January 2021
Bush Stories

Hamerkop – The King of Frogs

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Hamerkop – The King of Frogs

Jenny Hishin
By Jenny Hishin
Guest Guide

An African fable as told by Wilson Macheke, Singita Paumushana Maintenance Supervisor.

Many moons ago the frog society had no ruler and needed a king to settle disputes and enforce frog law. They felt they were not recognised as a community and wanted this to change.

The frog nation gathered and started to pray to the Creator asking him for a king. The Creator answered their prayers and gave them water as a king. But water remained silent and did not help them.

Again they prayed and requested a king for the second time. The Creator gave them a floating log. But that too remained silent. This did not bode well with the frog nation so they all jumped in the water, swam across to the floating log, hopped onto it and started to croak, chirp and bellow their protest in the most deafening way ever heard!

The Creator then sent them the Hamerkop – a big brown bird with a head shaped like a hammer – to rule over them. The frog nation was delighted, as they all knew the voice of the Hamerkop.

King Hamerkop would visit all the different water sources in the wilderness during daylight hours. But, as the frogs came out of the water to debate his decisions and discuss future plans for their nation, he would gobble them up!

Since then frogs never come out of the water to protest and pray in the day. They wait until nightfall when King Hamerkop is in bed with his family… Listen carefully during the dark hours and you’ll hear their prayers being sung, yet again, to the Creator.

Photo by Josh Saunders.

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