Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories | Annotated Tale

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Charms Against Bugs.

CURIOUSLY enough, there do not seem to be any special legends about the origin of the bugs, but there are a good many charms which are used for getting rid of these troublesome vermin. The charms are of a symbolical nature. A suggestive action is performed which the conjurer believes will be followed by the conjured bugs. Thus: A woman in a complete state of nudity takes a mealie cake into one hand, or a crust of bread, or some other flour, and a brush used for whitewashing in the other. She nibbles at the cake or food, and whitewashes the wall, and while she is doing it, she says: "As I am eating my food and cleaning my walls so may you eat up one another and leave my walls clean of you," after which the bugs will perish.

               It is advisable to do this when the moon wanes, and the whitewashing should start from the wall which faces the door and then go on to the right until the door is reached again.

               Another charm--A boy in a state of complete nudity takes bread and salt into one hand, and in the other he holds his flute and also a number of bugs, called the wedding party. Thus equipped, he goes into the high road until he passes the boundary of his field. There he starts playing the flute, and then he throws the bugs away into the road, saying: "Here I have brought for you bread and salt, and I have been singing to you with my flute, now go and have a merry wedding, and remain where you are, never returning to my home." The bugs then never return.

               Another charm, like that of the fleas, is connected with the new moon.

               When the new moon appears, a man, coming outside his house and seeing it, exclaims, "A new king in the land, a new king in the land." To which one in the house standing by the window replies, "All the bugs must now go out of the house one by one, so that none remain behind." And after repeating these words three times he rides on a besom, poker, or the oven-peel (with which the bread is shovelled into the stove), and running through the house he begins sweeping the rooms, and says whilst so doing, "Get out of the house, ye bugs, for the new king is getting married, and he invites you to his banquet, for he has no one to eat, to drink, or to dance there. Get ye out and you will eat and drink and dance until you are satisfied."

               These words must be repeated three times, viz. at the beginnings of three months. The bugs are then believed to leave the house in the form of a swarm, and to go elsewhere.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Charms Against Bugs.
Tale Author/Editor: Gaster, Moses
Book Title: Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories
Book Author/Editor: Gaster, Moses
Publisher: Sidgwick & Jackson
Publication City: London
Year of Publication: 1915
Country of Origin: Romania
Classification: unclassified

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