by Paula Berinstein
“Greetings,” said Simon. “That’s quite a mess you’ve got there.”
Noel looked up with a confused expression on his face. “Oh, it’s you, Binkle. Say, come over here for a minute and hold this, will you?” He held up a string.
Simon tromped over to the piano and peered inside. “What are you doing? Did something happen?”
“Just hold this please,” said Noel.
Simon grabbed the string and pulled tight.
“No, not like that,” said Noel. “Just keep it out of the way.”
“Oh,” said Simon. He felt like an idiot standing there holding a loose piano string. But he was too curious not to ask. “What are you doing?”
“I dropped something. I need to get it out.”
“What?” He peered deeper. There was a teensy tiny frog inside. “Oh, I see it. Wait, it’s alive!”
“That’s right, it’s alive, and it’s going to be a disaster if I don’t get it out. It belongs to Professor Pargeter and it’s very valuable. It’s also poisonous so don’t touch it.”
“Really?” said Simon, reaching for the animal. “How poisonous?”
“What did I just say?” said Noel slapping Simon’s hand.
“Oh, sorry,” said Simon. He withdrew the hand but stared intently at the little thing, which was obviously so frightened it was turning colors.
“Now look what you’ve done,” said Noel. “It’s brought the poison to the surface. Stand back or it will spit.”
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