Z is for Zoo
I’m doing folklore and book review posts to reach and please a larger audience. Previous years have shown select interest in both and to minimise blogging throughout the year, I’m focusing my efforts on April.
If you’d rather check out my book review for today, go here.
Though I want to focus on frogs and toads as magical animals only, the occasional talking frog/toad will make an appearance.
The toad resurrection pill (Dongxiang)
A poor boy rescues and heals a wounded toad. In return, the toad gives him a pill that can resurrect anything. The boy resurrects a snake and a horse, and then finds a dead man. He replaces the man’s broken ribs with willow branches, and brings him back to life (against the toad’s warnings that humans will always betray you). The man turns out to be a bandit who takes the pill and tries to kill the boy. The resurrected animals help him survive and win a princess.by Zalka Csenge Virág on the Multicolored Diary
Celtic Folklore: Welsh and Manx by Sir John Rhys (1901)
Ifan Owen’s best stories were about the Water Spirit, or, as he called it, Ỻamhigyn y Dwr, “the Water Leaper.” He had not himself seen the Ỻamhigyn, but his father had seen it “hundreds of times.” Many an evening it had prevented him from catching a single fish in Ỻyn Gwynan, and, when the fisherman got on this theme, his eloquence was apt to become highly polysyllabic in its adjectives. Once in particular, when he had been angling for hours towards the close of the day, without catching anything, he found that something took the fly clean off the hook each time he cast it. After moving from one spot to another on the lake, he fished opposite the Benlan Wen, when something gave his line a frightful pull, “and, by the gallows, I gave another pull,” the fisherman used to say, “with all the force of my arm: out it came, and up it went off the hook, whilst I turned round to see, as it dashed so against the cliff of Benlan that it blazed like a lightning.” He used to add, “If that was not the Ỻamhigyn, it must have been the very devil himself.” That cliff must be two hundred yards at least from the shore. As to his father, he had seen the Water Spirit many times, and he had also been fishing in the Ỻyn Glâs or Ffynnon Lâs, once upon a time, when he hooked a wonderful and fearful monster: it was not like a fish, but rather resembled a toad, except that it had a tail and wings instead of legs. He pulled it easily enough towards the shore, but, as its head was coming out of the water, it gave a terrible shriek that was enough to split the fisherman’s bones to the marrow, and, had there not been a friend standing by, he would have fallen headlong into the lake, and been possibly dragged like a sheep into the depth; for there is a tradition that if a sheep got into the Ỻyn Glâs, it could not be got out again, as something would at once drag it to the bottom. This used to be the belief of the shepherds of Cwm Dyli, within my memory, and they acted on it in never letting their dogs go after the sheep in the neighbourhood of this lake.
The Element Encyclopedia of Fairies by Lucy Cooper
Llamhigyn y Dwr
(Pronounced thlamheegin er doorr) Welsh water spirit, also known as “the Water Leaper” and described as a legless, winged toad, prone to breaking fishermen’s lines and emitting a high-pitched shriek.
*More can be read in the book.
Encyclopedia of Fairies in World Folklore and Mythology by Theresa Bane
Kludde is a malicious shape-shifting fairy found in Brabant and Flanders, Belgium. Typical pranks it will play on unsuspecting travellers will be to take the guise of a large black dog and on its hind legs, chase its prey or it will transform into a wonderful shade tree and as it victim lays for a rest, suddenly grow in size, taking the mortal into dizzying heights of the clouds. The favourite trick of the kludde is to take on the appearance of an old man or starving horse; when a stable-boy or groom approaches it lures them up onto its back and then runs off at a furious speed throwing itself into a lake or river. As the person makes their way out of the water and back onto the bank, the kludde lays flat on its stomach, laughing.
No matter the form the kludde assumes, bat, cat, crow, frog, stone, or what have you, there will always be the presence of two small blue flames before the animal; these lights are believed to be the creature’s eyes.
Llamhigyn Y Dwr
In Welsh folklore a fairy animal called the llamhigyn y dwr (“the water leaper”) was described as looking like a toad but having a tail and set of wings. Living in various lakes it was said to break fishing lines and come ashore to eat sheep.
*Read more in the book.
- Frog Magic and Folklore
- Frogs in culture
- FROGS: FRIENDS, FORTUNE, OR FOES?
- What Frogs Symbolize – Aha! Now I Know!
- Celtic Frog
- Water leaper
- Llamhigyn Y Dwr
- llamhigyn y dwr
- Llamhigyn Y Dwr [Welsh folklore]
- Frog Myths, Folklore, Proverbs, and Fairytales
- An Ambiguous Amphibian: The Everchanging Frog Symbol in World Myth
- Frogs, toads, and days of gold
Folklore in a Nutshell by Ronel
Frogs and toads have featured in folklore from all over the world – especially connected to magic. “Frog” and “toad” is used interchangeably in a lot of tales, probably because of translation issues. From being able to predict the weather to curing warts, frogs have many uses. There are many folktales concerning frogs, too, such as the well-known The Frog Prince by the Brothers Grimm. In popular culture, Kermit the Frog is probably the first frog one thinks of (well, I did) when asked about modern frogs.
