Folktales, Folklore, Fairy Tales, Legends, Myths,
History, Nursery Rhymes, Fantasy & Facts



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Folktales, Folklore, Fairy Tales, Legends, Myths,
History, Nursery Rhymes, Fantasy & Facts

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Books - Frog - Frogs - Froggy - All ages
Online links to stories/info/songs - Frog - Frogs - Froggy
SOS: Searching Out Stories/Songs - Frog - Frogs - Froggy
Advice, Comments and References from Storytellers,
Teachers and Librarians



Book titles are in blue and underlined. Click on them to find out more about the books and how to buy them.
To retell any stories, obtain permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain.
In performance, always credit your sources.
Alphabetized for your convenience with short descriptions to save you research time.

Boy (A), a Dog, and a Frog (Boy, Dog, Frog) by Mercer Mayer. (2003 - Ages 4-8)
A boy and his dog go walking in the swamp.
They spot a frog in the water.
Can they use a net to catch him?

Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County (The) by Mark Twain. (1971)
Revenge edition. The original story, a hapless French translation, and Twain's hilarious "retranslation" from the French. 12 illustrations.

Complete Fables (The) (Penguin Classics) by Aesop. Robert Temple and Olivia Temple (translators). (1998)
Aesop was probably a prisoner of war, sold into slavery in the early sixth century BC, who represented his masters in court and negotiations, and relied on animal stories to put across his key points. All these fables, full of humour, insight and savage wit, as well as many fascinating glimpses of ordinary life, have now been brought together for the first time in this definitive and fully annotated modern edition.

Do Princesses Really Kiss Frogs? (Do Princesses...) by Carmela LaVigna Coyle and Mike Gordon. (2005 - Ages 4-8)
Our favorite princess returns--hiking boots and all--this time loaded with questions for her daddy. Everyone knows a princess. As this princess and her daddy wander through the woods, all kinds of wonders reveal themselves. She discovers that no matter who you are, a princess lies inside of us.

Earth Care by Margaret Read MacDonald. (2009 - Ages 9-12)
Our relationship to the natural world is at the heart of the single largest problem we face today. We have a choice: hurt the earth and we hurt ourselves. See Frog and Locust.

Frog and Toad (The) Collection Box Set (I Can Read Book 2) by Arnold Lobel. (2004 - Ages 4-8)
Frog and Toad are always there for each other -- just as best friends should be. From sledding in winter to eating ice cream on hot summer days, these two friends have fun together the whole year round!

Froggy Learns to Swim by Jonathan London with Frank Remkiewica (illus). (1997 - Ages 4-8)
Frogs are supposed to be great swimmers. "Not me!" says Froggy, who's afraid of the water. But with a little encouragement, some practice, and the help of a silly song or two, Froggy becomes an expert frog-kicker! Full color.

Granddaughter and King Green Warts by Sharrie Ann.
Go on a spiritual journey with Granddaughter as she tries to prove to King Green Warts she will not eat him just so she can ask him a very important question.

Hat-Shaking Dance (The) and Other Tales from the Gold Coast by Harold Courlander and Albert Kofi Prempeh with Enrico Arno (illus). (1957 - Baby-Preschool)
See Nyame's Well. It's an Ashanti tale that explains why frogs are always looking for water and why frogs have no tails, although they are born as tadpoles with tails.

Wide-Mouthed Frog (The): A POP-UP BOOK by Keith Faulkner and Jonathan Lambert. (1996 - Ages 4-8)
From the Okefenokee Swamp comes a frog with a wide mouth that he just loves to use. He's particularly interested in the eating habits of other creatures found in the great outdoors--that is, of course, until he comes upon a big green one with lots of teeth who finds wide-mouthed frogs simply delicious.

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Online links are in blue and underlined. Click on them to get more stories and information.
Story titles are in italics.
To retell any stories, get permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain.
Short descriptions included for your convenience and to save you research time.
Froggy Lensography: All About Frogs
Site for frog jokes.
The Froggy Page.
Frog Kings: Folktales about Slimy Suitors.
Singing Frogs: Boom, Boom Ain't It Great To Be Crazy!
Froggy Rhymes and Songs. little frogs
Five little speckled frogs.

CanTeach: Songs & Poems - Frogs.
Sources for The Scorpion and the Frog.
The Snake and the Frog.


Advice, Comments and References from Storytellers, Teachers and Librarians
(excerpts from Storytell posts plus original research)

Book titles, movie titles and online links are in blue and underlined. Click on them to get more information.
Story and song titles are in italics.
To retell any stories, obtain permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain.
Posts are added chronologically as they are received by Story Lovers World.

1) Frog and Brook, Nez Perce tale, as told by W. S. Penn in the book The Telling of the World: Native American Stories and Art, 1996.

2) Collection of frog tales, edited by Yolan and Nancy Springer has a tale in the set.

3) Well-known Zen story from Japan of the two frogs who fell into the sour milk jug. One said: It's hopeless, we'll never get out." Stopped swimming and sank to the bottom. The other kept swimming and trying till the sour milk became butter and it could jump out.

4) Van Woerkom (?) has an easy reader version of the Japanese tale, Sea Frog, City Frog, where the two decide to see each other's world, but they wind up getting turned around & actually see their own home which is surprisingly familiar.

5) The Frog Prince (Hello Reader! Level 3, Grades 1 & 2), but another funny modern version twists it with The strange story of the frog who became a prince.

6) Everything Is Connected. A king can't sleep because of the noisy frogs, so he orders them eliminated. A wise person warns, "Everything is connected," but is ignored. Once the frogs go, mosquitoes, gnats & swarms of flies destroy the kingdom, proving that "Everything is connected."

