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Author: Kentucky Woman
Title: The Magic Book
Type of Work: story
Source: CMv1 #36

Copyright 2002 Pamela Montgomery


Mr. Matthew Scroggins was a very sad and grumpy man.

He was sad and grumpy because all of his friends could read and he could not.

He remembered how many people had tried to tell him he needed to learn to read.

When he was growing up no one could make him do anything he did not want to do, and he did not want to learn to read! He just wanted to play all day long.

He was just fine the way he was.

He didn’t need to learn to read to know how to do things!

He didn’t know that if he learned how to read he could learn to play many new games, and even better ways to play the old ones!

So, he played all day and watched television all night until he was all grown up and had turned into a grumpy old man.

Old Mr. Scroggins lived all alone in a cottage down by a pond where the bullfrogs croaked all through the night. Every night as he fell asleep he heard the bullfrogs.

All these years he had listened to them croak night after night, keeping him awake and making him grumpier than ever! But this night was different!

He thought he could actually understand what they were saying.

To him it sounded like the frogs were saying, "READ IT, READ IT."

He thought the bullfrogs were making fun of him!

He pushed open the creaky old front door and yelled towards the pond,

"I don’t know how to read! Stop all that noise!"

Still the frogs croaked on........ "READ IT, READ IT!"

He yelled down toward the pond again.

"Don t make fun of me, you bullfrogs!"

But still they croaked, "READ IT, READ IT."

Mr. Scroggins tried not to listen but the calls became louder and louder.

The more he heard them the madder he became.

He just knew those old bullfrogs were mocking him.

He decided to go down to the old pond and see just what those bullfrogs were really saying!

As he neared the dark murky water he noticed a huge rock right in the middle of the pond! It surprised him. He had never seen that rock before..........

where did it come from? Then he saw an even stranger sight!

On top of that rock sat the biggest, fattest old bullfrog he had ever seen!

To the surprise of Mr. Scroggins the bullfrog was holding a great big book that seemed to be glowing and sparkling in the dark!

He looked at the giant old bullfrog and frowned and yelled at him!

"You big old bullfrog - stop making fun of me!"

Before he could turn away the bullfrog said it again!

"READ IT,READ IT!"

Well Mr. Scroggins was beginning to get really angry.

He stared at Old Mister Bullfrog and said,

"I Can t Read! And I don t think it is very nice of you to make fun of me!"

Old Mr. Bullfrog blinked, shook his head, scratched his big green belly and croaked again. "READ IT!"

Then he reached down and picked up the glowing book.

As he opened the book and turned the pages the dark night sky seemed to light up with all the colors of the rainbow!

Each page made the sky a different color!

Mr. Scroggins could hardly believe his eyes!

He thought all of the words on the pages of that book must be written in gold!

GOLD! He stared and he stared.

He asked Old Mr. Bullfrog. "Can you read this book?"

Old Mr. Bullfrog just looked up and croaked, "READ IT."

Mr. Scroggins scratched his chin as he had an idea.

If he could get that book away from the bullfrog, he would be rich!

It just had to be made of gold and maybe diamonds too!!

He said to Old Mr. Bullfrog,

"If you can read, just read what’s on the cover to me. PLEASE?"

Old Mr. Bullfrog croaked, "Magic Book. READ IT!"

That s all that greedy, grumpy old Mr. Scroggins needed to hear!

He was going to get that book!

Into the pond he jumped, clothes and all!

He swam and he swam, but the more he swam the further away the rock seemed to get! How could that be? After about an hour of watching the tired old man Mr. Bullfrog decided to say one more thing to him.

"Learn to read a little bit each and every day and you will be able to come get this magic book. It holds all the secrets to a happy healthy full and rich life!"

Mr. Scroggins grumbled. But he really wanted that magic book!

He decided he would try to learn to read....... but just enough to get that magic book, and not a single word more!

After the first day of reading lessons, Mr. Scroggins decided to see just how much closer he could get to that magic book. He went down to the old pond.

There sat the wise Old Bullfrog.

"Okay, I learned to read a little, I’m taking lessons," said Mr. Scroggins.

The old bullfrog just blinked and croaked, "More, More."

But old Mr. Scroggins was stubborn, he jumped back into that old muddy pond and tried again to swim to the rock. But just like before the more he swam, the further away the rock seemed to be.

He grumbled again and waded back to the shore.

Mr. Scroggins decided to wait a couple of more days before he would try again.

But, as time passed, something happened that Mr. Scroggins NEVERexpected!

He realized that he liked reading so much he had not even thought about the magic golden book for two or three weeks.

Mr. Scroggins decided to go visit the old bullfrog again.

That night he walked down the path through the woods. He noticed that there was something different about tonight. The crickets quieted and the animals

slipped into the woods. He made his way down to the old pond.

As he neared it fog started swirling all around his feet and ankles.

He looked out across the water to see Old Mr. Bullfrog on the rock smiling from ear to ear. "Have I learned to read enough yet, Mr. Bullfrog?

May I please get the magic book now?"

Old Mr. Bullfrog just laughed at him and said, "TRY IT. TRY IT!"

So into the pond went old Mr. Scroggins again.

But this time he got closer and closer to the rock!

He swam harder and harder as his excitement grew!

He wiped the water from his eyes and reached out to climb onto the rock.

But it was no longer there!

The rock, and the Old Bullfrog, and the magic book had all disappeared!

He climbed out of the muddy water, moaning and complaining and slowly made his way back through the woods, up the path and all the way home.

When his clothes were finally dry he decided to practice reading because he didn't have anyone to talk to or anything to do.

He was not in the mood to play Now!

He was so bored and sad the book was gone, he said,

"Oh well, I guess I could read a little, just enough to keep me from being so bored."

As he opened his book to start reading he realized something.

He grinned as he thought just how much he really liked to read!

Just think, if he felt this much smarter by just reading for a little while, think howsmart he would be if he read a little bit every day!!

As soon as he realized how much he really liked to read he heard a familiar sound!!!

It was that big old Mr. Bullfrog! "READ IT! READ IT!"

Mr. Scroggins rushed back down the dark path to the old pond.

As he rounded the last corner he was shocked at what he saw!

Right back in the center of the old pond was the same big rock with that Old Mr. Bullfrog! But .........the magic book was gone!!

Mr. Scoggins was puzzled.

He looked at Mr. Bullfrog and asked,

"Where is my book? What have you done with the magic book of gold?"

Old Mr. Bullfrog scratched his big green belly again.

He yawned and laughed out loud as he spoke to Mr. Scoggins.

"Haven’t you learned yet?

All books are magic, that book had a little more special magic just for you!

After all of these years you have learned how to read, and you like it very much!

There is no stronger magic than that - reading is magic!"

Old Mr. Bullfrog stretched out his long legs, yawned a great big yawn, scratched his big belly one more time and hopped off of the rock.

Then that Old Mr. Bullfrog disappeared into the fog.

Mr. Scroggins smiled. He knew the old frog was right!

He actually liked to read now!

He scratched his head and headed back to his cottage.

"Boy I guess that was a very magic book after all!!

And learning to read had been so much fun!!

Now old Mr. Scroggins isn't grumpy or sad anymore because he can read all the magic books in the library!

He takes walks to the old pond now to read a few pages every day.

He sits in the shade on the bank and looks out over the pond.

He smiles like Old Mister Bullfrog - with a grin from ear to ear!

He yawns and scratches his belly and laughs!

Then he shouts to the world, "Read a Book - It really is Magic!"