SOME years ago a friend of my mothers was walking along a country lane with her little daughter, who for the past year had been suffering badly with whooping cough. The child had an attack of coughing, the tears streamed down her cheeks, and she leaned against a gate leading to a field of swedes, for support. Just then a gypsy, well known to the mother, came up to them and watched the child with pity. “you want to cure her lady?” she asked, “it is easily done.” The mother confessed everything possible had been tried for a year, without success, and she would be very thankful if she could find a cure.
The gypsy slipped into the field, stole a “mangle”, cut it in half, scooped out the centre and handed it to the mother with instructions to fill the hole with barley sugar, “the kind sold on a string”. It was to be left all night and in the morning the sugar would be a thick syrup. A teaspoonful was to be given to the little patient as required. The mother followed the gypsys instructions carefully, not really believing in them, but feeling sure they could do no harm. No harm was done, but a quick and easy cure resulted.
Another friend told me of a little boy she knew. He was very anaemic, and the mother had almost given up hope of rearing him to healthy manhood. He was at last taken to yet another doctor, who at once stopped the iron tonics, etc., so beloved of the profession, and ordered a carrot to be grated, sprinkled with castor sugar, and left in the night air. This last was important, but I could not find out why.
Next day the carrot and sugar were to be squeezed through clean muslin and the resulting “cock-tail” taken if possible on an empty stomach. To continue this for a month or six weeks increasing the quantity if well digested. The child was given this as instructed with really wonderful effect and grew into a strong healthy boy.
About the same time my cook, Clorinda, fell ill with flu. She was very ill and her recovery was slow. We tried all we could to restore her to full health, but she continued to be tired and weary and looked yellow. One day a peddler this happened in Chile calling on her, remarked how poorly she seemed, and on hearing her troubles told her he would soon have her well again. She was to soak a fresh egg in lemon juice until the shell was dissolved, and drink the resulting liquid every day until she felt better.
The egg looked very indecent without its shell, but was quite good for cooking, by the way. The old lady did as she was told, and rapidly improved. I witnessed this cure myself and was very interested. She was a dear old lady, with a fondness for the rich food generally served in Chilean homes. Two large meals per day are usual, both of at least five courses. We have simple tastes, and reduced these courses to two, when without guests, and to save herself trouble Clorinda, grumbling, ate the same as we did.
She soon changed her tune, however, when she found she could get about more easily as the rheumatism she had suffered from was so much better. When we parted company, she had very few aches and pains, and there is no doubt it was because she had simpler food, without the usual rich sauces.