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Ally has a bellyache

Emerald River was a very special place, with plants floating on the water and air plants trailing in the air and vines looped from cypress tree to tree. Some of them grow 100 feet tall from their massive trunks, which flare out like fluted cones. The weeds wave and rustle in the wind, and butterflies dart hither and thither to the music of the grasshoppers' chirpings.

As Frog and the other animals approached the river, the bellowing slowed down. Instead, they heard crunching and schlup-schlup. Ally was eating something _ and something was eating Ally.

No wonder he had a bellyache. It had not been just his manners this time. When they arrived, they thought they saw a green apple disappear down his long gullet, and they could see him drooling onto his blotchy-brown hide.

Little Jerry, Ally's small son, scurried up from the bank of the river. He was so small, his eyes bulged like headlights and as he talked to Frog, great tears kept pouring down his little face.

"Frog, Frog, please help me! My dad's in terrible pain. He's been hollering and bellowing all afternoon."

"Yes, Jerry, I know," Frog replied. "Now, just what do you think is wrong with your dad?"

"Well, sir, he's been rolling over and over, holding his stomach and belching something awful."

"Now, now, Jerry," Frog said in his most soothing voice, "don't get upset. We'll see what we can do. Your dad is not going to die. I'm going over to him and cuff his head once or twice to get his attention, because your dad is hard-headed. We need to know what caused this."

Frog walked over to where Ally was at the edge of the water and thumped him on the side of the head with his thumb and forefinger and said, "Ally, you have disregarded all our warnings and your promises, and as president of the Emerald Protective Society, I am here to demand that you stop making a fool of yourself at the expense of all. This bellowing and water-churning must stop!"

Ally opened one eye slightly, and what he saw made him snorting mad. "The nerve of that bossy old frog!" the alligator said to himself. Frog always had that crowd with him _ that smelly old Rat with the bullet-shaped head, moley old Mole and that silly little Cricket, with a brain smaller than a flea!

"Frog," grunted Ally, "go away and attend to your own affairs and leave me to mind mine."

Frog ignored Ally and turned to Rat and said, "Rat, I want you to, well, I . . . first thing I want you to do is to get rid of that ridiculous-looking nightcap; then go back to the house and phone the doctor."

Frog always depended on Rat because he was the four-legged newspaper of the bunch. "Why do you want a doctor?" inquired Rat. "You know what's wrong. I'll bet he's full of green apples he stole _ and he's still eating them! You know very well that is the main problem."

Frog glanced at Ally and suspected it was true, but the old alligator was pretty still and wouldn't say anything. Even his bellowing had become much weaker.

Next week: Ally learns his lesson.

Marie Rudisill is a writer and cookbook author in Hudson.

Frog's Cucumber and Radish Tea Sandwich

Frog overheard Red Rip telling the ducks that after all, Frog's fancy sandwiches were just two pieces of bread with something in between.

"Why," he said, "anybody could do that. It's just another sandwich showoff. Imagine all that trouble using a radish in a plain old cucumber sandwich just so a little red would show."

Warning: Cutting vegetables requires sharp knives. Have a grown-up helper show you how to use them.

Ingredients:

2 medium-size fresh cucumbers, washed and thinly sliced

1 splash of white pepper and salt

10 thin slices of white bread

{ cup pure butter, softened

1 bunch red radishes, washed and thinly sliced

Utensils:

1 vegetable peeler

1 kitchen knife

1 set measuring spoons

1 medium-sized bowl _ be sure it is china

1 spreader for butter

1 colander or strainer

Paper towels

Learn: In olden days, cucumbers were called "cowcumbers" and were accused of having skin like a frog. Today the cool, crisp cucumber is enjoyed all over the world.

Preparation:

1. Peel cucumbers and slice very thin.

2. Place in shallow china bowl (never use aluminum).

3. Sprinkle with vinegar, salt and pepper and leave for about 1 hour.

4. Trim crust from bread and spread butter on each side.

5. Cut each piece of bread into four equal squares.

6. Drain cucumbers and dry on paper towel.

7. Layer cucumber slices on half of the bread and overlap with red radish circles so that red edging shows on the outside of the sandwich.

8. Gently press the two halves together.

Pooh's Play Dough

Something to play with while you are waiting for your cakes to bake. Remember, this is for playing, not eating.

1 cup flour

{ cup salt

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 cup water

1 tablespoon oil

Food coloring

Combine all ingredients in saucepan. Stirring constantly, cook over low-medium heat about 3 minutes until a dough is formed. Cool.

Can be used immediately or stored in covered containers. You may add coloring to small portions at a time. Be sure food coloring is well mixed in before handling it. Food coloring stains.

Do not eat!

Frog's Sour Cream Tea Biscuits

Sour cream biscuits: a favorite for Frog's high teas, which he served for members of the faculty of Emerald University. None of the animals on the farm were invited to this event.

Red Rip likes to tell the story about Rotten Rat and Frog. It seems that Frog asked Rotten Rat to pick him up some sour cream at the store, saying, "Now, Rat, be sure it is fresh."

"Fresh?" answered Rat. "How can it be fresh when it is already sour?"

Caution: "Call-on helper needed"

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoon double-acting baking powder

{ teaspoon soda

{ teaspoon salt

{ cup sour cream

{ cup club soda

2 tablespoons butter, melted

6 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening

1 cup chopped fresh parsley

Utensils:

1 large mixing bowl

Flour sifter

1 large mixing spoon

1 small mixing bowl

1 small round cookie cutter

1 9-inch cake pan

1 set measuring spoons

Preparation:

1. In a large mixing bowl, sift together baking powder, flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Add the shortening.

2. Blend until it looks like meal.

3. In the small bowl, stir the sour cream and the club soda.

4. Add sour cream mixture into flour mixture. Stir until the mix forms a dough.

5. Form the dough into a ball.

6. On a floured counter, pat out dough about 1 inch thick.

7. With your cookie cutter (small one), cut out your biscuits.

8. In a 9-inch, greased cake pan, arrange your biscuits.

9. Brush tops with melted butter.

10. Bake in middle of preheated oven at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

11. Transfer biscuits to a rack and brush with melted butter. Surround the biscuits with fresh parsley.

Learn: Parsley is so peppery and good for you. It belongs to the celery family. It is a valuable herb because it is high in vitamins A and C. It also contains iron, iodine, manganese and copper.

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