Wednesday 20 November 2013

Talking Mongoose, Expiring Frog

Over on The Dabbler, I tell the tale of Gef (pronounced Jeff) the Talking Mongoose - but my thoughts today are with Darwin's Frog. This curious species - named after the great naturalist and notable for the male's habit of rearing his tadpole young in his vocal sacs, then coughing them out at full term - seems to have demonstrated the evolutionary necessity of extinction by, er, becoming extinct. Mrs Leo Hunter's Ode to an Expiring Frog (as featured in the Pickwick Papers, and in the Dickens section of Harold Bloom's Genius) comes to mind:

'Can I view thee panting, lying
On thy stomach, without sighing;
Can I unmoved see thee dying
On a log,
Expiring frog!

Say, have fiends in shape of boys,
With wild halloo, and brutal noise,
Hunted thee from marshy joys,
With a dog,
Expiring frog!'

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