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Why does the frog shrivel up at death?

The Story of the Frog and Lady Mary.

WHEN Christ was being crucified, his mother went in search of him; she did not know whither he had betaken himself. On her way she met a band of carpenters. Weeping, she asked them, "Have you seen my son?" "We have seen him," they said. "Nay, we have made the cross, and instead of light timber, we have taken heavy timber." "So," she said, "you shall henceforth work from morning till night and never get any richer."

               Then she met a band of Gipsies, and she asked them, "Have you seen my son?" "O yes," they replied, "we have seen him, and we were told to make thick and blunt nails, but we have made them thin and pointed so they should pass easily through and not give much pain." And Mary replied, "May your work be light and your profit great."

               Going on her way she met a frog, and the frog asked her, "Dear lady mine, what are you weeping and crying for?" And she replied, "I am weeping and crying for my only son, whom they are killing now in Jerusalem." And the frog replied, "What am I to say; I have had ten children and nine were crushed to death by the wicked wheel of the carts, only one is left to his mother, a sweet darling and pet, a beauty." When Mary heard the frog lauding her child, she said, "Let me see that beauty of yours, just come out, little froggie, beloved darling of mother." And there came out of the lake behind a little frog with its crooked legs and ungainly face, and with eyes staring out of his head. And when Mary saw that beauty she could not help laughing under her tears. And she said to the frog, "Because thou hast made me smile in my grief, may thy body never rot when thou diest, and the worm never have a share in it." And ever since, when the frog dies, the body shrinks into nothingness and disappears.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Why does the frog shrivel up at death?
Tale Author/Editor: Gaster, Moses
Book Title: Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories
Book Author/Editor: Gaster, Moses
Publisher: Sidgwick & Jackson
Publication City: London
Year of Publication: 1915
Country of Origin: Romania
Classification: unclassified

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