Skip to main content

F is for Foxglove.....

A member of the Digitalis family of plants, Foxglove has been useful in the medical field as a group of cardiac medications are extracted from its leaves.

This beautiful biennial that adorns your lovely garden hides a deadly secret. Also known as Dead Man's Bells and Witches' Gloves, just a single nibble of a leaf could be fatal. The entire plant is toxic, not even drying or cooking it diminishes the level of toxicity-- which is unfortunate as several accidental poisonings have occurred where people have mistaken members of Digitalis family for the harmless Comfrey, which is often brewed in teas.

In folklore, foxglove is connected with fairies. The name has been attributed to a folktale, where fairies would give the flowers to foxes. The foxes would use the flowers to "glove" their toes so they could run through chicken coops without being heard. It is believed that the spots inside the foxglove flower are where a fairy has touched the plant and anyone who plants foxglove in their front garden is protected from evil forces. However, picking the foxglove and taking it indoors is said to anger the fairies.

Foxglove Fairytales

Tip your fairy thimble down, dear, 
see the dainty thumbprints running through.
Tread softly on little fox feet, dear,
hear the pixie giggles lilting true. 

Keep the fairy mittens near, dear,
know they hold safe your hearth and home.
Mar not the witches bells, dear,
and you'll ne'er face the dark of night alone.

                                                                                            --- e.a.s. demers


  1. Cool post! Things that are beautiful yet deadly are good fodder for fiction. And Foxglove is a gorgeous plant. I write YA speculative fiction. Hop on by for a visit if you like. I'm doing A to Z, and today, I'm #639 (It seems to vary from day to day :) )

    1. Thanks! And, that's so very true that the beautiful, yet deadly make for a good story :-)
      Good luck on your A-Z journey....


Post a Comment

Share your thoughts!

Popular posts from this blog

Y is for Yeth Hound.....

Yeth Hound--- one of the incarnations of the "Black Dog" myth, this one located specifically, in Devon, England.

"Black Dogs" appear in myths across the world, most are associated with death and bad omens... i.e. Hell Hounds.

The Yeth Hound is said to be the spirit of an unbaptised child that takes the form of a headless black dog. The Hound wanders the woods at night making pitiful wailing sounds (though, I'm unclear as to how it makes wailing sounds without having a head).

The Black Dogs were possibly one inspiration from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's ghost dog in The Hound of the Baskervilles-- "an enormous coal-black hound, but not such a hound as mortal eyes have ever seen."

Heed Not, the Lonesome Cry
Heed not, the lonesome cry, the baleful wail echoing through the woods. Seek not, the black hound's sigh, look not where the headless creature stood.
One sound, your limbs will shake, your heart filled with the deepest dread. One glimpse, your sou…

B is for Banshee.....

Irish bean sidhe and Scottish Gaelic bean sith, literally, woman of fairyland.

The mythology and legend surrounding the Banshee is a bit mixed. The most readily accepted story is of a hag-like creature wailing the impending death of someone nearby-- most ancient Gaelic families, especially the more well-to-do families, had their own Banshees that attached themselves to the lineage of the family name. I suppose it was a sign of station for a family to be able to claim their own Banshee--- I mean, who needs an exciting/ tongue-wagging-inciting skeleton in your cupboard when you've got a Banshee wailing in your rafters?
The origins of the more familiar Banshee may have stemmed from the ancient Keeners-- women who were employed to sing a lament at a funeral. The best Keeners were in high demand to "wail" and "weep" for the great personage who had fallen.

The Great families would boast a bean sidhe or bean sith-- a fairy-woman Keener--and having foresight, the Keene…

S is for Siren.....

Sirens--- the beautiful, the terrifying.
Vicious, but, seemingly opportunistic creatures who lured sailors to their deaths by the sound of their captivating songs. Whether the stories of these creatures were a result of surviving sailors attempting to explain their near-miss in an effort to divert the fault of their shipwreck from their hands, or whether as a warning for those leaving to ensure their fidelity to the women they left behind, is unclear...

Considered the daughters of Achelous(river god), and though they have been blamed for the death of many sailors, they were not, however, sea deities. They have sometimes been called Muses of the lower world, their sad song causing the body and soul of those sailors who hear them to fall into a fatal lethargy.

In early myths, Sirens were the combined form of birds and women. Sometimes with a large female head, their bodies covered in bird feathers, their feet...scaled. Later myths show them as female figures with the legs of birds, tho…