Ozark Encyclopedia – E – Eggs

Owl eggs for alcoholism – “Every old woman has heard that owls’ eggs are a sure cure for alcoholism. Owls lay their eggs in March, and it is said that many Ozark children are kept out of school and sent by their mothers to search for owls’ nests in the tall timber. Many a hillman has been fed owls’ eggs, scrambled or disguised in one way and another, without knowing what he was eating.” ~Randolph OMF 150-151

“A drunkard can be cured by feeding him scrambled owl’s eggs.” ~Parler FBA II 2047

“One of the best known remedies for alcoholism is to feed the patient a diet of owl’s eggs.” ~Rayburn OFE A-2 “Alcoholics”

Protection from witches by means of the egg tree – “By all odds the most striking barrier against witches is the so-called egg tree. Usually it is just a little dead bush with the branches closely trimmed, and literally covered with care- fully blown egg shells. There are hundreds of egg shells on a really fine egg tree, which often requires years to perfect. It is set firmly in the ground near the cabin, a favorite place being under a big cedar in the front yard. Just how the egg tree is supposed to drive off witches I was never able to learn. Egg trees are rare nowadays, and many people have spent years in the Ozarks without seeing or even hearing of such a thing. As recently as 1921 there were two or three near Pineville, Missouri, and Southwest City, Missouri, and I saw one in 1924 not far from Sulphur Springs, Arkansas. There used to be a very fine egg tree at the old Jim Cummins place, on Bear Creek, in Taney county, Missouri. Mrs. C. P. Mahnkey tells me that she saw egg trees ‘now and then’ when she was a child, and that the last one in her neighborhood stood in Granny Howe’s yard near Kirbyville, Missouri.” ~Randolph OMF 285

Guinea eggs to find a future husband – “If a girl gets up early on the morning of May 1, goes to the spring, and breaks a guinea’s egg into a cup, she’ll see the face or the initials of her husband-to-be in the water.” ~Randolph OMF 175

Egg membrane for boils – “To heal a boil, place the thin membrane from an egg on the boil.” ~Parler FBA II 1569

“Take the lining of an egg shell and put over the boil smoothly. When it dries it will pull on the boil and draw it to a head.” ~Parler FBA II 1571

Yolk for boils – “The yellow of an egg and salt will cure a boil.” ~Parler FBA II 1570

Eating eggs to keep away chiggers and snakes – “Before going berry picking, eat ten hard-boiled eggs to keep the chiggers and snakes from bothering you.” ~Parler FBA II 1725

Egg shell tea for colic – “Take an egg shell, brown it on the stove until very brown. Powder it up, boil it in water, and give the tea to the baby.” ~Parler FBA II 1857

On throat for heart trouble – “Put an egg in the hollow of a person’s throat and it will cure them of heart trouble.” ~Parler FBA II 2403

Parler, Mary Celestia Folk Beliefs from Arkansas (FBA)

Randolph, Vance Ozark Magic and Folklore (OMF)

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