Page 235. " A gleaming silver sword had appeared inside the Hat "

Sacred or magical swords are found in many myths and legends.  Some of the most famous are: King Arthur's Excalibur; Sigurd's Gram, used to slay the dragon Fafnir (Siegfried's Nothung in Wagner's Ring); Kusanagi, which in Japanese legend could control the wind; Attila the Hun’s sword (said to be the sword of Mars, God of War); Marc Antony's Philippan, given to him by Cleopatra and lost when he was defeated by Octavian; the Vietnamese Thuận Thiên (Heaven's Will), which gave its bearer extraordinary height and strength; and Beowulf’s Naegling, also used to fight a dragon.

Other important swords include that of King George IV, presented to Britain’s Sovereign during the Coronation ceremony, and the Zulfiqar, a sword used by the Muslim Prophet Muhammad.

Page 236. " One long, poisonous fang was sinking deeper and deeper into his arm "
Creative Commons AttributionCobra - Credit: Saleem Hameed

Venomous snakes can be found everywhere in the world except Antarctica and certain islands. Poisonous snakebites are not necessary fatal, depending on how quickly medical care is provided, the health of the person and the amount of venom injected. 

The most common symptoms of snakebites are panic, nausea, fainting, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating and cold skin.

Aside from basilisks, almost all of the world's most deadly serpents are to be found in Australia.  These include the taipan, the Australian brown snake and the death adder.  Elsewhere, particularly dangerous snakes include Africa's puff adder and black mamba, and India's common krait and saw scaled viper.