Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/686

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670
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

fest their annoyance when intruded upon, by swarming about ones head, getting into hair, ears, eyes, and nose. After their hives are cleaned they make no mistake as to their homes, every insect returning with unerring precision to its own quarters. At each entrance a bee sentinel constantly stands, to give warning of ap- proaching danger, when, from within, the door is immediately blockaded.

We must not forget to mention the Ez, the genuine wizard, supposed to call to his aid the black art for evil purposes, whereas the medicine man is believed to be a good magician. The Ez may and does " bewitch " those who offend him, but the medicine man can break the spell. They are very careful to make this distinc- tion between magician and sorcerer.

While in the eastern part of Yucatan, we frequently heard peo- ple speak of the Jew's Book, a medical work bearing that title. At last it fell into our hands not a printed copy, though it has been put in type, but the old Spanish manuscript. The contents rather astonished us. As a cure for leprosy, patients are advised to drink the water in Avhich an unplucked turkey buzzard has been boiled for three hours !

However, we found some very important recipes. Here, for in- stance, is one to cure the bewitched : " First take a root of ver- vain, cook it in wine and make the patient drink it. This will be thrown up. To know if the person is bewitched, pass over him a branch of the plant called skunk. If the leaves turn purple, the patient is bewitched. To free him from the enchantment, let him wear a cross made from the root of the skunk plant." The odor of that plant would most undoubtedly remove all charm from any person !

Side by side with those absurd prescriptions, there are others quite in accordance with the materia medica. The book is be- lieved to have been written by a white man, and many white peo- ple and half-breeds have the greatest confidence in it. As for the Indians, they summon the medicine man to give them herbs and dispel the evil power of the wizard that has prostrated them.

��The work in chemistry of 1893 is described by Prof. J. E. Reynolds as having been substantial in character, though almost unmarked by discoveries of popular interest. Among its features are Moissan's artificial production of the diamond ; the studies of Dr. Perkins on electro-magnetic rotation, of Lord Rayleigh on the relative densities of gases, of Dewar on cliemical resistance at extremely low tem- peratures, and of Clowes on exact measurements of flame-cap indications. Hor- ace Brown and Morris, studying the physiology of leaves, have led to novel conclusions respecting the formation of cane sugar and of starch; and Cross, Bevan, and Beadle have added to our knowledge of members of the group of celluloses.

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