The rich burghers who ran the city were not amused. One of them, writer Sebastian Brant, had devoted a chapter of his moralising bestseller, Ship of Fools, to the folly of dance. Mystified by the chaos in the streets, he and his fellow city councillors consulted local doctors who, in keeping with standard medical wisdom, declared the dancing to be the result of “overheated blood” on the brain.
The councillors implemented what they felt was the appropriate treatment – more dancing! They ordered the clearing of an open-air grain market, commandeered guild halls, and erected a stage next to the horse fair.
They were given sacred red shoes and started a pilgrimage to Saverne. It involved a gruelling climb to a remote monastery, which was thick with incense and candle smoke. This extravagant ritual awoke something in their deep-rooted piety. Between holy relics and religious imagery, they had reason to believe the curse would be raised. and the curse was lifted.
"It was on a train," Crowley said. "This chap had a basket under his seat and another passenger asked him what was in it. 'A mongoose,' he said. 'A mongoose!' said the other. 'What on earth do you want with a mongoose?' 'Well,' said our hero, 'my brother drinks a great deal more than is good for him, and sometimes he sees snakes. So I turn the mongoose on them.' The other passenger was baffled by this logic. 'But those are imaginary snakes!' he exclaimed. 'Aha!' said our hero. 'Do you think I don't know that? But this is an imaginary mongoose!'
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