168 THE MAGIC OP JEWELS AND CHARMS
a colleague. They were smooth and light, and of a reddish-white color.
Because they were very rarely met with, the circumstance was regarded
as of good augury for the finder.18
round concretion (a calculus) from the liver of the ox is described by
Ibn Al-Beithar as being of a yellowish color and composed of successive
superimposed layers. If secured at the time of the full moon it was
believed to promote embonpoint, and was much prized by the
Egyptian women for this virtue. The effect was to be attained by taking
two grains of the pulverized concretion, either with the bath or
directly after bathing, and thereupon a "fat hen" was to be eaten.17 The latter prescription, if regularly and frequently administered, might be thought to suffice without the powdered calculus.
the second stomach of heifers was sometimes obtained a dark brown or
blackish concretion of very light weight and as round as a ball. This
was credited with great remedial virtues provided it had not fallen to
the ground.18 There seems to have been a belief that the
curative or talis-manic properties of animal concretions, or of the
teeth of animals, were weakened, or destroyed, if these objects came in
contact with the earth. This belief was perhaps due to the idea that
the mysterious power of the substance was originally derived from earth
currents, or emanations, and that the active principle would return to
the earth if the object came in contact with it.
The lapis carpionis or
carp-stone, a triangular mass, was taken from the jaws of the carp. It
was smaller or larger according to the size of the fish. The principal
remedial use was against calculi, or for the cure of bilious dis-
" De subtilitate," Basilse, 1554; lib. vii, p. 211. " Traité des
Simples of Ibn Al-Beithar in " Notices et Extraits des Manuscrits de
la Bibliothèque Nationale," vol. xxiii, pp. 416-417; Paris, 1877. "
Plinii, " Naturalis historia," lib. xi, cap. 79.·