"On dark nights, when the moon is new and the ground is damp with rain, Mother Toadfinger comes creeping along. She is looking for the mean and nasty children, the ones who misbehave and don't listen to their elders. And do you know what she does to them? She reaches her long, cold, slimy fingers around their wrists and snatches them where they sleep, taking them off to places unknown."
Mother Toadfinger is an old mother's tale told on the continent of Greth. It is meant to frighten young children into being obedient and respectful towards elders, especially their parents.
In most versions of the story, Mother Toadfinger is a hag who lives deep in the jungle, surviving off whatever rodents and fish she can catch, which she then eats raw. She has slimy green-grey skin, and walks through the night hunched over. Her fingers are long, gnarled, and cold, topped with sharp yellowed claws. According to the story, Mother Toadfinger has only a few sharp fangs left, but they are enough to consume passing vermin and any disobedient child she finds. Her hair is long and made of worms.
Mother Toadfinger is blind, and finds children by smell, sound, and touch. This is said to make unbathed and noisy children easier for her to find and steal away. Many children who are truly frightened of this hag will no doubt find baths much more appealing and stay quiet once the sun goes down.
The story varies from household to household on what Mother Toadfinger does with the naughty children that she finds. In some versions, she strangles the children in their sleep and leaves them for their parents to discover in the morning. In others, she simply steals them away by stuffing them in a sack or cauldron and then bringing them either to a more sinister being -sometimes even the Void itself- or returning to her hut with them to enslave or eat them.
Likewise, Mother Toadfinger comes to houses in a variety of ways. Some tales have her come by every single night to see if she can detect any naughty children. Others suppose she comes only on stormy, foggy, or moonless nights. Whatever the details, the tale of Mother Toadfinger has been an effective tool in Greth households in teaching children to behave themselves.