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ANAHITA  August 1999

ANAHITA August 1999

Subject:

Re: Cauls

From:

Beatrice Portinari <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Women and Gender in the Ancient World <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 19 Aug 1999 08:57:34 PDT

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (44 lines)

Regarding cauls, I found this passage in the novel I'm currently reading
(Robert Nye's _The Late Mr. Shakespeare_):

Chapter 9: About the birth of Mr WS
"... The midwife, whose name was Gertrude, and who hailed from the
neighbouring village of Snitterfield, cut the birth-cord with a sword she
kept close for the purpose.
  Then she kissed the caul that covered the baby's head.
  'Here's one who will be fortunate,' she noted...
  ...
  A word about cauls. The old wives used to think they stopped you drowning.
They used to sell them to sailors if they could. Haly how, sely how, a lucky
cap, a holy hood, which midwives like Gertrude called a howdy or a
howdy-wife.
  According to some, and not all of them fools, the keeper of a caul would
know the health of the person who was born in it. If firm and crisp the
caul, then he (or she) alive and well. If wet or loose or slack, then dead
or ill. The colour of the caul was important also. Black caul, bad luck. Red
caul, all that is good. Diadumenus was born with a caul. He became emperor.
  The poet William Shakespeare came veiled into this world, then, for his
head, his face, and the foreparts of his body, all were covered with such a
thin kell, or skin." (pp. 29-31)


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