this subject was the discovery of a fish bone in his hand. The
fisherman not only has to contend with wind and weather, but also
is liable to pick up fishbones in almost any portion of his anatomy;
the bones working through the body like needles. The De Cruz remedy
was to fill the punctures with hot butter and vinegar. This, De Cruz
stated, would cause the bone fragment to come out in 24 hours without
leaving any soreness.
De Cruz became suddenly talkative on the subject of sea-going
remedies. He explained that when a seaman is pricked by a nail or other
sharp object he rubs the nail, or other object, with an onion. The onion is
then clapped on the wound. This treatment is reminiscent of the
"sympathy powders" of the Middle Ages which were applied to the
injuring weapon itself. Expanding with his subject, the Captain next told
of a sure remedy to stop bleeding at the mouth. The injured part must be
rubbed with a ripe fig soaked in condensed milk! Figs are at a premium
while the crews are celebrating good catches in "jock" or "ale-houses,"
for at this time many brawls occur, and bleeding mouths, noses, and even
bleeding knuckles are not at all uncommon.
After about fifteen minutes of lecturing on medicine, De Cruz
looped a basket over the wheel, lashing it in place, and went aft to see if
any shrimp had been caught in the trial net. The pilotless ship surging
among other ships with wheel in basket might well be a matter for
concern, but apparently none of the skippers gave the danger a thought.