7) Tiddalick the Frog —Source and Notes. This is an aborignal tale published in Australia called Aboriginal Myths, Legends and Fables, by A.W. Reed, 1987, reprinted 1994, which has a version of the story and background about telling Aboriginal tales.

8) Frog songs:
Froggy Went A-Courtin' (Might be in Ruth Crawford Seeger's American Folksongs For Children.) Many finger plays, too.

9) Little Green Frog. The tune and words are found on p. 92 of The Reader's Digest Children's Songbook. The notes say both Danny Kaye and Burl Ives made recordings of the song in the 1950s.

10) Cajun Tales and Music by a teller named Marie Fontenot has a wonderful tadpole story.

11) Father frog who tricks donkey in a race by substituting his children at each stage of the race. It's a Caribbean story to explain why donkey is no longer the fastest animal on earth. Norma J. Livo and Sandra A. Rietz's Storytelling: Process and Practice.

12) African stories in A. Bryan's Ox of the Wonderful Horns and Other African Folktales. Frog and His Two Wives and Frog and Elephant Go Courting.

13) Pacific Northwestern story Raven Returns the Water by Anne Cameron in which Raven takes on a giant frog who is greedy and has drunk up all the waters and created a drought.

The Wolf and the Raven: Totem Poles of Southeastern Alaska by Garfield and Forrest has a number of stories. A Tlingit story tells of a chief's daughter seduced and carried off by a frog and then rescued by her family. A Haida story The Eagle and the Frog is in The Raven Steals the Light by Reid and Bringhurst. It is probably not a very good story for children, though.

15) The Wide-Mouthed Frog, written and illustrated by Rex Schneider.

16) Rhymes for fingers and flannel boards by Louise Binder Scott. Frog finger plays.

17) Here's a frog song. I got this from a respected folk-singer and voice teacher clled Frankie Armstrong, and it's my favorite silly song.
MMMN (humming noise with lips closed)
UGHN (stick toungue out)

MMMN (humming noise with lips closed)
UGHN (stick toungue out)

MMMN (humming noise with lips closed)
UGHN (stick toungue out)

MMMN (humming noise with lips closed)
UGHN (stick toungue out)
BLBLLBLB (wobble finger between lips)


WE KNOW FROGS GO (point to self)
LAH DI DAH DI DAH (wave hands over the head to the right)
LAH DI DAH DI DAH (wave hands over the head to the left)
LAH DI DAH DI DAH (wave hands over the head to the right)

WE KNOW FROGS GO (point to self)
LAH DI DAH DI DAH (wave hands over the head to front)

MMMN (humming noise with lips closed)
UGHN (stick toungue out)
BLBLLBLB (wobble finger between lips)

18) Here are my two froggy song favorites (learned as a child at Girl Scout camp, then taught as a counselor at YMCA camp while a college student, and still used occasionally at library storytimes. The first one is fun to sing in a round, too, and/or faster and faster.

Down on the banks of the Hanky Panky
Where the bullfrog jumps from bank to banky
With an "Eep! Op! Ope! Um!"
And a knee-slap-a-dilly and a

In this next one you make a sort of glunking sound deep in your throat as part of the "Aa-ooh!"

"Aa-ooh!" went the little green frog one day.
"Aa-ooh!" went the little green frog.
"Aa-ooh!" went the little green frog one day,
So we all went "Aa! Aa!" too.

19) Here's a frog song:
Oh, there's a little green frog sittin' in the water.
A little green frog, doin' what he oughter'.
He hopped right up on a lily pad,
And he said, 'I'm glad that I'm a little green frog sittin' in the water,
A little green frog, doin'what he oughter.'

Here are all the lyrics to this song:
Written by: Bernard Zaritzky and Walt Barrows - © 1950

There's a little white duck sitting in the water
a little white duck doing what he oughter
he took a bite of a lily pad
flapped his wings and he said "I'm glad
I'm a little white duck sitting in the water
quack! quack! quack!"

there's a little green frog swimming in the water
a little green frog doing what he oughter
he jumped right off of the lily pad
that the little duck bit and he said "I'm glad
I'm a little green frog swimming in the water
ribbit! ribbit! ribbit!"

there's a little black bug floating on the water
a little black bug doing what he oughter
he tickled the frog on the lily pad
that the little duck bit and he said "I'm glad
I'm a little black bug floating on the water
bzzz! bzzz! bzzz!"

there's a little red snake playing in the water
a little red snake doing what he oughter
he frightened the duck and the frog so bad
he ate the bug and he said "I'm glad
I'm a little red snake playing in the water
hiss! hiss! hiss!"

now there's nobody left sitting in the water
nobody left doing what he oughter
there's nothing left but the lily pad
the duck and the frog ran away, I'm sad
'cause there's nobody left sitting in the water
boo! hoo! hoo!

20) My daddy used to say "Froggie him are a funny bird, when him walk, him hop, when him hop, him sit on his tail, which him ain't got."

21) There is a children's song that says, "Five little speckled frogs sat on a freckled log Eating the Most Delicious Bugs. Yum! Yum! One jumped into the pool where it was nice and cool and then there were just four speckled frogs. You sing it over and over until there are no more speckled frogs.

22) Brown because he listened to the wrong chorus of frogs. The old frogs knowing better than the young frogs as to whether it is safe to cross the bog. young frogs says (in a high, piping voice) "kneedeep, kneedeep, just kneedeep" Old, wise frogs, (in the deepest baritone) "better-go-'round, better-go-'round" The moral, obviously, is to listen to your elders....

