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[20] But Telephus, because his wound was unhealed, and Apollo had told him that he would be cured when the one who wounded him should turn physician, came from Mysia to Argos, clad in rags, and begged the help of Achilles, promising to show the course to steer for Troy. So Achilles healed him by scraping off the rust of his Pelian spear. Accordingly, on being healed, Telephus showed the course to steer,1 and the accuracy of his information was confirmed by Calchas by means of his own art of divination.


1 This account of how Telephus steered the Greek fleet to Troy after being healed of his grievous wound by Achilles, is probably derived from the epic Cypria; since it agrees on these points with the brief summary of Proclus. See Epicorum Graecorum Fragmenta, ed. G. Kinkel, p. 19. Compare Scholiast on Hom. Il. i.59; Dictys Cretensis ii.10. As to the cure of Telephus's wound by means of the rust of the spear, see also Hyginus, Fab. 101; Prop. ii.1.63ff.; Ovid, Ex Ponto ii.2.6. Pliny describes a painting in which Achilles was represented scraping the rust from the blade of his spear with a sword into the wound of Telephus (Pliny, Nat. Hist. xxv.42, xxxiv.152). The spear was the famous one which Chiron had bestowed on Peleus, the father of Achilles; the shaft was cut from an ash-tree on Mount Pelion, and none of the Greeks at Troy, except Achilles, could wield it. See Hom. Il. 16.140-144; Hom. Il. 19.387-391; Hom. Il. 22.133ff. The healing of Telephus's wound by Achilles is also reported, though without mention of the spear, by Dictys Cretensis ii.10, a Scholiast on Hom. Il. i.59 and a Scholiast on Aristoph. Cl. 919. The subject was treated by Sophocles in a play called The Assembly of the Achaeans, and by Euripides in a play called Telephus. See The Fragments of Sophocles, ed. A. C. Pearson, i.94ff.; Griechische Dichterfragmente. ii. Lyrische und dramatische Fragmente, ed. W. Schubart und U. von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff (Berlin, 1907), pp. 64ff.; TGF (Nauck 2nd ed.), pp. 161ff., 579ff. Aristophanes ridiculed the rags and tatters in which Telephus appeared on the stage in Euripides's play (Aristoph. Acharn. 430ff.). Apollodorus may have had the passage of Euripides or the parody of Aristophanes in mind when he describes Telephus as clad in rags. The cure of a wound by an application to it of rust from the weapon which inflicted the hurt is not to be explained, as Pliny supposed, by any medicinal property inherent in rust as such, else the rust from any weapon would serve the purpose. It is clearly a folklore remedy based on the principle of sympathetic magic. Similarly Iphiclus was cured of impotence by the rust of the same knife which had caused the infirmity. See Apollod. 1.9.12. The proverbial remedy for the bite of a dog “the hair of the dog that bit you,” is strictly analogous in principle; for it is not the hair of any dog that will work the cure, but only the hair of the particular dog that inflicted the bite. Thus we read of a beggar who was bitten by a dog, at the vicarage of Heversham, in Westmoreland, and went back to the house to ask for some of the animal's hair to put on the wound. See W. Henderson, Notes on the Folk-lore of the Northern Counties of England (London, 1879), p. 160, note 1. A precisely similar remedy for similar hurts appears to be popular in China; for we hear of a missionary who travelled about the province of Canton accompanied by a powerful dog, which bit children in the villages through which his master passed; and when a child was bitten, its mother used to run after the missionary and beg for a hair from the dog's tail to lay on the child's wound as a remedy. See N. B. Dennys, The Folklore of China (London and Hongkong, 1876), p. 52. For more examples of supposed cures based on the principle of sympathy between the animal who bites and the person who is bitten, see W. Henderson, l.c.; W. G. Black, Folk-Medicine (London, 1883), pp. 50ff.; W. Gregor, Notes on the Folklore of the North-East of Scotland (London, 1881), p. 127.

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