In the film, The Notebook, Ryan Gosling, a top notch crush of mine, leaned towards Rachel McAdams to give her the most delicious kiss and I heard: Mwaahp! Mwaahp!
Damn, there must be something wrong with my Cochlear Implants. I took one off, gave it a shake, put it back on and the Mwaahp had disappeared. Satisfied I sat back and enjoyed the film. It was afterwords, discussing it with B, that I discovered she too had been a Mwaahp eavesdropper!
The next night exactly the same thing occurred. This time we were watching a film with a huge gunfight.
Bang! Kerching! Explosions occurred. A stream of shots and….Mwaahp!
B, John and I looked at one another.
“Did you hear…”
“It sounds like a frog,” B commented.
“Yes, it did sound kinda frog-ish,” I replied.
The movie finished and B and John were instantly into finding this very disruptive frog. They had two large baskets of wood in the lounge near the wood burning stove.
“It could be amongst the wood,” John said as he started unpacking the basket. B started on the other. We soon had two mounds of wood lying harum scarum across the lounge floor but not a frog in sight!
“Gaynor, come here quickly,” B called from the kitchen the next morning. “Meet our nightly lyricist.”
There, sitting in Perdita’s water bowl, was a completely unfazed toad. Not a frog, as we had supposed but a fat, large and rather ugly toad. It gazed up at B and I as if to say: “What are you getting your knickers in a knot about? This bowl is a perfect pond for me at night. No one uses it then.”
I picked the toad up and we gazed at each other. The toad stared into my eyes with a long, steady, look. The look almost made me uncomfortable. It was a look that seemed to say: I know you. I know!
“Vincent, that’s what we’ll call you. Vincent!”
I smiled at this knowing, totally unimpressed toad.
We put the balefully glaring Vincent outside but once again during our evening television the Mwaahps began their melodic racket. John turned the sound down and he went and stood in front of the television. The Mwaahps continued unabated. John looked at one of the music speakers on the floor and said: “I think I’ve found Vincent’s hidey hole!”
Sure enough, when you put your ear next to the speaker the Mwaahps doubled in volume.
“Oy, Vincent, that is enough,” I said loudly into the speaker.
There was a pause and then a softer, almost questioning: “Mwaahp?”
The picture of a princess kissing a frog and it turning into a prince played into my mind. Fairytales! Where would we be without fairytales? Fairytales have a long lasting power and influence. Indeed they are ingrained into our lives. It’s thanks to childrens books and the wonderful Walt Disney that today so many people are aware of fairytales. And yet they have been around for hundreds of years. The stories we know today are the product of countless retelling and reimagining. During the nineteenth century, the brothers Grimm created some of the original tales but they certainly didn’t shy away from ‘grimm-ness’. The evil stepsisters felt nothing about slicing off bits of their feet in an attempt to fit into the glass slipper! I can imagine some young boys getting a macabre delight at such a feat. Walt Disney is far more to my liking!
I smiled to myself recalling the wonderful childrens fairytales that I had grown up with.
“The Frog King”, was one of them. I thought of Vincent in the speaker and I smiled.
This story is used to teach us a lesson about inner beauty. Only after the princess kissed the frog — thus admitting that looks don’t matter — did an amazing thing happen. The frog was transformed into a handsome, smiling prince. Since my accident this lesson has come home to roost! I often want to upbraid people who see my physical disabilities and thoughtlessly presume my mental abilities must also be impaired. The brothers Grimm actually had a very different ending in their first version of the story: The prince only magically appeared after the princess chucked the frog against the wall. Ah ah, I’m very glad the Grimms brothers re-wrote their ending. I am not into frog-abuse!
My sister, Liz, reminded me that she was involved in a production of The Frog King at Brescia House, our old school. We were fortunate enough to have Ann Hamblin, the wonderful singer and performer teach us for a couple of years. In this production, she cast Liz as the frog. I love the fact that today, Liz still remembers the words and actions of the song she sang when she was 12:
Oh woe is me
I’m a frog, I’m a frog so small
Oh woe is me, I’m really not a frog at all
Today I look at the pictures of her taken at the time and my heart simply melts.
I was 6 years old when I was treated to the delight of Walt Disney and saw the magical fairytale of Snow White unfold. “Heigh ho, heigh ho, it’s off to work we go….” sang the seven dwarves and Snow White’s: “With a smile and a song….”
I still have those songs filling my heart with joy, jubilance and a lightness of spirit.
I grew up with the story of a beautiful woman cast into an deathlike sleep after eating a poisoned apple, surrounded by the seven dwarves who I adored. She was woken by a handsome Prince’s kiss. Many years later you can imagine my surprise on reading the brothers Grimms original story. In the Grimms’ tale, the Prince convinced the dwarfs to give him the coffin. When his men carried it, they stumbled and jostled the coffin badly. In so doing, the poisoned apple was jolted out of Snow Whites mouth. She ‘came back to life.’
I’m a kiss girl. Give me the Disney version any day!
I was amazed to discover that Cinderella didn’t get her glass slippers until 1697. The rags to riches story at the core of Cinderella had it’s earliest roots in China. Then in 1697 Charles Perrault published a version which gave his fairytale heroine her beautiful glass slippers. He also added the pumpkin which turned a mesmerising carriage that took her to and from the ball. I laugh to myself, thinking that he and Janice Honeyman would have truly hit it off. Janice is the ‘directrice superbe’ of our South African pantomime. They would have spun wonderful ideas off each other!
At this Coronavirus time, hugging and kissing are a definite NO NO!!! I have been giving this matter considerable thought and I could still get some kissing in – with Vincent! Yes, I know that Vincent is not a frog but a toad is pretty similar. What would happen if I was to give Vincent a kiss? Would a gorgeous Prince Charming appear? Or would the fact that he’s a toad mean that I would have a Donald Trump on my hands?
I must give this matter considerable thought!