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June 29, 2011


Carol Levy

This may be a repeat...if so, I apologize. Thank you so much for your definition of "melitot!" I was reading Kipling's poem, "Our Fathers of Old," and it was one of several plants whose name I didn't recognize.

For fun, here's the first verse:

EXCELLENT herbs had our fathers of old -
Excellent herbs to ease their pain -
Alexanders and Marigold,
Eyebright, Orris, and Elecampane -
Basil, Rocket, Valerian, Rue,
(Almost singing themselves they run)
Vervain, Dittany, Call-me-to-you-
Cowslip, Melitot, Rose of the Sun,
Anything green that grew out of the mould
Was an excellent herb to our fathers of old.

Jim Hermanson

I may be one of only 2 people in North America who can honestly say I have a funny story to tell about a lur.

I work with dictionaries all day long. They are a fixture and constantly used for research at my job. One of our dictionaries is Merriam-Webster's 3rd International.

That book is full of lovely little illustrations.

One time at work, I was hunting through the book for interesting words & maybe fun pictures. I chanced upon the fish hook shaped musical instrument you depict: the lur. I shared this with a nearby office mate who was of a similarly whimsical state of mind.

Some time later, we tried to remember what that word was. Remember? The instrument that had a fish hook shape and shower head bell? What was it called?

Neither of us could remember. We hunted through that multi-thousand page book for as long as we decently could. We both THOUGHT that the mystery word was in the latter half of the dictionary, for instance.

We could not find it again.

Whenever I had the chance, I would hunt for the mystery word & amusing illustration. No dice.

Then, one day, while using the book for normal work research, I chanced upon it again: the Lur!! Of course!!

I now carried the tome to the photocopy machine and blew up the word & picture of the lur and gave it to my colleague. He has it permanently on file.

Never again will we forget the mighty, illusive lur!!

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