Two traditional cures for a stye which do not have an obvious scientific basis are to rub the eye with a *gold ring or a *cat's tail, although in many cases there are further stipulations, as some authorities insist on nine strokes of the tail, a black cat, a full moon, and so on. The ring cure at least is of some antiquity, as shown by lines in Beaumont and Fletcher's play The Mad Lover (c.1622, v. iv): 'I have a sty here, Chilax; I have no gold to cure it, not a penny'. Forbes also quotes a Middle English verbal charm to accompany the application of a lotion.
   ■ Black, 1883: 151; N&Q 1s:2 (1850), 37; 9s:5 (1900), 104, 212-13; 9s:6 (1900), 134; 181 (1941), 344; 182 (1942), 23; Forbes, 1971: 293-316; 'Queer West-Country Remedies of To-Day', Cassell's Saturday Journal (17 May 1893).

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

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