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The Story of Leon the Frog

Transcribed by Melanie Woods, photos by Mariah Wilson, graphics by Samantha Lucy, April 26 2017 —

Written and rewritten by anonymous authors, the story first found itself on the stairwell in the 1970s and onto the pages of the Gauntlet in 1978. The poem was restored several times and republished by the Gauntlet in 1998 and 2007. Following the recent restoration, new lines have been added and sections revised. Therefore, we present to you the most recently updated version of Leon’s iconic journey to the light at the top of the stairs.

This transcription is exactly as the poem appears on the stairs as of the April 2017 restoration in terms of line breaks, spelling, punctuation and capitalization.

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A mural designed and created by Derek Beaulieu and Avril Lopez was painted at the start of the poem in April 2017.

Basement:

UP

HOP

uP

hop

Up

Up

Hop

Hop

UP

HoP

UP

Hop

UP

hop

UP

HoP

UP

Hop

up

Hop

UP

UP

hop

HOP

First floor:

The Light at the Top of the Stairs

was not yet visible to Leon

as he plopped into the coffee cup

of Dr. Mildew Dreary, dip.

Unknown to Leon and the Sheridan Catering Co.,

Leon’s mother was a coffee machine.

He realized he was a Frog

when he opened his mouth and croaked…

“RiBBit! Yo!”

The blear Dr. Dreay

took a gulp of her coffee.

But not until she reached the stairwell

did she coughed and realized

she had a FroG in her throat!

She coughed and spputtered and it was the reburp of Leon!

He stared around — “Where am I?” said Leon.

Before he could move a Frog finger,

the head of Food Service, charged down the stairs —

“A new sandwich” he said, pickung up Leon and reaching back.

“Pumpernickel, Cream Cheese and Frog legs.”

“Unhand him!” yelled public relations.

“That’s a Frog and you Know what the Prime Minister thinks of Frogs.

No Canada Council Grant if you damage him!”

“Green?” said Employee Relations —

“I don’t like the colour of his skin.”

Leon hopped to safety. “Oh help!” he said.

“Move on!” said the man. “You can’t park here ya bitch!”

And Leon moved sadly up the stairs. Up, HOP, UP.

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Second floor:

“HEY” said AN Arts and Science major, “a FROg!”

“Let’s dissect it. “ “No no NO! said a Religious Studies Major.

“does he beLieve in Christ?” “what’s christ?” said Leon.

SAVE HIM!

Convert Hum!

Exploit him!

DIGEST him!”

they sHRiEKED RighteousLY.

“LET HE WHO HAS No guilt

cast the First STONE” SAID THE HEAD theoLogiain,

and an uPtigHt vriginal co-ED SUFFERING Periodic

PAIN, bounced a ROCK off his head

and SUFFERING,

LEON was Hauled down a Hallway and

and NAILED CRUELY to a CROSS “i must

be an offering in some PAgAN ceremony,” he thought

AS THE BLOOD RAN DOWN HIS ARMS

and dripped off his toes.

“i sure Hope these bastards get what they deserve.”

A converted HELL’S ANGEL took pity on Leon

and flagellated everyone with a chain

until they LET HIM DOWN.

“i must aRisE”

said Leon “i MUST get to the tOP of the stairs.”

Third floor:

Bleeding profusely from the holes in

his feet, Leon narrowly made it to the

Sixth floor. But there it was , the

Light at the TOP of the Stairs?

Was this the everlasting hope?

Was this the symbol for eternal happiness! $

Bling dolla dolla financial security and Shit!”

Hey boy, you got any insurance?

The blakc suit and tie hovered over him and

led him through the poor door. Leon felt at home.

Everything was green (except for the golden door)

“Sign on the dotted line boy”

If you think that’s best for y’all

“BUT I CAN’T WRITE!” Leon cried

“WHAT’S INSURANCE?” he croaked

“INSURANCE!”

WHY THATS THE MOST STABLE PART OF LIFE

WITHOUT INSURANCE YOUR LIFE COULD

BE RUINED! …” THE TIE YELLED

LOUDER AND LOUDER AS LEON

(AFTER GRAbbING A LARGE AMOUNT OF GREEN

WALLPAPER) SLIPPED OUT THE DOOR

DONE! DONE!

