Leechbook Book I elf remedies

copyright: Karen Louise Jolly, Popular Religion in Late Saxon England: Elf Charms in Context (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996), pp. 147-50 passim. Do not reproduce without permission from the publishers.


lxii.3 (partial)

[For fever:] A man shall write this on the housel dish [paten] and wash [it] into the drink with holy water, and sing on it:

[To the left of the following Latin quotation appears a design of eighteen crosses resembling plus signs, which surround the Greek letters alpha and omega.]

In principio erat uerbum et uerbum erat aput deum et deus erat uerbum. Hoc erat In principio aput deum omnia per ipSum facta Sunt.

[In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God. He was in the beginning with God and all things through him were made.]

Wash then the writing with holy water off the dish into the drink. Sing then the Credo, and the Pater noster.

There follows in the remedy a list of Christian songs and an exorcism in Latin beginning "I adjure you" addressed to the fevers.


lxiii For a fiend sick man, when the Devil feeds the man or controls him from within with disease. A spew drink: lupin, bishopwort, henbane, cropleek; pound together, add ale as liquid; let stand for a night; add fifty libcorns in, and holy water.

A drink for a fiend sick man, to drink from a church bell: githrife, gls [cynoglossum?], yarrow, lupin, betony, attorlathe, hassock, fane, fennel, church lichen, lichen from Christ's mark [a cross], lovage. Make the drink from clear ale, sing seven masses over the herbs, add garlic and holy water to it, and drip the drink into every drink which he will after drink. And let him sing the psalm, "Beati immaculati," and "Exurgat," and "Saluum me fac, deus." And then let him drink the drink from a church bell; and after the drink let the mass priest sing over him this: "Domine, sancte pater omnipotens."

For a man with falling-sickness [braecseocum]. Costmary, goutweed, lupin, betony, attorlathe, cropleek, holecersan, hove, fennel. Let a man sing masses over them; make it from foreign ale and from holy water; let him drink this drink fresh each time, for nine mornings; and no other liquid that is thick and still. And let him give alms, and pray God earnestly for mercies on him.

For the wooden heart [frenzy?]. Bishopwort, lupin, bonewort, everfern, githrife, heahhiolothe. When day and night divide, then sing in church litanies, that is the names of the saints, and the Pater noster; with the song go, so that you may be near the herbs, and go around [them] three times; and when you take them, go again to the church with the same song. And sing twelve masses over them, and over all the drinks which belong to this disease, in honor of the twelve apostles.


lxiv Against every evil wisewoman [leodrunan], and against elf trick [aelfsidenne], write this writing for him with these Greek letters: <#> + + A + + O + yHpByM + + + + + BeppNNIKNETTANI. <#> [crosses with alpha and omega, possibly huios, ichthus; Veronica]

Again, another powder and drink against a leodrunan. Take a bramble apple, and lupin, and pollegian; pound, then sift; put in a pouch, lay under the altar, sing nine masses over them; put the powder into milk, drip thrice on them holy water; give to drink at three times, at undern [9 a.m.], at midday, at nones [3 p.m.]. If the disease be on animals, pour the same powder with holy water into the mouth.

A salve. Lupin, hedgerife, bishopwort, the red magothan, armelu, cropleek, salt. Boil in butter for a salve. Smear it on the head and the breast.

A drink. Haransprecel, alexanders, rue, lupins, hedgerife, bishopwort, magothe, cropleek, armelu, the knotty wenwort. Put into holy water.

If a mare ride a man. Take lupin, and garlic, and betony, and frankincense. Bind them on a fawn's skin. Let a man have the herbs on him, and let him go inside.


lxv Again, a drink against Lent disease [lencten adle]. Feverfue, ram's gall, fennel, waybread. Let a man sing many masses over these herbs. Soak with ale, add holy water, boil very well. Drink then as hot as he may a great cup full, before the disease will be on him. The four gospelers names and a charm [gealdor], and a prayer. [cross/matrix] Matheus +++++ Marcus +++++ Lucus [cross/matrix] Iohannes ++++ [with ++ above these]. Intercedite pro me [Intercede for me]. Ticeon, leleloth, patron. adiuro vos [I adjure you].

Again, a godly [godcund] prayer: In nomine domini sit benedictum [In the name of the Lord be blessed]. beronice, beronicen [Veronica] et habet in vestimento et in femore suo. scriptum rex regum et dominus dominantium [she? has on her garment and on her thigh?. (It is) written king of kings and lord of lords.]

Again, a godly prayer: In nomine domini summi sit benedictum [In the name of the most high Lord be blessed].

[transcribed Greek letters]

Again, a man must silently write this, and put these words silently on the left breast, and he should not go indoors with the writing or bear it indoors. And also silently put this on: [EMMANUEL, VERONICA, in transcribed Greek letters].


Return to Charms page