Because it’s snowing again and I was all ready for spring and I’m feeling like putting my head under my pillow until I hear tree peepers peeping and robins trilling, and just can’t sum up the energy, I offer you this. Away with you, winter cardinals and chickadees. Bring back the flocks from down south. And the bats and the fireflies too.
In the meantime, for your entertainment (and mine) and edification, here are some more superstitions gleaned from the Penguin Dictionary.
They are mostly regarding frogs. Poor put-upon creatures that they are!
This first one is from 1696. The notes in parentheses are my own:
To cure a Thrush (an infection of the mouth in this case). Take a living frog, and hold it in a cloth, that it does not down into the child’s mouth; and put the head into the child’s mouth until it is dead (the frog); and then take another frog and do the same.
This one is from 1857 and is an eye witness account:
More than forty years ago I recollect seeing one of my father’s reapers swallow several live frogs to cure herself of some stomach complaint (water- brush I believe) she said, there was naething better than a paddy doe reddin anes puddins. Mary is still alive, nearly fourscore years of age, in the village of Auchencrow.
For whooping cough I was assured that nothing was better than to walk along a road until you found nine frogs; these had to be carried home and made into soup. The patient on no account must see the frogs, or be told of what the soup was composed but on his or her finishing the whole nine, soup, and they would be found to be quite recovered.
Catch a live frog and lick the frog’s eyes with the tongue. The person who does so, has only to lick any diseased eye, and a cure is effected. (Not only does this person (a volunteer maybe?) have to lick a frog’s eye but then they have to lick a diseased eye as well. It doesn’t mention what happens to the person who does the licking but I feel sure that an unpleasant death awaited them.)
1835: (From a country veterinary doctor)
To make a horse lay down. Get some grey toads, hang them up on a white thorn bush till they are dead, then lay them into an ant hill then put them into a stream then dry them and beat them to a powder, touch a horse on the shoulder.