I’m soon to run off to a class in which we’re going to discuss 16th-17th century science (Vesalius, Bacon, Harvey, Hooke, etc.), and there’s an amusing passage in J.A. Moore’s book that I have to share. It’s a description of a bestiary by Edward Topsell that explains the importance and usefulness of various animals, including mice. Mice seemed to do everything.
A mouse can be skinned, cut in two, and placed over an arrow wound to help the healing process; if a mouse is beaten into pieces and mixed with old wine, the concoction will cause hair to grow on the eyelids; if skinned, steeped in oil, and rubbed with salt, the mouse will cure pains in the lungs; sodden mice can prevent children from urinating too much; mice that are burned and converted to powder are fine for cleaning the teeth; mouse dung, prepared in various manners, is useful for treating sciatica, headache, migraine, the tetters, scabs, red bunches on the head, gout, wounds, spitting of blood, colick, constipation, stones, producing abortions, putting on weight, and increasing lactation in women.
One does wonder if there was a plague of people running around with hairy eyelids in 1607, and I’m almost tempted to try the pulped mouse in wine for the effect. The toothpaste recipe…eh, only if I never wanted to be kissed again.