'Tiddalick Drinks Up' | Ep. 154

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(Sabina Hahn for WBUR)
(Sabina Hahn for WBUR)

Think about the last time you felt grumpy, and you were in a downright bad mood.

When we have our grouchy pants on, it can be tough to take them off and snap out of it. As we’ll hear in today’s tale, sometimes we need a little bit of help!

Our story is called “Tiddalick Drinks Up.” Versions of this tale come from the Aboriginal people of Australia.

Voices in this episode include: Feodor Chin, Anthony Palmini, Erika Rose, Dawn Ursula, and Izaac Wang. Kids, you may recognize Izaac from Raya and the Last Dragon, as well as Clifford the Big Red Dog.

This episode was adapted for Circle Round by Rebecca Sheir. It was edited by Amory Sivertson. Original music and sound design is by Eric Shimelonis. Our artist is Sabina Hahn.

Coloring Page

(Sabina Hahn for WBUR)
(Sabina Hahn for WBUR)

ADULTS! PRINT THIS so everyone can color while listening. We’re also keeping an album so share your picture on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and tag it with #CircleRound. We'd love to see it! To access all the coloring pages for past episodes, click HERE. Our resident artist is Sabina Hahn and you can learn more about her HERE.

Things To Think About After Listening

What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you? Something that made you laugh your head off?

Reach out to someone you have fun with – a family member or friend – and tell them your story. Then ask them to talk about a time they laughed and laughed!

Musical Spotlight: The Didgeridoo 

The traditional Aboriginal musical instrument, the didgeridoo, dates back tens of thousands of years. (courtesy of Steve Evans)
The traditional Aboriginal musical instrument, the didgeridoo, dates back tens of thousands of years. (courtesy of Steve Evans)

Experts believe Aboriginal peoples in Australia played the first didgeridoos 40,000 years ago. Back then, they fashioned these wind instruments out of fallen eucalyptus branches that had been hollowed out by termites! Today, didgeridoo makers craft their instruments from eucalyptus, bamboo, and agave.
Fun fact: the didgeridoo can be both a pitched and percussion instrument. You can blow into it to make tones and to create rhythm and keep time!


NARRATOR: Back in the oldest of olden times… long before people roamed the earth… there lived a frog named Tiddalick.

Tiddalick was very different from the frogs you see today. Because Tiddalick… was big. So big, he towered over the trees! Over the hills! He even towered over the mountains!

In fact, Tiddalick was so big, that when he let out a ribbit


NARRATOR: …it echoed for miles!

NARRATOR: And when he hopped from place to place…

[big hop]

NARRATOR: …the ground beneath him trembled!

[ground shakes]

NARRATOR: The other thing about Tiddalick is that, well, he wasn’t very nice. He was constantly grumpy.

The other animals tried being friendly with him. Like leaping, jumping Kangaroo…

KANGAROO: (trying to be especially friendly) Good morning, Tiddalick!

TIDDALICK: (grumpy, annoyed) Oh, puh-LEEEZE!!!

NARRATOR: …web-footed, duck-billed Platypus…

PLATYPUS: (trying to be especially friendly) Beautiful day, isn’t it, Tiddalick?

TIDDALICK: (grumpy, annoyed) Not from what I can tell!

NARRATOR: …and spiky, quill-covered Echidna.

ECHIDNA: (trying to be especially friendly) Hiya, Tiddalick! What’s up?!

TIDDALICK: (grumpy, annoyed) My temper! That’s what’s up!!!!!

NARRATOR: Well, one morning, when Tiddalick awoke…

TIDDALICK: (yawning, stretching, waking-up sounds)

NARRATOR: …he was feeling especially grouchy. Because he realized he was also incredibly…

TIDDALICK: (dry-mouth sounds)


TIDDALICK: Ugh! Somehow this morning I am downright parched! My mouth is as dry as unbuttered toast! I need a drink!

NARRATOR: So Tiddalick went bounding to the nearest river...

[hops, ground shakes]

NARRATOR: … and began… to drink.

TIDDALICK: (exaggerated drinking sounds)

NARRATOR: He drank so much, the river went completely dry. And yet?

TIDDALICK: I am still thirsty!

NARRATOR: So he drank up another river…

TIDDALICK: (exaggerated drinking sounds)

NARRATOR: …then another…

TIDDALICK: (exaggerated drinking sounds)

NARRATOR: …until all the rivers were empty!

And yet?

TIDDALICK: …I am still thirsty!

NARRATOR: So Tiddalick went about drinking up all the ponds

TIDDALICK: (exaggerated drinking sounds)

NARRATOR: … the lakes

TIDDALICK: (exaggerated drinking sounds)

NARRATOR: …even the oceans…!

