Nobody knows this story, because nobody has heard this story. This story was known to some of the frogs in Japan. And it was known to some of the birds. One day, it so happened, that I found a frog in my garden pond. Since the frog lived in the Ajigawa River in Takiyama he knew the story. The frog told me the story of Michi-no-eki Frog and Takiyama duck. That’s why nobody knows this story.
Michi-no eki is a roadside rest station. It is near Hiyodoriyama tunnel in Hachioji. Many cars and trucks come here. Drivers buy food and drinks or just relax. Lots of children from Takiyama come in the evening. They come here to play with rubber blocks. Women watch the television on a big screen. Young men sit on benches. They watch the setting sun. Old men talk about interesting things.
Around michi-no eki there are many farmers. They have many farms. On this land they make paddy ponds in the rainy season. In July these ponds gurgle with fresh water. Soon light green paddy stalks comes out of the water. Many ducks leave the river to come here. Many snakes leave the mountain to come here. Many big frogs leave the river too to spawn in the ponds. Frogs lay eggs in the paddy. The eggs hatch and small tadpoles come out. They play in the pond. Then they soon grow into small frogs. At night as you walk past the Takiyamadori, you can hear a wild chorus of frogs from the paddy ponds. They are quite noisy and friendly. They talk to the mountains. They talk to the trees. They talk to the clouds. They talk to other animals. The ducks waddle in the pond looking for small frogs. Snakes too find a frog for dinner. A frog’s life is not easy.
The Michi-no-eki frog lived in the biggest paddy pond. This paddy pond was near a convenience store. At night he would hear the big cars and trucks speeding on the Takiyamadori. Sometimes a big motorcycle would thunder by. The roar of the motorcycle would frighten him. Everyone called the Michi-no-eki frog, Michan. Michan was a cute little frog, but he was very curious too. He wanted to explore all the places around him. Since his pond was across the convenience store the lights always dazzled him. His Froggie Mama had told him not to cross the road. Crossing the road was too dangerous. So, Michan stayed on his side of the road.
One night as Michan was croaking in the paddy pond a big duck landed near him. She made such a splash that Michan got frightened. But Michan was a friendly boy. He asked the duck quietly, if she had dinner. The duck said no. She was looking for juicy frogs. But the duck was ashamed to admit this to a small frog.
“I hope you’re not going to eat me?” asked Michan.
“No, certainly not! You have a nice voice. And you are so friendly,” said the duck.
“What is your name?” asked Michan.
“Oh, I’m Takichan as I live in Takiyama. Do not forget me,” said the duck.
So Michan and Takichan became friends. They would go out to play in other paddy ponds. They would go out to play in the tomato farm. They would go out to play in the blueberry farm too. Sometimes she would fly Michan on her back to far off places. Michan loved this very much. Slowly both became good friends.
Takichan left eating small frogs. She only ate insects and rice paddy. Sometimes she also ate potatoes and cabbages in other fields. The paddy was ripening and the farmer threw a fine blue net over his paddy. The blue net did not allow birds or ducks to enter. It did not allow them to eat the rice stalks. One day Takichan got trapped under the net. She forgot from which way she entered the pond. She began to quack, quack, quack. When Michan heard her quacking so loudly he understood something was wrong. He went with his Froggie Mama looking for Takichan.
“I think Takichan is in trouble,” said Michan to his Froggie Mama.
“I think so too. Let’s help her,” said Froggie Mama.
They found Takichan under the net. She did not know which way to go. Both, Michan and Froggie Mama opened one of the dykes and water flooded in. A small opening was formed after the water went out. Takichan came out waddling through the opening. She was quite relieved.
“Thank you Michan. Thank you Froggie Mama. I will never go under a net again. I understand how dangerous it can be,” said Takichan.
Then Michan and Froggie Mama took Takichan to their home. Their home was in the corner of the pond. Here everyone had lots of rice, lots of beans, and lots of blueberry. Takichan also found some small fishes. Everyone was happy.