Things That Go Boo!





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The witches' friend, the toad

The Toad


Round about the cauldron go,

In the poisoned entrails throw.

Toad, that under cold stone

Days and nights has thirty-one

Sweltered venom sleeping got,

Boil thou first i' th' charmèd pot.


 - Shakespeare's Macbeth


The toad is recognized as a symbol for Halloween mostly due to being associated with witches. It is believed that during the witch hunts, when most people lived in rural areas like farms or villages, toads often lived in that kind of environment as well. However, it was soon observed that when someone handled a toad, they were inflicted with sore eyes or nose.*  This gave the unenlightened people of the day the idea that toads may be evil in some way.


Stories also started circulating that witches used toads as their familiars. A familiar is a low-ranking demon assistant to a witch. At one witch trial, a witch had even admitted that she kept a spirit or fiend in the likeness of a toad. Other witches explained they used a toad's spit or parts of its body for their magical brews. We have seen many a cartoon or movie of witches adding that special toad to their bubbling cauldron? The toad - very Halloween - thanks to the witch.



    Witch & her Prince            Fun with Witches & Toads      More fun with words



*Toads, when threatened  release a substance from its skin that defends itself from perceivable  harm - resulting in sore, itchy skin! Thank goodness for science to dispel superstitions.



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Witches, Pumpkins, and Grinning Ghosts - The Story of the Halloween Symbols

by Edna Barth



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