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been introduced into the materia medica as a charm, occurs: "Five spoonfuls of knave child urine of an innocent." Knave child is evidently for male child, and innocent means a harmless idiot.
Shaw, in his History of the Province of Moray, in Scotland, p. 248, gives the following account of some physical charms still used there. In hectic and consumptive diseases they pare the nails of the fingers and toes of the patient, put these parings into a rag cut from his clothes, then wave their hand with the rag thrice round his head, crying Deas soil, after which they bury the rag in some unknown place. He tells us he has seen this done; and Pliny, in his Natural History, mentions it as practised by the magicians or Druids of his time.
When a contagious disease enters among cattle, the fire is extinguished in some villages round; then they force fire with a wheel, or by rubbing a piece of dry wood upon another, and therewith burn juniper in the stalls of the cattle, that the smoke may purify the air about them; they likewise boil juniper in water, which they sprinkle upon the cattle: this done, the fires in the houses are rekindled from the forced fire. All this, he tells, he has seen done, and it is, no doubt, a Druid
The ancient Britons, says Pennant, in his Zoology, iii. 31, had a strange superstition in respect of the viper, and of which there still remains in Wales a strong tradition. The account Pliny gives of it, lib xxix. c. 12, we find thus translated by Mason in his Caractacus. The person speaking is a Druid :
"The potent adder-stone
And instant flies,
Follow'd by th' envenom'd brood
Camden, in his Ancient and Modern Manners of the Irish, tells us, that "to prevent kites from stealing their chickens,
they hang up in the house the shells in which the chickens were hatched." See Gough's edit. of Camden, 1789, iii. 659. See also Memorable Things, noted in the Description of the World, p. 112, where it is added: "To spit upon cattel, they held it good against witchery."
This wondrous egg seems to be nothing more than a bead of glass, used by the Druids as a charm to impose on the vulgar, whom they taught to believe that the possessor would be fortunate in all his attempts, and that it would give him the favour of the great. Our modern Druidesses, he adds, give much the same account of the ovum anguinum, glain neidr, as the Welsh call it, or the adder gem, as the Roman philosopher does, but seem not to have so exalted an opinion of its powers, using it only to assist children in cutting their teeth, or to cure the chincough, or to drive away an ague. He gives a plate of these beads, made of glass of a very rich blue colour, some of which are plain and others streaked.
In the Diary of Elias Ashmole, 11th April, 1681, is preserved the following curious incident: "I took early in the morning a good dose of elixir, and hung three spiders about my neck, and they drove my ague away. Deo gratias!" Ashmole was a judicial astrologer, and the patron of the renowned Mr. Lilly. Par nobile fratrum.
Grose tells us that if a tree of any kind is split, and weak, rickety, or ruptured children drawn through it, and afterwards the tree is bound together, so as to make it unite; as the tree heals and grows together, so will the child acquire strength. Sir John Cullum, who saw this operation twice performed, thus describes it: "For this purpose a young ash was each time selected, and split longitudinally, about five feet; the fissure was kept wide open by my gardener, whilst the friend of the child, having first stripped him naked, passed him thrice through it, almost head foremost. As soon as the operation was performed, the wounded tree was bound up with a packthread; and as the bark healed the child was to recover. The first of the young patients was to be cured of the rickets, the second of a rupture." This is a very ancient and extensive piece of superstition.
["Cure for the Hooping-cough!-A party from this city, being on a visit to a friend who lived at a village about four miles distant, had occasion to go into the cottage of a poor
woman, who had a child afflicted with the hooping-cough. In reply to some inquiries as to her treatment of the child, the mother pointed to its neck, on which was a string fastened, having nine knots tied in it. The poor woman stated that it was the stay-lace of the child's godmother, which, if applied exactly in that manner round about the neck, would be sure to charm away the most troublesome cough! Thus it may be seen that, with all the educational efforts of the present day, the monster Superstition still lurks here and there in his caves and secret places."-Worcester Journal, 1845.
