A Charm For The Shingles

: Welsh Folk-lore

This custom (charming for the shingles) was more prevalent in this

parish than in any other in Montgomeryshire. A certain amount of penance

was to be done by the sufferer, who was to go to the charmer in the

morning fasting, and he was also to be fasting. The mode of cure was

simple--the charmer breathed gently on the inflamed part, and then

followed a series of little spittings upon and around it. A few visits

to t
e charmer, or sometimes a single one, was sufficient to effect a


The power of charming for the ''Ryri' is now lost, or in any event has

not been practised in this parish, for several years past. The

possession of this remarkable healing power by the charmer was said to

have been derived from the circumstance of either the charmer himself,

or one of his ancestors within the ninth degree, having eaten of the

flesh of the eagle, the virtue being, it was alleged, transmitted from

the person who had so partaken to his descendants for nine generations.

The tradition is that the disorder was introduced into the country by a

malevolent eagle.

Some charmers before the operation of spitting, muttered to themselves

the following incantation:--

Yr Eryr Eryres

Mi a'th ddanfonais

Dros naw mor a thros naw mynydd,

A thros naw erw o dir anghelfydd;

Lle na chyfartho ci, ac na frefo fuwch,

Ac na ddelo yr eryr byth yn uwch.

Male eagle, female eagle,

I send you (by the operation of blowing, we presume)

Over nine seas, and over nine mountains,

And over nine acres of unprofitable land,

Where no dog shall bark, and no cow shall low,

And where no eagle shall higher rise.

The charmer spat first on the rash and rubbed it with his finger over the

affected parts, and then breathed nine times on it.

Jane Davies, an aged woman, a native of Llanrhaiadr-yn-Mochnant, with

whom I had many long conversations on several occasions, told the

narrator that she had cut a cat's ear to get blood, wherewith to rub the

patient's breast who was suffering from the shingles, to stop its

progress, until the sufferer could be visited by the charmer, and she

said that the cat's blood always stopped it spreading.

There were several charms for many of the ailments to which man is

subject, which were thought to possess equal curative virtues.