Picture Sundays: Bile Beans

ETA: Kelly says: Bile beans on Easter Sunday? Oh, Erik. I’m adding the following photo to this post. It’s really exciting that a Barred Rock is featured in the photo, plus, it illustrates the ambiguous relationship between rabbits and eggs that marks Easter: a persistent ambiguity that leads little kids to believe bunnies lay eggs, or at least the chocolate ones. Here, the bunny seems to have domesticated the hen as both an egg producer and draft animal. It’s unclear what the rabbit is planning to do with his cache of eggs, but he’s in a hellfire hurry to get somewhere with them.
And now back to our regularly scheduled post:

“This represents a healthy life, throughout its various scenes, just such a life as they enjoy, who use the Smith’s bile beans.”

According to an article in the International Journal of Pharmaceutical Medicine, bile beans were,

a very popular proprietary medicine during the twentieth century in the UK. The product consisted of a variety of purgatives, cholagogues and carminatives formulated into a pill and advertised for ‘inner health’. The product was devised in Australia in 1899, survived a damning judgement in a law court in Scotland in 1905, became a brand leader in the 1930s and was on sale until the mid-1980s.

Thanks to Senor W for the photo.

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  1. I’m reading your commentary on bunnies and eggs and in my head I’m hearing an essay by the fabulous David Sedaris about his experience trying to explain American Easter traditions in a French language immersion class. I laugh just remembering it. I can’t track down the audio (if you’ve never heard David Sedaris read his own works, you’ve really missed something), but I was able to find the transcript online for “The Rabbit of Easter. He Bring of the Chocolate”. Read it and weep . . . with laughter:

    Happy Easter! Happy Spring!

  2. Kelly, good idea!I wanted to feature a vamp today, but at least I put a bunny picture up before my vamp part of the post. I just love the little bunny, hen, and egg photo!

    I though Erik had found a new crop.

  3. This came up yesterday when a friend was telling of reading that the goddess of Spring Ēostre “saved a bird whose wings had frozen off by turning it into a rabbit. Since the rabbit had once been a bird, it could still lay eggs, and that’s where the Easter Bunny came from.”

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