Chapter 2 The Day Before
It was a sunny, cool spring morning as Joe and Hump entered Bufonida. It had been some time since they had left this town to help Winky on his quest to secure the throne at Anura.. They had left this place on excellent terms though, and were confidant that they would be well-received. Sure enough, the first toad that they ran into stuttered:
“Why, it’s… it’s Hump and… and Joe!
Have you come back home to stay?
Where… uh… where did you two go?
Nevermind! You guys okay?”
Joe and Hump then hopped alongside their former friend on the path that led to the old farm where they once had stayed, while they explained in some detail all that had taken place during their time in Anura. When they arrived at their destination, they could see that their old homestead was just as they had left it, for sure enough, there was a grandiose party in progress! But as the hopped into the open field, the music and dancing suddenly stopped. All eyes now turned toward the two of them, as they humbly approached the center of activity. No one spoke a word! Finally, someone shouted:
“Could it be, could it really be,
that our friends have finally returned?
Come closer, please, and let us all see,
and tell us the new things you’ve learned.”
All now gathered around the two heroes as they explained how they had had a hand in dethroning Wort and in helping Winky take back the kingship that was rightfully his. When they got to the part about their forced trek to Antica, why, everyone’s eyes got as round as saucers and their jaws were agape! It was hard for anyone to believe that such evil could have existed, and yet clearly it had for a time. But now, King Winky and his queen, Salentia, were well on their way in restoring the capital to the grandeur it once had, and then some!
Sure enough, the citizens of Bufonida had heard of the terrible war that had taken place in Anura against the realm of hawk. In fact, a number of them had volunteered to leave Bufonida to fight for the cause, and sadly, never returned.
But today was now a day for celebration! Joe and Hump were back, and the whole town would soon hear of it. After all, Joe had become one of the town Benefactors before his exit. In a short time toads from all over came streaming in to join in the festivities. Dancing toads could be seen from one end of the acreage to the other, while the band played a merry homecoming tune. Root beer flowed freely, and bugs dipped in chocolate sauce could be seen on many a plate. Yes, Joe and Hump had indeed come back home. But the secret they held would soon become a cause for mixed emotions.
As evening approached the party began to wind down (except, of course, for those from the rurals, who could still be heard whooping it up out near the boundary lines). A glowing campfire was now burning in the center of the main lot, as all gathered around to warm themselves and to enjoy a cup of warm cider. As darkness fell upon the land, all huddled around Joe and Hump, as they expounded in even more detail the events that had recently taken place. Then came the shocking announcement! It was Hump who declared:
“Dear friends, there’s something that I gotta say,
Bufonida’s not where we plan to stay.
We love y’all, but we got these big plans,
our music will take us to faraway lands.”
They both went on to explain to the crowd why they left Anura and their privileged positions at the palace. They both had determined that happiness for them meant chasing their dreams of becoming songwriters and musicians. They really had no idea where the journey would take them, or if they even had the slightest chance of success. But their hearts would guide them along their way and take them to places unknown. Exciting adventures were sure to come.
As they finished their tale, not a dry eye could be seen. After all, they had been terribly missed when they were gone, and now they would be leaving again? So soon?
Finally, Moe stood up, raised his cup of cider, and croaked:
“Here’s to the bravest young toads I know,
may their faith help them to reach their goal.“
At that all in attendance stood on their feet, raised their cups and shouted in unison: “Here, here!” All now stood around, hand in hand, as they sang a sweet farewell song. It went like this:
“We come into this world as sprightly tads,
before too long we’re lasses and lads.
The way of our youth is fraught with much pain,
but as we endure we experience gain.
May we see again your pleasant face,
may we hold your hand again.
May you come back soon to this ol’ place,
may you ever remain our true friend!
As we grow older we understand,
that there is so much more to explore!
The wisdom we gain as we see the land,
can help us find the strength to endure.
After the singing was done, and as the campfire flames began to dwindle, all felt the need to get some much needed sleep. No one would be returning to their homes tonight. Everyone would sleep right here near the fire, under the big old oak tree. As they all began dozing off, Joe thought he heard the faint rumble of thunder in the distance…