The real story of Sleeping Beauty….

  Originally titled “The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood”, it first appeared in Italy in 1636 by Giambattista Basile in his collection Pentamerone. In this Neapolitan “Sleeping Beauty,” a great king is forewarned by wise men that his newborn daughter, Talia, is in peril from a poison splinter in flax. …

13…..

Why is the number 13 viewed with such suspicion? Surveys show that of all bad luck superstitions, unease surrounding the number thirteen is the one that affects most people today—and in almost countless ways. The French, for instance, never issue the house address thirteen. In Italy, the national lottery omits …

Legs…..

In Chaucer`s Canterbury Tales, the Wife of Bath immediately fell in love with her fifth husband the moment she saw his legs “ so clene and faire” as he walked behind the funeral procession of her fourth husband. Lusting after a man`s leg was common practice in the middle Ages …

Medieval pregnancy tips…..

  Taken from Jacob Grimm Deutsche Mythologie (1835) If a woman walks over a garden bed or a field within six weeks of giving birth, then nothing will grow on it in the next few years, or everything will perish. A pregnant woman should never crawl under a coach pole, …

Teeth and words……

  Why doesn’t English have an expression for the space between the teeth when Malay does – gigi rongak? And that’s not the only gap in our dental vocabulary: mrongos (Indonesian) to have ugly protruding upper teeth angil (Kapampangan, Philippines) to bare the fangs like a dog laglerolarpok (Inuit) the …

Hello…….

  The first and most essential word in all languages is surely ‘hello’, the word that enables one human being to converse with another, such as: aa (Diola, Senegal) beeta (Soninke, Mali, Senegal and Ivory Coast) bok (Croatian) boozhoo (Ojibwe, USA and Canada) daw-daw (Jutlandish, Denmark) ella (Awabakal, Australia) i …

Pythagarus, beans and death….

  Pythagarus viewed as either a Shamanistic shyster or intellectual innovator, is still one of the most important names in Western philosophy. He and his followers followed some rather strange rules such as not to stir fires with iron pokers or to eat meat or beans This was because he …

The truth about Harems

  Nothing evoked more mystery and romance to Europeans in the nineteenth century than the veiled women of the sultan’s harem. Harems started as a way for Ottoman warriors to “protect” their women when away from home for long periodsthe system was then adopted by the Sultanate. The reality of …

Pisse Prophets…..

  The examination of the urine had always been an important diagnostic tool. As far back as the thirteenth century there was a textbook on the subject called De Urinas. By the sixteenth century this had developed into a full blown discipline known as uroscopy. Specialists known as “pisse-prophets” would …