Abracadabra – of portents and plague

Image used under Creative Commons - source Il Dottore
Image used under Creative Commons – source Il Dottore

Mistress Agnes be greatly concerned about the darkness in the sky yesterday. As all do know, a mis-alignment of the planets do foretell great disaster; mayhap plague, pestilence, famine or warfare. Having brewed plenty of Mistress Wolley’s plague remedy last week, she is now seeking out an amulet to protect herself. She has a hankering for a parchment inscribed with the word ‘Abracadabra’, as that is said to keep her safe. Should one be misfortunate enough to get the plague, then Master Markham doth recommend urinating on a mixture of yarrow, tansy and feverfew and drinking the strained liquid. (Best, Michael R. (ed.) Markham, Gervase The English Housewife 1986 McGill-Queens University Press (1615) pp. 12-13.) If you do have the plague boils, then Mistress Agnes will prepare a newly slaughtered pigeon, or a mixture of egg yolk, honey and rue for you to apply.

 

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