Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 5 > Page 19 - Remembering St. Paul's Island, Part One / How to Turn Back the Evil Eye

Page 19 - Remembering St. Paul's Island, Part One / How to Turn Back the Evil Eye

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1973/7/1 (864 reads)

Sarah Gwinn: Looking back, I enjoyed myself so much, if I was young I'd go back a- gain. It's a beautiful spot, St. Paul's. There were times in winter I'd get lonely but I'd never get lonely in the summertime • because of the Newfoundland fishermen. In the evening we'd have high as 16 to supper. I've seen 7 or 8 Newfoundlanders in a single day each with a nice great big fresh halibut. I used to bottle it and have it for a whole year out there. It was a good life, I was only married a little over a year when we went out there, I never had any regrets, John S. Erskine: (From observations made mid-August, 1953, and published in an arti? cle on St. Paul's in the "Journal of Education," 1955) The birds of the island are of comparatively few species. The fall migration had begun to the extent of bringing a few shorebirds irhich had not nested, but otherwise my observations are purely of summer birds. As might be expected, the island is ringed with seabirds • gannets, cormorants, gulls and shearwaters. Leach's petrels nest on the island. Spotted and solitary sandpipers were common along the shores and beside the lakes and may have nested there, A few savannah sparrows on the western shore, a few goldfinches and crossbills in the woods, were the only seed-eaters. Warblers were in fall plumage, but I could be certain of mourning, magnolia and blackpolled warblers and northern waterthrushes, Olivebacked thrushes were common but difficult to observe. Crows were common and ravens rare. Browncapped chickadees, goldencrowned kinglets and red- breasted nuthatches haunted the firwoods. There were three swallows on the island, a pair of barn swallows which did not seem to have nested, and a very brown young tree swallow which spent its time with the barn swallows. Eagles were commoner than I had ever seen them, for I roused eleven at one time from a small bog, all of them in immature dark plumage. Woodpeckers were surprisingly scarce. I saw none, though once I heard a flicker call, but the only wood-boring that I noticed resembled the bark-stripping technique of the arctic threetoed woodpecker so common on Cape North, Later in the season this island is on the flyv,ray for migrating birds from Newfound? land, so that a great variety of birds may stop here on their way through. My obser? vations, however, suggested a breeding population of about twenty-two species. Our thanks to Barry Dixon, Effie's Brook, for his help in researching this series on St?? Paulas Island, and to Jim McEvoy, Cape North, for the use of the photograph ta? ken looking from the mainland across The Tittle toward the Northeast Li'ht, And our thanks to John S, Erskine. Wolfville, for permission to draw on his article, Clara Dennis' CAPS BRETON OVER Is useful for a brief, general history of St?? Paul''sT How to Turn Back the Evil Eye Since we published Joe MacNeil's story in Gaelic and English about the horse that was struck down by the Evil Eye and how he was brought to life again • we've heard from a couple of people who remembered among the old people those who could turn back the work of the Evil Eye, So far, no one has remembered one of the rhymes for us, but it was recalled that a kind of metal was put into water before it was doused on the vic? tim. We would like to hear from others on the island who remember other such old practises and remedies. In the meantime, we looked into that wonderful source, Carmina Gadelica, and found this: There are several traditional ways for turning back the Evil Eye, but the for? mula, in order to work, must be passed from a male to a female, or a female to a male. Before the words are spoken, the person goes to a stream (for a stream is where the living and dead alike pass) and lift water in the name of the Holy Trinity, in a wooden ladle. Then a wife's ring, a piece of gold, copper and silver are all put in. The sign of the cross is made aryl the rhyme is spoken in a slow, recitative manner. The name of the person or animal to be healed is mentioned near the end. If an ani? mal, a woolen thread, generally of natural color, is tied round the tail. The animal (and, presumably, a person to be healed) drinks some of the water. The rest is sprin? kled over the head and backbone. If it happens to be a cow, the space between the horns is carefully anointed. What's left (no drop of which has been allowed to touch the ground) is poured over a cornerstone or threshhold flag or some other immovable rock?? which is said to split if the sickness is severe. Here is one of the rhymes: Co a thilleas cronachduinn suil?/rillidh raise tha mi 'n diiil./Ann an ainm Rich nan Moire/'ronachduinn suil,7co dhiubh bhitheas e air duine no air brnid,/Air marc no air earc;/Thusa bhi na d' h-ioma shlainta nochd,/(An t-ainm)/An ainm an Athar, a Mhic, 's an Spioraid Naoimh, Amen, Who shall thwart the Evil Bye?/I shall thwart it, me- thanfcs,/In the name of the King of life,/rhree seven commands so potent. Spake Christ on the door of the city;/Pater Mary one,/Pater King two/Pater Mary three,/Pater King four,/Pater Mary five./Pater King six,/Pat'r Mary seven;/Seven Pater Maries will thwart the Evil Eye,/Whether it be on man or on beast,/On horse or on cow;/Be thou an thy full health this night,/(The victim's name)/In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen, • . . , Cape Breton's Magaz3Lne/19 Netiou) 6'Jnofo i ou>e?S-
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