The method of *love divination by means of a cabbage (kail) stalk pulled at random from the ground is best known by the note to Robert Burns's poem 'Halloween' (1787), and would seem exclusively Scots and Irish if it were not for isolated English references such as Ella M. Leather's note from Herefordshire: 'If a girl go into the garden on this night (Halloween), and cut a cabbage, as the clock strikes twelve, the wraith of her future husband will appear' (Leather, 1912: 64). Cabbages also had various uses in folk-medicine, although again the Irish and Scots examples outweigh the English in number and variety. Vickery records a reference from Cambridge in the 1960s which recommends a cabbage-leaf tied round a swollen knee, and from Devon in the 1990s to drink cabbage-water as a cure for colds, flu, headache, and especially hangovers.
   ■ Vickery, 1995: 57-9; Opie and Tatem, 1989: 53.

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

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