Our paper frog princess began her story like many others: skimming the shoreline of creative expression.
After a few years of circling the coast timidly, she took an ill-informed plunge into the ocean, trying to reach foretold treasures without submarine or oxygen tank. Stupid.
Of course, the water was glittering and inviting, but put your foot in it and it was ice cold. That wasn’t going to stop our protagonist. No. Because our protagonist was ‘good at swimming’.
The fact that she tried to free dive at all was admirable, despite her inexperience. Convinced cold water wasn’t a problem, she pushed on even though her lips were blue and her kidney infection made her a little incontinent, believing that if she paddled hard enough she wouldn’t feel it.
In the shallow waters she’d trained in, she had paddled for hours. Her technique was better than good. She was efficient, not flailing around. And, in theory, this should have been enough.
But the ocean of career prospects had suffered the ill-effects of climate change. It wasn’t the same ocean her grandfather had rowed across in his city planning tug boat sixty years ago. And, even if the waters were the same, it takes more than technique to be a good swimmer. It takes stamina and resilience.
So after treading water for three years, and attempting to free dive with no experience to speak of, your hero soon realised the water was both too deep and too dark. She either didn’t want to dive in because it was scary and made her heart sink, or she would come back up dizzy from the water pressure every time she got further than four feet in.
She’d watched friends descend into the darker depths, followed by cheers of encouragement from the life rafts of those billion dollar submarines. And your princess had an epiphany: there probably wasn’t any real treasure there anyway. Not for miles and miles. Nothing that she could reach without the right supplies. Especially when her friends came up, one by one, empty handed and miserable.
Washed ashore, and shedding the cracked flippers of good draftsmanship, she started selling coconut milk for an established emporium that also ran a coconut shy on the weekends.
One day a seasoned coconut merchant showed her how to make the ends of the tickets (that she would tear off) into little frogs that would hop and skip off into the sunset.
So enamoured was she with these little frogs she became obsessed, continuously making them until she was seated in a throne of folded paper, earning her title.
With enough gold in her kelp purse to drink sweet rum punch at the end of her shifts, her small paper companions provided a merry distraction, so she forgot about the treasure, and never tried to free dive again.