The plucky little frog dared: he dared to refuse to be silenced…
Animal imageries are as old as the human capacity for imaginative expressions, and the oldest human scripts have contained human appropriation of animalistic powers and attributes. We call the ones that we have deemed valiant by the names of the top predators in the natural environment that catches our imagination and communicates the message.
A wise man might be heard labeled an owl. The man of war, a lion, the lone wolf, a tiger. The inhabitants of marine environments and the riverine areas might name a man of valor a shark, a crocodile as Nwangwagwa of Zimbabwe. I imagine that amongst the Inuit people, the polar bear would feature prominently on the list of animal names that we humans have appropriated.
The Almighty God of heaven and earth, the One that created all that is seen and unseen, the One that we have found containment for, in our puny little minds, to the point where we have presumed to define the boundaries and extent of how another person might perceive Him, and how He might elect to reveal Himself to them, we have also serially likened to His creations, that are but mere expressions of the multidimensional nature of His awesomeness. He is the Lion of Judah! Lion? The same awesome animal that we have driven to the brink of extinction! Not be only lion, mammoth nko? What of dinosaur?
Ibi ti mo n’lo ko jin’na, ibi ti mo n’ya lo po. My perambulations delay my conclusion, but I assure you that we shall soon be done.
Today’s animal champion is the noisy frog, abi it is a toad. I cannot now tell which, and I have never managed to. You’d have to engage your imagination here. And do feel free, to blame Baba Ogunlana for the allegory; for he it was, that told me the story. The story of the plucky little frog. The frog lived in the marshland abutting the stream, and it lived in a colony of several of its own kind. From morning till night they would croak as ordained from the dawn of the ages, in veneration of the Master of creation and in fulfillment of purpose. This earthly orchestra was only ever punctuated by the visits of the buffaloes, the giants that would come crashing through the marshes on their way to the waters.
The little frog had grown up conscious of the constraint on his God given nature, by the bullies of the marsh, and he had asked unanswered, the need for the self imposed, and self enforced silence, of the colony of frogs, whenever the mighty buffaloes approached. The little frog could never understand or rationalize the self abnegation. But he followed the leader and did as others, until the day when he decided to offer himself as a role model. You would be proud to be named a frog.
On a glorious afternoon, with the rains having kissed the ground in the early hours of the day, and the sun high up in clear African skies, the birds were singing, the insects were busy with the chorus, and the frogs were in their elements, at least they were, until the buffaloes came stomping through the tall grass of the wetlands. But it wasn’t all quiet this one time. Nor has it fallen silent again since the day. The plucky little frog dared: he dared to refuse to be silenced by the approach of the rampaging buffaloes.
As the others fell silent at the approach of the buffaloes, the little frog, carried away by the ecstasy felt at the fulfillment of his purpose, did not notice the silence of the entire colony, but simply carried on, doing exactly what he was purposed to do. He kept croaking in spite of the buffaloes. When the buffaloes were done and they had left, the hitherto silent colony erupted in criticisms of the plucky little frog. “How dare you not keep quiet when you should have done as everyone else?” The plucky little devil had only one retort for all the inquisitors: “I merely fulfill my purpose by croaking. In croaking, I do nothing beyond the fulfillment of the purpose for my creation”.
It is okay to call me the plucky little frog. Wanna croak with me? A chorus sounds better.