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"like a frog on the spring"

Posted by Smokey Stover on June 13, 2006

In Reply to: "Like a frog on the spring" posted by RRC on June 13, 2006

: : Hi I'm looking not for a meaning but for a phrase. In Slovak, when someone has information in his hands and is not willing to share it, we say he's "like a frog on the spring". I need to find a similar phrase in English.

: : Help anyone?

: Is your frog on a coiled-up spring ready to burst, a bouncy spring, or on a body of water that rises from the ground? Does he want to keep the secret, is he having a hard time keeping a secret, would he like to tell the secret but can't? Any particular reason why it's a frog and not a whale or a lion or a wildebeest?

I have to assume that in Slovakia one often finds springs (of ground water or undergrund flows) that have been tapped with an open pipe, so as to resemble a well-head. Otherwise a frog sitting on the spring could not easily impede access to the water. I've encountered a few such tapped springs (or shallow wells) with frogs dwelling in the water. I don't know how they got there or how well they make out, and I personally was not deterred from drinking the water when I was thirsty. If this really refers to not sharing, then our saying is "a dog in the manger." He can't use the food, but wants to make sure no one else does, either.
"The allusion is to one of Aesop's fables, written about 600 BC, in which a dog was taking a nap in a manger. When an ox came and tried to eat the hay in the manger, the dog barked furiously, snapped at him and wouldn't let him get at his food, food that, of course, was useless to the dog."
Of course, the frog, unlike the dog, has a use for that which he is not sharing.