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The Frog as Prince

Updated on February 13, 2012

Imagine a hero, a tall, handsome, charismatic, dashing figure of a man with a perfect smile, a twinkle in his eyes and charm to spare. Now imagine a slimey-skinned, no-tail creature with protruding eyes, a long sticky tongue, oversized awkward legs croaking loudly in the night. Great match-up, right? And yet throughout literature there are tales of gentlemen frogs and even princes disguised as frogs. What is our fascination with these odd little creatures?


Frogs have occupied an unusual place in mythology. The Egyptians associated the frog with fertility and childbirth. The ancient Egyptians saw thousands of frogs appear all along the Nile at certain times of the year. Frogs have in many cultures been associated with fertility, probably because some frogs can lay up to 20,000 eggs and they transition from tadpole to frog.

To the Greeks and Romans, frogs were a symbol of Aphrodite and Venus and were associated with fertility and love.

In China, the frog is a symbol of prosperity and wealth and as in India legends depict the world as resting on a giant three-legged frog and when it moves there is an earthquake.

In Ireland, frogs are thought to be related to leprechauns and prone to playing tricks on you when least expected.

In literature, the frog is often depicted as a dapper gentleman or princely character. Beatrix Potter's "A Tale of Jeremy Fisher," describes Jeremy the frog and his friends like members of a country club. In "The Wind and the Willows," by Kenneth Grahame, Toad leads his friends on a merry chase.

One of the favorite frog stories of all time is The Frog Prince by the Brothers Grimm. In this story, the princess does not kiss the frog, but honors her promise to let him eat and sleep beside her after the frog recovers her favorite golden ball which fell into his spring.

Froggy Went A-Courtin'

One of the oldest tunes, from the fifteenth century, tells the tale of a frog who wooed a mouse and has been recorded by musicians from Tex Ritter, Jimmie Rogers, Burl Ives, Bob Dylan, to Bruce Springsteen. It has been immortalized in a classic book : Frog Went A-Courtin' by John Langstaff and illustrated by Feodor Rojankovsky. The following video joins both John's song and book.

"Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day." ~ Mark Twain

"The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County"

Mark Twain published a story called "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" in which the narrator tells a story he heard from the bartender at the Angels Hotel in Angels Camp, California. Although it had different titles, this, one of Twain's most popular short stories, was about the gambler Jim Smiley who would bet on anything that moved. The picturesque county, between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite is the home of Frog Town and the annual County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee.

The first real frog-jumping contest was organized in 1928 to celebrate the paving of Angel Camp's Main Street. Over the years, the contest has become the most popular attraction at the Angel Camp annual fair, which also includes music, a craft show, local talent and the Miss Calaveras Scholarship Pageant.

The world record holder of the Jumping Contest is a frog named "Rosie the Ribiter," who made close to a six-meter triple jump in 1986. Since then, a $5,000 prize has been offered for any frog that can break that record.

Warren "Buck" King, the unofficial "Frogtown Mayor" who manages the Calaveras County Fair, has been involved with the fair and jumping contest for 32 years.

Trying to contain the most recent wave of animal rights criticism against the contest, Mr. King has invited the animal rights activists to visit the fairgrounds and see how well the frogs are treated. He says that a "frog welfare policy" was adopted in 1997, requiring humane capture, care and release of the frogs, and banning participants who knowingly violate the policy or otherwise abuse frogs. After all, according to Warren King, it is the frog that has made Calaveras County famous.

It's Not Easy Being Green

This generation's most famous and beloved frog is Jim Henson's muppet Kermit. Here he is depicted above Jim Henson's Muppet Studio in Hollywood.
This generation's most famous and beloved frog is Jim Henson's muppet Kermit. Here he is depicted above Jim Henson's Muppet Studio in Hollywood.

A Blondie and A Greenie

The Frog and the Princess

The Frog and the Princess is a modern twist on a classic tale, featuring a beautiful girl named Tiana, a frog prince who desperately wants to be human again, and a fateful kiss that leads them both on a hilarious adventure through the mystical bayous of Louisiana.


Prince Charles in May 2009, backed by sons William and Harry launched an extraordinary internet campaign to help save the world's rainforests - with the help of a South American frog.

The three princes star in the 90-second video. It is a startling first for the royals as they seek the backing of the internet generation.

The video shows Charles, Wills and Harry together with the frog - one of the victims of the devastation of the rainforests - as all three join the appeal on behalf of The Prince's Rainforests Project, which funded the campaign.

Other famous names including Harrison Ford, Robin Williams, 007 star Daniel Craig, singer Joss Stone and even the Dalai Lama appear in the clip, alongside schoolchildren.

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    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 7 years ago from Canada

      What an "enchanting" hub! Thanks so much for this enjoyable offering!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 7 years ago from south Florida

      So Calaveras has a frog welfare project? Aha! That must be where our leader gets all his ideas.

