Where the Frogs Came from
A Roman Legend
You see the sun every bright day, don't you?
And you see the moon every moonshiny night.
Now, listen, and I'll tell you a story about their mother. No, not about their mother, but about the mother of the god of the sun, and of the goddess of the moon, whose names were Apollo and Diana.
It is about Apollo's and Diana's mother this story is to be.
Once when they were little twin babies their mother was in great trouble. She had to wander around and around, and get food and drink wherever she could find them.
One day she went to a pond for water, for the people in the houses were cross and would not give her any.
And just think of it! These people, careless about soiling their green coats and white vests, ran down to the pond ahead of her, jumped in and stirred the water so that it was black with mud.
And they called out, "Come and drink, Latona! Come and drink water, pure and sweet, Latona!"
This the cruel people did until Latona and her babies were so tired and thirsty they could wait no longer.
"Why do you abuse us?" she said; "you have plenty of water in your wells. Can you not see how these poor babies reach out their hands to you?"
But the rude people were jealous of the beautiful woman and her lovely twins, and only stirred the water till it was blacker, and cried the more, until they were fairly hoarse:
"Come and drink! Come and drink!"
Latona put her two babies down on the warm grass. Then she looked straight into the blue sky, and raising her hands said:
"May you never quit that pond in all your lives, neither you nor your children!"
The story is that Jupiter heard her, and that these cruel people never came out of the water again. They grew very small; their green coats and white vests turned into skin, and their children wear to-day the same kind of suits their parents wore that day they waded into the pool. Though they have the whole pond to themselves, they croak away until their mouths have grown wide and ugly, as mockingly as did their forefathers at Latona.
"Come and drink!" But who wants to drink out of a frog pond?
Little heathen boys, who believed this story, used to pelt frogs with stones, and there are some boys now who act just like those foolish little heathen.
Sources And Further Reading
Project Gutenberg Classic Myths Retold by Mary Catherine Judd with drawings entirely from classic sources