Many summers ago, I remember telling this story to my grandchildren. Since a few kind souls have asked to have another ‘Polly, Molly, and Jolly” story, perhaps this is as good a time as any to retell:
The Adventure if the Purple Toads
One fine summer’s day Ben, Kate and Alex were walking in the woods searching for the perfect spot in which to have a picnic. They couldn’t agree, unfortunately. Whenever Ben found a good spot, the girls didn’t like it. If the girls suggested a spot, Ben turned up his nose.
The three were getting discouraged when they suddenly turned a corner in the woodland path and… “Wow!” Said Ben.
There in front of them was a flat, mossy rock poised over a brook. Flowers grew like stars around the rock, and a convenient, shady tree grew nearby. The girls, who were hungry by now, agreed. “Let’s eat!” Alex cried.
But no sooner had the three seated themselves when… poof! … they were transported to the middle of… “Dang! Where the heck are we?” Ben demanded.
Nobody could answer this question. It appeared that they were in the middle of the jungle, and yet the grass around them was neatly clipped. It seemed as if they were in the tropics because of the tall palm trees and bamboo that grew around and about, but it was pretty chilly.
“Look!” Kate exclaimed. She pointed to a small thatched cottage that stood not too far away. The cottage was ringed with several stone statues. In between the statues lay a number of pink, green and purple stones. “Let’s go ask the people who live there,” Kate suggested.
Before they could move a big, weasel-like creature went waddling past them. It walked toward the thatched cottage. As it did so, it stepped on one of the purple stones.
“Whoa!” Alex gasped.
The three stared in disbelief. The weasel-like creature had turned to stone!
“It… it stepped on the purple stone,” Kate quavered.
Ben took a few steps closer. “That’s no stone,” he declared. “Those things are toads!”
All three looked hard at each other. “What’s going on?” Kate demanded. “Somebody’s playing a really mean trick on us. That can only mean…”
Ben closed his eyes. “Polly,” he muttered.
“Molly and Jolly,” Alex concluded. “Don’t those guys ever get tired of their dirty tricks?”
Kate was eyeing the toads. “Ben, did you bring the Dictionary?”
Ben shook his head. “No, but I did bring the netbook computer.” He hauled it out of his pants pocket (it was a tight fit) and said, “Computer, what’s going on?”
“Du-de,” drawled the computer, “you are in deep trouble. This is the abode of the purple toads. Ever heard of them? No? Well, they are related to Medusa, you know, the chick with the snakes in her hair that turn people to stone…”
It would have gone on for a while, but Ben interrupted. “Did those creeps, Polly Molly and Jolly bring us here?” The computer beeped an assent. “Why?”
“Du-ude,” sighed the computer. “You’re slow in the noggin today, man. Of course they want to turn you all to stone. Then they can take you to their disgusting garden and use you for target practice or something.”
Ben ground his teeth. Kate rolled her eyes. Alex planted her fists on her hips. “Okay, Dude! How do we get out of here?” she demanded.
“We-el,” the computer mused, “you could…. No, that’s too difficult. Or you might… nah, too dangerous. But maybe you should…” it paused, whirred, clicked, and a sidebar popped up on the screen that said, “Do Not Disturb. Thinking.”
“Oh, terrific,” Kate sighed. “I guess we have to figure out how to get out of here by ourselves.”
Ben had been eyeing the cottage. “Let’s think this through,” he said. “If I know PM&J, they are waiting around somewhere to see if we have turned into stone. The thing to do is to pretend to turn into stone and wait for them.” He frowned. “I didn’t bring any magic with me. Did you?”
“I’m wearing my flying dress,” Kate exclaimed. “I thought it might come in useful on our picnic.” She sighed, thinking of her peanut butter sandwich sitting near the mossy stone. “Alex, did you bring your flying hat?”
Alex shoved a hand into her jeans pocket and pulled out a crumpled object. “Yep.”
“Then we are good to go,” Ben said. “Now, the computer talked about PURPLE toads but not about pink or green ones. The thing is, we have to be careful not to step on those purple things.”
“How do we know the other ones are safe?” Kate demanded.
