Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Storytelling Starters ~ Frog talk

Human minds! You see something, it reminds you of more. Since yesterday, it’s been frogs for me.

The frog in the park:


Going for a walk in Brockwell Park, all part of my recovery programme (and thanks to everyone for good wishes) we were greeted near the entrance by a very large wooden frog, arms endearingly outstretched towards us. Of course, this frog  brought back to my mind all kinds of stories (well, it would, wouldn’t it?).

One was of Lil who used to live down the road with her sister Sarah. Lil would call out to you on the street, ‘Ere, Missis Whatsisname?’ Then she’d follow up with something like, ‘Yer got no idea what ’er upstairs as gorn an done now.’ On one occasion she came to my door and quietly murmured, ‘Sarah says as can you come down and get the frog (frog as in frawg) outa the kitchen.’ Of course I went armed with rubber gloves and a bucket. I remember it well.

Then there’s the little frog folk-tale I used to tell.


Frog talk:

A young man is desperate to see his girlfriend. Unfortunately she lives the other side of the river and the only bridge is quite a long walk away.

He decides he’ll wade across. So he takes off his shoes, rolls up the legs of his trousers and takes his first steps into the water. That’s when he hears a word of advice. It’s coming from the little frogs who live at the edge of the river. It says:  ‘Ankle deep! Ankle deep!’  (This must be said in your best froggy voice.) So he steps out of the river, rolls up his trouser legs some more and starts again.

But as he steps back into the water, the voice returns. Now the advice is coming from middle-size frogs who live in the shallows of the river. It warns him: ‘Knee deep! Knee deep!’

So he rolls up his trouser legs even higher and is nearly in the middle of the river when he hears another  voice. But this time it clearly says (in the deepest froggy tones you’ve got because this is the giant frog that lives right in the middle of the river): ‘You better go round. You better go round.’

So he does.

PS: Note to Froggy in Brockwell Park:  I don’t know who made you but you’re great. Please don’t go jumping away any time soon.

PSS: Time spent developing your frog voice is never wasted if you’re any kind of storyteller. The sound must be as resonant as possible and come from deep down in your stomach. Practise by saying, Kneedeep!  Kneedeep!

PSSS: Top photo is, yes me, getting acquainted with the Brockwell Frog. Bottom is one of my favourite props. His mouth opens really wide!

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