Freckle Frog is an ugly frog, but she is invited to a party. She wants to be pretty, but what can she wear?
Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Marian. She had a doll named Big Mary. Marian loved Big Mary, and she tried to be kind to her doll. But sometimes, she wasn’t kind.
Last year, Santa brought Big Mary on a snowy Christmas night. He also brought a lot of pretty doll clothes. There were three dresses. There was a warm red dress for winter. There was a thin white one for summer. And there was a beautiful blue silk one with lace. The blue dress was the prettiest.
There were also little skirts, tiny socks, and pretty little shoes. The shoes had shiny buckles and heels. There was also a pink parasol. And best of all, there was a beautiful hand warmer. The hand warmer was made of soft white fur. It kept Big Mary’s hands warm in cold weather.
At first, Marian loved to dress Big Mary in all these pretty clothes. She used to put on the red dress first. Then, the thin white one. And then, the blue silk one. And she held the pink parasol over Big Mary’s head. But she never gave Big Mary the little white hand warmer. It was too pretty.
But then, Marian’s birthday came. On that day, Marian’s grandma gave her a doll’s suitcase. After that, Big Mary’s life became awful.
Marian had so much fun packing the suitcase. It was so fun that she played with the suitcase for hours. Marian took off all Big Mary’s clothes and put them in the suitcase. Many times, Big Mary sat on the floor undressed. She was so cold that she shivered and shook. One day, Marian finished playing, but she forgot to put on Big Mary’s clothes. Big Mary shivered on the floor all night. In the morning, she caught a cold and became very sick.
Marian saw that Big Mary was sick. She was very sorry for forgetting her doll. She put Big Mary in her bed and she called Dr. Prince.
The doctor came and looked at Big Mary’s tongue. He listened to her heartbeat. Then, he shook his head and looked very serious.
He said, “Big Mary must take some medicine every day. She must sit outside in the fresh air. And she must always wear her best clothes. Yes. She is very sick.”
So Marian dressed Big Mary in the blue lace dress and gave her the pink parasol. She even gave Big Mary the beautiful white hand warmer because it was the very best. Then she carried Big Mary outside. She put the doll on a gray rock in the backyard. Here, the air was fresh and there were beautiful flowers nearby.
Marian didn’t know this, but Miss Freckle Frog lived under that gray rock.
Miss Freckle Frog was ugly (of course, all frogs are ugly), but she loved pretty things. Although she wasn’t pretty, she was a kind-hearted little frog, and all her friends loved her.
Every day, Big Mary sat in the sunshine, and every day, Freckle Frog crept out from under the rock. She hid in the grass and watched the doll. Freckle Frog thought the doll was wonderful, but she was more interested in the blue silk dress and the pink parasol. And oh! The soft white hand warmer! That was the most wonderful!
Little Freckle Frog was jealous. She wanted a blue silk dress, and a pink parasol, and a soft white hand warmer.
“Hello there,” called Big Mary.
Freckle Frog jumped in surprise. “Oh! Did you see me?” she asked. “I’m sorry that I bothered you.” Freckle Frog didn’t like to disturb others. Especially if they were sick.
“Oh no,” said Big Mary. “You aren’t bothering me. In fact, I’m happy that there is someone else here. I feel lonely sometimes.”
Freckle Frog stepped out from the grass and introduced herself. “My name is Freckle Frog. I live under the rock.”
“Nice to meet you, Freckle Frog. My name is Big Mary.”
They chatted for a little while and soon they became good friends.
By the way, Mr. Robin was going to have a big party in the garden. He invited Freckle Frog to the party. And also, Billy Bullfrog was going to be the singer at the party. It was a special event, so Freckle Frog wanted to look pretty. She especially wanted to look pretty in front of Billy Bullfrog.
She decided to ask Big Mary for help.
“I need a favor,” Freckle Frog started.
“What is it? I’d like to help you,” said Big Mary.
“Well, I’m going to a party, but I don’t have anything nice to wear,” said Freckle Frog. “Could I wear your dress and take your parasol and hand warmer?”
Big Mary looked very sad. “Oh no, I’m sorry. I can’t give you my clothes. You see, I’m very sick. The doctor said that I must wear this dress. I’m truly sorry.” And Big Mary really did look sorry.
Freckle Frog listened and understood. She couldn’t have Big Mary’s clothes. She needed to find another way.
Early in the morning, Freckle Frog went to visit the Morning Glory Ladies. They lived near the porch, and they always wore beautiful dresses.
Freckle Frog said to them, “Hello Morning Glory Ladies! Your dresses are always so beautiful! But have you seen the doll’s blue silk dress with white lace? It is even more beautiful than your dresses. It’s the most beautiful dress in the whole world! Can you make me a blue dress like that? I want to wear it to Mr. Robin’s party. Billy Bullfrog is going to sing, and I want to look pretty for him. I’m not as pretty as the doll, but I’ll become a little prettier with nice clothes. Can you make me one for the party?
But the Morning Glory Ladies were angry! They were angry because Mr. Robin didn’t invite them to the party. They decided not to help Freckle Frog.
Poor little Freckle Frog was sorry that she hurt their feelings. She didn’t want to make anyone angry. She almost cried about it.
But just then, little Black Spider, who was her good friend, came out from under a leaf. He said, “Don’t mind them. They are self-centered. It’s a hot day, too. They always get angry easily on hot days.”
Freckle Frog was glad to see Black Spider. He always made her feel better. She smiled at him.
