Yesterday I finished my first folklore collection project. Three days of sorting through computer files full of dates, names, and beliefs about different diseases, injuries, and ailments...voila. Complete.
I learned a lot of interesting things. Mostly what not to do. For example, one belief advised treating a burn by covering the affected area with turpentine and then holding the limb over a hot stove. Mmm...false. Turpentine is flammable. Pretty sure that's not going to help.
Or this one: to cure frostbite, stand barefoot in the snow. While snow can help warm up a frozen limb (because the snow is actually warmer than the icy skin and helps draw out the cold [thank you, Boy Scouts]), standing barefoot in the snow is a bit ridiculous.
Or how about eating a mouse to cure a toothache? I'm sure that's fool proof.
The really fun thing has been all of the Google searches that have led me to new, weird, and interesting bits of information regarding many of the "cures" and "treatments" I've been sifting through. Some actually work. Like ginger tea for menstrual cramps. Or raspberry tea for a stomachache. Who knew? Others don't work (see above). Such as vinegar on a sunburn (ow). The acid makes it worse.
Google is awesome.
Anyway, it was a long, rather boring process, but it's finished now. Yay.
However...that assignment was a bit preferable to the one I'm currently working on. Get this: my new project is all of the files containing folklore relating to love, courtship, marriage, and other such topics. Currently, I'm going through all of the beliefs about dating: what to do, what not to do, what to eat, what charms and incantations to use to get someone to fall in love with you. Not that I'd ever do that. Silly. And wouldn't work. I mean, after all...remember what happened with Tom Riddle and Merope Gaunt? Not happy.
Dating files. Advice from clear back in 1886.