I'm rereading The Phantom Tollbooth, and a sentence struck out at me that I haven't noticed before:

Milo jumped back in fright and quickly grabbed Tock to make sure that his alarm didn't go off—for he knew how much witches hate loud noises.

Is Norton Juster referencing a certain book or other source here? Where did he get this "fact" about witches?

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    First Phantom Tollbooth question. Very surprising. If you haven't I really recommend you read it. – TheAsh says Reinstate Monica Feb 9 at 20:29
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    I've not read it and wasn't aware of its existence. It may astound you to learn that not everyone went to school in America. – Valorum Feb 9 at 21:32
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    @Valorum I know, and that's why I highly recommend you do. (read it, that is, not go to school in America. That I highly recommend you don't). – TheAsh says Reinstate Monica Feb 9 at 21:35
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    Nicholas Remy (1594) vouchsafed that bells (and in particular consecrated church bells) were a sovereign specific against demons and witches; i.stack.imgur.com/ojNEV.png – Valorum Feb 9 at 21:47
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    BTW, @Valorum it was worth asking this question just to find out there's a scifi book you're not familiar with. I thought that was impossible. :-) – TheAsh says Reinstate Monica Feb 10 at 22:58

I don't know if this is what Juster intended, but the connection I made as a child was to "Hansel and Gretel." The witch with the gingerbread house has extremely sensitive hearing, so that she can hear the children taking bites out of her cottage:

Nibble, nibble, little mouse.
Who's been nibbling at my house?

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