[OR: The itty-bitty frogs say "Ankle-deep, Ankle-deep."
The slightly bigger frogs say "Knee-deep, Knee-deep."
The almost big frogs say "Belly-deep, Belly-deep."
Then the wise old frogs say "Better Go Round, Better Go Round."
At least that's what my Grandpa told me happened!
And we always believe Grandpas!!!
It was a creek to be crossed and sometimes it was dry and sometimes it was deep. When there was water, the boy would call out -- How deep is it and listen- (same routine of answers, but at the end character listens to "go around" and backs out, so that other directions are repeated as he goes backward! ]

[My daddy had a version of this, too: "knee deep" "belly deep" and "too deep" I think!]

23) A slightly different version:
It was a creek to be crossed and sometimes it was dry and sometimes it was deep.
When there was water the boy would call out --How deep is it and listen--x three
Some frogs would call back "ankledeep. ankledeep, ankledeep"
The boy goes in till the waters up to his ankles--since it's still getting deeper he calls out again How deep is it (listens) x3 the frogs call back "kneedeep, kneedeep, kneedeep."
Boy goes out until the waters up to his knees--still getting deeper calls and listens again x3
Frogs answer back x3 "bellydeep"
Boy goes further out and its up to his belly button and still getting deeper---calls and listens again "how deep is it? x3
The frogs call back x3 "chindeep"
He wades out till the waters up to his chin and calls out and listens again x3 "How deep is it?"
At first no answer than a big bull frog farther up the creek calls out, "Better Go Around" x3, of course.
The boy carefully backs out to his belly, knees, ankles — shakes off and walks the three miles around to his friends, or grandma's house as I tell it. By the time he gets all they way there his clothes are dry and grandma doesn't know the difference.

24) The bones of this story, Tiddalick the Frog, is also in Eleven Nature Tales (World Storytelling) by Pleasant de Spain. It’s called Frog Swallowed the Ocean. The frog’s name is Bayamey (Bay-ah-may). He is a god who turns into a frog. When ocean floods the land, he angrily slurps up all the water and hops up to the moon. The end the story says that is why Australia has a frog on the moon. I sometimes have a child be Bayamey and tell him or her not to laugh. That’s funny all by itself. Not many kids can get up in front of an audience and keep a straight face. I invite the audience to try and make him/her laugh, too.

25) Two poor old ladies were slapping through the mud in their bare feet on the east side of the river that was the western border of their land. When a frog jumps up and says' I am a handsome prince turned into a frog. If you kiss me I will turn back into a handsome prince and I will marry you. The first old lady picked him up a placed him in her sack. The second old lady said 'If you kiss him, he will turn into a handsome prince and marry you" the first old lady said "A talking frog is worth more than a handsome prince"

An older lady was somewhat lonely and decided she needed a pet to keep her company........So off to the pet shop she went...... She searched and searched. Nothing seemed to catch her interest, except this ugly frog...... As she walked by the jar he was in, he looked and winked at her...... He whispered , "IM LONELY TOO, BUY ME AND YOU WONT BE SORRY." The old lady figured....WHAT THE HECK, she hadn't found anything else. She brought the frog and put him in the car........ Driving down the road the frog whispered to her "KISS ME AND YOU WONT BE SORRY"................ So the old lady figured WHAT THE HECK, and kissed the frog. IMMEDIATELY the frog turned into an absolutely gorgeous sexy young handsome prince. THE PRINCE THEN KISSED THE OLD LADY BACK..........
SHE'S OLD...... NOT DEAD....
- stories forwarded by Wayfarer

26) Of course you know the Japanese folktale about the two frogs? The frog from Osaka and the Frog from Kyoto? Utterly adaptable, but the Japanese folktale is the "original," I believe.

These two frogs who had lived in their own ponds forever, and each decided on the very same day to go out and see the world. The frog from Osaka decided to go to Kyoto; the frog from Kyoto decided to hop over to Osaka.
You guessed it; they met on a hilltop halfway between the two towns! Well, they got to talking, as frogs do, and found out what each other was about, then decided to take a look at each other's towns. They put their forefeet on one another's shoulders and pushed themselves up so that they could see over each other's shoulders. But have you ever seen how frogs eyes are? They're on TOP of their heads!!! So, when the frogs pushed each other up, instead of looking over each other's shoulders, they were looking over their own backs! And what each saw was his own hometown! "Well," the frog from Osaka said "Kyoto looks a lot like Osaka." And the frog from Kyoto said "Osaka looks a lot like Kyoto." And they each decided that there was no reason to complete their journey since their destination looked exactly like their home, so they turned around and hopped back to their own ponds.

This is a fun story to tell at the end of a program because it can be stretched out or shortened. You can invite two kids up to illustrate when you get to the part about the frogs pushing against each other. And, of course, unlike the frogs, the story itself can travel to any two cities around the world!--such as your hometown and the town you are telling in.

27) From John McMahon, Classics, Le Moyne College
BBC 11/15/03:
"Frog croaks reveal regional bias"
"To everyone but a frog, one croak probably sounds very like another. But analysis of different croaks has revealed that at least one species of amphibian has developed regional accents in its mating calls. The accented croaks are thought to have developed during the last ice age when populations of pool frogs were separated for thousands of years. The discovery was made during a project to return an extinct species of pool frog to wetlands in Eastern England."
Full text:

28) How To Make A Frog Face With Your Hands
I learned this from Lois Foight Hodges -- this is of Japanese origin. Hopefully you can use this with some frog stories and can learn this highly visible task from the description below ... I will refer to your fingers as follows: thumb/first finger, second finger, third/middle finger, fourth/ring finger and fifth/pinkie finger.

