The prevalence of the Frog in the art and mythology of the Haida and Northwest Coast nations is due solely to a die-hard Mongolian tradition, which has known of no break in its transmission from the Old World. Aware of a puzzle there–finding no frog in nature, and possessing so many carved ones–the Haida have tried to furnish an explanation, in a story recorded by James Deans, in the 1870’s:
Long ago there were many frogs in those islands. Now there are none; they have all left. And here is the story of their departure. Long ago, a frog was jumping about among the wild flowers in the woods. Eventually…he met a large bear coming along. Seeing this diminutive object, the bear looked at it and said, “You ugly little brute, what are you doing on my path?”…The frog was terribly frightened. It went home, telling every living thing he met what a terrible monster he encountered, how it had taken him in its mouth, as if to devour him. “Now”, said the frog, “we must get him out of the way or we shall be killed”. So they called together a council of all the frogs. At the council, it was decided that the best thing to do was for the frogs to leave the country, one and all of them. Nowadays frogs are neither seen nor heard on these islands.
Categories: Haida Culture