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LETTER xvin       A CURE FOE COWAEDICE                      75

case of illness. They are rigid " abstainers," and arak is
not to be procured in the Bakhtiari country. This
partly accounts for the extreme and almost startling
rapidity of the healing of surgical wounds.

Ophthalmia, glaucoma, bulging eyeballs, inflamed eyes
and eyelids, eczema, rheumatism, dyspepsia, and coughs
are the prevailing maladies, and among men, bad
headaches, which they describe as periodical and in-
capacitating, are common. The skin maladies and some
of the eye maladies come from dirt, and the parasites
which are its offspring. Among the common people the
clothes are only washed once a year, and then in cold
water, with the root of a very sticky soap wort. They
attribute all ailments but those of the skin and eyes to
"wind." Eheumatism doubtless comes from .sleeping
in cotton clothing, and little enough of it, on the damp

There are no sages femmes. Every woman is supposed
to be able to help her neighbour in her hour of need.
Maternity is easy. The mother is often at work the
day after the birth of her child, and in less than a week
regains her usual strength.

Possession by bad spirits is believed in, and cowardice
is attributed to possession. In the latter case medicine is
not resorted to, but a mollah writes a text from the Koran
and binds the paper on the coward's arm. If this does not
cure him he must visit a graveyard on the night of the
full moon, and pass seven times under the body of one of
the sculptured lions on the graves, repeating an Arabic

This pass gives a little rest. It is solitary, cold
(the mercury 48 at 10 P.M), and very windy. I appre-
ciate the comparatively low temperature all the more
because the scenery beyond the Zalaki valley, in which
scorched valleys and reddish, rocky ranges are repeated