Frenchmen, properly Parisians. So called from their
ancient heraldic device, which was three frogs or three toads. “
Qu'en disent les grenouilles? ”—What will the frogs (people of
Paris) say?—was in 1791 a common court phrase at Versailles. There
was a point in the pleasantry when Paris was a quagmire, called
Lutetia (mud-land) because, like frogs or toads, they lived in
mud, but now it is quite an anomaly. (See Crapaud.)
The Lycian shepherds were changed into frogs for mocking Latona. (
Ovid: Metamorphoses, vi. 4.)
As when those hinds that were transformed to frogs
Railed at Latona's twin-born progeny.
It may be all fun to you, but it is death to the frogs.
The allusion is to the fable of a boy stoning frogs for his
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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