Is there a doctor in the house? Fried mice and spiders in butter will cure a deep and deadly wound, and make a sick man stand. Miss Polly had a dolly who was sick, sick, sick, afflictions sore long time she bore but why should a man die who has sage in his garden? Mars doth rule the nettle wrapped in weapon salve, while the tooth fairy, ugly and venomous, yet wears a precious jewel in her head. Call the midwife for harelips, webbed toes and sleeping princesses; Dame Trot’s cure for bosom serpents was a night of Venus and a lifetime of Mercury. Pleased with his singing, the Little People took care of the hunchback with bezoars and aetites, nam similia similibus curant. Welcome to the world of AIDS with its springtime tonics for the blood. Peter sat on a marble stone, lying like a tooth-puller as he sucked poison out of the wound amongst quacks and quicksilver: touch my tomb and be healed, Typhoid Mary. But pale consumption gave the fatal blow and corridors are thronged with ghostly nurses clutching elegant pain. Take while symptoms persist.
This two-day conference on Health and Healing in Legend and Tradition will be held on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd September 2018 as the thirteenth Legendary Weekend of the Folklore Society, at the Spa in Scarborough, Yorkshire YO11 2HD. If you’re interested in shrew ashes, zanies, plague pits, smallpox goddesses or illness as metaphor we’d like to hear from you. Anyone can contribute – folklorists, herbalists, pathologists, sociologists and faith-healers. Presentations, which should be 20 minutes long, can take the form of talks, performances, or film presentations
The conference fee is £25 for speakers, £50 for others attending. If you would like to attend or to present a paper or performance, please make contact before 1 June with:
Jeremy Harte, Bourne Hall, Spring Street, Ewell, Surrey KT17 1UF.