Tag Archives: This is the House that Jack Built

Against the flu

Robert Cochrane included an interesting rhyme in a letter to William Gray:

This is the taper that lights the way.
This is the cloak that covers the stone
That sharpens the knife
That cuts the cord
That binds the staff
That’s owned by the maid
Who tends the fire
That boils the pot
That scalds the sword
That fashions the bridge
That crosses the ditch
That compasses the hand
That knocks the door
That fetches the watch
That releases the man
That turns the mill
That grinds the corn
That makes the cake
That feeds the hound
That guards the gate
That hides the maze
That’s worth a light
And into the castle that Jack built.


It’s quite obviously a cousin of the nursery rhyme This is the house that Jack built.

Ever since I first read This is the Taper, I’ve felt drawn to it — each line linking to the next, with relationship building upon relationship. A circle.

So I borrowed that concept, and wrote a charm against the flu:

This is the candle
To feed the flame
That burns the flu
And cleans the blood
That bears the thread
That marks the witch
That chants the spell
That calls the candle
To feed the flame …


I take up a lit candle, and move deosil around the circle, chanting it round and round and raising the energy higher and higher. When the perfect point is reached, I turn to face the center and chant the following lines, stamping my right foot for each of the capitalized words:

That CHANTS the spell
That CHANTS the spell
That CHANTS the spell
And AS I will


Well, then.  Take that, chicken soup!



Filed under Crooks and Straights