Myths and Folklore - The Bad Side of Frogdom
It was once believed bad luck to kill a frog, even accidentally. They were said to hold the souls of deceased children in their bodies. Later, across Europe, they received the unfortunate title “agent of the devil” at the beck and call of witches for uses in brews and satanic rituals. A special concoction known as “toad soup” was comprised of snakes, frogs, toads, and who knows what else. Combining the skin secretions of some of those creatures surely led to a few real poisonings.
Even the Bible (Revelations 16:13) refers to unclean spirits in the form of frogs. Earlier, in Exodus, a plague of frogs threatened the entirety of Egypt. And, from Macbeth, we have the famous line, “…eye of newt, toe of frog…” as part of the brew. In an ancient religion known as Zoroastrian, the frog was closely tied to an evil deity.
While frogs and toads were powerful creatures in Chinese tales, they were also denounced as being “tricksters” or “magicians.” For centuries, remote tribes have used the poison produced from frog skins in their private rituals (in addition to adding some of those secretions to darts). Some frogs, they discovered, could create some mighty powerful hallucinations.
Luckily, we’ve banished most of these tales to their rightful resting place.
Illustration public domain.