Frogs Exploratorium


Frog Myths Across Cultures

Crowned Frog
  Mythological Toad. [ Click for a larger image.] Illustration by Khristine Anja Page.
In the twilight, you leave your hut and head out into the forest, perhaps to draw water from the pond, perhaps for a last handful of fallen wood for the fire. Darkness falls. Suddenly, all around you, the forest springs alive with voices: trilling, croaking, muttering. Voices are everywhere, yet you see nothing. What are these voices in the woods?

Morning arrives. You walk to the pond again. As you bend down to the water to wash, a flash of motion catches your eye -- splash! Something quick and green disappears into the water. As you stare, wondering, you realize that a pair of bright eyes are observing you. A creature, hidden below the water, is watching. Who, or what, is this spirit of the lake?

Frogs and toads have shared the world with humans as far back as our species' memory extends. With their huge eyes, their quadrupedal bodies, their love of and need for water, and their eerie voices, frogs and toads are both distinctly alien to humans and uncannily like us. Cultures the world over and throughout history have sought stories to explain these creatures who share our world; in almost every case, the amphibians become creatures distinctly human, and yet possessed of unusual powers. They are inhabitants of the secret natural world, initiates into powers we can only guess at.

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