An "ashplant" is a walking stick fashioned from a sapling that has been cut off below the surface of the soil. The main root of many ash saplings takes a horizontal bend for several inches, several inches below the surface, before continuing its downward path, and such a sapling supplies a natural handle when the stick is inverted (personal communication from Don Gifford). Stephen may have begun carrying his for protection against dogs, but he thinks of it as also possessing various kinds of magical power.

JH 2017

A rustic ash walking stick. Source: www.huxley-sticks.co.uk

An Etruscan lituus instrument, from the Dictionnaire des Antiquités grecques et romaines de Daremberg et Saglio. Source: Wikimedia Commons.