“Do you need a lace dress for the party?” he asked. “I can’t make a dress, but I can make white lace. Would you like some?”
Freckle Frog opened her eyes wide and clapped her hands together. “Oh, I would!” said Freckle Frog. “That is very kind of you.”
And so, Black Spider started working. He started spinning his silk thread to make a spider web.
The next morning, the spider came to Freckle Frog and gave her a long piece of the web. It was the loveliest spider lace. Freckle Frog was very grateful to him.
“This lace is so lovely! Thank you very much, Black Spider. You are a wonderful friend!”
“Now you’ll be very pretty when you go to the party,” said Black Spider.
“Yes, I will! But…” said Freckle Frog, “But what about a parasol?”
“Oh, I know!” called a soft little voice. Black Spider and Freckle Frog looked up. They saw a tiny white butterfly resting on a flower.
“I know where there is a cute little mushroom,” said the butterfly. “The other day, it protected me from the rain. And it is just as soft and pink as the doll’s parasol.”
“Oh, I’d like that!” said Freckle Frog happily.
“Follow me,” said the butterfly. She showed Freckle Frog where to find the mushroom. It was very soft and pink. It looked like a parasol.
“I love this mushroom,” said Freckle Frog. “It is perfect as a parasol!”
“I think you will be very pretty when you go to the party. You will look like a doll,” said the little butterfly.
“Oh yes, but…” said Freckle Frog. “But the doll has a beautiful hand warmer. I might look just as beautiful as the doll if I had a hand warmer.”
Freckle Frog went back to her rock, where the beautiful doll sat.
Just then, there was a loud noise in the tree. Freckle Frog and Big Mary looked up. Mr. Robin was in the tree. He flew out of the leaves and flew away. But something fell from the tree and it landed near Freckle Frog.
“What’s that?” asked Freckle Frog.
It was a little caterpillar. He was so scared that he curled into a ball and stayed very still.
Big Mary laughed, but Freckle Frog had a bright idea.
Freckle Frog picked up the caterpillar. “Oh! You look like a beautiful hand warmer!” she cried. “Could I wear you to the party?”
The poor little caterpillar looked up at Freckle Frog. “If you promise to take care of me, it would be OK.” The little caterpillar thought for a moment, and then he added, “But you must protect me from Mr. Robin. Don’t let him eat me!”
“Alright,” said Freckle Frog. “I promise to protect you.”
So Freckle Frog went to the party and wore the cobweb lace. She carried the mushroom parasol. And she held the soft little caterpillar for a hand warmer. She even brought a cute pink bonnet.
Then, when Mr. Robin saw her, he said, “Wow! You are the prettiest one here.”
Big Mary also came to the party. She agreed that Freckle Frog was very pretty.
By the way, Mr. Robin always has his parties in the evening. The night was calmer because all the people and dogs went to sleep. The little animals could enjoy themselves.
Plus, the evening was so romantic! The sky was very soft and pink. The moon started to appear. And the fireflies came out with their bright tails, and they looked like little stars.
Yes. Mr. Robin’s parties were beautiful. But tonight was the most beautiful party ever.
Billy Bullfrog, wearing a handsome yellow tie, sang a few songs. He was a good singer and he had a deep voice. Everyone clapped and danced to his songs. Big Mary and Freckle Frog listened happily. They knew some of the songs, and they sang along.
Freckle Frog was very happy. Everyone admired her beautiful lace. She told everyone that Black Spider was so kind to make it for her.
After some time, the food was served. Freckle Frog ate a whole cherry. It was the first time she tried a cherry. It was so delicious and juicy.
Billy Bullfrog finished his performance. Next, the grasshoppers started to play their violins. They played beautiful music.
Billy Bullfrog came to Freckle Frog and asked her to dance. Freckle Frog was very happy to dance with him all night.
Freckle Frog was having a wonderful evening. However, there was one thing that troubled her: The Morning Glory Ladies were still angry at her. And they were also angry that they were not invited to Mr. Robin’s party.
That’s when she got an idea. She decided to have her own party. She decided to have a party as beautiful as Mr. Robin’s party. Mr. Robin’s parties were always in the evening, but Freckle Frog’s party would be in the morning. That way, the Morning Glory Ladies could come!
So that evening, before the party ended, she told Big Mary about her plan. Big Mary thought it was a great idea.
They told everyone else about the party. Mr. Robin said that he would come to Freckle Frog’s party. Billy Bullfrog also wanted to come. The little Black Spider promised to come. Everyone (even the little caterpillar!) said they would come to the morning party.
Freckle Frog told the little caterpillar, “At my party, you don’t need to be a hand warmer. You can just eat cherries and have a good time!”
Then, early the next morning, before anyone else was awake, Freckle Frog visited the Morning Glory Ladies.
In the morning, the Morning Glory Ladies are always happy, so they smiled at Freckle Frog.
“Hello Morning Glory Ladies,” said Freckle Frog, “will you come to my party? More than anyone else, I want you to come!”
The Morning Glory Ladies were so happy to hear that. They loved parties but they were rarely invited. They answered her, “Yes! Yes! Yes! We will come! And we will wear our best dresses, too!”
Then at last, Freckle Frog was perfectly happy. She laughed and said to herself, “Now I don’t care about being pretty. I’m happy because all my friends like me.”
About this story:
“How Freckle Frog Made Herself Pretty” was written by Charlotte B. Herr in 1913. Illustrations were created by Frances Belem. The original story is in the public domain.
Here, the story is rewritten for Level 2 English learners by Judy Shinohara.