Note on the text: This story contains Middle English so as to seem comprehensive and convincing to the average reader. If you see a word/phrase with a number next to it, refer to the footnotes at the end of the story. Words such as 'ye', 'thy, 'thou', etc. will not be annotated, as they are part of common vocabulary and its meaning is understood by most people. Donra's speech is different from his poetry because people used different language for literature and oration. In poetry, more formal language is used, as well as invented phrases the poet/writer uses. To that end, Donra's speech is more comprehensible than his writing and need not be annotated by consequence.
Revision history: 14/7/07: Added glossary.
27/12/07: Some terms changed, typos fixed, improved summary.
14/1/08: Fixed some incorrect font-align in the second-last poem. I hadn't realised that had gone eskew! Silly me!
Whoso posseffeth(1)(3) eyes fit to see
A frog of large proportionf(1) in the city?
A lack-air'd(2)(8) creature so was he,
To lose his friends and family!
One green paw grasp'st(2) a chain;
It bringeth(3) him nought but pain.
It saw the murder of Abel by Cain,
And so hopp'th(3) the toad in the rain!
Wherefore Frog learn'd his englishe
Also entitled The Toad in the Rain
Donra the poet sat with his musings, pen and paper under the veranda continuously battered by pouring raindrops. He was attempting to transpose the scene before him into words, that musical quality so difficult to convey. Reflectively, Donra wrote a few lines to do with what he was seeing.
A savage crowd before me,
Only human to the eye,
Eagerly awaiting a comrade'f(1) death.
A question is asked. Why?
Pitter Patter the rain doth(4) sing,
And danc'th(3) over the murderer's axe.
No salvation for the victim beguilded(2).
In Providence only may he be lax.
It was no use, thought Donra. He couldn't think poetically in the cursed rain. I am very wroth, my countenance hath fallen. Sighing, Donra put down his pen. Then he saw…!
In the distance not so far away(5),
A hopping green figgure(6) was seen to sigh.
A brief ribbit and long mournful croak,
Perchance 'twas because his hood began to soak.
"Hasten not your step, for 'tis too brisk for the likes of this elderly gentleman," Donra cried, leaping to his feet. "I beseech of thee!"
The frog, for that is what it was, turned to face Donra. "Who are you?" he demanded, in a raspy voice.
Suspicion laced his beady eyes red,
And was it fore a quote I said?
"Mine name is Donra," Donra replied evenly. "Now see here, delightful creature, I wish to entertain thee, for a short span of time, to the least, if thou art willing to comply…"
The frog shook his head. "I'll go my own way," he said shortly.
"Art thou traumatized, frog sirrah, for something thou hath seen? Was a friend of thine slain and cast to the eternal pits of hell? Tell it to me and we shall discuss it, verily."
A look of deepest shock passed over the frog's face, but he merely said, "Why do you speak so oddly, stranger?"
"If thou wilt march upright, sir, and entail my lead; yea, the knowledge shall be of thine."
Curiosity seized(2) the frog,
And he follow'd(2) me without jest(7).
What a contrast from the dusty road,
'Tis the opportune time to rest!
Lanterns, carpets, kitchen tools,
Mine abode's so called(2) handiness.
In spite of small and compact size,
'Tis liken'd(2) to Ottoman(9), no less!
"So tell me," said the frog, collapsing on a chair with his back to the door, "why do you speak the way you do?"
Donra was in no hurry to explain, for he prepared food first, set it, spoke grace and sat down before speaking. Even then, he did not get straight to the point.
"I call myself the name Donra, insofar it is mine opinion that it is a good name, and that is why I call myself it. Mine character is what young impertinent fools such as thee call a 'rambling old man'. Nay, 'tis untrue, I am only a poet and I speak of romance."
"You mean," said the frog hesitantly, "people falling in love?"
Donra shook his head. "You speak in jest; do you not, good sir? Verily, there is more than one derivation for a word. It is in this sense that words are used, for the music of words we calleth poetry. Language is the instrument, life is the score and the poet is the musician. But the words are the music and 'tis what fills your ears with taste and thine eyes with flowing tears like a thrashing waterfall.
