Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Chapter 16: Tabard

This morning, after waking up to a staunch headache, with the sun hindering my vision, I made myself a bowl of bran cereal and sat next to my Frogs, observing that Mote was next to the log, finishing a Morsel left over from last night's Hour of the Bug, and Mustardseed was swimming about, pausing at places that he could put his hind feet down.

Mustardseed's motley dorsal side glistened with moist, and he exposed his fiery ventral side to the edge of the dwelling, putting his Frog-Feet against the Impossible Barrier.  I lifted the lid to the Dwelling.

Mustardseed put his Frog-Feet against the Impossible Barrier

Remembering Mustardseed's aptitude for writing, words, and concepts, I asked him if his fiery belly had any greater significance, if it said anything about the Frogs that was not an external feature but represented something from within.

Mustardseed said that the bellies of Frogs annunciate a great weapon of Frogs, that is, their Valor.  Often, the brighter and more decorative the belly, the more valorous the Frog.  Mustardseed then told a tale of a Frog named Henry, who was perhaps the most heroic Frog, going unto many breeches and leading many Frogs to victory against a malicious army of snails.  Henry's belly was said to be as bright as the Orb of Day.

I searched and found, in my cobwebbed mind, that I had once learned that the color of Frogs and Toads represented their innate toxicity.  My knowledge told me that the greater the brightness of the Frog, the more dangerous he was, which correlated with Mustardseed's perception of the degree of danger, but not with his perception of the source of that danger.  I sided with Mustardseed's explanation, partly because it was much more satisfying and more helpful for the mind than my officious knowledge, and party because he was himself a Frog.

Mustardseed asked me if there was an example of this sort of display of valor on the bodies of Men.

I said that nature had not made it innate, but that Men had crafted skin displays for themselves.  The best example that I could think of was a medieval tabard, which is put over a knight's armor and shows his allegiance and trumpets his achievements, regardless of his true level of Froggity.  


The purpose of tabards makes a good example, I told Mustardseed, because many types of clothing function in the same way in today's Lily Pad, and, in fact, there are certain events and places which require a certain level of achievement-clothing.  If a Frog did not put on these clothes and airs of achievement while attending events of social significance, he would surely aggravate his social Phobia by attracting endless Looks Of Disapproval.  

Mote apparently heard our conversation: hopping out of her log, frolicking and swimming, she rattled off a rhyme, which is surely from deep within the guts of Frog lore:

Frog-belly bright:
Never in a fight.
Frog-belly dull:
Nervous as a gull.

1 comment:

VTracy said...

a true level of froggity

If ever I did see.

A hearty thanks, Sir Hardy