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  • Writer's pictureFran Stallings

The Frogs' Advice

by Fran Stallings

A country boy had a girlfriend who lived on the other side of a lake that was surrounded by marsh land. Usually he walked the long way around the lake when he wanted to visit her. But one lovely full moon night in summer, he was in a hurry and decided to take a short cut by going directly through the marsh.

He heard the smallest frogs calling, “Wade in! Wade in!” So he took off his boots and socks and stepped into the marsh, carrying his boots to keep them dry.

As he waded further, he heard “Ankle deep! Ankle deep!” Yes, the water was welling up over his feet.

Middle sized frogs called “Knee deep! Knee deep!” He rolled up his pants legs. The muddy bottom sucked at his bare feet. The water got deeper and deeper as he went across. Pretty soon he was up to his waist, struggling to keep his boots dry overhead!

The bull frogs started calling, “Better go round. Better go round.”

Not knowing how much deeper it might get, he followed the bull frogs’ advice and struggled back out of the marsh, covered with malodorous mud. He headed home for a bath and didn’t see his girfriend until the next evening. “I just wish the bull frogs had started calling before I stepped into that marsh!”


It’s fun to tell this story with help from the audience to create a chorus of frog calls. Then you can explain the difference between a marsh (herbaceous, often adjacent to lakes) and a swamp (forested, often along rivers). Both are wetlands but have different vegetation and therefore offer different animal habitats.

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