Put your hands palm sides up, with your fingers spread apart.
Keep your hands rigid and weave your fourth and fifth fingers together.
At this point, your right fifth finger should be on your left palm, your right fourth finger should be the base of your left middle finger, your left fifth finger should be on your right palm, and your left fourth finger should be the base of your right middle finger.
NOTE: The tips of your fourth fingers are the frog's eyeballs.
To make the skin on top of the eyeballs, curve your left middle finger over your right fourth finger and
curve your right middle finger over your left fourth finger.
To make the top of the frog's mouth, force your left second finger between the tips of your right fourth and fifth fingers, and force your right second finger between the tips of your left fourth and fifth fingers. The tips of your second fingers should touch each other.
At this point Lois said, "If you've done it right, it should hurt." The pain does lessen when you make subsequent frog faces. Guess your fingers become more limber or something. I tend to wrap my fifth fingers together at this point to get them out of the way. But my son thinks they can be used for the frog's tongue. The finish: make the bottom of the frog's mouth by having the tips of your thumbs touch each other and the tips of your fourth fingers. Have the frog open its mouth by raising up your fourth fingers and lowering your thumbs. Now shake out your poor, tortured hands to get the blood flowing again.
Response: To borrow a phrase "If you relax, it doesn't hurt" (and if your fingers are moderately long -- little children usually have to make up their own versions). I have used that handy little trick to amuse children, even in places where I haven't spoken the language. It's fun, and not as complex as trying to describe it with words. (By the way, when I'm instructing, I refer to that one finger as "naughty" or "the one dad uses when driving").

29) Query:
What is the original source of Wide Mouth Frog. I've never seen it written down, though I understand there's a pop-up book. I got the story orally and, over the years, have put my own stamp on it. I always understood that it was brought to this country (US) by African slaves and that it was told widely in the South. Has anyone any different information? BTW, I asked a librarian and she said the author of the pop-up book didn't include any background on the story.

a) Would we really expect a story (from the oral tradition in both senses of the word) like this to have "a source"? Surely at most one could list some of the sightings. But "a source"?

b) I thought I would impress Japanese folks with Dan's "hand puppet" frog, but discovered that EVERYBODY already knew it! I wonder if that's where it came from originally?

c) I have a book by Pleasant Despain, Eleven Nature Tales (World Storytelling) and the story is called Frog Swallows Ocean. It is credited as an Aboriginal folktale from Australia. The notes in the back of the book state: "Francis Carpenter discovered this tale in The Land of the Kangaroo (London: Thomas W. Knox, 1896) She collected it in Wonder Tales of Seas and Ships. Illustrated By Peter Spier (New York: Doubleday & Co., 1959, pp. 29 - 36. An interesting variation in which the man in the moon is a frog, comes from Native American in British Columbia (Lillooet). See How the People Sang the Mountains Up : How and Why Stories, 1967), pp. 31 - 33.

d) I wonder if we're talking about TWO different stories.

(1) The Aboriginal tale, Frog Swallows The Ocean, sound more like the Tiddalick story that Allan Davies posted here awhile ago. It has frog hoarding all the water and eventually changing for a slim, good looking creature into his present big eyes, wide mouthed, bent legs, bulging shape from holding the water so long. (Much more to the story, but that's sort of the gist. It is credited as an Aboriginal story.)

(2) I think of Wide Mouthed Frog as the story of frog who asks other animals what they are and what they eat, and then bragging that he is a wide mouth frog who eats flies. When alligator says that he is alligator and eats widemouthed frogs. Frog changes to small mouth and hops away.

e) Oops, I think you are right. Pleasant's version is indeed much like Tiddalick. Sorry, my brain seems to be on overload lately. Thanks for catching the error.

f) I don't have any source for Widemouth - Wendy sent this post a few years ago:
'There's scholarship making a case for The Wide Mouth Frog being an American slave narrative (not that this is the origin point of the story, but how it got to the States). You could check Roger Abrahams or John Minton in the MLA for the work on it, if you're interested. Also Chuck Purdue. According to the stuff I read, the story has the same idea as High John the Conqueror, a way of poking fun at someone in power over you without getting into trouble, subversive and coded. But I can't remember which guy wrote what I read.

g) The Big-Mouth Frog story can be found in Margaret Read MacDonald's A Parent's Guide to Storytelling: How to Make Up New Stories and Retell Old Favorites. Margaret writes "This story is elaborated from a joke cited in The Curious Case of the Wide-Mouthed Frog in Interpreting Folklore by Alan Dundes (1980), pp. 12-16.

h) Here in Germany there is a joke story very popular with kids, called the Wide-Mouth Frog (Breitmaulfrosch). Like The Elephant's Child in Just So Stories, the wide-mouth frog is insatiably curious and annoys every animal it meets by asking what sort of food is their favourite. The child telling the joke puts two fingers into their mouth and stretches this as wide as possible when giving the frog's lines. At last it comes to ask the stork, whose reply is "Wide-mouth frogs". The teller then purses their lips together to give the frog's last line, "Oh, I've never seen any of those around here!"

i) Ah, that frog gets around! I learned it from Perrin Stifel, though many tellers tell it. Anthony Clark tells it with music. I told it at my high school's talent show -- yep, I have no dignity, but we do have fun! My final line is, "'That's very interesting. I'll let you know if I see any' -- and he ran straight home to him mama."

