In praise of toads

George Sandford has left a fascinating comment on this post, which deals with an amusing 19th century literary-historical hoax–purported correspondence between Ferdinand the Catholic and an esoteric global selection of fellow-monarchs.

George is family of the alleged editor, Brother Antonio the Goth, and thus of the Christian clan kidnapped by the Moors when they invaded Iberia and rescued during the Reconquest, faith and pride intact. His finale is splendid: “The family coat of arms bears three toads for the family cleaved to their faith as the toad cleaves to the damp earth.” The toad–an extraordinarily useful beast–lost its last remaining charm to most people once it was discovered that it didn’t really have a precious jewel in its forehead, and it’s nice to know that someone, somewhere loved it.

So away with the hart, and

Like as the toad for fetid bog
In passion doth pant and bray,
So pants my longing soul, O Lord,
That come to thee I may!

Do toads bray?

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