The Most Beautiful Music in the World


Grandpa was sick, so Ashley was listening to the frogs all by herself. She heard the bullfrog boom, “Vruoomp! Vruoomp! Vruoomp!” Then his lady replied, “Bruoop. Bruoop. Bruoop.” And the little one jabbered, “Bripid, bripid, bripid.” Then the chorus started.

“Vruoomp! Bruoop. Bripid, bripid.” It was the most beautiful music in the whole world, and Grandpa was missing it because he was in the hospital. Ashley knew that Grandpa would get better faster if he could just hear the frogs sing.

Ashley lay still, listening and thinking. She missed Grandpa coming in and telling her good night. He always told her that if she listened to the frogs, who made the most beautiful music in the world, she’d soon be asleep. But before she fell asleep, she had an idea! She would have to plan carefully, but she would have something special for Grandpa when the family visited him tomorrow afternoon. She smiled as the frog chorus escorted her to dreamland.

The next day Ashley was playing in her room when Mom called. “Ashley, it’s time to go see Grandpa.”

When Ashley joined her parents, she was carrying a bundle wrapped in a towel.

“What’s that, Ashley?” asked Dad.

“It’s a surprise for Grandpa.”

Mom looked at Dad quizzically, but Dad just patted Ashley’s shoulder and said, “I think we can trust Ashley. She and Grandpa are pretty good friends.”

All the way to the hospital, Ashley could hardly sit still. She was excited and a little bit worried.

They went up the elevator and into the waiting room. Dad went to Grandpa’s room and brought him out in his wheelchair. Grandpa looked kind of sad and tired.

Ashley couldn’t wait to show him her surprise. She knew that it would make him happy. Taking the towel off an old tin can, she reached in. “Grandpa, I brought the old lady frog for you to see. She’s been singing, and I knew you were missing it. I thought that if we turned the lights off and were real quiet, maybe we could get her to sing.”

Grandpa’s eyes lit up, and he asked the nurse if it would be OK. She said she thought so, since no one else was in the room. So they turned off the lights and waited, and waited, and waited, and waited.

Finally Dad turned the lights back on. Ashley was trying not to cry, but tears leaked out anyway.

Grandpa pulled Ashley close to him and hugged her and said, “Ashley, that is the best present you could have brought me. You know, I almost forgot about frog music.

“Now, I don’t believe this old lady is going to sing without her chorus line, but if you put her back with the others, she’ll soon be singing again.”

“But I wanted you to hear it, Grandpa!” cried Ashley.

“Well, Ashley,” Grandpa said with a wink, “I guess I’ve heard those frogs singing together in the pond about a trillion times. I think if I just turn on my memory tonight, I’ll be able to pick up the tune just fine—but only because someone I love very much reminded me of the most beautiful music in the world.”

Grandpa did look happier, and Ashley was glad. On the way home Mom said, “Ashley, you were right. That was a wonderful gift for Grandpa. I’m glad you took it.”

That night the frogs sang better than ever before. “Vruoomp! Vruoomp! Vruoomp!” boomed the old bullfrog. His lady replied, “Bruoop. Bruoop. Bruoop.” And the little one jabbered, “Bripid, bripid, bripid.” Then the chorus started: “Vruoomp! Bruoop. Bripid, bripid. Vruoomp! Bruoop. Bripid, bripid. Vruoomp!”

[illustrations] Illustrated by Pat Hoggan