Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 70.djvu/175

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

then Sinthgunt charmed it,
and Sunna her sister;
then Frua charmed it,
and Volla her sister;
then Woden charmed it,
as he well could,
as well the bone-wrench,
as the joint-wrench,
as the blood-wrench;
bone to bone,
blood to blood,
joint to joint,
as if they were glued together.

Christianized Version.

Our Lord rade,
His foal's foot slade;
Down he lighted,
His foal's foot righted;
Bone to bone,
Sinew to sinew,
Flesh to flesh.
Heal, in the name of the Father,
the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Examples of similar formulas might be multiplied indefinitely from all parts of the world, and from the remotest times to the present, but this is unnecessary. It is enough to note the curious fact that if the practise of the Carolina 'users' of the present day could be witnessed by Egyptian physicians of four thousand years ago, by Druid priests from the Gaul described by Cæsar, and by American Indian medicine men from the time of Columbus, it would appear to all of them a perfectly natural and philosophical method of treatment, however unintelligible the language of the formulas might be.

Besides the superstitions already cited, there exists in this region a number of other magical healing practises. These, however, unlike 'using,' can not be said to belong exclusively to that part of the population which is descended from the early German settlers. Africa is certainly the native land of some of them. The others form a part of that vast body of popular lore, of mixed and uncertain origin, which is the common property of the people of northern and western Europe and their descendants.

A prescription for rheumatism is closely allied to some of the 'using' practises, although no words are to be repeated over the patient. It is compounded of a teacupful of sweet cream, thickened with salt, seven buds of brier, nine of rosemary and eleven grains of black pepper. When these have been allowed to simmer together the mixture is to be skimmed, and with the remaining ointment the rheumatic parts are to be rubbed 'downward and outward on three Fridays in the dark of the moon.' Simpler remedies for rheumatism are rattle-snake oil; grease fried from toads; and a sharp knife or razor taken to bed with the patient to 'cut the pains.'