Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Frog Who Refused To Croak

Once upon a time a frog named Phobos decided he would become the greatest yodeler the world had ever seen. He bought a guitar and practiced day and night. The constant twang drove everyone in the house nuts.

While Phobos was sleeping his dastardly brother Deimos sawed the guitar in half. Phobos was a persistent little frog. He glued the guitar back together and kept on playing. Deimos teased him when his finger got stuck in the glue.

During a High School toga party Phobos was strumming 'Fire and Rain' when someone threw a bucket of water on him. But frogs are hard to drown out.

Phobos traveled out West and fought forest fires to make enough money to buy a real guitar. The only number the fire fighters would listen to was 'Talking Forest Fire Fighting Blues.' That was the only song with no Yodeling in it.

With a new guitar in one hand and a soapbox in the other Phobos set off for Smashville to seek his fame and fortune. As he was leaving his dastardly brother Deimos yelled out "You'll never make it with a voice like yours."

In a vain attempt to improve his voice Phobos practiced the same shrill voice lesson every day. The sound was so terrible that some piranhas jumped out of their aquarium and chased him down the fire escape, all the while nipping at his heels.

Phobos got a gig in his home town. He rented huge amplifiers, microphones and loaded everything into a bus during a blizzard. The whole town came out to hear him. In the middle of a song dastardly Deimos put a pickle in his mouth and snickered, "This will make you sound better."

When Phobos turned up at his parents doorstep out of a job his father took him to the tire factory to get a job. The foreman looked at his matching blue jean jacket, his long riding boots, red bandanna, dark glasses and long hair. He slowly shook his head. No. Finally Phobos found work with a construction company operating a jack hammer and learned how to Yodel in staccato.

Phobos went on a World Tour— as a tourist. At first he packed all his clothes inside his guitar, which caused his clothes to wrinkle and his guitar to go out of tune. He opened his act with the flourish of a magician pulling a rabbet out of a hat. People thought he was great—until he opened his mouth to sing.

While traveling Phobos got a ride in a bronze colored '65 Thunderbird. He put his own homemade tape in the cassette deck and fell asleep after one song. The driver was about to fall asleep too, when a police officer pulled him over for driving too slow. The police officer heard the songs coming out of the car window and fell asleep on his motorbike. Soon the whole freeway fell asleep.

Phobos toured Norway, became ill and had a delicate operation. After the operation the nurses would come around on their rounds proclaiming "He's a great Canadian FolksÄnger." The hospital was spared his singing during his recovery.

Traveling on to Switzerland Phobos broke into song and heard what he thought was thunderous applause. But it was just an avalanche that he set off. When the avalanche died down a crowd was still booing and jeering.

With the stub of his tail between his legs Phobos shrunk on home and became a recluse. To save his face he'd make up excuses, such as "Yodeling's for humans, not us guys..."

Phobos got a job catching flies with his brother Deimos' exterminating company. By this time Diemos was only dastardly towards termites and the like, and was kind to his own kind.

Eventually Phobos lost interest in singing got married, and had a whole mess of polliwogs. Everyone of those little tadpoles took music lessons with an opera queen and the Mill Pond resounded with the sound of beautiful a yodeling chorus.

© 1995 Stefan des Lauriers


Once upon a wondrous time
When all good frogs were blessed with wit in rhymes
There lived one frog I’ll have you know
Who would yodel both high and low

Where indeed did he learn this craft
(Of which behind his back some laughed)
The scales he practiced every day
Would surely scare the fish away

Come all you frogs from everywhere
Is there such voice you could compare?
The jealous frogs would stop and stare
He got in fights and frogs fight rare (ly)

And so he traveled near and far
He bought himself a brand new car
And traveled off to Switzerland
The Yodeling there he heard was grand

So there amidst the Alps so cold
It was there his yodeling tale was told
Before a crowd that booed and jeered 
His glassy eye of fog grew teared

He shrunk on home and became a recluse
To save his face he’d make an excuse
He says, “Yodeling is for humans and not us guys”
And to this I day he sticks to catching flies

October 2 1975 Milton © Stefan des Lauriers

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