For answer, Ben took a small branch and threw it at one of the pink toads. The branch just bounced off. He next threw something that looked like an acorn at one of the green toads. Nothing happened. He then repeated the experiment with one of the purple toads, and instantly a stone acorn plopped down to the ground.
“Good thinking,” Alex approved. “But we have to be re-al careful. I don’t want to end up in any garden.”
“Especially not in their garden,” Kate muttered.
Carefully the three tiptoed amongst the toads. Once Kate almost stepped on one of the purple toads, but Ben grabbed her arm just in time. Alex was muttering to herself. “Pink is perfect,” she was saying, “green is good, purple is poison!”
When they had advanced a little way toward the cottage, Ben raised a hand. “Okay. Now, pretend to be a stone statue. Freeze!”
Since the three had played this game many times, it was easy to pretend to be a statue. How long they stood motionless is anyone’s guess, but soon enough there was a crackling in the brush around the cottage and slowly, carefully, Polly, Molly and Jolly emerged.
“Ho, ho, HO!~” exclaimed Polly. “We gots them!”
“Yah, yah, yah,” agreed Jolly. Molly said nothing, but his smile was the most disagreeable thing the three had ever seen.
“Let’s get ‘em and take ‘em back home,” Jolly said. He rubbed his nasty looking hands and winked wickedly at his brothers. “Molly, you get the big one. Jolly, you get the one with the long black hair. Me, I will take the small one.”
They advanced carefully toward the three. “Watch where you’re going, Stoopid,” Molly snarled as Jolly nearly trod on a purple toad. “You want to be a statue forever? Good thing for you Polly’s got the anty-dote back in his backpack.”
He reached out to grab at Ben, who said, “Hello! Having a nice day?”
Molly shrieked, took a big step backward. His foot landed on a purple toad. Immediately, Molly turned into a Mollystone.
At the same time Kate began to sing.
Jolly yelled something that sounded like, “Eee-yikes!” and back stepped onto a purple toad. Instantly, he turned to stone.
Meanwhile, Alex had turned her head and was glaring at Polly, who tumbled over, landing on half a dozen purple toads. He suffered the same fate as his brothers.
“Okay, girls,” Ben called out. Kate immediately began to fly upward. She caught Ben’s right hand. Alex, whose flying hat was already getting her airborne took his left hand. All three then flew up and over the many toads.
Once safely on the other side of the toads, Kate said, “Well, do we?”
“Do we what?” Ben asked innocently.
“You know what! Do we get the antidote and turn them back into—er— humans again?”
“Do we have to?” groaned Alex.
The three stared at the ugly statues. They looked at each other. “Oh, well,” Ben said at last. “I know they’re creeps and sneaks and bums, but we can’t, you know, leave them like this. Besides they make really horrible statues.”
The girls sighed, shrugged and went to search for Polly’s back pack. They soon found it under a particularly miserable thorn bush. Inside the backpack was a large brown bottle labeled: “AUNTY-DOTTY.”
“Before we use it, though,” Ben said, “let’s see if the computer has a way of getting us back home.”
“Du-ude,” said the computer cheerfully when asked this question. “It’s simple. All you have to do is put your big toe on a pink toad.”
“You’re sure about that?” Alex demanded. “I don’t want to turn into a mushroom or anything like that.”
The computer assured them that all would be well. Even so, they decided that one of them should put this to the test. “If we do turn into something else, you can use the Antidote,” Ben added.
“I’ll do it,” Kate said, bravely. She walked up to the nearest pink toad and gingerly put a toe on it. POOF! Instantly, Kate disappeared.
“I guess it works,” Alex said. “You go last, Ben. You have to… you know.”
Ben nodded. While Alex was resting her toe on a pink toad, he sprinkled a little of the antidote on each of the stone creatures, saving Polly, Molly, and Jolly for last. Then he, too, touched the pink toad nearest him with his big toe. “This had better work,” he muttered.
The girls were already eating their sandwiches on the green, mossy stone by the brook. Ben took a deep breath and walked toward them. I’d better eat up, he thought, before anything else happens. And with PM&J on the loose something was likely to happen at any time!