j) And MY Wide Mouth Frog, upon hearing the snake, says with SMALL mouth " Uh-Oh! I don't see any of those around here. Do you see any of those? Nope, no wide mouth frogs here. You'll have to go somewhere else to find a wide mouth frog. I think I hear my Mama calling. I gotta go home. Bye!" And he quickly hops home singing, "Small mouth frog..."

k) I learned it from Dan Keding, when he was the main teller at an event near my college. He began it with two bored kids going into the woods, who decide to build a frog trap. He went on and on about how to build the trap-- linking his fingers as he did it-- when he was done, he turned his hands around-- and they were/it was a frog face(!)... very cool (luckily, one of my friends was able to figure out what he did and now I delight small people with it whenever I can-- though the lip-stretching thing does sound easier)... and when the frog is trapped, he says what he eats and asks what they eat. I remember they said tofu, which amused the heck out of me. Then he said "Faaaascinating" in this bored voice and hopped away and asked all the other animals what they ate, until he got to a big black snake which said it ate wide-mouthed frogs... same ending as others... i don't think he cited the source of his story, though it might have said in the program notes.

l) I have been doing the Wiiiid Mouttth Frrrrooog for about twenty years and it is a never-fail story for kids from preschool to 4th grade. After Mrs. Crocagater (that is a MEAN animal that has a head of a crocodile on one end and the head of an Alligator on the other. How does she go to the bathroom? . . . That's what makes her so MEAN!) tells the little wide mouth frog what she serves her bay-bees for breakfast, I go for the "Thank you very much, I'm a Wiiiiiiide . . . (what did I just hear?) . . . mouth . . . (pursed lips) frog . . . Well, if I see any, I'll be sure to let you know!" And that little frog never took another Sur-vay, AGAIN!

m) I first learned the story and the hand frog that goes with it from Australian storyteller Kel Watkins. That was in 1981 in Stirling, Scotland. The story is old and has been around for a long time both as a story and as an extended joke.
Dan K.

n) The first (and only time) I have heard this story was in 1965! At a summer camp, an African American young woman told the story to us 5th graders as we were waiting for lunch. It was pretty much the story that the person from Germany said. ("the wide-mouth frog is insatiably curious and annoys every animal it meets by asking what sort of food is their favourite. At last it comes to ask the stork, whose reply is "Wide-mouth frogs". The teller then purses their lips together to give the frog's last line, "Oh, I've never seen any of those around here!") I tell it pretty much the same way (except I use an alligator) with the last line as "OH! (pursed lips) I didn't know that!
Michael B.

30) A frog goes into a bank and approaches the teller. He can see from her nameplate that her name is Patricia Whack.
"Miss Whack, I'd like to get a $30,000 loan to take a holiday."
Patty looks at the frog in disbelief and asks his name.
The frog says his name is Kermit Jagger, his dad is Mick Jagger, and that it's okay, he knows the bank manager.
Patty explains that he will need to secure the loan with some collateral.
The frog says, "Sure. I have this," and produces a tiny porcelain elephant, about an inch tall, bright pink and perfectly formed.
Very confused, Patty explains that she'll have to consult with the bank manager and disappears into a back office.
She finds the manager and says, "There's a frog called Kermit Jagger out there who claims to know you and wants to borrow $30,000, and he wants to use this as collateral."
She holds up the tiny pink elephant. "I mean, what in the world is this?"

31) Frog Swallows Ocean
Tidalick You know frogs ? They've got great big wide mouths, round bellies and they can only croak ? Well, they didn't used to be like that. The very first frog was called Tidalick, and he was quite different. He was slim and elegant (like me....) he could dance, and he had the most beautiful singing voice. He was very popular with all the other animals. Whenever anyone had a party, they always asked Tidalick to come and sing and dance for them. If there was a particularly beautiful sunset, the call would go for Tidalick...'Sing us a song in praise of the sun'...and so it went on....'Tidalick, I can't sleep, will you come and sing for me ?'...'Tidalick, I'm feeling sad, come and sing me a happy song'.....'Tidalick, can you come and sing for our son's coming of age?...'

Tidalick sang, and sang, and danced and twirled and leapt.....and sang, and sang, day in and day out... Pretty soon, his beautiful voice started to get dry and scratched, and it wasn't long before he could only croak. He'd sung so much he had a really sore throat. (Ask : what will make you feel better when you've got a dry throat ?) He really needed a drink, so he strolled over to a small pond, and had a big drink. It helped a bit, but he was really thirsty, so he just opened his mouth wide and stuck his head right into the pond and (sound effects) sucked that whole pond dry.

But he was still thirsty, so he went to a river, opened his mouth as wide as it would go, stuck his head into the river and (more sound effects) he drunk that whole river. But this only made him thirstier than ever...He drunk ponds and puddles, rivers, brooks, burns, oceans and lakes....Until he'd sucked up all water there was. His belly was so full of water that he could hardly walk, and it sloshed from side to side to side with each step. And he had to keep his mouth tight shut, to hold all the water in. And what about the land? It became parched, cracked and dry, and all the plants and trees started to die. The animals that fed on those plants got very hungry, and the animals that ate those animals started to get hungry too. Everyone was in a really bad way, and they searched everywhere for the water. Eventually, they found Tidalick, with his great swollen belly and mouth tight shut. 'Tidalick, give us back the water !' But Tidalick said nothing, just shook his head. The fierce, strong animals threatened Tidalick...'Look, Tidalick, it'll be the worst for you if you don't let us have some water...' But Tidalick said nothing, just shook his head. The gentle animals pleaded with him...'Tidalick, we're you're friends....we're all dying here, please give us back the water, please Tidalick...' But Tidalick said nothing, just shook his head.

