Undeniable Fact: They're After me Lucky Charms!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Since today was Saint Patrick's Day, here's a fact about Ireland.

Before the advent of modern medicine, many afflictions which we now attribute to disease were instead blamed on witchcraft and magic. For example, leprosy was believed to be a curse sent by the vengeful stillborn. According to legend, the afflicted - called "leprechauns", meaning "cursed children" - could only break the curse by finding the spirit of a stillborn child at the end of a rainbow and placing a piece of gold there as an offering. Unfortunately, most leprechauns could not afford even a small amount of gold, and many would attempt to trick the spirit by placing a small rock at the base of the rainbow. During leprosy outbreaks, it became common for the Irish to keep these "sham rocks" on their person, in case they needed to ward off the curse. In time, folks tired of carrying heavy stones around, so they substituted four-leafed clovers as a symbol of the original shamrocks.

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