You do read of the oddest things in newspapers. Yesterday I learned from the 'Weekend' section of the Telegraph that in the 17th century, medical opinion was that what we might call 'overly passionate' people could be cured of this affliction by a transfusion of the blood of a more docile animal. The first ever blood transfusion was administered by the physician to King Louis XIV, when he transfused sheep's blood into a young Frenchman. While the report tells us that he survived, it does not tell us what happened to his libido. I feel quite certain that if I'd been that young man, it would have put me right off. Samuel Pepys later describes similar treatment for a Cambridge graduate, named Arthur Coga, who received 20 ounces of sheep blood into his body. Again its reported that he lived, but was a 'little cracked in the head'. What really surprises me about this is that sheep's blood should have been used. I've been a sheep farmer all of my life, and without wishing to be overly nationalistic, I've known a healthy Welsh ram, cover 50 females in a day. Why not use the blood of a Giant Panda, whose aversion to 'passion' has been a matter of international curiosity for years.
The same article informs us that the word 'Toady' derives from the 18th century, when some fellow used to swallow toads as a confidence trick. His mate, who's described as a 'quack doctor' then produced a 'magical elixir', which stimulated recovery. Personally, I wouldn't have bought any of this miracle cure, but have resolved not to eat a toad in the first place.
Before we start mocking our ancestors, we should note that last Tuesday, the Telegraph reported that in the remote village of Tamil Nadu, two local Indian girls entered into marriage with frogs. Vigneswari and Masiakanni wore traditional bridal saris and gold jewellery for the weddings which are conducted as part of a centuries old 'Pongol' harvest tradition to prevent the outbreak of disease. Hundreds of villagers in the Pallipudpet region walk to the temple carrying the brides on their shoulders. The two frogs were also carried, but they were tied to sticks decorated with flowers. The tradition is based on the Hindu god Shiva, who turned himself into a frog after a row with his wife, Parvati. Personally, I reckon it would have been a smarter idea to have turned her into a frog instead. Anyway, Parvati's anguish caused terrible disease to spread around all the local villages. The problem was resolved when the villagers found Shiva the frog and persuaded Parvati to marry him/it. As our Berriew friend, Frank Dixon often says, "There's nowt so odd as folk".