Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Are Frogs and Toads Lucky? Legends and Lore

Posted by: Dani Harper, Author
Image: Bigstock.com
Late last night the "spring peepers" gave a concert in my yard. Toads trilled under the porch, as enthusiastic bass and tenor sections of frogs in the garden competed with a shrill soprano chorus of tiny tree frogs amid the lilac branches. 

The sound of these creatures is the surest sign that the warm weather is here to stay. In fact, frogs and toads are also called spring cheepers, and even pinklewinks and pinkwinks, depending where you are in North America.

I’ve been fascinated with amphibians ever since I was a kid scooping up tadpoles into a jar from the creek near my house. When I grew up and left home, my Welsh grandmother gave me a ceramic frog for my apartment and told me that I should always have a frog in the house for good luck. That was a long time ago, but I still keep a statue of a frog near the door, and there are always a few frog and toad figurines in my home.

Just in case...

The ancient Romans thought house frogs were lucky too, keeping live frogs as mascots. Both the Egyptians and Greeks believed that frogs possessed a creative force – they were symbols of inspiration (Hmmm … as a writer, maybe I need some frogs on my desk!)

Chan Chu, the Toad of Wealth
Image: Bigstock.com

Many cultures consider it a sign that money is coming to you if a frog enters the house. Figurines of frogs are used in the practice of Feng Shui in order to attract wealth both at home and at work. 

A three-legged toad named Chan Chu is the traditional pet of the immortal Liu Hai, Chinese god of wealth. The toad is usually pictured with a gold coin in its mouth, and often sitting on a pile of coins as well. 

Businesses often keep a statue of Chan Chu near their cash register. In the home, however, Chan Chu is never placed facing the door. The toad is to be placed as if he has just entered the home, bringing abundance with him.


Many societies have equated frogs and toads with great transformative powers and even reincarnation. After all, they're every bit as amazing as butterflies. They go through vastly different phases in their lives:  From eggs they hatch into gilled tadpoles that can only live underwater, and then gradually transform to air-breathing land creatures. It’s not surprising that frogs are also associated with personal growth and achievement.

Image: Bigstock.com
The ultimate achievement is shown in an old story: A toad had fallen in love with the moon and wanted to go there more than anything. Everyone told the toad that it was impossible to leap so high. But the toad decided not to listen and began jumping. Each time it jumped, it went a little bit higher. After many, many jumps, it finally reached the moon!

Speaking of the moon, it’s interesting to note that while western cultures perceive the shape of “man in the moon”, the Chinese might point to the “toad in the moon” instead. And in some Asian tales, eclipses occur when the toad tries to swallow the moon itself.


Frogs and toads are ideal symbols 

of transformation and change!
Image: Bigstock.com
Since frogs lay enormous quantities of eggs, it’s only natural that they would become a fertility symbol. The Egyptians depicted the water goddess, Heket, as a frog or as a woman with the head of a frog. She ruled conception and birth, was the goddess of midwifery and protected new-born babies. 

Egyptian women seeking to conceive or those in the midst of childbirth often wore amulets which depicted Heket as a frog sitting on a lotus flower. It’s interesting that in ancient Mesoamerica, some tribes worshipped a corn goddess who took the form of a frog or a toad. Just like Heket, she was the patron of fertility and childbirth.

Frogs also came to symbolize abundance in general. They appeared in vast numbers during the annual flooding of the Nile and it wasn’t long before the Egyptians adopted the frog as their official hieroglyph for an immense number: 100,000!

Vodka or whiskey with frogs in it is
considered good for you in Vietnam.

Image: Bigstock.com

Many cultures associated frogs and toads with healing powers. A supposed cure for thrush, sore throat, and colds was holding a live frog and placing its head in the patient's mouth! As the frog breathed, it was said to draw the illness away from the patient and into itself. Maybe this is why laryngitis is still sometimes described as "having a frog in your throat". You could also drink the water that a frog had been swimming in. 

Although it was often believed that frogs and toads caused warts, it's also been claimed that warts could be cured by rubbing a frog or toad across them. Eating frog soup was said to cure whooping cough.

The ancient Celts venerated natural bodies of water, and springs and wells were sacred. The presence of frogs in the water was highly desirable since they associated frogs with both purity and healing. Bathing in such water or drinking it was thought to cure illness. Many such wells still exist, and one in Shropshire, England, is allegedly guarded by three frogs who are actually faeries in disguise!

Incidentally, there’s an old story about how frogs came to have only four toes on their front feet while their back feet have five. A group of young frogs ignored the advice of their elders and hopped into the midst of what they thought was going to be a sumptuous feast of bright fireflies. Instead, they found themselves in the midst of the faery court. The faery queen was so outraged by this interruption that she used her magic to remove a toe from every front foot of every frog – and threatened to remove more if they ever came back!

Frog brought fire to Man by carrying a burning stick.
Image: Bigstock.com

Frogs and toads have appeared in ancient stories as heroes and benefactors of the human race. In Native American legends of the Southwest, Frog is usually depicted carrying a piece of wood in its mouth, because the Mojave people believe it was the Frog who brought fire to humans. 

In some stories, Australia’s Aboriginal peoples credited the frog with bringing rain to make the plants grow. And in Aztec folklore, the god Quetzacoatl assumed the form of a little blue frog in order to bring “the food of the gods” to humans – cocoa!

Good frog!



The fae are cunning, powerful and often cruel. The most beautiful among them are often the most deadly. Hidden far beneath the mortal world, the timeless faery realm plays by its own rules—and those rules can change on a whim.

Now and again, the unpredictable residents of that mystical land cross the supernatural threshold…

In this enchanting romance series from Dani Harper, the ancient fae come face-to-face with modern-day humans and discover something far more potent than their strongest magic: love.

Note: Every book in this series is designed to stand alone.
It's fun to read them in order, but you won't get lost if you don't!

See ALL Dani's novels on her Amazon Author Page 

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