Tortured For A Frog
Updated: Jun 25, 2019
One day, when i was about eight years old, Mr. Morrel, the headmaster of the tiny Oakfield Road primary school that I went to, gave a lesson on nature and explained to us that we should never be cruel to animals. I enjoyed the lesson and I took his words to heart. The following Sunday while I was playing by King George's pond I saw a couple of older boys, teenagers, cutting the legs off a frog.
I remembered the headmasters words and rushed over to them, saying, "Stop that! You're not supposed to be cruel to animals. My headmaster told us so."
This was a very big mistake. And I quickly came to realise that those who are cruel to animals can be cruel to humans too.
I was grabbed by the neck and dragged off to a nearby wasteland where a large patch of stinging nettles grew. I was hit over the head with half a brick, had my shirt ripped off and was thrown into the nettles. I climbed out. skin inflamed by the stings, only to be thrown in, again and again and again, being poked and prodded with sticks and punched whenever I came out. Eventually my captors grew bored of the cruelty and I raced home in tears, with flesh red raw and swollen with lumps, cuts and bruises, to the safety of my mum and dad, who by now were worried sick and about to call the police as I had been gone so long.
I suppose nowadays the attack would have been reported to the police, but back then there were other ways to deal with things. My parents came with me to the school the next day. to speak to the headmaster who had a kind heart and was mortified to see how his words had caused me so much pain. There were only two high schools near by and he set off to speak to the headmasters and find the two culprits. They must have taken it all very seriously as the culprits were soon found and punished, I am not exactly sure how, but I would like to think that it discouraged them from cutting the legs off frogs and being cruel to animals.
I guess I've always had a soft spot for frogs. Over the last nine years I've made nineteen ponds for collecting the rainwater necessary to water our gardens, and have enjoyed seeing each and everyone of them come alive with spawn, tadpoles and frogs. When we first began working our and there was not a frog in site, nor one to be heard, now the hills and forests are alive with their croaks, ribbits and calls, until the winter when they go dormant waiting for spring to begin the dance of life yet again.
Long live the frogs!
Paul Coleman: Frogs 1-3
The Woodland Trust: King George's Pond