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The Daisy

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Daisies
Hettie Saaiman

Beautiful gold hairpins, each ending in a daisylike ornament,were found when the Minoan palace was excavated. They are believed to be more than four thousand years old. Later by about five hundred years is a game board, gay with color and bordered by a design of yellow and white daisies. Numerous daisies are to be found on ceramics in Egypt as well as elsewhere throughout the Middle East.

A daisy has an "eye" just as its English name of day's eye suggests and primitive medical men drew the obvious conclusion that it was plainly intended to cure eye troubles. Assyrians were among these men and many prescriptions have been found with recipes on its use for eye problems. Assyrians also believed that if you crushed daisies and mixed them with oil you could put the mixture on your grey hair to turn it dark again.


In Anglo-Saxon times the daisy was also used as medicine but furthermore required the reciting of magic spells to make it truly effective. An addition of "Holy Water" was recommended as well. Another example of Christian trimmings added to primitive medical practice. In the thirteenth century they were used for wounds ,fever and gout.

There is a charming story about Rhiwallon of Myddvai who was the son of a poor cowherd and the Lady of Llyn-y-Van-Vach. This local lady of the Lake was a beautiful girl who after various appearances on and disappearances into, the lake that was her home, abandoned it and settled down with her cowherd husband to whom she brought great wealth. Her father, however had stipulated that she would have to return to the lake if her husband struck her without anger three times. The husband was very careful but over a period of years, a playful slap with the gloves and two other equally playful gestures finally cost him his wife. She had in the meantime bore him three sons of whom Rhiwallon was the eldest. The boys had been told of their mother and used to wander by the lake in hopes of seeing her. One day she appeared to Rhiwallon and told him that he was destined to benefit mankind by relieving pain and curing illness. She pointed out the various herbs to him and explained their healing virtues. That son became a physician to the Lord of the manor,Rhys. Rhyss gave him a castle called Myddvai and he traveled forth all over the country side curing people and building up a reputation. He was one of the few earlier physicians who advised cleanliness as a good way to avoid illness.It was most likely his bias in favor of cleanliness that helped account for his many successes. His son followed him in the profession and on May 12,1842, Rice Williams M.D., died at the age of eighty-four, the last, although not the least eminent of physicians descended from the mysterious Lady of Llyn-yu-Van-Vach. Six hundred years of medical practice in one family. An extraordinary record. Useful to the physicians of Myddvai, the daisy had another virtue of great importance to them. It could tell if a patient would live or die. "
Take the flower of the daisy and pound it well with wine and give it to the patient to drink: if he vomits he will die of the disease,if not, he will live and this has been proven."

Bess of Harwick after being widowed three times married the Earl of Shrewsbury and the pair served for years as the jailers of Mary, Queen of Scots.Daisy Gilbert Talbot, the eldest son of the earl by his first wife married his stepmother's daughter Mary, and they were the parents of the Countess of Kent. Like all the great ladies of her time, the countess knew about domestic medicine and practiced it in her home and went on to invent medicines as well. The Countess of Kents powder, good against all malignant and pestilent Diseases: French Pox, Small Pox, Measles and Plague added the common daisy to her formula which included expensive drugs such as pearls, gold,coral, jet, and other ingredients beyond the means of common sufferers. Her other specialty was the treatment for sore eyes and "Web over the Eye". Daisies have been used in heraldry. Marguerite, the French word for daisy, is derived from a Greek word meaning "pearl". Francis I called his sister Marguerite of Marguerites and the lady used the daisy as her device, So did Margaret of Anjou the wife of Henry IV and Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII. St. Louis is said to have had a daisy engraved on a ring he wore. Along with it was a fleur-de-lis and a crucifix. This ring, the king claimed, represented all he held most dear: religion, France and his wife, Margurite.

There is an old English saying that spring has not come until you can set your foot on twelve daises. If you dream of daisies in the spring or summer that is good but if in the fall or winter it is bad luck. According to an old Celtic legend, the spirits of children who died in childbirth scattered daisies on the earth to cheer their sorrowing parents.

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