"the wise toad who squats among the kingcups by the stream"
Kingcups - Credit: Patrick Mackie
Toads sometimes have negative associations in folklore, in part because they were believed to be the familars of witches. In many tales, however, they can represent good fortune and protection. When Carter spent some time in Japan, she may have come across the legend of Gama-Sennin; it tells of an old man who wanders through the land with his wise toad companion, who teaches him about the power of herbs. In many cultures, the life cycles of frogs and toads have led to them being symbols of transformation and recreation, and keepers of the secret of life.