The week after Sam’s cottage was dedicated, the leaves on the trees
approached their peak colour. Nature continued to prepare for winter.
Stoddard noticed the beautiful scene as he returned to Ballymore after
another procurement trip. He considered himself quite fortunate that he
could fly and see the world from a different perspective. More than
once, he had changed his mind about something while flying.
He recalled his idea about having an aerial view of Ballymore painted.
The painting would make a wonderful Winter Solstice Eve gift for
Bartholomew, he thought. He flew off to visit the frogs and discuss the
painting with them. He hoped he could talk them into flying on his and
Sean’s backs. Animals that had never flown were likely to be somewhat
scared. Both frogs were home when he arrived. They did like his gift
idea but, not surprisingly, were scared at the thought of leaving the
Stoddard suggested that he could come back with Sean the next day. They
would wear their basket harnesses, and the frogs could try short, low
flights. The frogs finally agreed to that go-slow approach.
The next day, the swans returned with the harness baskets. Farley and
Fionna looked at the small baskets and wondered how safe they were. The
weather was fine for flying, even for first-timers.
Stoddard said, “We’ve never lost anything from the baskets, and we’ve
never crashed. It’s quite safe for you both. Let’s try a short flight
over the pond.”
Farley climbed into Stoddard’s basket and attached his shoulder harness
and seat belt. He felt, surprisingly, secure. Fionna did the same with
Sean’s basket. The swans took off and slowly rose to an altitude of
about fifty feet. Even from that low height, some of the gorgeous autumn
scenery could be seen. They flew out to the island, circled it and then
flew back to the frogs’ dock. It was a bit windy but no different than a
breezy day on the ground. The frogs were impressed and said they had
Over the next two days, Farley and Fionna flew in the baskets and made
numerous sketches until they felt they had gathered enough details to do
the painting. This was another exciting project for them and they
thanked the swans for the opportunity. They even suggested there could
be more flights. They already had ideas about more paintings from this
new perspective. A whole new world had opened to them. But first there
was Bartholomew's painting. They said it would be finished for Winter