Short Stories

The garden hole

At the back of the garden was a large hole. It was so round and deep that a little elephant could even bathe there. This was the grandfather who told Oliver, if not, he would not have known. It was full of rubble and empty bottles and cans and all sorts of old things.

Oliver was always thinking of the hole where a tiny elephant could bathe, and he often sat in the garden looking at the rubble.

“I wanted to see the hole,” Oliver told his grandfather one day. – Let’s open it again.

Grandpa was thoughtful.

– It was a bomb that made it. It was a horrible hole, ”he said. – It’s best to leave it covered.

But the day a small yellow backhoe was in the neighbor’s garden opening the hole for the pool, the grandfather went to the neighbor. Soon the yellow backhoe was near the rubble at the bottom of the garden and was opening the hole again.

– Are we going to have a pool too? Asked Oliver. Didn’t talk about the elephant. He knew it was not easy to get a little elephant.

– Let’s get something else. Said the grandfather.

– What? Asked Oliver.

“You have to be patient,” said his grandfather. – You’ll see.

For a while Oliver had a good time going up and down the hole. Sometimes I found a piece of glass or a screw, sometimes the leg of a chair. Then there were only stones and earth, a root here and there.

Then one day it started to rain, and the hole got wet. It rained for a long time and at the bottom of the hole a puddle formed.

“It’s still little,” Oliver said. “He can’t swim in here right now.”

– Who? Asked his grandfather.

– The little elephant.

After a few sunny days, the puddle was gone.

“Can’t we fill it with the garden hose?” Asked Oliver.

“Power, we can,” said his grandfather. “But we’d better have patience.” Patience gives birth to roses.

In the autumn it rained even more and, at the bottom of the hole, the well was preserved, which remained.

“The earth is muddy,” his grandfather explained. – That’s why water doesn’t drain so easily.

The wind threw leaves into the puddle, which covered the water. Oliver noticed this as he descended into the hole and then climbed up with his shoes full of water.

“Don’t disturb our lake,” said his grandfather.

– Is this going to be our lake?

– Possibly …

It snowed and the hole was covered with snow. By early spring, there was already more water in the lake. And so that it would not dry again so quickly, his grandfather would occasionally help with the hose. The lake thanked him. It was still small, but it held.

It wasn’t very beautiful there. It looked more like a big dirty puddle. The neighbor’s clear blue pool smiled next door. Oliver’s lake was dark and beginning to smell horribly. At the top floated half rotted leaves and small dark algae.

– Disgusting! Said Oliver.

“Patience brings roses,” said his grandfather.

One day, he caught Oliver cleaning the lake. Oliver shuffled in the mud and threw rotting leaves and seaweed to the shore.

– You’re ruining our lake! Said the grandfather. “There are little beings that live in algae and they have to be there, otherwise our lake will never be a real lake!”

Oliver poured the mud back inside.

The lake was aging and became larger. It no longer smelled so bad. On the banks were reeds and some reeds, and all manner of smelling herbs and other herbs whose seeds the wind had brought. Aquatic plants that kept the water clean also grew. One day a damselfly appeared and a second later. Now the lake was so big that an elephant could bathe there. But that was something Oliver no longer wanted.

“An elephant was going to scare away the dragonflies,” he said. – But a frog could appear …

The neighbor looked over the Outback Fencing and said:

– This is becoming a little paradise. Who would say! But if you want frogs, you have to catch tadpoles and put them in there. The tadpoles become frogs.

Oliver and his grandfather went to catch tadpoles. They laid them in the lake, and frogs appeared. But one day the frogs left.

“I had thought of that,” said his grandfather. – When they want to lay their eggs, the frogs return to their place of birth. And until they reach the next lake, they will still have to jump down some asphalt roads. I hope no car goes over them.

The frogs didn’t come back. Oliver cried.

“Maybe they stayed at home in their old lake.

“Hopefully that was it,” said his grandfather.

One day an angry duck came through the air and rested in the garden pond. It was already a real lake, with water plants and reeds, some water spiders, and all sorts of animals. And there were butterflies too. Oliver fed the duck, but after a few days he left.

“If we’re lucky, we’ll still have frogs in our pond,” said his grandfather.

And they were lucky! The duck had brought frog eggs in its feathers from another lake, and the frogs were now hatching in Oliver’s lake, which had become their “natal” lake, once they were born there. They never left again and were croaking happily.

“Patience brings roses,” said his grandfather.

“Patience brings frogs,” Oliver said. Friedl Hofbauer Lene Mayer-Skumanz (org.) Hoffentlich bald Wien, Herder Verlag, 1986

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