In ancient Egypt, the fertility goddess Heqet looked like a frog – or a woman with a frog head.
In Irish folklore, frogs are viewed as creatures of the underworld, associated with witches and as ingredients in potions and spells. If you have a cough or tooth ache, putting a frog in your mouth will take it away. Maybe. It’s probably where the expression “a frog in my throat” comes from…
Frogs are symbols of positive energy, good luck and metamorphosis in a lot of cultures.
Llamhigyn y Dwr (pronounced thlamheegin er doorr) is a fairy animal from Welsh folklore that looks like a toad with wings and a tail that likes to break fishing lines and eating sheep. It is said to emit a high pitched shriek. Sometimes it is described as having no legs.
From Belguim, the Kludde is a malicious shape-shifting fairy that likes to play pranks on humans. No matter the form it takes, sometimes a frog, it has two small blue flames hovering near its head, sometimes believed to be its eyes.
When it starts to rain, frogs fill the air with their song and find their way into places they oughtn’t be – like the house. Though I’m not tempted to kiss a frog to get a prince despite the numerous folktales with this theme, I do see these cute little creatures as a change from one season to the next.
Frogs and Toads in Modern Culture
Grimm TV series
Ziegevolk that eat toads are not breeders, but herders, a rarity amongst the species. (“Lonelyhearts“) The toads stimulate a gland in the brain that controls the secretion of sweat. Larger volumes of pheromone-filled sweat can force anyone to do whatever they say. (“One Angry Fuchsbau“)Learn more here
Merlin TV series
The third ‘witness’ speaks of toads jumping out of a man’s mouth; while this, too is merely a hallucination, it becomes foreshadowing. Merlin uses the alleged ‘testimony’ against Aredian, when he casts a spell to do just that.Learn more here
Harry Potter books and movies
Trevor was a toad and the pet of Neville Longbottom. He was given to Neville by a great-uncle, Algie when he finally proved he was a wizard and was accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Neville took Trevor to Hogwarts, but he kept losing him until eventually, Trevor joined the other toads in the Black Lake.Learn more here
Disney’s The Princess and the Frog
The Princess and the Frog is a 2009 American animated musical comedy adventure fantasy film based on E.D. Baker‘s novel The Frog Princess, which was in turn inspired by the Brothers Grimm‘s fairy tale The Frog Prince.
The film, which began production under the working title The Frog Princess, is a well-known fairy tale, Broadway-style musical set in and around New Orleans at the height of the Roaring Twenties. It centers on a hardworking waitress named Tiana, who dreams of opening a restaurant. After sharing a kiss with a prince that had been transformed into a frog by an evil witch doctor, Tiana must embark on a journey with the prince to find a voodoo priestess to break the spell as she too falls victim to it.Learn more here
Mrs. Toad is an unbearably beautiful but selfish, vain, and arrogant toad who serves as the first antagonist in Thumbelina. She is a mother of Mozo Toad, Gringo Toad and Grundel, and they are a traveling family known as “The Singers De España”. She kidnaps Thumbelina while she is asleep in her bed, and tries to force her into joining her tour and marrying her son Grundel. Thumbelina kindly rejects the offer, but Mrs. Toad doesn’t listen and rushes off to get the priest.Learn more here
Frogs and Toads in My Writing
Origin of the Fae: Faery Frogs
Faery Frogs are frog-like creatures found in the mortal realm and Faerie alike. Some have wings, some have sharp teeth, some secrete pheromones, some come in psychedelic colours. Whatever is needed for magic, change or positivity, they can provide. Some do hunt humans and their livestock, but that has more to do with how they were treated than how they naturally are.
Translation of Faery Frog into Afrikaans: Feetjie Padda
What do you think of faery frogs? Where did you hear about magical frogs for the first time? Any folklore about frogs or toads you’d like to share? Check out my Pinterest board dedicated to the subject.
You can now support my time in producing folklore posts (researching, writing and everything else involved) by buying me a coffee. This can be a once-off thing, or you can buy me coffee again in the future at your discretion.
*If you have difficulty commenting, check that you’ve ticked the data use block beneath the comment before leaving your comment. (Protecting your privacy per regulations.) If you’re still unable to comment, try enabling all cookies in your browser. On a device, like a tablet, go to settings, find your browser (eg Chrome), and uncheck “prevent cross-site tracking” AND “block all cookies.”
Want a taste of my writing? Sign up to my newsletter and get your free copy of Unseen, Faery Tales #2.
No-one writes about the fae like Ronel Janse van Vuuren.