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  • Writer's pictureGranny Bonnet

Hag Stones


I've always collected hag-stones and have many hanging round the garden perimeters as well as an especially prized garland gracing a twisted hazelnut tree in the back garden. There they hang, green-tainted with age, like the tree bark itself. They are there to ward off witches (if you believe in such things), and I love them because they are part of local folklore going back centuries.

My stones are both large and small and generally of flint or quartz. They are found stones, with naturally-occurring holes and are also known as witch stones, serpent's eggs or adder stones.

Adder stones were believed to have protective powers against snake-bites and nightmares, and if you peered through the hole, you were given the ability to see through the disguises of witches or fairies. A true adder stone will reputedly float in water so that counts all mine out straight away!

I'm afraid I cannot believe that the stones are the result of the hardened saliva of serpents massing together, the perforations being caused by their tongues, nor that such a stone comes from the head of a snake or is made by the bite of an adder. I can better believe that they are any rock with a hole bored through its surface by water action since most of mine have been found on the beach.

I am an inveterate gatherer, so anything out of the ordinary is likely to find its way to my house. I do so love the reach back into the past that these hag stones and their stories of cures, visions and superstitions afford me.

Think I'll just pop out into the garden now and touch them for luck!

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