DONE!

Fourth floor:

LEON, FRUSTRATED WITH THE

REAL WORLD OF THE MONEY, AND HUNGRY,

SLUNG HIS STRIP OF GREEN WALLPAPER

OVER HIS SHOULDER AND TRUDGED AHEAD;

Up AND UP, UNTIL HE WAS QUITE HIGH —

It seemed to be the smell of old jocks permeating his membrane.

Suddenly, Leon was floating, loud noises assailed him.

MEMBERS REACHED OUT CLUTCHING HIM.

“OHH! A SPECIMEN, QUICK A JAR OF FORMALDEHYDE” was the last he heard BEFORE HE REACTE WITH WHAT HE DID BEST. HOP! HE WAS IN THE

pocket of A VISITING OBSTETRICIAN. WAH! WAH! FILTERED THROUGH

THE  StETHOSCOPE AND DILAtORS IN the pocket of Dr Deliverwell

LEON DECIDED TO PLAY IT COOL

SUDDENLY HE FELT A JAB, Dr DELIVERWELL HAD A HARD ON

ONE OF THE NURSES HAD CARESSED

Dr DELIVERWELL’S HYPODERMIC MEMBER

AND WAS KNOCKED UP COLD

THE NURSE TRIPPED OVER A BLOOD PRESSURE CYLINDER

— AT THE SAME TIME LEON GOT IT

FROM A HALF-DISSECTED

FEMALE FROG LURKING NEARBY

IN A MADE IN QUEBEC INCUBATOR FOR TADPOLES

SUDDENLY LEON, LIKE Dr DELIVERWELL

FELT REAL COOL

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Fifth floor:

Shaken by his experience,

but not yet ready to give up

Leon undauntedly decided to

continue his journey.

Step by grueling step he went

until suddenly …

He was haulted by a towering

figure that loomed before him.

It was a tall stranged looking creature

wEaring a Long grEy bEard,

high Leather boots,

a leopard skin loin cloth,

a red flannel shirt, and an orange gingham derby

“I’m HISTORY!”it said

“It is time to look back and analyse all past experiences”

“This guy is NUTS!”

Leon croaked at the idea of

brining back all of the memories

of his Lily-ridden past

He quickly side-stepped HISTORY

and continued on his quest  for

The Light at the Top of the Stairs

Sixth floor:

“Remember the light at the top.”

Leon left the History Dept. behind + continued his journey

up, up, up, higher and higher,

he sprang to the 7th Floor.

The door opened.

A linguist appeared.

Spying Leon, he said, “say something, young amphibian!”

“Croak!” said Leon.

“KRIK?” said the linguist.

“Is your glottis open or closed?” “Ribit” replied Leon.

“Hmm,” said the linguist.

“Is your tongue toughing your apicolveolar ridge?”

A Political Scientist Entered

“Aha!” he Said,

POINTING AT LEON

“Are you the anonymous observer

who must remain Anonymous for Job Security Reasons

Who is assessing the U of C Poli-Sci Dept”

“Urp” Said Leon

I find this Particular Floor in a State of Turmoil

Confusion and Acrimony!”

Leon Continued

Onwards and Upwards

hoP…

Seventh floor:

Leon,

forked tongued-tied

Persevered in his search

for an Identity.

Hopping slowly up

he “staired” in disbelief

As he saw Anthro approaching

Bells rang, thought clashed

A toad to some Indian indigenous tribe??

Could he-be a toadtem???

COULD He!?

He began to laugh hysterically

Meanwhile,

Anthro through the gloom

— joyously, hop,

Recognized Leon as being sent from below

No longer would Anthro have to fast 4 days

in the mountains

to meet this toadtem — here he is but —

BUT HE IS GREEN!!!

Green! Green!

NO then rejection with an intuition

Strengthened by his many failers

He hung his head & schwepped!

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Eighth floor:

WARNING X-rated. not suited for tadpoles

Leon flopped down onto cold cement floor. He was

exhausted. He looked up and there was another Great Yellow

Door. BEfore Leon had time to ponder, the door burst open.

