What better way to celebrate my 70th birthday last Wednesday than to top off an early morning “nice cuppa tea” with a long walk in the arboretum.
There we found more green frogs than you could shake a stick at and a very, very fine American toad (Anaxyrus americanus) who all came out to sing the birthday song for me.
My Scots friend in California, Margaret, tells me that toads in “Northern Britain” are known as Puddocks which I think is a most appropriate name for such a wise and calming creature. I feel rather puddockish myself right now. She also offered me the verse I have shared in the right sidebar.
A puddock sat by the lochan’s brim,
An’ he thocht there was never a puddock like him.
He sat on his hurdies, he waggled his legs,
An’ cockit his heid as he glowered throu’ the seggs.
The bigsy wee cratur’ was feelin’ that prood,
He gapit his mou’ an’ he croakit oot lood:
“Gin ye’d a’ like tae see a richt puddock,” quo’ he,
“Ye’ll never, I’ll sweer, get a better nor me.
I’ve fem’lies an’ wives an’ a weel-plenished hame,
Wi’ drink for my thrapple an’ meat for my wame.
The lasses aye thocht me a fine strappin’ chiel,
An’ I ken I’m a rale bonny singer as weel.
I’m nae gaun tae blaw, but th’ truth I maun tell-
I believe I’m the verra MacPuddock himsel’.” …
A heron was hungry an’ needin’ tae sup,
Sae he nabbit th’ puddock and gollup’t him up;
Syne runkled his feathers: “A peer thing,” quo’ he,
“But – puddocks is nae fat they eesed tae be.”
John M. Caie