TIDDALICK: (exaggerated drinking sounds)

NARRATOR: Until at last…

TIDDALICK: (takes one final drink) …I am no longer thirsty!

NARRATOR: But he was still grouchy. And what’s worse, now that he had guzzled up all the rivers, ponds, lakes and oceans, there wasn’t one drop of water left in the entire world. Not a one!

But Tiddalick didn’t care. With his bubbled-up belly swollen with water, he closed his gigantic eyes, then went to sleep.

TIDDALICK: (big snores)

NARRATOR: As you can imagine, when the other animals discovered that all the water of the world was gone…? They were in a tizzy!

KANGAROO: Oh dear! The earth has turned into a desert! All dusty and sandy!

PLATYPUS: The fish have nowhere to swim! The animals have nothing to drink!

ECHIDNA: And the air is so dry! Without water evaporating from the ponds, lakes, rivers and oceans, we’ll never have rain again!

NARRATOR: The animals knew they were in trouble. They would never survive unless they did something… and did it fast.

What do you think the animals will do?

What would you do if you were one of the animals?

We’ll find out what happens, after a quick break.


NARRATOR: I’m Rebecca Sheir. Welcome back to Circle Round. Today our story is called “Tiddalick Drinks Up.”

Before the break, a grouchy, gargantuan frog named Tiddalick was so thirsty, he drank up all the ponds, lakes, rivers and oceans on earth.

The animals knew they wouldn’t last long without water. Then Kangaroo had an idea.

KANGAROO: I say… we talk to Tiddalick. Tell him to give all the water back!

NARRATOR: But Platypus and Echidna weren’t so sure.

PLATYPUS: Oh come now, Kangaroo!

ECHIDNA: How could Tiddalick possibly give the water back?

PLATYPUS: It’s all locked up in his belly!

ECHIDNA: His jumbo belly!

NARRATOR: The animals fell quiet, as they pondered and puzzled over their dilemma. Until a voice broke the silence.

EEL: I know what to do!

NARRATOR: The other animals looked around, and who should they see slinking out of a dry, sandy riverbed… but slithery, slippery Eel!

EEL: Look, everybody. If we want to get all the water of the world out of Tiddalick… I say, we make him laugh!

NARRATOR: Kangaroo, Platypus and Echidna cocked their heads.

KANGAROO: “Make him laugh”...!??

PLATYPUS: Nobody’s ever seen Tiddalick laugh!

ECHIDNA: But even so – how would making him laugh bring back the water?

EEL: It’s simple! If we make Tiddalick laugh, not only will Mister Grouchypants cheer up for once, but he’ll totally lose control! He’ll lose hold of the water… the water will come flowing out of his mouth… and the rivers, ponds, lakes and oceans will be full again! So! Whaddya say?!?

NARRATOR: The other animals thought for a moment.

KANGAROO: Well… I can do some pretty funny tricks!

PLATYPUS: And I can make some pretty funny sounds!

ECHIDNA: And I can tell some pretty funny jokes!

EEL: That’s the spirit! Let’s head on over to where Tiddalick is sleeping, and give it a try.

NARRATOR: So they did. When they reached the hulking, slumbering frog, Kangaroo hopped up and down on Tiddalick’s belly until he woke up.

TIDDALICK: (waking up) Hey! What was that?!? Who’s there?!? Can’t you see I’m trying to sleep?

KANGAROO: Yes, Tiddalick, and we’re sorry. But we thought you might want to see… this!!!

NARRATOR: Kangaroo jumped to the ground and began leaping this way and that. She leaped high…


NARRATOR: …she leaped low…


NARRATOR: …she even did a series of backflips!

KANGAROO: Woah! Woah! Woah!

NARRATOR: Then she bounded into the air one last time…

KANGAROO: Wooh-hooooo!

NARRATOR: … before pretending to slip and tumble right on her backside!

KANGAROO: (pretending to slip and fall right on her backside) Oof!

NARRATOR: As Kangaroo grinned and got back to her feet, Platypus, Echidna and Eel doubled over with laughter.

PLATYPUS: / ECHIDNA: / EEL: (laughter)

NARRATOR: Tiddalick, on the other hand…

TIDDALICK: (unamused groan or grunt)

NARRATOR: …did not.

He didn’t even blink.

So Platypus spoke up.

PLATYPUS: Okay, Tiddalick! So maybe acrobatics aren’t your cup of tea. But check out what I can do!

NARRATOR: Platypus opened his flat black bill, then started making sound…

PLATYPUS: (funny sound)

NARRATOR: …after sound…

PLATYPUS: (even funnier sound)

NARRATOR: …after sound!

