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Re: Medieval diseases, or never touch plague rats

Poster: rmhowe <magnusm@ncsu.edu>

> Poster: carl christianson <einar@cvn.net>

> Elen Prydydd  wrote:

> The prof I had for population history was really keen on McNeill:  he
> drilled it into us pretty unmercifully  ;->  He even told us about
> Mongolian folkways that prevented the spread of the damn disease:  never
> touch a dead rodent (unless of course you just shot it) -- it's probably
> diseased and has disease-carrying fleas on it!
> Elen

Actually, this is still a current practice in Mongolia. I am reading
a book on Women of Mongolia by Martha Avery, 1996, where it states
that it is forbidden to carry marmot into the cities, but they do it
anyway, because of the threat of spreading plague. Problem is that
Marmot is a delicacy there and they are addicted to it. Marmot plague
is called tarvagan takhal. It seems to be seasonal though, worst in
from June to middle of August when the animals are weakest. Hunting
season is August 15 to October 15, after that they hibernate.

There are a number of ways to cook it. One involves making sure it is
shot in the head, reaching down the throat to pull out the insides,
placing hot river stones inside, and throwing the whole marmot on the
coals of a fire. After about two hours he gets really big and one
removes the stones, which can be used to rub oneself with, then pours
out the soup which has gathered inside the animal into two or three
cups. Then you eat the rest of the animal.

Magnus, just chock full of extraneous information. Enjoy your marmot. ;)
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