The Everyday Lore Project

9 March 2020 – Toenails

9 March 2020 – Toenails

Today I’ve been cutting my toenails and then chopping the clippings into three. And it’s a full moon. The into three bit is so that the Devil can’t make a ship out of them, obviously, but actually, from what I’ve read, the full moon bit only matters if you’re scraping them. Which I wasn’t.

But now that the full moon has been mentioned (shoe horn, anyone?), tonight’s one is a supermoon, the first of three successive supermoons. As with all full moons, it has many names – Plough, Wind, Lenten and Chaste, amongst others. And according to my almanac, Lenten may not have come from the fact we’re still in Lent, but from lencten, an Old English word for spring. Come on weather, catch up.

Anyhow, toenails. I would just like to clarify that I haven’t been wandering around with talons scratching the insides of my boots since the beginning of the project, my nails get a regular trim, I’ve just not mentioned it. And as cutting toenails isn’t brain surgery all went well, except for the nail on my left little toe pinging off somewhere (I’m currently trying not to think of it nestling in my bath puff), and the sight of a pile of horny halfmoons on the side of the bath was enough to make my stomach turn. From there it got fiddly. The big nails comfortably went into thirds but as the toe size decreased, so did the ease. But the Devil wasn’t going to get any help from me to build his boat, so I cracked on and the horny halfmoons were soon dispatched to stiff slivers. And that’s when it all went wrong.

You see, it’s said that if your toenail cuttings end up on the floor, you’ll be forced to pick them up in the afterlife. And frankly, that’s not how I picture spending my eternity. But sweeping the clippings into my hand to throw them away (yes, I know that’s problematical due to evil spells, but I wasn’t about to bury them with the potatoes), I misjudged the moisture on the side of the bath and it all got messy. Bits of keratin everywhere. And I have absolutely no idea if I managed to get them all. I’m just hoping that as I cut them on a Monday, I’ll hear good news, although fingers crossed I won’t hear this news for at least half a century…


Leendertz, L. (2019) The Almanac, A Seasonal Guide to 2020, London, Mitchell Beazley

Daniels, C.L. & Stevans, C.M (eds) (2003) Encyclopædia of Superstitions, Folklore, and the Occult Sciences of the World, Hawaii, University Press of the Pacific

Published by Liza Frank

Author of My Celebrity Boyfriend. Obsessed with hula hooping, sons of preachermen and fresh dates, sometimes all at the same time. Curator of Folklore Agony and The Everyday Lore Project.

2 comments on “9 March 2020 – Toenails”

  1. Glorious Barbara says:

    Who said folklore wasn’t glamorous?

    1. And you know I’m all about the glamour…

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