PLATYPUS: (even funnier sound)

NARRATOR: …each one more hilarious than the next!

PLATYPUS: (even funnier sound)

NARRATOR: When he was done, Kangaroo, Echidna and Eel were laughing so hard, they nearly toppled over!

KANGAROO: / ECHIDNA: / EEL: (laughter)

NARRATOR: Tiddalick, on the other hand…

TIDDALICK: (unamused groan or grunt)

NARRATOR: …did not.

He didn’t even crack a smile.

So Echidna piped up.

ECHIDNA: Alright, Tiddalick! So maybe you’re more of a joke guy, huh? If so, I’ve got just the thing for you. Listen up! (broad, hammy delivery) What do you get when you cross a frog and a bunny? Huh? Any guesses…? A bunny ribbit!

KANGAROO: / PLATYPUS: / EEL: (laughter)

ECHIDNA: Okay, I see everybody laughing except for you. Which is weird, because most frogs rarely get upset. And do you know why? Because they eat what bugs them!!!

KANGAROO: / PLATYPUS: / EEL: (laughter)

ECHIDNA: Once again, I’m sensing you are not amused. So how about this one? What kind of music do frogs like best? Hip-hop!

KANGAROO: / PLATYPUS: / EEL: (laughter)

NARRATOR: Kangaroo, Platypus and Eel were in stitches!

Tiddalick, on the other hand…

TIDDALICK: (unamused groan)

NARRATOR: …was not.

TIDDALICK: (super-annoyed) Look, you pesky critters. I don’t know what you’re trying to do, but how about you do it somewhere else? I’m going back to sleep!

NARRATOR: And with that, he closed his enormous eyes and returned to dreamland.

TIDDALICK: (snores)

NARRATOR: Kangaroo, Platypus, and Echidna didn’t know what to do. So they turned to Eel.

KANGAROO: Well, Eel? What now?!?

PLATYPUS: Our attempts at making Tiddalick laugh failed!

ECHIDNA: Maybe there’s something you can do…?

NARRATOR: As Eel gazed into his friends’ sad eyes, the wheels in his brain began to turn… and turn… until…?

EEL: I’ve got it! Look. Not everyone laughs at acrobatics… or silly sounds… or even jokes! But what’s the one thing in the world that makes everybody crack up? The one thing that makes their laughter come bubbling up and pouring out, and there’s nothing they can do about it?

NARRATOR: The animals shot Eel a blank stare.

KANGAROO: Um, you got me, Eel!

PLATYPUS: What is the one thing that makes everybody crack up?

ECHIDNA: Tell us! Please!

EEL: Oh, I’ll do you one better! I won’t tell you…

NARRATOR: Eel began slithering toward Tiddalick.

EEL: …I’ll show you!

NARRATOR:  Next thing the animals knew, Eel slithered right up to Tiddalick’s jumbo belly, then began… to tickle it!

EEL: (as he tickles TIDDALICK) Coochie-coochie-coo! Coochie-coo!

NARRATOR: Eel used his entire slick, slippery body – wriggling and wiggling this way and that. He twisted and twitched…

EEL: (as he tickles TIDDALICK) Coochie-coo!

NARRATOR: …he squirmed and shimmied…

EEL: (as he tickles TIDDALICK) Coochie-coo!

NARRATOR: And in no time at all, Tiddalick woke up…

TIDDALICK: (waking up) Huh?

NARRATOR: …and began…

TIDDALICK: (starts laughing, quiet, slowly)

NARRATOR: … to laugh!

TIDDALICK: (laughter)

NARRATOR: His laughter grew…

TIDDALICK: (laughter gets louder, faster)

NARRATOR: …and grew…

TIDDALICK: (laughter gets louder, faster)

NARRATOR: …and grew!

TIDDALICK: (laughter gets even more raucous now)

NARRATOR: And as those belly laughs came bubbling out of Tiddalick’s mouth, do you know what else came bubbling out, too…?

[water pours out]

NARRATOR: You guessed it! 


Streams of water cascaded down Tiddalick’s body and spread all over the earth. Back into the rivers… the ponds… the lakes and oceans! And before long the world wasn’t dusty or sandy anymore. It was moist and green.

I can’t say that’s the last time Tiddalick woke up in a foul mood. But it was the last time he drank up all the water. Because he knew if he did? Little Eel would see to it that the frog laughed his head off… and the water out!

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Rebecca Sheir Host, Circle Round
Rebecca Sheir is the host "Circle Round," WBUR's kids storytelling podcast.



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