Vietnamese Fables of Frogs and Toads
. Heian International , Heian: Stone Bridge Press . Berkeley, Calif.
PZ8.1.S2158 Vie 2006 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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Originally published in 2001 in Japan by Hoshinowakai. There are two folktales in this large-format book of 32 pages. The Frog Bride is a happily ever after story of the transformation of a beloved frog into a woman. The man who has married the frog is teased by his fellow students. After passing tests of cooking and sewing, the frog must appear at a party, and the husband fears being shamed for having married a frog. On the way to the party, she goes into the woods and sheds her frog skin. The man destroys it. As she tells him, Because you're such a good man, God gave you a wife. And because I met such a kind man, I was allowed to become a woman again (12). The second folktale, The Toad Who Brought the Rain, explains why frogs croak before it rains. After a long drought, a desperate toad on his way to ask the gods for rain gathers a whole troop of animals. With their specific skills, these animals overcome the God of Lightning and bring the Chief God to grant their request for rain. From now on, this god stipulates to the toad, if there are dry days, the toad should come close to the heavens and by croaking remind the Chief God to make rain. Kojima's illustrations are enjoyable. Often they are suggestive designs. Those designs complement more realistic presentations, e.g., of the frog turned into a woman on 13 or of the animals collected along the way.