. . . Toads are capable of friendly sentiments, and can be domesticated. For several years one lived just under the pantry window at our old homestead, and would come forth from his hole when called, and eat the bread-crumbs that were given to him. It was a damp place, and large toad-stools grew near; and I remember I used to think he sat on them, of course; but I never caught him at it. I believe they are another superstition. This toad was thought to be one of the oldest inhabitants of those parts. He was very stout, seemed stiff and gouty, and had but one eye, which gave him a rather sinister aspect.
Willis, the poet, had at his lovely home, called "Glen-Mary," a pet toad, which haunted, season after season, a particular path through the lawn. When Mr. Willis left this dear spot, he commended his portly protege to the kind tolerance of the next proprietor; begged him, when mowing the lawn, to remember the poor old toad's whereabouts, and not "slice him up" with the scythe.
I remember a pleasant little story of the Duke of Wellington offering to feed for a week the pet toad of a little friend, while the child was obliged to be absent. Wood, in his Natural History, tells of a pet toad which had lived for years in a family, and supped daintily every night on lumps of sugar. . .
I believe "Willis, the poet" is Nathaniel Parker Willis.From Greenwood, G. (1874). Heads and tails: studies and stories of pets. New York: The American News Company. 93-94.