Clefyd yr Ede Wlan or Yarn Sickness, Charms in Welsh folklore and mythology, a tale from Llanwnog Wales
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Category: Charms
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Title: Clefyd yr Ede Wlan or Yarn Sickness

About twenty years ago, when the writer was curate of Llanwnog, Powys, a young Welsh married woman came to reside in the parish suffering from what appeared to be that fell disease, consumption.  He visited her in her illness and one day she appeared much elated as she had been told that she was improving in health.  She told the narrator that she was suffering from ‘Clwyf yr ede wlan’ or the woollen thread sickness, and she said that the yarn had lengthened, which was a sign that she was recovering.  The charm was supplemented with a drink made of a quart of old beer, into which a piece of heated steel had been dipped, with an ounce of meadow saffron tied up in muslin soaked in it. The charm was taken in doses three times daily and the thread was measured to see if she was being cured or the reverse.  Should the yarn shorten it was a sign of death; if it lengthened it indicated a recovery.  However, although the yarn in this case lengthened, the young woman died.  The charm failed.

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