Things were difficult in the Middle Ages

I have been looking around for information on mandrakes after a conversation with my housemate, because as I remembered it the mandrake grew under a hangman’s tree and is spawned by the semen of the hanged that gets ejaculated at the moment of death. Gross, eh? And it turns out that harvesting a mandrake is also a pain in the butt. First of all, when it gets pulled out of the ground, its scream kills everything in hearing distance instantly. So, this is what has to be done:

Mandrake (Mandragora officinarum), scanned fro...

Image via Wikipedia

A furrow must be dug around the root until its lower part is exposed, then a dog is tied to it, after which the person tying the dog must get away. The dog then endeavours to follow him, and so easily pulls up the root, but dies suddenly instead of his master. After this the root can be handled without fear. (via Wikipedia)

Once you have the mandrake, you can put it in a box and it makes you wealthy and lucky, apparently. And then of course there are the Mandragora, “familiar demons who appear in the figures of little men without beards.” I knew there was something fishy about little beardless men…

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