Toad Trivia

Here are several things I did not mention in my last blog on Téra’s toads.

You know the story about the prince that was turned into a toad by magic, and the only way to break the spell was for a princess to kiss the toad? Well, for all you princesses out there, I advise you not to kiss these toads. They are definitely not prince material and they do not live in Toad Hall.

A few weeks ago, Nancy attended the wedding of a neighbor. The women were all sitting around outside on mats in the darkness, and who should hop up to join the party but one of these wart-covered toads. One of the ladies attempted to pick up the toad to eject him from the party. You know what a toad does when you try to pick it up? Yeah, and this one let loose with all jets, and sprayed Nancy on the leg. Then, of course, there was a lot of fuss as the ladies tried to clean Nancy up and get all the sticky liquid off of her.

We’ve had a few rains in Téra recently (May 6 and May 13), and there’s been enough rain in the surrounding countryside to fill up the dry stream bed that flows not even a kilometer from our house. A few days after the first rain, we heard the bloated burping sound that many toads together make coming from the direction of the stream. We had not known the stream had filled up with water, and were surprised to hear the noise after many months of dry weather and fewer toads. Oh, well. At least we know the toads are looking for juicy insects to munch. I’ll cheer for them whenever they catch a female anopheles mosquito.

One last thing. Have you ever noticed the scum that develops on top of stagnant ponds? The Songhai have a colorful phrase for that scum. It’s one of my favorite Songhai phrases. It’s “korboto yeeri,” which translates as “toad barf.” This is no joke.

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