Every animal tried to get Tidalick to give back the water, but he just shook his head. The last animal to try was the Newt....the others had given up, and gone home, and they didn't think much of the newt...he's just a newt, what can he do ?

But the newt balanced on the very tip of his tail and waved all his legs in the air in the most ridiculous dance (Which, of course, I try and do, even though haven't got a tail) The very beginnings of a smile started to curl up the corners of Tidalick's mouth...that was enough for the newt - he went barmy ! He told jokes, juggled, stood on his head, wrapped himself up into silly shapes, pulled faces...and Tidalick did what you're starting to do....he began to started as a little snigger, because he was still trying to keep his mouth shut.... 'Hmnph, hmnph, hmnph....'

The newt seized his the thing about frogs, which you may have noticed, is that they sit like this (sitting frog impression)....and they've got an awful lot of armpit....the newt darted in and tickled Tidalick under his left armpit.....then his right....and Tidalick couldn't help it, he had to laugh...... (storyteller and, hopefully, audience, guffaw loud and long....) and you know how it is, when you start, sometimes, you just can't stop......Tidalick opened his mouth wide, and laughed, and laughed and laughed.....and all the water came flooding out in a great wave...The newt was fine, he just swam around enjoying the cool waters, and laughing....

And all the water flooded back into the ponds and puddles, burns, rivers, streams, lakes and oceans...and the cracks in the land started to close, and the plants drank deep, and started to grow again, and gradually, the dry and dusty land turned green again. So, the next time you see a newt, you might want to thank it, 'cos a newt
once saved the world.....

But what about Tidalick ? Well, he's never been the same since that day. His belly was so stretched with all that water that he's still so fat he can't dance and has to waddle and hop everywhere. His mouth was permanently stretched wide with all that water, and his beautiful voice has gone forever, and he can only croak....and he's still thirsty, which is why you'll always find frogs in or near water. Rideep !

Source and Notes:
This is an aboriginal tale, which I originally heard from another teller over here called Morwenna Rowe. I was subsequently given a book published in Australia called 'Aboriginal Myths, Legends and Fables, by A.W. Reed publ. Reed (Williem Hienman, Australia) 1987, reprinted 1994. ISBN 0 7301 0424 9 which has a version of the story, along with lots of other excellent animal stories.

As may be apparent from the above, I've done a fair amount of work with this, and it's one of my 'old faithfulls', which always goes over well - largely, I suspect, due to my Tidalick impressions (having a bit of a rubber face can be useful sometimes)

I've included a few questions in the version above - depending on the context and audience, I find this a good story for asking the audience (particularly children) questions, and generally getting them involved. It's a good one for telling outside - near a pond or river...I once told it up to my hocks in slime in the middle of a wood in the dark, with a the leakiest pair of waders in the world on.....squelch !

I often use a very silly song (called the little green frog song) before or after this, as it has lots of actions that kids love to join in with.
Allan (Croak, croak) Davies
Balckridge, West Lothian

32) El Coqui: The Frog, The Legend

El Coqui (pronounced ko-kee) is a tiny tree frog from Puerto Rico. Puerto Rican folklore and even some scientists believe that El Coqui is endemic, that is, it can only live in Puerto Rico.   

I remember in sixth grade, my history professor told me that some scientists had taken El Coqui out of Puerto Rico for reproduction in other warm-climate countries...and it  died every time.

Whether El Coqui is endemic or not we do not know for sure. What I recall are the fresh evenings in the country, the soft trade winds blowing, dark skies with bright stars, sitting on a veranda and listening to the sweet music: co-qui, co-qui, co-qui.  It seemed like the whole world had stopped just to let the coqui sing.

The legend goes that once upon a time, Ignacio, the native Puerto Rican parrot and  King of the Forest, called all the animals for a meeting.  He thought that the animals had gotten lazy from enjoying the Trade Winds and getting suntans.  He called for a race among the best of each animal with the winner receiving a special gift.  All the animals kept lounging around except the tree frogs.  They were training and working hard, encouraging Pepito, their leader,  with their silent cheers for tree frogs could not emit a sound.   They knew that since they were the smallest animals in the forest, it was going to be hard for them to win.  Well, Pepito won the race...and Ignacio blessed the tiny tree frogs with the ability to sing. Now they sing for all Puerto Rico.

Our web site grew out of the love and appreciation of the stories and cultures of many lands. Through, you can now also appreciate a little bit of history and heritage of Puerto Rico, and other Latin countries.

33) Aardema, Verna. Who's in Rabbit's House? (Picture Puffins). Illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon. 1978.
A retelling of a Masai folktale in which someone moves into rabbit's house and won't come out. Rabbit is offered help from frog, but rabbit thinks frog is too little to evict the long one who eats trees and trample elephants. The rabbit asks the jackal, the leopard, the elephant and the rhinoceros, but every one of their plans involves destroying the house. Finally, frog convinces rabbit to let him try. Frog rolls up a leaf into a horn and loudly asks who's in Rabbit's house and gets the same response as the others. Frog tells the intruder he is a spitting cobra and he will slither under the door and spit in the long one¹s eyes. The door opens and out comes a most surprising intruder. The illustrations by the Dillons are among the most fanciful and colorful. The rhythmic singsong of the text makes this an excellent book for a read aloud.

