The Magical Upchuck

May 22, 2008
By Brooke Showman, Milton, IA

Once upon a time there was a toad. He was a very dingy, lime green colored toad. He had this huge wart right between his eyes and his tongue was shorter than the usual toad. He didn’t have webbed feet, so he couldn’t swim like other toads. He was a misfit toad and the other toads wouldn’t have anything to do with him. The rest of the forest just made fun of him for being different. His name was Charles, but because he was so ugly and not an ordinary toad, he was known as Upchuck.

Upchuck spent most of his time looking for shallow water holes so he could find some food. He also would go where there were dead animals, everyone knows, particularly a hungry frog, that dead animals draw flies. So it was an easy place to find food. But he had to be careful because the other animals would try to eat him or step on him.

Upchuck would dream of being a magical toad and living the beautiful life: Living in a castle and having everything that he could ever imagine, being married to a beautiful princess, and having the most adorable children. If he were a magical toad, he would never having to worry about finding food or being teased. He dreamed about having tons of friends, going places, and doing things with people that liked him. He would have this dream almost every night, but he would always wake up and realize that it was only a dream. Almost every night, he would wake up and remember that he was all alone.

One day, Upchuck was sitting near a mud puddle, and he noticed that the plants around him were dying. He didn’t understand why they were drying up and lying over. He went over and tried to push up the leaves to see if he could prop them up. Upchuck worked very hard all day trying to help out the dying plant. The harder he worked, the more the leaves would rub against the wart. He became very tired and decided that he would rest for a while and try some more.

Upchuck fell asleep, but when he woke up, he saw the most amazing thing. The plant that he was trying to help was at least four foot tall and it had bloomed. It had the most beautiful flowers he had ever seen. Upchuck couldn’t believe his eyes. He thought to himself that it must have been all the time and effort that he had put into saving it. He felt very good about what he had done that he strutted his way back to his home. Although no one noticed how proud of himself that he was, he didn’t care.

Feeling so good about what he had done for the plant, Upchuck had a hard time sleeping that night. But when he finally drifted off he had that same dream again. But this time, his garden at the castle was filled with the same kind of flowers that he had helped that fine day.

When he awoke the next morning, he heard a pitiful cry. He set out to find out what or who was crying. As he came to this little area under an apple tree, he noticed a small butterfly. She was very small, and her colors were really ugly.

Upchuck went up to her and pushed her wing up with his head. He then moved closer to her and told her to stop crying because everything was going to be all right. The little butterfly stopped crying and looked at Upchuck. He told her that everyone has bad days and it would be better tomorrow. She just looked at him, and turned away. “I am the ugliest butterfly in the forest. I can’t even keep up with the other butterflies. So I don’t know how tomorrow will be better,” said the ugly butterfly.

So, the ugly butterfly turned and walked away. Upchuck just sat there trying to think of a way to help her. He sat there in the warm sun and had a little nap. He was woke up by laughter and the breeze of fanning wings.

He hopped around the corner and there was this big, beautiful, and colorful butterfly. She had seen Upchuck and shouted to him.... “How did you do this? What did you do to me to make me so perfect?” He just smiled and said that he didn’t do anything. “It was just your inner beauty coming out.” She flew down and gave him a kiss on the forehead. “I don’t care what other people say about you, you are the greatest toad in the forest. Thank you so much Upchuck for helping me.”

“You’re welcome.”

Upchuck was puzzled. He didn’t have any kind of answers for what had just taken place. It just seemed that every time he touched something and then went to sleep something amazing would happen. But is that the real reason, or am I just giving myself credit where credit isn’t deserved?

Upchuck just wandered around the forest thinking about things; he did not notice that as he was walking, his wart rubbed his over the plants and trees. So, there was this beautiful path of flowers and plants highlighting where he had been walking.

Upchuck kept walking not knowing what was happening behind him; but, all of a sudden, he heard a noise. He looked up and there a buck deer stood right in front of him. The deer asked him what he was doing. Upchuck said that he was just walking and thinking about some things. The deer told him to look behind him and tell him how he was making all of the flowers and trees so beautiful. As Upchuck turned and looked back, he was shocked. He could not believe his eyes. Behind him, where nothing special had been previously, were the most beautiful plants and flowers, just as beautiful as the plant he had saved not too long ago. “Did I do that?” exclaimed the toad.

The deer said that he was standing there watching everything come alive when he noticed that it was following Upchuck. “So tell me ...Toad.... Are you peeing or pooping some kind of special fertilizer or are you magical? But I find it hard to believe that something so ugly as you can make things become so beautiful. So what’s the secret?”

Upchuck didn’t know what to say. He couldn’t believe it either, but something was happening and he was involved. He didn’t have any explanations or answers for the deer.

The deer leaned down and nudged the toad. Not knowing what would happen, the deer touched the wart on Charles’ head. The deer stepped back a few feet and didn’t say anything. Upchuck looked up at him and couldn’t believe what he was watching. The deer was changing... his chest was broadening and he was getting taller. His small six-point rack was becoming massive twenty-four points.

The deer looked at Charles and said.... “You have a gift. Just look at me! All I did was touch you.”

Upchuck said, “You touched my wart. And now look at you: You look like the prince of the forest.”

“You are a lucky charm, and I am so glad that you are my friend.”

Upchuck had a friend. He couldn’t believe it! He had someone that wanted to be around him.

The deer ran off and left him there by himself. Upchuck was thinking very highly of himself and proud that he actually had a friend for the first time in his life.

As the days went on, every living thing came to see Upchuck because wanted to touch his wart. He agreed. Everyone seemed to love him and couldn’t wait to see him. But something was missing for Upchuck, and he didn’t know what it was.

One day, as he was sitting on his rock, a little butterfly came and sat down beside him. She asked Upchuck if he remembered her.

Upchuck said, “Yes, you are the little butterfly that was crying and I helped you by making you beautiful. I made you happy and you flew off to catch up with your friends.”

“Yes, you did that for me. But I never stopped to ask you what I could do for you to make you happy.”

Upchuck sat still for a moment and looked at this little butterfly. With tears welling up in his eyes he said, “You just did it. You came back and you see me as a normal toad, not a hideous and ugly toad, but just a normal one. Thank you for that. Thank you for seeing me.”

From then on, no matter who came or who he helped, Upchuck was the happiest toad in the forest.

Moral: This story was meant for opening one’s eyes. Beauty is often found in places overlooked or avoided.

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