The heavy rains had finally subsided, but the run off left deep pools of muddy water in rutted furrows at the edges of the battleground. As the sun reached its zenith, steam rose from the heated puddles, and tiny mounds of dirt popped up in random intervals. Miniature land mines, on the verge of exploding at the slightest touch, made navigation perilous.
Hell hounds wandered across the field, noses close to the ground sniffing out prey, baying mournfully when they made a kill. A few of the hunted escaped, moving across the grounds in an undulating wave of desperation.
In a final act of bravery, they came together as a single symbiotic creature, working en masse, they surrounded a hound. Whimpering in distress, hunter became the hunted.
Gathering the hoard, their self-appointed general shouted out a command to attack.
“Cry ‘Havoc!’, and let slip the
dogs frogs of war.”*
Yes, I know the photo is actually of a toad, but the story remains essentially the same. When it rains, subterranean toads dig into my back yard. Tiny piles of dirt, dotting the ground, are the only evidence of their existence, that and their near constant ribbits. My dogs, sensitive to the reverberating croaks, go wild digging at the mounds, sending the uncovered toads scurrying in fear. My backyard at times, has looked alive with all the toads unearthed, hopping away in search of a new hiding place.
I’ve often wondered what my dogs would do if the toads banded together in as an amphibious army, and fought back against the destruction of their homes.
*Inspired by Wm. Shakespeare, “Julius Caesar,” Act 3, Scene 1, line 273