Video: The best modern and ancient Scottish auld wives’ tales

0
Have your say

Once upon a time in Scotland, epilepsy was treated by burying alive a black rooster with toenail clippings and a piece of silver.

Growing up, children are hit with all manner of wild statements they’re challenged to deftly fit in their developing logic.

Nobody knows quite why sheep, but counting them has been going on for centuries. PIC: Robert Perry/ The Scotsman.

Nobody knows quite why sheep, but counting them has been going on for centuries. PIC: Robert Perry/ The Scotsman.

In your late teens, you’re mature enough to laugh off the fact your five-year-old self believed carrots could help you see in the dark.

As you move further into adulthood and gain a good grasp of science, you must then digest the news that carrots, rich in Vitamin-A, do indeed enhance your body’s ability to transmit signals from your eyes to your brain.

Life’s little riddles, surprises and superstitions only get better with age.

The same can not be said for the bizarre remedies and ‘auld wives’ tales’ employed in Scottish history.

Read more: Medieval handbell among treasures found on Highland island

Perhaps the most incredulous of these was the ancient Scots treatment for epilepsy, used across the Highlands and Isles.

After suffering from a fit, a patient’s toenails were clipped and, along with a piece of silver, they were wrapped in paper and placed under the wing of a black cockerel.

The poor fowl was then buried alive at the site of the patient’s first fit by the most god-fearing man in the village.

Thanks to the wonders of modern medicine and the EpiPen, epileptics have been able to stop burying chickens long enough to enjoy eating them again.