Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .

Friday, September 9, 2011

Students and Froggies - Who Learned More?

Cute. Or slimy. You decide.

Twenty Froggies

Twenty froggies went to school
Down beside a rushy pool,
Twenty little coats of green,
Twenty vests all white and clean.

"We must be in time," said they.
"First we study, then we play.
That is how we keep the rule,
When we froggies go to school."

Master Bull-frog, brave and stern,
Called his classes in their turn,
Taught them how to nobly strive,
Also how to leap and dive.

Taught them how to dodge a blow,
From the sticks that bad boys throw.
Twenty froggies grew up fast
Bull-frogs they became at last.

Polished in a high degree,
As each froggie ought to be.
Now they sit on other logs,
Teaching other little frogs.
                                   George Cooper

I realize that this sounds like a children's poem.
Because it is.
But I didn't learn it until grade twelve . . .
Biology class.
The real one.
Not the one the boys all talk about.
Moving on . . .
We were in the 'dissection' part of our school year.
The part that I found most fascinating.
But that many of the other girls . . . didn't.
We were scheduled, as part of the class, to walk down to the 'Fish Pond' and catch our own frogs.
Field trip!
But first, our teacher, Mr. Meldrum, handed each of us a copy of the aforementioned (good word, right?) poem.
We thought it was cute.
And clever.
And easily folded into paper planes.
Okay, not everyone thought it was as cute as I did.
Then we set out.
The walk down was enjoyable.
Beautiful late-spring day. Warm sun.
Cute boys.
Okay, I know what I said about biology class.
And boys.
But let's face it. We were all thinking about 'Biology'.
So . . . walking . . . and boys.
It didn't take long for us to reach the pond.
We spread out and began to pounce on the dozens of frogs who made the peaceful waters their home.
Well, most of us did. There were the inevitable few who couldn't bear to touch the 'slimy' (their word) little things.
Those of us who were less squeamish filled in.
So to speak.
In no time, we had collected enough of the little squirming bodies to have a frog each.
One strong lad (yes, I meant to use the word 'lad') was elected to carry the precious bucket.
The rest of us enjoyed the short walk back.
Then, to work.
We spent the rest of the morning performing various operations on our hapless little victims.
Fortunately, our teacher knew very well what he was doing and instructed us in the proper methods of 'painless' observation.
It was an interesting morning.
And far too short.
When it was done, I was the only student who took the poem home.
Or so I thought.
Some months later, when our school yearbook was handed out, I realized that other students in my class were actually paying attention.
Closer attention, even, than I was.
There, in the 'Last Will and Testament' page, beside one young man's name, were the words: "Being of sound mind and beautiful body, leaves said body to be dissected by twenty froggies who go to school."
And a fitting tribute.


  1. Cute poem. I was always thankful that, having taken the business courses, I didn't have to take science class and cut up hapless frogs. Slimy, jumpy, unpredictable things that they are.

  2. Fun poem !

    Aforementioned is and big word for a Friday !

    RJR daydreamer

  3. i loved the poem and the blog reminded me of when we had to dissect a frog after they showed us how to destroy its brain and nervous system in th spinal chord

    Now I wonder if it was still alive????
    but the in the country we also had a swamp with many little guys as well as tadpoles. Those we'd catch and then let go.

    The only other time I had contact with afrogs was in a Quebec restaurant in old Montreal.
    There we feasted on frog legs and the taste was amazing between chicken and fish .

  4. Hahaha! The frogs' revenge!! A great poem - and a tragic reminder of how uncivilised school life can be ...

  5. DID I read this right you had to catch your own frog and then dissect it. WOW not sure I could have done that or even have my kids do that. Tough school. Thanks for linking up tot he Field trip hop:)

  6. Perfect. Great poem and a thoughtful remembrance!


  7. That's funny! I always hated the dissection part of science class. Yuck!

  8. Lovely poem. This made me reminisce about my school days when the frogs were purchased from a rustic supplier by the lab attendant. They used to be so scrawny and lean (because of the off season, they had to be actually dug up from the moist mud underneath the dried bed of the pond and still in their hibernation slumber, poor creatures!). We happened to become so inconsiderate as to still dissect them.
    Coming back, I find you a great poet and would surely read some more of your thoughts.

  9. Funny! Poor frogs. We have lots in a pond near us, but I don't think it is legal to remove any of the wildlife these days! We ordered ours and they were delivered already dead- I guess that's kind of cheating. Love the poem!

  10. Did you really have to catch and kill your own frog to dissect?! When we did ours they came in plastic bags, or was it jars, with that awful smelling formaldehyde for preservation. I did enjoy the dissection part of our biology. We also got to visit a local college where a class was dissecting cats!

    Thanks for linking up with NOBH!


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