"Words have corrupted with the minds of the arrogant people over the ages. That is why I speak the way I do, for words are never more lyrical than when they art spoken with a clear mind and heart. Hast thou retained the wisdom I imparted unto thee with good intention, whether 'tis false or otherwise?"
"I think I do."
"Then trust me with thy name and thy history for your presence fills the lowly apparition of me with such passion, it is inestimable. You apprehend my attention and seize and shake it so savagely! I must know more of thee!"
And the frog he learn'd(2) the meaning of trust,
And the meaning of tongue as a lute.
'Ay'', fpoke(1) he the dolphin'f(1) pupil(10),
Lo! To think that I have been the root!
Donra and the frog stayed up all night conversing. Prior a so very late hour, Donra had squeezed almost all of the frog's personal history off him, save for his name. Donra's naturally inquisitive nature that became a poet was eternally useful and his apparent ramblings helped shield his intentions.
"Be of good cheer, my dear good sir. But tell me thy name and I shall feel of thee as a stranger no more. See, I speak informally to thee, as if thou'rt mine infant!"
"Know me only as Frog," quoth the frog. 'I don't want to tell you; I shall feel foolish."
"Yea, I shalt meet my place in Providence and all shall be resolved. It shall come quite soon, although I fear nought, save the Lord. Mine tome of music has been published here, in Porre, but not yet in Guardia. I wish it to be brought there also, but alas, my bones are frail and I am trodden underfoot."
"Oh, teach me poetry and I shall print your book in Guardia!" Frog cried. And his eyes shone.
"Ay', and thou shalt meet Queen Leene there. You shall protect her with thy life, wilt thou not?"
The eager subordinate, this is what he dost(4)
He stayed with me weeks within mine rooft(1).
I taught and cared for him as a son,
Already I knew his heart was won.
One day, Frog found that Donra had died in his sleep. A tranquil expression was found upon his face, and he had not yet begun to rot. A book lay on his lap and lifting it up, Frog saw that it was Donra's book of poetry. Frog, by now, had come to an acceptance of death, although it had not lessened his grief. He was still mourning for Cyrus in his heart, but Donra's music had led him to accept it, and help him move on. Frog smiled sadly and collected all of Donra's manuscripts. He knew that he would have to obey in accordance to his wishes.
"Yea, I shall travel north. And so right you were, Donra, about how beautiful thy music is. I shall spread it on fair wings throughout Guardia, and then, a time shall come when I must attend to mine own troubles. I beseech of thee - rest in peace."
A bittersweet feeling came over Frog, and he fained to recite something his deceased master had recently taught him:
Eternal damnation for the wicked,
Sweet paradise wont for thee,
Forever ye shall dance in heaven,
And enjoy the beauties in the lea.
Stain not my frugal joy!
Stay the hand of fate!
If patience is a virtue,
Then please, thou must wait.
North Frog did go, with Donra's tome for company. During the journey, Frog would read some of it and smile and weep accordingly at Donra's genius, but one verse came that figuratively cudgelled Frog on the head.
Whoso durst to reveal,
The luft(1) of the Frog unseen?
Affection held steadffast(6) and true
For her majesty Queen Leene.
NOTES Please read if you had difficulty understanding Middle English.
1. 'f' has the same sound as 's' in some context.
2. ''st' or ''d' added to a verb is the same is the same as 'ed'. However, if you see me use 'ed', it is an extra syllable. This is very important in regards to poetry.
3. The ending 'eth' is an extra syllable on some verbs, while the ending ''th' is not.
4. The verb 'to do', No matter how it is conjugated it retains an 'oo' sound.
5. Some words change in pronunciation over time. 'Away' rhymes with 'sigh'.
6. Some words are spelt incorrectly by today's requirements. However, at the time, the words were considered the correct spelling. In most cases double letters have been eradicated over time.
7. Some words change in meaning over time. 'Jest' means 'complaint'.
8. Donra's invented phrase. Means 'without joy'.
9. Reference to the greatest era of architecture in Islamic history.
10. Donra's invented phrase. Means 'Diligent student'.