9: The Song the Frog Sang

Tororo hanrok, hanrok!
One day, as I was hopping over the plains
As I amused myself, what should I see
But a house! So I went to the door and peeped in,
And in the house the dais was piled with treasures!
And on the dais there was a young man
Who was bent over, carefully whittling
A sheath for a knife, so I thought I’d play a little trick on him,
And I came and sat on the threshold and bellowed

“TORORO HANROK HANROK!”

But the young man just lifted up his knife hand
And looked at me and chuckled:
“Do I hear a solemn recitation? Or do I hear a joyful ditty?
Ah, if only I could hear more!”
So I was quite pleased and once more I bellowed

“TORORO HANROK HANROK!”

At which the young man said:
“Do I hear you sing a yukar?
Or do I hear a sakehaw?[1]
Ah, how I wish I could hear it from close up!”
So I was rather flattered and I hopped up
Onto the lower seat by the hearth and I bellowed

“TORORO HANROK HANROK!”

And the young man said:
“Do I hear you sing a noble yukar?
Or do I hear a boisterous sakehaw?
Ah, how I wish I could hear it from even closer!”
So I was overjoyed and I hopped up
To the high seat, where I bellowed

“TORORO HANROK HANROK!”

When suddenly! Wham! He jumped up
Brandishing a big burning stick from the fire –
Hurled it at me – there was a horrible sort of crunch –
And that’s when I lost consciousness.

When I came to
There was a big rubbish pile, and on the very top
Was lying a big fat dead frog, and I was sitting between its ears.
Now that I think of it, what I thought was an ordinary house
Was actually that of Okikirmui, godlike in strength,
And I had tried to play a trick
Not realizing that it was Okikirmui himself.
And now I die a pointless death, a horrible death,

And therefore, frogs of the future,
Without fail, refrain from taunting humans!
So said a fat frog, and then expired.



[1] A type of boisterous drinking song that would be hard to mistake for a yukar.