A Frog He Would A-Wooing Go—-”

For centuries children all over the world have been delighted by these charming nonsense ditties.

But these little songs frequently held hidden messages covering a more serious saga of a political person embroiled in the throes of a scandal, or perhaps even a royal personage falling out of favor. More often than not though, they were simply humorous rhyming verse sung as an amusement to children.

The frog parable is the story of a young frog who went courting his lady-love, Miss Mousey, who in one version runs a neighborhood pub. They were married by her uncle Mr. Rat, and left on their honeymoon. Unfortunately, the merriment was interrupted by a prowling cat, who ate the rat, as Miss Mousey wisely hid under a nearby leaf. Poor Froggy quickly left for home, but on the way he was swallowed by a large white duck. (These little tales rarely ended happily.)

The marriage of the frog and the mouse was sung as early as 1714, with fragments being sung repeatedly through the years. It was prevalent during the Old Price Riots in Covent Garden in 1809, due to the rising prices of theater tickets. This was important because the Drury Theater had burned down and Covent Garden was the only theater left. The riots lasted for three months until the manager apologized and brought back the old prices.

Nursery rhymes were often used as rhythmic accompaniment to spinning, and as a family game to improve memory, due to their repetitive wording. They are found throughout the world, and included in “Nursery Songs From the Appalachian Mountains “ in 1906. The Frog story became an especial favorite in the U.S.A. with 40 versions of it found in various folk-lore societies.

A Gaping Wide-Mouthed Waddling Frog” was featured in “The Top Book of All” in 1760, and was a long 12 verse bit of cumulative nonsense reminiscent of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. It was often performed rapidly by singing it all in one breath.

Rhymes, songs and riddles have entertained people through the centuries, and perhaps lightened the sting of an ill-humored subject.


I always wanted to have red hair.  From the time I met a little girl in the first grade who had lovely red hair, dimples and freckles, I could imagine myself with bouncing red curls.

I had hair which could only be described as ordinary.  A number of years ago a friend told me it was mouse-colored.  I retaliated by making a sculpture of a very large rat and leaving it beside her fireplace when she was gone.  We remained friends.

During my early tap dancing days Grandma gave me a perm to replicate Shirley Temple’s adorable curly top, but each time I went to stay with Aunt Georgia she would take me to the barber shop to have a Dutch cut.  You know, like the little Dutch Boy on the paint can.

My cousin was born when I was ten years old.  We had recently moved from California to Connecticut, and the family was ecstatic to have a baby after so many years with just me.  Grandma sent pictures of the new little one, all dimply and cute, and with the treasured red hair!  Some people have all the luck!

By the 4th grade my hair grew and I wore pigtails which hung to my waist.  I hated them so much that one day I grabbed a pair of scissors and whacked them off.  It was so ugly my mother gave me another home perm and  was so curly that I stayed home from school for 3 days to avoid the ridicule.

In high school, I rinsed my hair in a bucket of chamomile tea to turn it red, but it didn’t work, so I bleached it blonde, and found that blondes do have more fun!

My hair has been bleached, colored, hidden under a wig and otherwise mistreated, but strangely I never knowingly dyed it red.  Once. through an accident of home care, it turned into a brilliant copper frizz, much like Harpo Marx, and I recognized that red was not my most attractive color.

A Freudian psychologist could probably make a lot of my lifelong dissatisfaction with my hair.  I have always felt that since we have it, we may as well have fun with it.  A grandson once asked me if it were blonde or grey.  I told him to take his pick.