Charms against Sprains

Edited by

D. L. Ashliman

Copyright 1997

Return to:


  1. The Wristing or Wresting Thread (Orkney Islands).

  2. When a Person Has Received a Sprain (Shetland Islands).

  3. Link to the second Merseburg Incantation -- Merseburger Zauberspruch -- (Germany).

The Wristing or Wresting Thread

Orkney Islands (Sanday)

The following charm was used for the cure of sprains. A linen thread is tied around the injured part, after the solemn repetion of the charm:
Our Savior rade,
His fore-foot slade;
Our Savior lichtit down.
Sinew to sinew, vein to vein,
Joint to joint, and bane to bane,
Mend thou in God's name!
During the time of repeating this charm nine knots must be tied on the thread, at regular distances, and to ensure success the charm should be repeated at every knot.

When a Person Has Received a Sprain

Shetland Islands

When a person has received a sprain, it is customary to apply to an individual practiced in casting the "wresting thread." This is a thread spun from black wool, on which are cast nine knots, and tied round a sprained leg or arm. During the time the operator is putting the thread round the affected limb, he says, but in such a tone of voice as not to be heard by the bystanders, nor even by the person operated upon:
The Lord rade,
And the foal slade;
He lighted.
And he righted.
Set joint to joint,
Bone to bone,
And sinew to sinew.
Heal in the Holy Ghost's Name!

Revised April 18, 1997.