Monday, March 02, 2015

A unique use for flour

As is characteristic of simile maledictions, the curse opens with kima (line 130) ‘like’, ‘just as’. The simile builds on the flour’s particular properties. As flour, the grain will never enjoy propagation. It is useless to the farmer. Never will it develop in a cultivated field or along a canal in the wild. Nor will it have roots or shoots. It is sterile. The object compared is the curse within the victim’s body. Like the flour, the curse is not to engender itself and spread throughout the sufferer’s interior. Like the flour, the malediction is to be impotent. Once extracted, no seed of the curse is to be left behind that might enable the malediction to grow and spread. The removal is to be complete and thorough. Throwing the curse-bearing flour into the fire destroys the grain and the curse it has absorbed. Both are effectively eliminated from the land of the living. Both are killed. Both are rendered extinct.— Cursed Are You!, page 337

<idle musing>
A bit of background might help here. Flour was commonly used in canceling curses. They would make a line on the floor, usually surrounding the person or thing that had been cursed. It acted as a boundary-marker, containing the curse.
</idle musing>

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