Friday Fable: H. Belloc’s “The Frog”*

Posted by jlubans on October 07, 2016

Caption: Illustration by B. T. B. (Basil Temple Blackwood), 1896.

“Be kind and tender to the Frog,
And do not call him names,
As 'Slimy skin,' or 'Polly-wog,'
Or likewise 'Ugly James,'
Or 'Gap-a-grin,' or 'Toad-gone-wrong,'
Or 'Bill Bandy-knees':
The Frog is justly sensitive
To epithets like these.
No animal will more repay
A treatment kind and fair;
At least so lonely people say
Who keep a frog (and, by the way,
They are extremely rare).
Oh! My!”
Pursuant to last week’s Friday Fable, THE BOYS AND THE FROGS”,
Belloc’s poem is more than a little apropos. Why? Belloc was a declared anti-Semite. If I “read between the lines”, so to speak, I can well believe that Mr. Belloc is pooh-poohing the name calling of any species, be it frogs or people we do not like.
Unlike last week’s lessons of kindness and tolerance, Mr. Belloc insinuates that insulting frogs is no big deal.
I suggest the reader take the poem literally. All of us are sensitive flowers; so, be kind, be gentle, offer no insults. Respect the frog; besides, he or she might be a prince or princess.

*Source: The Bad Child's Book Of Beasts (1896) by Hilaire Belloc

© Copyright John Lubans 2016

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