      Enchanting hub with great graphics. Well done.

    • Winsome profile image
      Author

      Winsome 7 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Elle it is great to entertain you for a change. I've missed our interaction, I promise to visit more often. =:)

      BJ, thank you for the comment. Arnold wants the giant bull frogs to have the proper training and etiquette to associate with the more delicate Calaveras frogs and toads before they are released. =:)

    • Cris A profile image

      Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Some frog species are a delicacy in some Asian countries - I don't know about the "west". Some say they taste like chicken - I'd rather believe that disprove that claim,. Haha

      And where's Kermit? He is a prince in his own right - just ask Ms Piggy.

      I enjoyed the read. Thanks for sharing :D

    • Ivorwen profile image

      Ivorwen 7 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      What a fun hub! I love the song. The version you found is different from the one my mom always sang, but I like it much better.

    • profile image

      cosette 7 years ago

      Mark Twain always had such good advice ;)

      i can see why frogs represent renewal. one time we had a really hard rain and all of a sudden, hundreds of frogs appeared out of nowhere! apparently they sleep underground and Nature calls them with a huge storm and they mate and then die. ah, Life.

      excellent hub sir. rating it UP.

    • Winsome profile image
      Author

      Winsome 7 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Chris you are so right. In fact the French are associated with frog legs to the extent that they often are given the nickname "frogs." In light of the frog's almost human attributes in my tribute, I was skirting the epicurean issue. =:)

      Funny you should mention Kermit. I had the "It's not easy being green" video but was not satisfied with the version. Saturday as I was driving up La Brea Blvd. to get to Pasadena, I saw the most wonderful statue of a frog on a building as I drove past. In traffic, I whipped out my Nikon D40 and took a hasty, but great shot. Just as I moved past the building I saw the words Jim Hensen's Muppet Factory. I will add the photo soon. Thanks for the reminder.

      Ivorwen, thank you for visiting the frog neighborhub. I had not seen this version either although it is apparently the famous and beloved Caldecott Medal Winner version. That I did not know that just shows it's time to visit the children's book section more often so I can catch up. =:)

      Ah Cosette, your subtle wit is like a fine, rare perfume caught in passing, the turned head longingly searching the crowd for a glimpse of its source. "Who was that girl?" =:)

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

      Very creative hub. I never thought much about frogs having anything to do with renewal. Interesting hub

    • Winsome profile image
      Author

      Winsome 7 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Thanks Pamela, yes the frog and the butterfly are the most often used nature symbols of renewal. The extreme transformation is like being "born again." =:)

    • lalesu profile image

      lalesu 7 years ago from south of the Mason-Dixon

      As I say in my bio, "I grew up creek walking, tree climbing, frog catching country", and I still can't resist a frog. A smile is sure to land on my face if ever one lands in my path! Thanks for this entertaining read.

    • Winsome profile image
      Author

      Winsome 7 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      My pleasure Laura. I grew up in similar country and frogs and crawdads were a familiar and entertaining sight. Thanks for your comment.

    • Lgali profile image

      Lgali 7 years ago

      another good hub thanks

    • Winsome profile image
      Author

      Winsome 7 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      My pleasure Lgali. Do they have frogs where you live?

    • lightning john profile image

      lightning john 7 years ago from Florida

      Here in Florida we have these light, almost white colored frogs. The other day I was trimming the lawn. One jumped out from behind a tree, and looked at me as to say, " How dare you wake me!" He was a cute lil fella!

    • Winsome profile image
      Author

      Winsome 7 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      John, and you didn't kiss it? Could have been your princess. =:)

    • lightning john profile image

      lightning john 7 years ago from Florida

      I have heard of some people licking frogs for an acid like high! Now that's weird!

    • mysterylady 89 profile image

      mysterylady 89 7 years ago from Florida

      A delightful hub - and great research, too. You truly are "winsome"!

    • Winsome profile image
      Author

      Winsome 7 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Thank you Mystery Lady, I just couldn't resist that frog's smile. The frog is such a cartoon even in real life that they crack me up. =:)

    Some Great Frog References

    Ripley's Believe It or Not Frog Oddities & Trivia
    Ripley's Believe It or Not Frog Oddities & Trivia

    This book is a great way to capitalize on your child's preoccupation with the gross and odd things of life. "Frog Oddities & Trivia: A Journey Through the Rapidly Shrinking World of Amphibians" is a compilation of facts and trivia about this fascinating creature. There is also a section about their endangered status and how many species of frog are in danger of extinction.

     

    Some other froggy sites

    For a hub about  a mountain creek dwelling frog The Rocky Mountain Tailed Frog

    And on the other end of the spectrum: Caring for a Tree Frog

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