The Woman Who Cannot
Translated by Miller Oberman
The woman who cannot bring forth her child: go to a dead man’s grave and then step three times over the grave, and then say these words three times:
This is my cure for the loathsome late-birth
This is my cure for the bitter black-birth
This is my cure for the loathsome imperfect-birth
And when that woman is with child and she goes to her lord in his bed, then let her say:
Up I go, over you I step,
with a quick child, not a quelled one,
with a full-born one, not a doomed one.
And when the mother feels the child is quick, go then to a church, and when she comes before the altar say then:
Christ, I said it. This has been uttered.
The woman who cannot bring forth her child: grasp a handful of her own child’s grave, and after that, bind it in black wool and sell it to peddlers, and say then:
I sell it, you sell it.
This blackened wool, this sorrow seed.
Translated from the Old English