Villagers carried two 7-year-old girls on their shoulders and two frogs on garlanded sticks as they walked them to a temple where they were married. Afterward, the girls returned to their parents while the frogs were thrown into a muddy pond.
The ceremony goes back to a centuries-old tradition. The Hindu god Shiva is said to have turned himself into a frog after a fight with his wife, causing her to cry for days and create a health hazard with her dirty tears. Disease control not being what it is today, Shiva decided to marry a young girl to stop the disease. His wife made herself young again, and he agreed to marry her again. After the wedding, they returned to their original forms and good health reigned in the village.
While any old frog will do, a girl who has yet to reach puberty is required. Proud parents offer up daughters because, in their minds, they are saving their village from disease. But the Indian government holds its head in embarrassment at this backroad tradition, calling it ignorant and blaming illiteracy. It has sent psychologists, sociologists, and religious leaders to villages to persuade people to stop.
Though human-animal marriages are not legally recognized by any country, frogs aren't the only animals getting hitched. To see what else humans have been forced (or just chose!) to marry,
Goats: The Sudanese government forced a man to marry a goat after he was caught having sex with it in 2006.
Dogs: Girls can be forced to marry dogs in India to ward off bad omens. A surprisingly adorable ceremony of a puppy-girl (or maybe not that surprising!) wedding can be watched here.
Horse: An Indian woman married a snake by choice in 2006. She "fell in love" with it after recovering from an illness upon giving the snake milk. However, an investigation by Harper's magazine suggested the snake never existed and the incident was staged in a local power struggle between two religious leaders.
Ahh, well. These other stories appear to be (un)real!