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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/222

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2o8 Collectanea.

it. If she refuse it, it has to be bottled down her throat, three several glugs of it, for her health's sake. The last tin- pannikin-full ^ is reserved and sprinkled along her spine, where the hair is most rebellious, with slight massage treatment and a carrying of some of the dirt out of the elects of the fore- feet over the back. Finally, the last drops are tossed into her ears. If she keeps on never minding, it is a very bad sign. But if, on the other hand, she rouses up and shakes herself, the " cure " is already working, and the little festivities are gone back to with a light heart.

Details in the ritual vary slightly with the individual practitioner in se, but much with his training, carefulness, and experience. Herbs, however, are invariably used in this as in all other " cures " that I know of, one or two excepted. Seeing this, and noting moreover that in all formulas for particular ailments, particular plants are constants, the present writer is not prepared to say there is nothing in these remedies. But if there be, the whole efficacy of the ceremonial resides, we may admit, in the medicinal properties of these herbs. The knowledge of the specific plant is hidden away with most jealous care, and may not the sufficiently elaborate ceremonial have been devised to still further cloak up from prying eyes the kernel of the cure?

Culpeper,^ indeed {Student in Physic and Astrology, as he modestly describes himself), saith of Ladies Mantle, under heading of " Government and Virtues " — " It is one of the most singular wound-herbs, and therefore highly prized and praised by the Germans, who use it in all wounds inward and outward, to

^The household name of this useful kitchen utensil is no more liked by the Muse of prose than by her of poetry. It is "porringer."

^ " The British Herbal and Family Physician, For the Use of Private Families, by Nich=- Culpeper, Student in Physic and Astrology " ; a very old edition without date front or back, printed by Milner & Co., Halifax, a firm long since, I believe, dissolved.

Parkinson's Theatrum (London, 1640) is a storehouse of quaint information on'medical plants, as is Gerard's Herball, edited by Johnson (London, 1633), Parkinson was the King's Herbalist, and this very year there has been "Faithfully reprinted from the edition of 1629" — as the title-page declares — his notable book, Paradisi in Sole Paradisus terrestris. It is a perfect facsimile brought out by Methuen & Co.