Love is good for you.
In Hania, Dittany is called "Love". This is only one of the many names the people hase given this herb in honour if its great therapeutic qualities. From ancient times this strange plant has been remarked on by writers, and in later times mediaeval travellers, botanists and scientists have commented on it. The goddess Artemis has even been depicted wearing a wreath of Dittany.
Reference have been made to its powers of curing ulcers, neutralising the bites of poisonous snakes, stopping headaches and calming the nerves, as well as of healing wounds. The Cretans claim than when the wild goats were wounded by hunters they would eat Dittany, which helped get rid of the arrow from their body and heald their injuries. Collecting it was difficult and dangerous work done by "Lovers", who were lowered on ropes down the steep rockfaces to look for it. Today it is cultivated commercially and the picking of wild Dittany has ceased, as people are no longer preared to risk their lives gathering it, with the result that the mountains are once again covered and fragrant with "Love".
Á frightful salad.
Timid souls afraid of being alone at night should eat lots of purslane salads. And for those who are overly-fearful, a little purslane tucked under the mat-tress or worn ïon the body will rid them of most of their fears.
THE GORGE OF SAMARIA
During the many and frequent uprisings of the Cretans against the Venetians and the Turks it was always a treasured and wel-coming refuge for the insurgents and their families. No conqueror ever managed to penetrate it. As far as is known, the first foreigner to go through the gorge was the English traveller, Richard Poco-cke, in 1739.
STOP on á diet
There is a plant which grows in Crete, called alimos, which if you chew it will keep hun-ger at bay for 24 hours. All you have to do is find it...
Zeus At Sphakia
The Sphakiots believe that Zeus set his throne down somewhere amidst their mountains, be-fore it was trans-ported to the peaks of Olympus.
The Erotokritos, written by Vincenzo Kornaro in the 17th century, is the greatest and most important work in Cretan literature. Á narra-tive poem on the themes of love and war, it tells of the love of Erotokritos for Are-thousa and the trials and tribulations they go through before reaching a happy end-ing.
Once up on a time...
Zeus returns to Crete.
Copperlate engraving by Franco Valesio. Illustration from the pastoral drama 'L' Amorosa Fede' by the Cretan, Antonio Pandimo.
Cretán women weár á scarf loosely arranged áround their heads like á veil. Their breasts and shoulders áre always báre. They áre brown from the sun and weár no stockings. Never do they sit át table with their husbands, and they seldom enter á room ßf there is á strange mán there. Despite all this, they áre less severely restricted than the women in Turkish families.
"É drink the wine, mother,
É drink to get drunk, So that night and dawn may find me
At my love's door.
PHANTOM OF THE DEW or MORNING GHOSTS
Around the end of May or beginning of June, ghosts which look like warrior fig-ures ïn horseback seem to emerge from the ruined church of St. Haralampos. They proceed towards Frankocastello, be-yond where they dissolve into the sky. They are the ghosts of Hadzimichaelis' men who were killed in the battle of Frakostello and they are called phantoms of the dew because they appear and disappear with the morning dew.