[Loch-Ruadh] Word of the Day, March 5

Cait O'Hara lady_cait at lycos.com
Tue Mar 5 06:49:31 PST 2002


The dragon-fly....They are popularly supposed to have a sting which is as venomous as the bite of a viper or an adder, and are dreaded accordingly.  Being generally to be seen in the vicinity of brooks and ponds, they were also considered to be the guardians of the fish, and to sting all improper persons who attempted to catch them.  Children held them in great fear, and on the appearance of snakes'-stang, used to sing or repeat the following rhyme as a kind of charm or protection against the noxious insect:

Snake's-stang, Snake's-stang, fly all about the brooks,
And sting all the bad boys that for the fishes looks.

-- W.H. Long's Dictionary of the Isle of Wight Dialect, 1886

Feast Day of St. Phocas, who was invoked to ward off and remedy snakebite.

Never meddle in the affairs of dragons;
For you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.
-- Acacia

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