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July 4, 2018 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Frogs for the Fourth

frog and flag ( Image copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

Frog’s flag rite by historic rights. (© image)

What’s frogs got to do with it?

Besides sharing an alphabet preschool alphabet chart letter square.

(Preschool and beginnings of a country do have common elements – but that for another time)

Frogs. They were there.

  • As ornamental fasteners on those all important military uniforms.(One must look good for wars and parades.)
  • As small usually leather pieces that hold a bayonet or sword scabbard to a belt (Gotta keep things together while tearing things apart.)

What? The French and Indian War? What’s that got to do with frogs?

Oh, a British smirking thing started with 12th century French Catholic monks tired of fish, then hopped straight into the frying pan of national insults. I supposed it’s a stretch, but in colonial times, maybe concept was floating around in some local ponds or colonial alphabet charts: “Four frogs for fish Friday”?

Leaping back on track: a bizarre massacre frogs will never forget. Pre-revolutionary, but…

  • Around 1754 during the time of the French and Indian War, in the small New England town of Windham, Connecticut (where several Revolutionary War-era army camps would later be located – See? Connection!), on a June midnight, there was a chorus of terrifying sounds that woke the townspeople. Children were hidden. Men grabbed pitchforks, hatchets, and muskets – staring into the dark trying to see who or what was attacking. No one knows what mysterious force was at work there the night of the Battle of the Frogs. Stretch your legs and read the rest of the story recounted from an 1867 account here. (You think people are jumpy now.)

Now some are humming expectantly that little song “Froggy went a-courting” which hopped across the pond to here.

  • Claims made that it’s a traditional English folk song, although it seems to be Scottish (published prior to 1549). Writers wouldn’t twist a child song for the purpose of satire, would they?

Controversy plays around that tune debating whether it refers to Elizabeth I and her favorite suitor French Duke of Anjou (nicknamed “the frog” by her) or Mary Queen of Scotts or even the four families of Suffolk. (More about all of that here).

  • Oh, well, lots of Scots ended up here in the U.S., so it counts in this stew.

Besides a lot of really famous American singers have croaked versions of that song including (of course) Kermit the Frog, Tom and Jerry, Bobby Hill, Woodie Guthrie (using the “hey-hey”), Bob Dylan (with “uh-huh”), Elvis, Tex Ritter, Bruce Springsteen and more.

So, yes, frogs were there.

All hop forth to cheer the red, white, and blue

Happy 4th of July to you

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

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12 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. ShimonZ / Jul 4 2018 7:20 am

    And a very happy 4th of July to you. Having thought I knew something about your country, having studied there more than 50 years ago, you have shown me a whole other side to the US, and always with a smile. Thanks.

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 4 2018 8:14 am

      Little stories are what make up a people. Those little gems are everywhere and too often brushed aside and forgotten – and that’s sad. Because they are the real story. Thanks for traveling along. Always enjoy your visits.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Kate Crimmins / Jul 4 2018 7:20 am

    Our frogs have been courting all week. The result is 200 eggs in my pond. Frogs have the most interesting mating rituals. I leave a bottle of wine by the pond and put on some Barry White music.

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 4 2018 7:24 am

      When I stumbled across that Battle of the Frogs, I immediately thought of your pond posts. (Warning: your inhabitants will be demanding a cute bridge like that town has in their honor!) Thanks for hopping in to add to the noise

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Carrie Rubin / Jul 4 2018 7:52 am

    Happy 4th to you and yours! Ribbet. 🐸

    Like

  4. Xena and Lucy / Jul 4 2018 9:13 am

    Quite interesting. And, after following the link to the Battle of the Frogs in CT, I clicked on another link on that page that informed me of the great Molasses Tragedy in 1919. Stranger and stranger. Lots of folks croaked in that one.

    Like

  5. shoreacres / Jul 4 2018 9:32 am

    You forgot Jeremiah! Hope your day’s filled with joy — I must say, this continuing rain is making me more than usually joyful. We need it so badly, and I’d be happy to have it continue all day long!

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 4 2018 10:19 am

      HA HA! I did remember, but not such a leap to realize length matter – so appreciate you adding a little splash with that. Inside the loop they’ve had 6+ inches of rain and flooded streets. Not complaining about the free soaking here. (Jumped up and got Molly out early between storms- whew!). Yep, rainy day nap time sounds good (And probably a large part of the population could use some extra sleep)
      Happy Fourth of July to you, too!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. LordBeariOfBow / Jul 5 2018 7:48 pm

    Being English I still think of the frogs, as froggies, oops the French as…:evil:

    Like

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