Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/375

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Collectanea. 339

buttons, and broken crockery. Patients sit in the "chair" to cure lumbago. It is believed that the water of this lake cannot be boiled and that no one can be drowned by it, and sixty or seventy years ago cattle were cured by it. The beasts were brought in herds to the lake to drink, and were driven into it. If they turned to the right hand they would recover, but not if they swam to the left. It is said that on one occasion a cow sank, but was found next day grazing in a field beside the lake, completely cured. In consequence of drainage works, the water level has fallen, and the mud round the shore is too deep to allow the cattle to be driven through it, so on May Day every year, before sunrise, a little crowd gathers, of perhaps over 100 persons, to fill bottles with the water for curing cattle, especially of " the worm." The water keeps good till the next anniversary, and is also used to give a "good churning " and to clear a " garden " of caterpillars. -^

In 1839 Lough lona (now Eenagh) was reputed to cure sick cattle on Mondays and Thursdays. ^^ In 1808 the smiths were in some districts employed to kill the cattle, — or rather to fell them for slaying, — and their perquisites were the animals' heads. 2*

Persons over sixty years of age are often firm believers in the charming away, or "taking," of milk and butter. The younger folk usually deny that they hold this belief, and, where they take part m quarrels caused by it, avowedly only do so to support their elders. Two families living in the south-east corner of the county had about 1890 a quarrel resulting in a serious feud, hardly as yet appeased. It seems that for about three years the cows of the first household gave but little milk, and that little so bad and unwholesome for pigs and calves that several died. Ordinary veterinary practitioners, and even the local " knowing men," did no good, so the farmer sought a " wise man " of renown in another parish. This sage directed his client to watch the local well all May Eve, and to let no one come near it till after midnight. The farmer and his sons hid near it, saw a man and a woman of the

^ The Journal of the Limerick Field Club, vol. ii.

^ Ordnance Survey Letters, (Co. Clare), vol. i., p. i6i.

^Hely Dutton, Statistical Survey of the County of Clare, p. 359. The smith was a magician amongst the Irish, and the ancient St. Patricias Loricu prays against the spells of " smiths, women, and druids."