German Charm-Book Assistance Requested

Lately I’ve been looking over a friend’s copy of a charm book, dating to the time of, and similar in style to, The Long-Lost Friend. You’ll pardon me if I don’t give a title, but it’s your own fault. All of you have proven to be troublemakers, what with your independent initiative and deep esoteric knowledge and excellent research skills, and I might want to publish on this down the road without someone pointing out that, yes, they know more than I do on the topic.

My readers are also generous and forgiving, however, and they will doubtless overlook that tirade so they can do me a favor.

I’ve Google Translated and grabbed dictionaries and used my own poor German knowledge to get me to the point where I have a rough knowledge of the book’s contents. I keep getting stuck on a few words here and there, which I’m not certain are regional variants or misspellings (though I’ve caught most of those) or just archaic terms. Thus, I present an incantation and a saying, with some notes as to what words I’m still uncertain about.

The incantation is as follows:

Eine stattliche Brunst-Löschung

Nimm einen Nocken Laib Brod, verbrenne ihn bis er ganz Schwarz wird, und stosse ihn zu Pulver, nimm darnach ein wenig Stubenkutter und das Bözig aus einer Messerscheide geklopft, binds in ein Bündlein und wirfs ins Feuer, so verlöschet es.

My translation, which you can feel free to correct/mock:

A magnificent rutting-extinguishing

Take a loaf of white bread, burn it until it is completely black, and pound it into a powder, then take a little Stubenkutter and the Bözig knocked from a knife sheath, bind it into a bag and throw it into the fire, so it will fade.

I think “Bözig” might be gypsum, but I can’t get that to make sense. Google Translate confidently renders “Stubenkutter” as a “housefly cutter,” but I don’t know what in R’lyeh that is in English, either.

The phrase:

Niefen wird auch für ein Zeichen gehalten und wann einer Morgens nüchtern Niefet, so erwartet er denselben Tag einen Besuch.

My translation (probably worse than the one above):

Niefen was for a time stopped and when a morning’s sober Niefet, so might that same day he expect a visit.

Any thoughts, comments, possible sources, corrections, etc., would be greatly appreciated.

Published in: on March 4, 2008 at 5:20 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. The greatest problem you seem to have is a faulty translitteration of the text. “Niefen” probably is “Niesen”, (sneezing) – there is a longform of the letter s used in the middle of words that looks very similar to an ‘f’. So that last part should translate as something like”Sneezing also was considered as a portent (sign), and when someone sober sneezed in the morming, he expected a visit the same day.”

  2. Axel,


    I’m pretty sure it’s not a long “s” – there’s plenty of those in the manuscript, and I’ve triple-checked that word to make sure. I’m finding out, however, that this is not the most accurate of texts when it comes to spelling, so I’ll take “sneezing” as a perfectly fine reading.

  3. If you need a little bit more assistance, drop me a line. If the text you are working on is colonial, not continental, maybe the author himself (?) wasn’t too sure about the spelling. Also, I have seen that in the first textbit there are some low german/phalian words, so maybe it’s also a mixture of dialects, and that could get tricky.

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