When You Meet the Right One, You Just Know
A frog is a rubbish familiar. I mean, I could have got a black cat – that would have been my number one preference, it’s traditional for a reason – or a bat, something with a little more gravitas. Something associated with night – a creature that, in fact, has the decency to be nocturnal. But no, I’ve got a frog. Even a toad would have been marginally less embarrassing.
But this is what happens when you don’t plan. I was concentrating on learning the spells – some of them you can look up in books as and when, but there are others you need to use on the spot and it’s no good casting around for your copy of ‘Ye Olde Great Spells of Magick and Wisdom’ when you’re in mortal peril. And when I wasn’t mugging up on spells, I was learning to fly the bloody broomstick – I’m still learning, truth be told, and actually much more at home behind the wheel of my Ford Fiesta.
I tried wearing a cycle helmet which made me feel a bit more comfortable but turned me into a laughing stock. Witches laugh in the face of mortality and bruising apparently, so I had to forget that and toughen up.
While I was distracted with all that, I didn’t pay enough attention to getting a proper familiar. You’re supposed to put a lot of time into this, combing animal rescue centres for the right black moggy, or, like one of the girls on my course, spending night after night shivering with a Thermos inside some caves waiting for an obligingly capable bat to turn up.
I didn’t find the frog, the frog found me. He was on my doorstep one morning and I assumed he’d got lost from the pond that’s just yards away from my house. I ignored him, but he was there when I got home too. And then he sort of moved in with me. I mean, he lives in the pond really but he spends a lot of time at my house, I just didn’t seem to be able to get rid of him.
He doesn’t do much, just sits and croaks occasionally, catches his own food. I’ve yet to discern any magical powers emanating from him, but if I ever master that spell to make him talk, I guess he’ll probably say the same about me. Maybe you get the familiar you deserve.