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Q is for Quinine.....

A pain-killing, fever-reducing, bitter-tasting alkaloid found in the bark of the Cinchona tree.

Used as an anti-malaria drug since the 17th century, quinine was, until this past century, the only pharmaceutical capable of counter-acting this mosquito-born illness. Though, if too much quinine is administered, the resulting side effects might make you wish you had stuck with suffering through the malaria.

An overdose of quinine-- or, even a non-overdose amount-- can lead to Cinchonism... a pathological condition whose list of symptoms, literally, are astounding. Just a mild case of Cinchonism can lead to flushed/sweaty skin, ringing of the ears, blurred vision, impaired hearing, confusion, headache, abdominal pain, rashes, vertigo, dizziness, dysphoria, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea--- and this is just the MILD case.

More severe cases include the aforementioned symptoms plus disturbances in the person's cardiac rhythm that can lead to death.

Mosquito Blues

I'd tell you not to fear the bite, 
of this tiny, wing-ed foe.
But, it's true, this beast just might,
seek to exaggerate your woe.

I'd tell you once again, my friend,
not to think of the bitter medicine.
Though it'll feel like your poor life's at an end,
when you see the terrible state that you're in. 

                                                                                                    ---e.a.s. demers                                                                                        


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Y is for Yeth Hound.....

Yeth Hound--- one of the incarnations of the "Black Dog" myth, this one located specifically, in Devon, England.

"Black Dogs" appear in myths across the world, most are associated with death and bad omens... i.e. Hell Hounds.

The Yeth Hound is said to be the spirit of an unbaptised child that takes the form of a headless black dog. The Hound wanders the woods at night making pitiful wailing sounds (though, I'm unclear as to how it makes wailing sounds without having a head).

The Black Dogs were possibly one inspiration from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's ghost dog in The Hound of the Baskervilles-- "an enormous coal-black hound, but not such a hound as mortal eyes have ever seen."

Heed Not, the Lonesome Cry
Heed not, the lonesome cry, the baleful wail echoing through the woods. Seek not, the black hound's sigh, look not where the headless creature stood.
One sound, your limbs will shake, your heart filled with the deepest dread. One glimpse, your sou…

B is for Banshee.....

Irish bean sidhe and Scottish Gaelic bean sith, literally, woman of fairyland.

The mythology and legend surrounding the Banshee is a bit mixed. The most readily accepted story is of a hag-like creature wailing the impending death of someone nearby-- most ancient Gaelic families, especially the more well-to-do families, had their own Banshees that attached themselves to the lineage of the family name. I suppose it was a sign of station for a family to be able to claim their own Banshee--- I mean, who needs an exciting/ tongue-wagging-inciting skeleton in your cupboard when you've got a Banshee wailing in your rafters?
The origins of the more familiar Banshee may have stemmed from the ancient Keeners-- women who were employed to sing a lament at a funeral. The best Keeners were in high demand to "wail" and "weep" for the great personage who had fallen.

The Great families would boast a bean sidhe or bean sith-- a fairy-woman Keener--and having foresight, the Keene…

Scottish Festival and a bit of poetry...

The 38th annual Arkansas Scottish Festival was held at Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas on April 7th - April 9th. This was the first time I'd ever attended. I'm sad to say I didn't even know the festival existed until last year. On Saturday, April 8th, a group of friends and I made the several-hour trek, determined to enjoy everything we could.
The weather was glorious, all bright, bonnie sunlight and mild temperatures. Seemed mother nature approved of the festivities. The campus was appropriately kitted out, and nearly everyone in attendance was properly *ahem* kilted out. 
Bagpipes playing, we ate meat pies--- well, mine was a 5-cheese mac & cheese pie--- watched clans parade their colors, got sunburned (darn our fair, Celtic skin), and wanted the day to last forever.
There were a host of competitions, everything from Scottish/Irish dance-offs, sheep dog trials, Tartan races, a Celtic poetry competition, piping and drum trials, even a bonniest knees competition (…