"Superstition in the nineteenth century.-A few days since an unusual circumstance was observed at Pillgwenlly, which caused no small degree of astonishment to one or two enlightened beholders. A patient ass stood near a house, and a family of not much more rational animals were grouped around it. A father was passing his little son under the donkey, and lifting him over its back, a certain number of times, with as much solemnity and precision as if engaged in the performance of a sacred duty. This done, the father took a piece of bread, cut from an untasted loaf, which he offered the animal to bite at. Nothing loath, the Jerusalem pony laid hold of the bread with his teeth, and instantly the father severed the outer portion of the slice from that in the donkey's mouth. He next clipped off some hairs from the neck of the animal, which he cut up into minute particles, and then mixed them with the bread which he had crumbled. This very tasty food was then offered to the boy who had been passed round the donkey so mysteriously, and the little fellow having eaten thereof, the donkey was removed by his owners. The father, his son, and other members of his family were moving off, when a bystander inquired what all these 'goings on' had been adopted for? The father stared at the ignorance of the inquirer, and then, in a half contemptuous, half condescending tone, informed him that 'it was to cure his poor son's hooping-cough, to be sure! Extraordinary as this may appear, in days when the schoolmaster is so much in request, it is nevertheless true."- Monmouthshire Merlin.
It is believed in Surrey that the hooping-cough can be cured by mounting the patient on a black ass, saddled and bridled, with trappings of white linen and red riband, and by leading him nine times round an oak tree. A man named Sprat ac
tually performed these ceremonies on Sunday week, at Roehampton, in the hope of curing his child.
[The following is still practised in the neighbourhood of Gloucester: "If a child has the hooping-cough, cut off some of the hair of its head, roll it up in butter, and throw it to a dog, upon whose swallowing it all symptoms of coughing in the child will at once cease, and manifest themselves in the dog."]
In the Gent. Mag. for October 1804, p. 909, is given an engraving of an ash tree, growing by the side of Shirleystreet (the road leading from Hockly House to Birmingham), at the edge of Shirley Heath, in Solihull parish. The upper part of a gap formed by the chizzel has closed, but the lower remains open. The tree is healthy and flourishing. Thomas Chillingworth, son of the owner of an adjoining farm, now about thirty-four years of age, was, when an infant of a year old, passed through a similar tree, now perfectly sound, which he preserves with so much care that he will not suffer a single branch to be touched, for it is believed the life of the patient depends on the life of the tree; and the moment that is cut down, be the patient ever so distant, the rupture returns, and a mortification ensues. It is not, however, uncommon for persons to survive for a time the felling of the tree. In one case the rupture suddenly returned, and mortification followed. These trees are left to close of themselves, or are closed with nails. The woodcutters very frequently meet with the latter. One felled on Bunnan's farm was found full of nails. This belief is so prevalent in this part of the country, that instances of trees that have been employed in the cure are very common. The like notions obtain credit in some parts of Essex. In a previous part of the same volume, p. 516, it is stated that this ash tree stands "close to the cottage of Henry Rowe, whose infant son, Thomas Rowe, was drawn through the trunk or body of it in the year 1791, to cure him of a rupture, the tree being then split open for the purpose of passing the child through it. The boy is now thirteen years and six months old; I have this day, June 10, 1804, seen the ash tree, and Thomas Rowe, as well as his father Henry Rowe, from whom I have received the above account; and he super
' Communicated by Mr. Robert Bond, of Gloucester.
stitiously believes that his son Thomas was cured of the rupture by being drawn through the cleft in the said ash tree, and by nothing else."
The writer first quoted, in p. 909, refers to the vulgar opinion "concerning the power of ash trees to repel other maladies or evils, such as shrew-mice, the stopping one of which animals alive into a hole bored in an ash is imagined an infallible preventive of their ravages in lands."
["In the north riding of Yorkshire, the even-ash is employed as a charm in the following manner: A young woman desirous of ascertaining who her husband will be, pulls an evenash privately from the tree, repeating at the moment these lines
'Even-ash, even-ash, I pluck thee,
This night my own true love to see;
But in the clothes he does every day wear.'
The twig is placed under her pillow at night, and the future husband, of course, makes his appearance in her dreams. (See further on this subject in Halliwell's Popular Rhymes, p. 222.) The following lines are current in Wiltshire :
'An even-ash, or a four-leaved clover,
You'll see your true love before the day's over.'
It was told to me in my childhood by my nurse, who never, I think, forgot it when we passed by an ash tree or through a clover-field. How well I remember the masses of moving leaves, up into which I have gazed with her until I was giddy! "Mr. Lover's beautiful song has made us all acquainted with the Irish superstition about the Four-leaved Shamrock' (clover).
"It may not be uninteresting to many of your readers to learn that, in the year 1833, I witnessed, at Shaugh, on the borders of Dartmoor, the actual ceremony of drawing a child through a cleft ash tree for the cure of rickets. The tree, which was a young one, was not split through its whole length, a large knife was inserted about a foot from the ground, and the tree cut through for a length of about three feet. This incision being thus made, two men drew the parts forcibly asunder until there was room enough to draw the child through, which