately known by all the animals of
Lake Fibian as The Three, were from different, and previously warring,
species. If the battles existed, they would not be friends today.
Among the Anura, the trio were an odd sight to see. While the other
species of the Anura got along well enough, they tended to have
friendships within their own species, but seeing The Three’s strong
bond, many of the other frogs were encouraged to look past colors,
spots, stripes, and croaks.
Cristobel gazed fondly at her two friends. “Who would have thought
members of the Red-Eyed Tree frogs, the Strawberry Poison-Darts, and the
Polka Dot Tree frogs could be friends like we are.”
“And we are the vewy best of friends,” Spyder said.
“We have an unbreakable friendship,” Max added.
Max hailed from the Red-Eyed Tree frog species. He blended in with
lakeside flora, which was good...when he was up to no good. Seen from
above, his head and back were bright green. Seen from below, his golden
belly usually quivered with laughter. His strong arms and legs were blue
and his webbed hands and feet were bright orange. His eyes were a
delightful shade of red that usually held a twinkle.
Being an only sib-leapling, Max thought of Spyder as his brother-frog
and couldn’t imagine them not being friends. They met as tadpoles and
had seen each other every day since they lost their tails.
Spyder was a Strawberry Poison Dart frog. His real name was Bates, but
Max nicknamed him Spyder because his head, upper back and arms were
bright red and his lower body and feet were brilliant blue with thin
black lines that ran around his body like a spider’s web.
They became fast friends when Max stood up for Spyder when other
tadpoles made fun of his tangled tongue. Spyder also had a speech snag
that twisted his words, but made listening to him fun.
Cristobel was a Polka-Dot Tree frog. Max and Spyder didn’t like girl
frogs very much since most were squeamish and giggly, but they thought
Cristobel was cool for a girl frog. Her skin was bright yellow with
gentle shades of green and red. Her expressive white eyes and air of
innocence usually got them out of trouble.
To the Lake Fibian community The Three were a wonderful sight. The trio
was usually seen bounding and leaping by with their bright colors and
constant laughter. They reminded everyone, and not only the Anura, of
the importance of keeping the peace and working together.
On this particular evening, the air was electric. A strange hum tinged
the oncoming night. Every frog felt the buzz in the air like industrious
bees making honey.
The Spadefoots finished tuning up their wooden, leaf, and stone-made
instruments and were ready to play the Lake Fibian anthem. Rows and rows
of frogs prepared their throats, expanding and contracting their fleshy
underbellies in preparation to sing the opening song of Luna Light
Excerpted from "The Hoppernots" by Deborah Blake Dempsey. Copyright © 2014 by Deborah Blake Dempsey. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.