Items of German-Canadian Folk-Lore. 47
FOLK-LORE IN CONNECTION WITH OUR FLORA.
A rather peculiar superstition is connected with the common knotweed or smartweed (Polygonum aviculare), which is called brenn- nessel by the Germans. The leaves of this plant bear conspicuous dark spots, which are supposed to be the blood of Christ, the plants having been, it is supposed, at the foot of the cross when He was crucified.
A certain plant, the English name of which, unfortunately, I can- not find out, but which is known by the Germans as irreu-kraut, found in Canadian woods, if stepped upon is supposed to bewilder a person, and cause him to lose his way. An acquaintance told me that one day, about forty years ago (she was about ten years old at that time), she was sent by her employer into the woods to bring home the cows, and, having stepped upon one of these plants, she became so confused that she lost her way, and began to wander around the woods, always coming back to the starting-point. At length she emerged into a clearing, and saw, as she supposed, a neighbor's barns. Seeing a man in a field, she went to him, and inquired where her employer lived. As this was the man himself, he was amazed and thought she had gone crazy.
Hair, when inclined to split, should be cut at full moon.
A Cure for Fits. — Take the blood of a black hen, and induce the patient to drink it.
To stop nose-bleeding, tie a string of red yarn around one of your fingers.
The skin of a white weasel worn about the person is said to be a preventive of rheumatism.
A cure for " side-stitch " is to spit on a pebble and throw it over your shoulder, and then walk away without looking back at it.
For sore throat, take the sock off your left foot, turn it inside out, and put it around your throat, and it will help to cure it.
If a bee stings you, do not let it escape, but kill it, and the wound will not mortify.
The calcareous body found in the head of the common crayfish is supposed by some to be useful in removing foreign substances from the eye.
A cure for a child's irritable temper is to take it and put it head first through the left leg of its father's trousers. I heard of a case where this was tried about two years ago.
To prevent blood-poisoning if you step on a rusty nail, take the nail and immerse it in oil or lard, then remove it and put it into the bake-oven, and there let it remain until the wound is healed.