Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/263

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Some Algerian Superstitions.


disappeared. The reason that my informant gave for this treatment was that the scorpion " was born of the earth," a reason whicii recalls that given to me by a Shawi surgeon for employing earth as a dressing for wounds, namely, that we originate from earth and therefore earth must be bene- ficial to us.

An Ouled Ziane doctor, well skilled in practical surgery, described to me a magical preventative for hydrophobia. Within forty days of being bitten by a mad dog, the victim must take seven insects such as are to be found on the thapsia garganica plant (I have not been able to obtain specimens of these as they are not procurable in winter) and pack them alive in a reed, after which the reed is closed up. When the reed is opened on the seventh day after packing, six of the insects will be found to be dead while one is still living ; the living insect is then killed, dried, and powdered, when the powder is rolled in honey into a pill the size of a grain of wheat and swallowed. If taken within forty days of being bitten this medicine will prevent hydrophobia.

In order to alleviate pain in accouchement, the Ouled Ziane and the people of Ai'n Touta will wash the right big toe of the woman's husband in a coffee-cup full of water and give this water to the woman to drink, while to ensure an easy delivery the Shawi suspend a flint wrapped in cotton rag upon the woman's thigh, because, I was told, this charm was recommended in Arabic books, which require the use of yellow or white flint only, and has been found by practice to be successful.

Ouled Ziane mothers keep the umbilical cords of their children, and when the children suffer from soreness of the eyes they dip the dried "cord" in butter and introduce a drop or two of the butter from it into the child's eyes.

My Arab orderly from the Ai'n Touta told me that a good cure for cold in the head of a child is to cut a piece of paper to fit the crown of the head, prick this paper all