34) Short and snappy stories
Pet Shop Frog
A woman was looking for a pet. She was shown puppies and kitties and birds, but as she was walking around the shop she saw a box, and in that box was a big green frog. As she looked at him, he winked at her. She was charmed and bought him on the spot. She put the box with the frog on the front seat of her car and everytime she looked at the frog, he winked at her. She finally picked him up and said " you are so cute." and kissed him. With a blinding flash of light the frog turned into a handsome prince. Do you know what she turned into? The first motel she came to.

The Frog and the Psychic

A frog telephoned the Psychic Hotline and was told, "You are going to meet a beautiful young woman who will want to know everything about you." The frog said, "That's great! Will I meet her at a party, or what?" "No," said the psychic, "Next term--in her biology class."

Nerd and Frog

Farmer Bob Spear--A man was crossing a road one day when a frog called out to him and said, "If you kiss me, I'll turn into a beautiful princess." He bent over, picked up the frog, and put it in his pocket. The frog spoke up again and said, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a beautiful princess, I will tell everyone how smart and brave you are and how you are my hero" The man took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it, and returned it to his pocket. The frog spoke up again and said, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a beautiful princess, I will be your loving companion for an entire week." The man took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it, and returned it to his pocket.The frog then cried out, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a princess, I'll stay with you for a year and do ANYTHING you want." Again the man took the frog out, smiled at it, and put it back into his pocket.Finally, the frog asked, "What is the matter? I've told you I'm a beautiful princess, that I'll stay with you for a year and do anything you want. Why won't you kiss me?" The man said, "Look, I'm a computer programmer. I don't have time for a girlfriend, but a talking frog is cool."
Ina V.D.

35) Query:
The Frog Prince
I'm not really sure where this thread began (or at least changed to changing stories) but it reminds me of a reference question I just had in the Children's Room. Someone called asking for a copy of the story of The Frog Prince, but she specifically wanted the version of the story in which the princess kisses the frog and he turns into a prince, rather than the version that comes from the Grimms, in which she gets angry, throws the frog against the wall, and he turns into a prince. After all, everyone KNOWS that the princess has to kiss the frog for him to become a prince, and she didn't want her grandchild growing up to hear up the princess losing her temper and throwing the frog - "That's not very nice, is it?"

We checked every version of The Frog Prince we could lay our hands on in the main children's collection of the Hawai'i State Library. We found several versions with the princess throwing the frog. We found a few versions with the princess allowing the frog to sleep on her pillow for three nights, which breaks the spell. (According to the Sur la Lune website, this version was introduced in 1823 by Edward Taylor when he first translated the Grimms tale into English because he didn't like the violence. We did not find a single version in which the princess kissed the frog. (Although a couple of sources, like a folklore encyclopedia and Storyteller's Sourcebook referred in passing to this as an alternative motif, but with no examples). New Tales for Old (de Vos & Altmann) also refers to Taylor's change to sleeping on her pillow, mentions the kiss as a variant but gives no examples (at least in a quick skim - I think I am going to have to take my personal copy to work with me, since the library system doesn't own it.)

Can anyone tell me of specific straight (not fractured) retellings (preferably picture book versions) in which the princess really does kiss the frog? My reaction was that the frog throwing princess is the traditional form of the story. Three other librarians said, "Oh, I always thought she kissed him," but none of us could find an example. Is "kissing the frog" just an urban legend? The person asking wants me to find the version she remembers from when she was a child (70+ years ago) or at least a current version she can read with her granddaughter - and she refuses to accept the non-violent sleeping on the pillow as a substitute - she wants the kiss.
Vicky D.


a) And don't forget the British version, The Well of the World's End, where the frog pleads with her to cut off his head! I love telling that to teenagers and adults. Perhaps a version to keep until the little girl is in her adolescence!
Richard M.

b) I don't know the answer, but meantime, here is my favorite Jane Yolen quote: "A story about a frog would be biological. A story about a prince would be historical. But a story about a frog-prince is magical, and therein lies all the difference." from Touch Magic: Fantasy, Faerie and Folklore in the Literature of Childhood.
Mary Grace K.

c) I believe there is a version of the Frog Prince being kissed in Impey's collection. I'm not sure, because I haven't seen the book in several years. It's called Read Me a Fairy Tale: A Child's Book of Classic Fairy Tales, retold by Rose Impey; illustrated by Ian Beck. (1993).
If you do find it, you might like to couple it with Fred Gwynne's fractured frog prince story called Pondlarker (1990) based on a kissing princess. It's very silly. A frog named Pondlarker practices being a prince -- sword play and such -- and wants to find a princess to kiss him. He finds one, following signs for frog kissing, but she's old and insulting. At the last minute, he realizes he wants to keep his true nature, and leaps out of the castle window into the moat and swims away for dear life.
Joan K.

d) My favorite Frog Prince--more out of sentimentality than anything-is Jim Henson's, The Frog Prince. Sweetum's was a wonderful invention and having the princess Melora speak "wackbirds" and featuring Kermit as the frog was marvelous. Of course it is very far removed from the "original" Bake the hall in the candle of her brain.
Faye H.

e) Just getting to the Frog Prince thread. I tell the Grimm version as well. The throwing part is treated as the princess picking up the frog and not wanting to touch it - what normal princess would? - and losing her grasp and the frog hits the wall. Also, as the princess is perceived as the age of the audience, the fathers decided the kids can be friends until they are old enough.
Margaret S.

f) Quite reasonable so that the children can identify with her. Of course historically, plenty of princesses would have been married as young as 12. I can't remember whether the following collection of Frog Prince stories has already been mentioned:
Philip A.

g) My very first book, bought just for me, was called The Golden Ball. I learned much later that the story was actually The Frog Prince. My memory is that I read that the princess kissed the frog. Maybe this was it? This was way back, in 1960 or 1961, and was a picture book. Might have been a Golden Book.
Margaret S.

