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Fossil Folklore

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Fish teeth:

Introductionred arrowToadstone mythsred arrowExtracting toadstonesred arrowJewellery and medicinered arrowSerpents' eyesred arrowWhat is Lepidotes?red arrowReferences and links

Illustrations from Johannes de Cuba's Hortus Sanitatis (1498) showing the extraction of a toadstone from the head of a toad

Extracting toadstones

Topsell (1608) gave instructions as to how the stone should be taken from the toad, which had to be alive for the stone to retain its powers. Apparently, the toad should be placed on a red cloth to distract him, and while he played, the stone would fall from his head.

Lupton (1627) suggested an equally imaginative way to extract the jewel: 'Put a great or overgrowne Tode... into an earthen pot, and put the same in an Ants hillocke, and cover the same with Earth, which Toade at length the Ants will eate: So that the bones of the Toade and stone will be left in the Pot...'