When I was writing one of my novels about Louisiana, a couple of friends (Hal Odom and Keith Odom) had come up with some Superstitions of Cajun culture and some Ailments and Remedies. In the novel someone finds a dusty Cajun Monograph in a parish library in Cutoff, Louisiana. The remedies and superstitions are said to be based on transcripts from an ageless Cajun woman and that the book was privately published. No Library of Congress number. Dated 1915:
OLD MAWMAW JENKINS’ CAJUN SUPERSTITIONS
It’s bad luck to sit cross-legged in a funeral home.
It’s bad luck to see a 3-toed cat.
If you find a bird egg under a rose bush, that means you gonna lose your wheelbarrow.
If you drop an egg, and it’s rotten, that means your husband’s runnin’ round behind your back.
If you have a twinge in your back, that means your cow’s milk gonna curdle.
If you’re goin’ down to the river to go fishin’, and you see a crawfish hole, walk round it three times or else you won’t catch any fish.
Always leave a peach pit in the corn crib to keep away the weevils.
Don’t ever spend a two-dollar bill on April Fool’s Day: if you do, you’ll lose a tooth the next day.
If a cow moo's at midnight, that means the corn gonna rot in the husk.
If you hit a dog on the highway, get one of his teeth and wear it around your neck to keep away the haints.
If you find a nickel under the kitchen table, it means that company comin’.
If the moon's got a ring around it on your birthday, that mean you gonna get married that year.
If you find a cutworm on a cucumber, it means that a fox gonna get in the henhouse.
If you step on a hoe handle, it means somebody tryin’ to steal your money.
If your plum jelly ruin, it means that you gonna lose a gold tooth fillin’.
If you fall out of bed at night, that means one of your children gonna die before you.
If you see a shootin’ star on a night with the full moon, it means that one of your cows gonna catch the bloat.
If one of your chickens lay a black egg, it means that somebody gonna catch the pink eye.
It is bad luck to lay down on a pile a’ corn husks.
Never go out of the house backwards or you’ll fall down before you get back.
If a bluejay lights on your clothesline, then a herrycane comin’ thru next season.
If you find a mockin’ bird feather on the sidewalk, pick it up and you’ll get a present from your next door neighbor.
When an armadillo digs in your yard, that means the road gonna wash out.
The only way to get rid o’ the haints is to spin around three times and sleep on a bed of potato peels in a room with a cracked mirror.
If you get a tick on you, that means somebody tryin’ to mooch your money.
To keep the haints out of your bedroom, wear a horseshoe ‘round’ your neck an’ sleep with your feet hangin’ over the foot of the bed, wrapped in burlap soaked in goat milk.
When you catch a chicken, that means the roof's gonna leak next time it rain.
When you see three one-eyed cats in a row at night, that means one of your pigs gonna get the scours next week.
To keep away bad luck, tack a wishbone over your fireplace.
If you cut open a catfish and find a bottlecap, that means your husband's hittin’ the booze.
If a guinea hen moult on your porch, the foundations are eaten up by termites.
If you find a grey hair in your hairbrush, it means your teeth are gettin’ wobbly.
A chicken foot kept in a shoebox under the sink keep the drain from cloggin’.
If a bullfrog jumps up on your back stoop, it means you gonna get the rheumatiz.
It’s bad luck to wade thru a swamp carryin’ a feed sack.
If somebody put a bad thought on you, put a chicken leg in a glass of iced tea and set it in the kitchen windowsill for 3 days, to put the bad thought back on him.
If you get the frights in the woods, set out a foot-tub fulla corn meal and watermelon rinds, and that’ll get rid’a him.
If you sneeze at the same time lightnin’ strikes, it means you gonna wake up with a backache.
If the river floods and washes up a stump that look like a rooster, then your chickens gonna lose all their feathers.
If you stumble on a oak tree root, it means your mule is about to catch worms.
When the woodpecker pecks on the barn after a heavy rain, that means the rat’s in the potato bin.
If you accidentally pick a red blackberry, that means your cat is gonna have a dead kitten.
When a snappin’ turtle pokes his head out the pond, that means the fish’ is gonna nibble your worm off the hook without bitin’.
If you see a one-eyed cat, that means you gonna lose some money.
If you see a coon’s tracks runnin’ by a oak tree, you gonna break a axe handle next time you chop firewood.
If you get corns on your toes, that means you gonna get a bad watermelon.
If you swaller wrong, that means your dawg gonna dig up a mole in the backyard.
If you get goose bumps at the stroke of twelve, that means a haint is watchin’ you.
If a cow eats up your rosebushes, then a weasel gonna eat up your children, cher.
If your dog catch a catfish on your birthday, that means your corn crop gonna be real good dis year.
If a mule gets a gimpy leg, that means your well ‘bout to run dry.
If a rooster loses all his feathers, that means Father Thibodeaux gonna come over for dinner.
If a pine tree fall on your fence, that means a polecat's sleepin’ in your toolshed.
If you swallow a peach pit, that means you got a rat eatin’ your hay.
If you stumble on a tree limb after dark when there ain’t no moon, that means the dam gonna wash out next time it rains.
If you get a rock in your shoe, that means you gonna get the mullygrubs next day.
If you find a silverfish in your bedsheets, that means you gonna lose your false teeth that night.