There she was Tall, curvy and beautiful!

“Oh!” a poor opporessed frog,” she exclaimed as she caressed him.

Look at you, so tired and hungry. Oh! How

our society inflicts such ignorance upon you. How it burns me

up. Come let me take you to my off. I’ll take good care of you

“What an office,” Leon thought as he hopped in.

“even a bed.”

She sat down close beside him

“I bet they never give you a fair shake,

always take advantage of you.”

She whispered & kissed him.

She began to unbutton her blouse.

I’m not like that you know!

His voice quivered with excitement. She slipped off her jeans, exposing her soft thighs

Leon was amazed. Leon was astonished.

She threw herself upon him, breathing heavily. Leon felt chip & dirty.

He couldn’t do it. He had to get out of this place.

He whispered in her ear “You’re going to get covered with warts”.

She screamed “you filthy green thing”

Leon took advantage of the moment & hopped quickly away.

Ninth floor:

OH! The climbing monologue of LEON LE FROGUE.

“Why am I so dissatisfied?” (HE CRIED.)

“OH, I feel so decrepit!” (HE WEPT.)

“Is there no high higher than a fruit fly/flier?” (SIGH…ER.)

In such angst-iety, Leon stumbled into a transactional analysis group!

OH. Hop. I’m OK. HOP. But they were all stuck at “I’m O.K.” Hop.

They could have told tadpole-ish jokes … or even Newfoundfrog jokes,

But there was no connection.

Leon felt blue.

OH Stairlight, Stairbright, is there no school of Social Frogfare tonight?

(No lily pad in the O.K. Corral?)

No? O.K. HoP!

UP UP

Hop Hop

Up!

Hop!

UP?

O.K.

SAY

I’M O.K.

“I’m O.K.!”

HOP

OH KAY

O.K.?

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Many volunteers took liberties with the original text during the April 2017 restoration.

Tenth floor:

NOPE!

MAybe if I can cultivate SO many problems…

I can HELP SOMEBODY reap theirys?

“Be a social worker,”

suggested a LOSER phlegmish professor.

Leon said “YEAH!”

and hung out his sign:

“Problems — Bought & Sold”

Nobody Came! 🙁

Is it because I’m …

SHORT?

SPECKLED?

GREEN?

HONEST?

Or is it just that I’m a … FROG?

YES!!!

LEON COULD ONLY

“STAIR” AND DESPAIR

ARGHH!!! ARGHH!!

ARGHH!

ARGHH

arghh arghh arghh

a    r     g     h     h

RIBBIT!

Eleventh floor:

As he climbed

to the 12th floor,

Leon realized with a sigh

that he had experienced

all of what life

had to offer.

Now, tje question was

how to express and communicate

his experienced to society.

Leon had heard

in his travels

that art was a

Uniquely human stamp

put by man on life.

He was about to

change that by

introducing FROG ART.

Choosing a medium was difficult

Webbed canvas?

Stretched lily pads?

These were not

the real problems

but what is life??

HOP!!

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Twelfth floor:

What is art?

Where is?? … am I here?

Where is my will power?

These are barrbaric conditions

Is this the hallmark of my life?

What’s aclyde art?

Should I fly United?

Is this some Kond of joeke?

What Esler is there?

I Kant even remove my stockings!

Do I have to Cramwell to pass?

ABrosz is aBrosz is a —

is this the lloyd I must bear?

I Kant go on much longer.

Have I hit a plato?

I have to be thoreau

I have to blow mignosa

I can paint

Kiyooka?

If you can’t, erase it, Bloggett

Time to throw out the anchor

DoEs IT SARTE?

OR END HERE

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Thirteenth floor:

LEON ASKED CHAROX WHOSE BOAT

ANCHORED IN THE MUD

REAKED OF PENNIES

AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY SHOUTS CHARON

BUT I CROAKED, ISN’T THIS THE NEXT STEP.

ISN’T IT?

ribbit?

The final seven stairs

leading the the

door on the roof

were left blank.

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