|Toad-fish||A monster found by Thomas West while he is fishing in a lake near Wollage. The being "is called a Toad-fish" because "the head and eyes, when it lyes upon its belly, doe perfectly resemble a Toad," but it has "the perfect breast and chest of a man." It is thought that the Toad-fish "swims upright, beating the water with his hands." The size of the Toad-fish leads people to believe it is the Devil. The Toad-fish "is in length well-nigh five foot, in breadth a yard over, having on each side two huge fins, in likenesse much like a Thornback, his taile a foot in lenght, as it were all of Whale-bone."
||But to the purpose. Friday morning, July 15. between 4. and 5. of the clock in the morning, a little above Wollage, one Thomas West, casting his net upon the comming in of the tide, for Salmon; upon the drawing in of the net, (whose weight and difficulty in dragging portended to him good tidings) on a sudden he found a strange alteration: he sees in the net a Fiend, not a Fish; at the least a Monster, not an ordinary creature. Had not his companion had a better resolution, he would rather have been rid of his net, then troubled with his guest, so deeply was he struck with the odious shape of it. I now proceed to its shape and dimensions. It is by the vote of divers Gentlemen of great quality that went to see it, such a monstrous creature as scarce can be beleeved ever to have been seen: this morning brought alive into Glove-Alley in Kings street. It is called a Toad-fish, and with good reason; for the head and eyes, when it lyes upon its belly, doe perfectly resemble a Toad. But here lyes the wonder, turne him up, or but a little raise his head, and you shall behold the perfect breast and chest of a man: nay you may evidently tell as many ribs, both short and long, as are in a man, and of the same joynture and feature; and two as perfect hands as any man whatsoever. By which it is evident that he swims upright, beating the water with his hands, as we all know how the Toad marcheth with his snowt upwards. His mouth very broad, with three ranks of sharp teeth; whereby it is probable that it is a devouring, ravenous, and prey-booting fish; yet is its mouth the very embleme of a Toad, as likewise its eyes. A Butchers wife comming in hastily to see it, and hearing at the first that there was a strange fish to be seene, and being upon it in the stable where it lay before she was aware, thrusting in among others, started from it with a shreek, crying, Oh the devill in the shape of a great fish, swounded, and was faine to be carryed out. The dimensions of the fish are these: He is in length well-nigh five foot, in breadth a yard over, having on each side two huge fins, in likenesse much like a Thornback, his taile a foot in length, as it were all of Whale-bone. |
Anonymous. A Relation of a Terrible Monster Taken by a Fisherman near Wollage, 15 July, 1642 . London: 1642, 1-2