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vol vi, issue 1 < ToC
The Toad Stone
by Colleen Anderson
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The OracleFragile Rock
The Toad Stone
by Colleen Anderson
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The Oracle




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Fragile Rock
The Toad Stone
by Colleen Anderson
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The Oracle


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Fragile Rock
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The OracleFragile Rock
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The Oracle




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Fragile Rock
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The Oracle


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Fragile Rock
The Toad Stone  by Colleen Anderson
The Toad Stone
 by Colleen Anderson
Why would a toad conceal a stone
in the middle of its forehead
it was never a girl with a curl
just the amphibian realm’s ugly duckling
considered too dreadful to ever be kissed

All it could do was conjure magics
the purview of the horrid, the lonely
the intellectually superior
therefore alone and doomed
to discover the wonders of the world

Toads were never great raconteurs
wizards or even kissers
what’s a lonely toad to do but master
its hidden jewel and boast of its skills
say that the stone eliminates infection

The backlash to practical magic
is unpractical places to conceal it
toads have no pockets nor secret satchels
no woodland palace in which to bury
treasured talismans, precious knowledge

The toad must store the lingua universalis
close to the lengthy tongue, an alphabet
or two, siren songs and incantations packed
into a rock stored in easy verbal reach
when holding words for all the world

The drawback is, because there always is one
one tends to show off forgotten languages
until an envious sorcerer, two-bit wizard
or greedy witch gets word on the wind
and wand in hand catches toad unawares

Then it’s an old one-two with a hammer
the head cracked like a walnut
to grab that special pebble
from the toad's font, its love of knowledge
the magic dissipated and toad tossed in a pot

Indeed, loose lips and large rocks sink lives
but the wily amphibian has the last laugh
from the darker side of the lily pad
dialects in every parlance fall to the owner
but hold the stone within your mouth

Carefully! You don’t want to swallow it
or your language goes to shit
but to hold the greatest gift
understanding all the world’s tongues
means that with a stone in your mouth
you cannot speak the words of power

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