Thursday, January 29, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Catch a badger, draw his teeth while he is alive, and say: “I thee slay and draw thy teeth.” Then tie them in a garment and they will protect thee from hail, storm, wicked men and pestilence.
For difficult breathing, put the lung of a fox into sweetened wine and drink the mixture.
For sore ears, mix a fox’s gall with oil and smear the ears with it.
To avoid oversleeping [or sleeping at all, quippeth the Egg] drink a hare’s brain in wine; “wonderful it amendeth”.
For sore feet, beat a boar’s lung small, and mix it with honey. “Quickly this salve easeth the sore.”
To remove ugly marks from the face, smear the face with the blood of a bull. “It taketh away the marks.”
For pain and pricking sensation in the eyes, break into pieces the head of a hound. If
the right eye ache, take the right eye, if the left eye ache, take the left eye, and bind it to the affected eye. “It healeth well.”
For cataract or white spots, catch a fox alive, cut his tongue out, let him go, dry the tongue, tie it in a red bag, and hang it round the neck.
To avoid inflamed eyes, when you see a star fall or cross the heavens count quickly, for you will be free from the trouble for as many years as you can count numbers.
For the same, write on a clean sheet of paper, ούβαίχ, and hang this round the sufferer’s neck with a thread from a loom.
If a bone be stuck in your throat, say thrice nine times: “I buss the Gorgon’s mouth.”
For a sore eyelid, poke the sore with nine grains of barley and say: Flee, flee; barley thee chaseth.
For sleep, lay a wolf’s head under the pillow. “The unhealthy shall sleep.”
Or, my absolute favourite:
When you have toothache, say argidam margidam sturgidam, spit in the mouth of a frog and ask the frog to make off with the toothache.
Yeah, to hell with the dentist; next time I get a twinge in the jaw, I’m off into a field to find a frog …
[Source: Frederick Harrison's Medieval Man and his Notions, published in 1947 by John Murray]
Thursday, January 22, 2009
I was quite startled - indeed, my gast was flabbered (sorry, but I couldn't resist) - to discover that I'm nominated for an Irish Blog Award. The rest of the nominees and other information can be found here. What's most interesting about said nomination is that it's provided a handy list of hitherto unknown-to-me culture blogs that I can explore at my leisure. Thanks very much to whoever put forward my name!
Anyway, in lieu of the usual type of thing that I tend to blather on about, I'd like to post the following picture, which registers very highly on the Cute-O-Meter.
This is our misfortunate hound, last seen at risk of being swept out to sea here. Last Saturday, my partner and I noticed that his testicles (which I will hereafter refer to as his "bag", for those of a delicate disposition) (and apologies to Flann O'Brien fans, who may have different associations for that word) were extremely red and inflamed looking, and he was licking them an awful lot (even for him). So off to the vet we went, where we discovered (after listening to the most hideous shrieks and yelps coming from the surgery - the vet emerged with a huge bite on his forearm and a look which said he was seriously questioning his chosen profession) that he had picked up an infection, and would have to take antibiotics and wear the above-pictured lampshade around his neck to prevent him from getting at his bag and indulging in his usual enthusiastic tongue-work. Once the giant, Elizabethan-ruff style plastic collar went on, he was sent into a Slough of Despond so deep that he refused to eat or even move without encouragement for oh, at least thirty minutes, after which he was back to his normal demented self (he's an amazingly adaptable and good-natured hound). Later in the week we discovered that the collar wasn't large enough, and he'd figured out that, by angling himself like a particularly elastic contortionist, he could just about reach his bag with his tongue, and went at it with the energy born of several days' pent-up frustration. So off to the vet we went again, and he now has a lampshade so huge that he can barely fit out the door, and is even more hilarious looking than he was before. The poor hound!