The Frog as Prince
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
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.
Some Great Frog References
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.