If a garden slug get up on your window, that means your stockin’s got a run in ‘em.
If you pass the cemetery after midnight, you’ll get the icy jaints if you don’t pour some corn meal in your shoes the next day.
If somebody puts a bad thought on you, put a banana peel under the doormat and hang a mockin’bird nest over the doorway.
If somebody put a bad thought on you, walk backwards thru a stream flowin’ south with a dead chicken on your back.
OLD MAWMAW JENKINS’ CAJUN AILMENTS REMEDIES
(SENECTRIS MATRIS JENKINS PHARMACOPIA)
The Mullygrubs (Description: General lethargy, minor aches and pains) ; Remedy: Regular doses of black-strap molasses with a touch of turpentine.
The Bug (Minor ailment like the flu) ; Sit on a hot water bottle and drink peach liquor with just a smidgion of smellin’ salts. Groans in your bones (Fatigue, small aches and pains caused by cold days) ; A glass of buttermilk with a dash of Worchestershire sauce and a pinch of parsley.
Growls in your bowels (Bowel trouble) ; Suck on a sassafras root. Shiver in your liver/liverstones (Abdominal pain) ; Suck on sugar cubes, take regular doses of lime extract with iodine..
The Bloat (Unexplainable swelling; caught from cows) ; Eat a piece of octagon soap, lie down with ya feet propped up and spit up every hour.
Puffy eyes (Irritation of eyes caused from lack of sleep) ; Eat suet; sprinkle bird seed on cereal; wear bird feathers in shoes; sleep with raw chicken wing in pillowcase.
Sty in Eye (Sore, bump on eyelid) ; Apply wet tomato leaf.
Corns, bunions (Big bobo on your big toe) ; Soak feet in hot jello water, keep feet in till it gels, heat up again, let it gen again; eat jello; or soak feet in rainwater and pigs’ blood..
Groans in your bones (Fatigue: small aches and pains caused by cold days) ; Stand backwards in front of fireplace; yell every five minutes.. Bird foot (Toes turnin’ in like a bird’s, get the scaleyfoot) ; Accompanying symptom: “Bird Tongue”—caught from eating uncooked partridge.
Baldness Wear birdnest on head; rub liniment into baldspot..
Wobbly spine- (Back cooches out in every direction) ; Remedy: wear barrel hoop with a two-by-four board.
Hickey (Bruise, sore, bug bite) ; Mustard plaster with lots of iodine.
The Piles (Hemorroids, Trouble down below) ; Take Johnson’s Liver Tonic, apply self-rising flour and tallow poultice..
Knock knees (Self-explanatory) ; Plaster of paris splints..
Haints in joints (Creaky bones) ; Wear garlic around neck..
Swoll ankles (Self explanatory) ; Soak feet in clabbored milk and tomato juice..
Twinge in back (Back pain) ; Massage with rubbin alcohol; take bath with lye soap.. Hip popped out of socket (Self-explanatory) ; Wear truss and apply a pork fat compress..
Rheumatizz (Rheumatism) ; Take a bath in hot chicken broth, sleep with a dog, and wear mothballs in your hairnet..
The Vapors (Vertigo) ; Sleep with an onion under your pillow; suck on a rag soaked in vinegar.
The Wheeze (Phlegm in throat or lungs) Boil apples and turnip greens, sniff the steam from the broth..
Cauliflower Ear (Earache) Wear a sqirrel’s tail to block ear passages; put in vick salve drops..
Lockjaw (Self-explanatory) ; Eat licorice pills and sleep in the bathtub..
The Croup (Bad cough and cold, fever) Drink honey with bacon fat, or put a yam in a vaporizer and sleep with the vaporizer on all night; then you eat the yam in the morning..
Lizard Hand (Hand looks like a lizard’s) Tape fingers to board, run hands up and down a mule’s back twice a day, sleep wit hand in de breadbox, put lemon peels between fingers and only remove when they turn green, apply mercur’comb..
Crow Leg (Hop on one leg) Wear ace bandage dipped in egg batter, sleep with leg propped up in a sack a’ bird seed; every mornin’ and before you go to bed, drink a glass a’ buttermilk and vinegar, thru a paper straw.
Churny Stomach (Stomach doin flip flops) Persimmon milk shake with raw egg and alka seltzer..
Tingly Tongue (Tongue falls asleep or tongue too long) Pour Formula 44 cough syrup and molasses on a biscuit, eat biscuit, wash it down with a mixture of buttermilk and pine sap. Also wear a piece of freezer tape on your tongue..
Elbow Rot (Advanced rheumatizz in elbow) ; Soak elbow in a bowl of Noxema and Caladryl, then wrap elbow in a piece of linoleum with pecan shells in it.. Goose Lips (Lips hard and yellow) ; Wear two strips of raw bacon on lips, gargle with tomato soup and pencil shavin’s..
A lot of people believe everyone in Louisiana lives in a swamp and talks with a cajun accent. I don’t live in Acadiana (the Cajun portion of the state) and have no accent. But the food down here is the best, from Red Beans and Rice to Jambalaya to Gumbo. My novel where the above made up ”Remedies” or ”Les Traiteurs” are located is out of print so I thought I would post the entry. Plus, the Saints are 11 and 0 right now.