Thursday, January 26, 2012

Effects of the Tibetan Wild Onion

Richard Burton, ed. and tr., Arabian Nights (Night 408):
The Wazir cried, "Verily this fellow is a-fizzling and he boweth his head toward his breast in order that he may savour his own farts."1

1 Alluding to the curious phenomenon pithily expressed in the Latin proverb, "Suus cuique crepitus benรจ olet," I know of no exception to the rule, except amongst travellers in Tibet, where the wild onion, the only procurable green-stuff, produces an odour so rank and fetid that men run away from their own crepitations. The subject is not savoury, yet it has been copiously illustrated: I once dined at a London house whose nameless owner, a noted bibliophile, especially of “facetiae,” had placed upon the drawing-room table a dozen books treating of the “Crepitus ventris.” When the guests came up and drew near the table, and opened the volumes, their faces were a study. For the Arab. "Faswah" = a silent break wind, see vol. ix. 11 and 291. It is opposed to "Zirt" = a loud fart and the vulgar term, see vol. ii. 88.
The Latin proverb means, "To each man his own fart smells good."

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