Stafford the Tiny Tree Frog sat dejectedly atop a smooth yellow mushroom. Below him the narrow stream wound its way through the garden. He watched the sparkling water bubble over the pebbles on its merry way.

But, Stafford wasn't merry at all. He was very, very blue. "Oh me, oh my." he sighed.

"Bzzz! Bzzz! Bzzz! Bzzzzzzz!"

The frog flapped his front flipper, shooing away the loud insistent insect that had been hanging around him the entire morning.

"Bzzz! Bzzz! Bzzz! Bzzzzzzz!" A plump yellow, brown and black honeybee buzzed Staffie once more.

Exasperated, the frog exclaimed. "Go away! What is all this noise around my head? Shoo, shoo!"

The bee flew backward a little, but then, returned in full force, wings whirring.

"I'm TRYING to get your attention!"

Stafford almost fell off the mushroom. "You talk! I understood! You talk? I speak bee?"

The bee began an air dance of upward spirals.

"Of course I can talk, Staffie!I am Bumbles, Bumbles the Bee. Pleased to make your acquaintance," he announced. "May I ask why you are so sad?"

Realizing he could not very well shake hands with a bee, Stafford gave a friendly nod.

"I am having jumping issues! My tiny toes just stick like suction cups. I don't know what to do." He sighed, his little froggy face truly woebegone.

Bumbles landed on Stafford's shoulder. "If you look me up in any of the many, many reference books, you will find that I am not supposed to be able to fly at all. Something about aerodynamics. Blah, blah, blah. But I do fly! I fly every day, flittering hither and yon around the flowers and into the sky!"

Bumbles giggled. Soon the two burst into laughter. They laughed and laughed until their sides ached.

"Oh! We make quite a pair, you and me. Yes, we do, Staffie. We are quite a pair! What fun we share!" Rhyming brought on even more laughter.

Finally the frog found his voice and asked, "Well, if you are not supposed to fly, then how do you?"

"I just believe I can and off I go." Another fit of giggles followed.

"But, I can't jump! Honestly, I have really, really tried! I almost always stick."

Manning, the Woodland Whimble, weeding nearby in his garden, overheard this conversation. He nodded his head. Stafford, their little Companion, lived in a wee cottage nestled below his own in a giant oak. The frog's "thump, thump, thumpety, thump, thump" kept him and his heartmate, Sophie, awake many a night.

"Mr. Stafford, Sir, you say you 'almost always' stick. This leads me to the conclusion that there are times when your jumping is a success, no?"

The tiny frog grinned from eye to eye and answered, "You are right, Bumbles. There have been times when my jumping has been ever so fine!"

Bumbles clapped his wings. They sounded like a dozen very very small trumpets blowing.

"Atta boy, Staffie," chimed Bumbles. "Concentrate on the good jumps, always just the good jumps! Oh dear. Look! Shadows are lengthening. Soon the sun will set. I must be off. There are flowers to visit, nectar to taste."

Bumbles flew up and away, spiraling toward the waning light.

 Stafford gave a start. "Bumbles, Bumbles. Where are you?"

The frog opened his eyes and looked around him. Bumbles was nowhere to be seen.

"Well, I might as well try," he said to himself.

He hopped over to his favorite practice spot, wiggled a little until he had found just the right position, and jumped. Magically, Stafford was on top of his perch! He was so excited, he hopped down only to jump right back up. Over and over he jumped, more and more joyful by the second.

Manning finished his weeding. While gathering a colorful posy to surprise Sophie, he first heard and then saw his Companion jumping furiously.

The Woodland Whimble called out, "Stafford, your jumps are truly splendid! What's your secret?"

Stafford grinned from eye to eye. "Master Manning, Bumbles was right! He was right as rain."

Manning's eyes widened. "Bumbles? Who is Bumbles, Staffie?"

"Why Bumbles is the bee that buzzed me over and over this morning. Surely you heard him."

"Stafford, I've been in my garden nearby all day. I was able to keep an eye on you sleeping on your favorite rock. You had quite a snooze."

The frog looked puzzled. "Snooze? No, no. I sat on my rock dipping my flippers into the stream." He paused. "I do feel very well rested though. And hungry!"

His tummy growled. "Time for an afternoon snack and tea, Master Manning. Let's go see what Annie B. is baking!"

Arm in flipper Whimble and Companion walked off to visit Annabelle who was whistling away with Gillian in her cottage.

In Manning's Woodland garden, a rotund little bumblebee buzzed around smiling happily and singing to himself, "Life is full of endless wonderful possibilities. So listen with your heart and BELIEVE." (la fin from The Woodlands & The Working Gardens - Caelumen)