Wednesday, January 19, 2005

How to rid yourself of noisy guests

Instructions from the Talmud, Pesachim 111b

The demons of caper-trees are called spirits: those of sorb-bushes are called]demons: those which haunt roofs are called fiery-bolts. What's that to me? For amulets. The demon of caper-trees is a creature without eyes. What's that to me? For fleeing from it. A scholar was once about to pee among the caper-trees, when he heard it advancing upon him so he fled from it. Well he had gone, it embraced a palm-tree, whereupon the palm-tree cried out and it burst.

The demons of sorb-bushes are called Sheid. A sorb-bush which is near a town has not less than sixty demons haunting it. What's it to me? Regarding writing an amulet. A certain town-officer went and stood by a sorb-bush near a town, whereupon he was set upon by sixty demons and his life was in danger. He then went to a scholar who did not know that it was a sorb-bush haunted by sixty demons, and so he wrote a one-demon amulet for it. Then he heard how they danced on his head and sang: ‘The man wears a turban like a scholar's, but he does not even know "Blessed art Thou".’ Then a certain scholar came who knew that it was a sorb-bush of sixty demons and wrote a sixty-demon amulet for it. Then he heard them saying sadly, ‘Pack your bags, we've got to go.’

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