190 THE MAGIC OF JEWELS AND CHARMS
with wine or water, the liquid being allowed to stand until it had
absorbed the virtues of the earth ; it was then taken as a potion with
good effects. The "tongues" and "eyes" were often dipped in wine or
water and were supposed to transmit their curative powers to the
the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries a strange belief was prevalent
among the ignorant to the effect that the fossil sharks '-teeth, the '
' tongue-stones, ' ' were the teeth of witches who sucked the blood of
infants; these "vampires" were called lamiœ in ancient times.70 Probably the fact that a certain species of shark bore the name lamia gave
rise to this idea, which was therefore merely due to a confusion of
names. Nevertheless we can easily understand that this popular belief
added to the repute of the glossopetrm, for the more dreaded
the object the greater the power it was credited with possessing. In
the seventeenth century De Laet (d. 1649), the Dutch naturalist and
geographer, received in Leyden certain glossopetrœ sent him by
a friend in Bordeaux, who wrote that they would cure any one suffering
from soreness of the mouth, whether this were the result of having
eaten impure food, or were produced by some derangement of the
secretions. The "tongues" were to be dipped in spring water and would
cause bubbles to form therein; as soon as these disappeared, the water
was to be used as a gargle, and the mouth was to be washed with it two
or three times. De Laet's friend assured him that this treatment would
cure the disorder in twenty-four hours.71
seventeenth-century amulet of a fossil shark's tooth, mounted in silver
and found in an excavation at Salzburg, Austria, was among the objects
exhibited by the writer for the New York branch of the American
Folk-Lore Society, in
• " Museum Wormianum," Lug. Bat., 1655, pp. 7-9.
m Aldrovandi, " Museum metallicum," Borioni», 1648, lib. iv, cap. 10, p. 600.
""Museum Wormianum," Lug. Bat., 1655, p. 65.