36) There's the story about the Bullfrog. We've all heard bullfrogs around a pond. You don't even have to be right next to the pond to hear them. Seldom do we think about that loud sound coming from an individual frog.

Croaking with a sound so loud it would damage its own hearing, a bullfrog's ear construction and position is such that the sound of its own croaking is cancelled out. It literally cannot hear itself croaking.

Now of course, it's human nature to think about the couple of people you know who have this trait. They croak loudly, with an inability to hear themselves. But this can be problematic for animals, too.

Such as the story of Independent Owl.

Independent Owl was called this because he wasn't nocturnal like the other owls. So Independent Owl slept during the evening. The only side effects from his non-nocturnal habits was that he was a much thinner owl, due to a more limited food supply during daylight hours, and that the crows tended to cackle loudly and harass him whenever he flew some place. So Independent Owl was used to problem solving.

But when Bullfrog began croaking loudly during the night, Independent Owl couldn't sleep. And when Independent Owl confronted Bullfrog on this fact, Bullfrog had no idea what Independent Owl was talking about. "I don't hear anything when I croak," said Bullfrog.

So Independent Owl set out to find a way for Bullfrog to hear himself. Being this was the forest and fields, tape recorders are not that available--and most difficult to work with feathers anyway--Indy Owl had to use his gifted wisdom to figure something else out.

Brilliant and wise as Indy Owl was, he convinced Bullfrog to come on a little trip with him. He did this by threatening to eat Bullfrog if he didn't come with him.

Bullfrog, having little choice in the matter, allowed Indy Owl to gently clutch him in his talons and fly him off to a large cliff over looking the entire valley. There, on top of the cliff, Indy Owl set down Bullfrog and instructed him to croak.

Under threat of being dinner, Bullfrog began to croak. Indy Owl cut him off and told him to listen. In a few seconds a sound came from the valley that frightened Bullfrog immensely. "That's you," said Indy Owl.

"No way," said Bullfrog.
"Croak again," said Indy Owl. And Bullfrog did.

The same sound came back again. Indy Owl looked at Bullfrog like this was sufficient evidence, but Bullfrog just shook his head no. "There's no way I'm making that noise," said Bullfrog.

So Indy Owl ate Bullfrog for dinner.
Greg L. 9/23/05

37) Query:
Perusing some info regarding The Big Mouth Frog, I came upon a story called The Frogs of Windham. Curious, I found the following story:
"There really was a story called The Frogs of Windham, apparently based on a true incident, which was published by Samuel Peters in 1781 as a part of his Samuel Peters' General History Of Connecticut: From Its First Settlement Under George Fenwick To Its Latest Period Of Amity With Great Britain Prior To The Revolution (1877), by a Gentleman of the Province (Peters lived from 1735-1826). The text of the story is given here.

Strangers are very much terrified at the hideous noise made on summer evenings by the vast number of frogs in the brooks and ponds. There are about thirty different voices among them; some of which resemble the bellowing of a bull. The owls and whippoorwills complete the rough concert, which may be heard several miles. Persons accustomed to such serenades are not disturbed by them at their proper stations; but one night, in July, 1758, the frogs of an artificial pond, three miles square, and about five from Windham, finding the water dried up, left the place in a body, and marched, or rather hopped, towards Winnomantic [Willimantic?] river. They were under the necessity of taking the road and going through the town, which they entered about midnight.

The bull frogs were the leaders, and the pipers followed without number. They filled a road 40 yards wide for four miles in length, and were for several hours in passing through the town, unusually clamorous. The inhabitants were equally perplexed and frightened; some expected to find an army of French and Indians; others feared an earthquake, and dissolution of nature. The consternation was universal. Old and young, male and female, fled naked from their beds with worse shriekings than those of the frogs. The event was fatal to several women. The men, after a flight of half a mile, in which they met with many broken shins, finding no enemies in pursuit of them, made a halt, and summoned resolution enough to venture back to their wives and children; when they distinctly heard from the enemy's camp these words, 'Wight, Helderken, Dier, TStS.' This last they thought meant treaty; and plucking up courage, they sent a triumvirate to capitulate with the supposed French and Indians. These three men approached in their shirts, and begged to speak with the General; but it being dark, and no answer given, they were sorely agitated for some time betwixt hope and fear; at length, however, they discovered that the dreaded inimical army was an army of thirsty frogs, going to the river for a little water.

There is no doubt that this story would have appealed to Solomon Spalding, and his imagination could very well have expanded it into a tale to amuse his daughter. In fact Spalding's "Manuscript Story" may contain an allusion to this frog tale.
Mary K.C. 4/12/08


I know this story! I stayed with GZ over winter break and she works there. The local library has a whole portfolio about the story, and the town is full of frogs, including the four huge ones on the four posts of the bridge! The story is hilarious.
Macsek 4/12/08

38) Granddaughter and King Green Warts by Sharrie Ann.
Sharrie Ann 2/22/09

39) Have you come across this picture book?
Hairy Charlie and the Frog (1994 CIS) by Jackie French.
A picture book - all Hairy Charlie wants to do is get his mail in peace... but the frog likes his letter box too! Out of print, I think...CIS sold it to Reed Books, and when I ask Reed books about it they just say someone will ring back...and they never do. Shortlisted Wilderness Society Children's Book of the Year.
Mabel K. Australia 7/22/09

Created 2005; last update 8/1/09

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