Kissing a Donkey

Kissing a Donkey


In a German legend from the Middle Ages, it was proposed that kissing a donkey would take away the pain of a toothache.


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Maintaining good oral health should be part of everyone's daily routine but sometimes tradition and superstition get in the way. A perfect example of this was discovered in the BDJ archives from a century ago:

At the Dorset Field Club's meeting on February 3, Mr. Rawlence, of Salisbury, quoted instances of superstitious folk-lore in Dorset. As recently as 1910 a leading auctioneer in the county told him he had been suffering from toothache and on the way to the dentist, he met an old farmer client, who, learning where he was going, said: 'Don't go there; I'll tell 'ee how to cure it.

You go to a young oak tree and put your arms around it and mark the place where your fingers meet. Then hit a slit in the bark with your knife, put your left hand behind your head and pull out some hair behind your right ear, and put it in the slit of the bark and you'll never have toothache again.

However fantastical, it is impossible that such measures could do anything to prevent the recurrence of toothache and yet it is not impossible that the auctioneer in this report attempted this creative solution to rid himself of toothache. Whilst the farmer's suggestion might seem ridiculous in the twenty-first century, many old wives' tales persist today and it must be questioned whether there are scientific explanations behind their efficacy or if they are simply inaccurate and potentially dangerous to the patient.

In German legend from the Middle Ages, it was proposed that kissing a donkey would take away the pain of a toothache. It can only be presumed that attempting this with a member of the horse family could lead to an act of aggression resultant in accidental exodontia, thus removing the painful tooth and source of toothache.


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