Format: Single

Why had the plague not broken out at the blacksmith’s shop in Munday’s Lane? Because, as I’ve shown you, forges and smithies belong naturally to Mars, and, for his honour’s sake, Mars ’ud keep ’em clean from the creatures of the Moon. But was it like, think you, that he’d come down and rat-catch in general for lazy, ungrateful mankind? That were working a willing horse to death. So, then, you can see that the meaning of the blazing star above him when he set was simply this: “Destroy and burn the creatures of the moon, for they are the root of your trouble.”


This is from “A Doctor of Medicine” in Rewards and Fairies.

There is plague in the village, and Nicholas Culpeper, herbalist and astrologer, is seeking the reason for it. From his reading of the night sky, the plague is caused by the rats, the creatures of the moon, in alliance with Saturn. Against them stands fiery Mars, the red planet, who is killing the rats. The moral is to follow Mars, and ‘take a bat and kill a rat’. After the rats have been routed out, the plague is beaten.