Thursday, June 7, 2007

Wyrd Sisters talk cooking

Yes, so as I was saying Gertrude, I have this fabulous recipe,...

Round about the cauldron go:

In the poisoned entrails throw.

Toad, that under cold stone

Days and nights has thirty-one

Sweated venom sleeping got,

Boil thou first in the charmed pot.

Oh yes, Swarghella, I've heard this before, doesn't it then go...

Double, double toil and trouble;

Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Fillet of a fenny snake,

In the cauldron boil and bake?

Indeed sister, that it does. But there's more...

Eye of newt and toe of frog,

Wool of bat and tongue of dog,

Adder's fork and blindworm's sting,

Lizard's leg and howlet's wing.

For charm of powerful trouble,

Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

Aw, wait, let me finish it girls (says Vargswitha), I knows this one, me auld Ma used to cook it...

Double, double toil and trouble;

Fire burn and couldron bubble.

Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,

Witch's mummy, maw and gulf

Of the ravin'd salt-sea shark,

Root of hemlock digg'd in the dark,

Liver of blaspheming Jew;

Gall of goat; and slips of yew

silver'd in the moon's eclipse;

Nose of Turk, and Tartar's lips;

Finger of birth-strangled babe

Ditch-deliver'd by the drab,

Make the gruel thick and slab:

Add thereto a tiger's chaudron,

For ingrediants of our cauldron.

Double, double toil and trouble,

Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Oh, ladies, that sounds absolutely delicious. Let's do it now. I'll get the pot...


Yvonne said...

Apparently all those names are actually the names of various herbs - which I can believe, given the bizarre names & folknames of some plants.

Caroline Tully said...

The same thing was done in the Greek magical papyri, there's a list of 'real' names of herbs that went under rather distasteful or euphemistic names somewhere in the Greek magical papyri, maybe I'll post something about that soon-ish. Scholars are not in complete agreement that this list is accurate however. I believe it was complied by someone in antiquity, but that doesn't make it definate.

Caroline Tully said...

Ok, I'm back again, armed with the Greek Magical Papyri in Translation (H. D. Betz.). According to PGM XII 401-44 ingredients such as "A snake's ball of thread" means "soapstone"; "blood of a snake" means "hematite".

Here are some more...

*Bone of ibis = buckthorn.
*Tears of a Hamadryas baboon = dill juice.
*Lion semen = human semen (you wish!).
*Blood of Hephaistos = wormwood.
*Blood of Hestia = camomile.
*A bull's semen = egg of blister beetle...

And so on it goes, in a bloody, semen-like way...