appeared five ridges, starting from the base and tapering off toward
the top. These bore a certain resemblance to a serpent's or adder's
tail. The stone was believed to protect the wearer from pestilential
vapors and from poisons.
so-called "snake-stones," many specimens of which have been found in
British barrows, bear in the Scottish Lowlands the designation "Adder
Stanes." They are also sometimes called adder-beads or serpent-stones.
For the "Welsh they were gleini na droedh and for the Irish glaine nan druidhe, the
meaning being the same, "Druid's glass." Many interesting examples were
added to the collection of the Museum of Scotch Antiquaries, one of
these being of red glass, spotted with white; another of blue glassi,
streaked with yellow ; other types were of pale green and blue glass,
some of these being ribbed while others again were of smooth and plain
surface. That the glass "snake-stones" were objects of considerable
care and attention is indicated by the mending of a broken specimen
shown by Lord Landes-borough at a meeting of the Society of Antiquaries
in 1850. This broken bead had been repaired and strengthened by the
application of a bronze hoop.47
The supposed snake-stones are also to be found among the Cornishmen, who sometimes call these objects milprey or
"thousand worms," and they even lay claim to the power of forcing a
snake to fabricate the "stone" by thrusting a hazel-wand into the
spirals of a sleeping reptile. In another version it is not a bead that
is formed but a ring which grows around a hazel-wand when a snake
breathes on it. If water in which this ring has been dipped be given to
a human being or an animal that nas been bitten by a venomous creature,
Daniel Wilson, " The Archaeology and Prehistoric Ânnals of Scotland,"
Edinburgh, 1851, pp. 303, 304. Two specimens figured on p. 304.