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Toad

Usually considered to be a positive omen that good fortune is to be expected within the very near future. Perhaps this is because wherever there is a toad, it is likely to be near fresh water. With water a precious commodity throughout history the appearance of a toad could hardly be otherwise. Therefore to kill one as you might expect was thought to not only affect the water supply, but the rainfall. Some believed that this would mean there would be less rain, whilst in some countries is was thought that this action would lead to flooding.

In England (UK) though the toad has long been associated with the darker forces and even witchcraft, seen as a creature sure to bring misfortune. It was thought during the Middle Ages that all witches had warts. Rubbing a toad over a wart was believed to encourage one force to attack the other and therefore the wart would disappear.

The practice of carrying the heart of  toad inside a pocket was once thought to be a common practice amongst burglars. It was thought to do so would bring them good fortune and act as a talisman against being caught. If an owner of horses wanted more control over the mount then it was traditionally once thought in rural parts of England (UK) that by carrying a toad bone that this could be achieved. The method by which the bone was obtained is rather curious; the dead toad was to be pinned on the top of ant hill and then it was down to time. The ants would gradually pull the flesh from the bones. Once this was complete the bones were tossed into a river and the bones were watched to see which bone separated away from the others. This first bone would begin to travel down stream and it was believed that this was the bone that would make the owner a ‘Toadman’ giving him power over horses. Placing the bone in a stable, or in some cases a graveyard, was thought in some areas to be the only way to make sure success would come. It was believed that the Devil would appear on the last night and attempt to take the bone (remembering that toads were seen to be associated with witchcraft). Beating the Devil, and taking something so precious was thought to ensure that good fortune and perhaps even protection would result from this ritual.

A European rural belief tells that should a toad cross the path of the bride on her way to church, the marriage will be an extremely happy one.