THE GLASS HARMONICA by Barbara Byfield


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This is a very pleasant congeries of assorted, arcane beliefs about afflictions, curses, cures and their practitioners -- warts (lave with rainwater found in a hollow tree trunk); open wounds (apply cobwebs and soot); on to beaux and princes, vampires and warlocks, castles -- and palaces, and all sorts of real and chimerical denizens, bats (""Asleep they resemble shriveled leaves, smell vile, and are of no further interest""), ogres, dragons, dwarves, demi-elves. Even something called the mangel-wurzel, a beet used to feed cattle. Not to be compared to the Robbins' Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology, this is for the occasional reader who will find that it exerts a serendipitous spell -- Miss Byfield annotates all these archaic absurdities with grace.

Publisher: Macmillan