I’ve been hearing a little chat about a ‘one-day blinding stew’ which purportedly causes temporary blindness. Details seem predictably hard to come by although I’ve heard rumours (verbally, can’t cite a source) that such preparations have been known in Europe for centuries, possibly based on Euphorbia paralias and/or certain types of mushrooms. Does anyone know of any references to such a thing, whether legendary or factual?

Edit: part of the background to this is that Euphorbia is starting to be found here (NZ) which is why it was mentioned by a friend of Polish descent who said that ‘Sea Spurge’ was known in Polish(?) folklore for causing temporary blindness.

  • Where have you been hearing this chatter? That might help give potential answers a lead.
    – cmw
    Commented Feb 4 at 14:40
  • Which parts of Europe would this be for?
    – VLAZ
    Commented Feb 4 at 15:01
  • @VLAZ I’m not sure but one of the purport ingredients is native to coastal areas around Europe.
    – Frog
    Commented Feb 4 at 20:11
  • @cmw it’s a theme that has come up in some Internet memes in the last few days. While it’s possible that the idea was plucked out of thin air I was discussing with some other people of European descent whether this was inspired by fact or folklore. The friends I was talking to believed that there likely was some precedent but couldn’t give a specific example.
    – Frog
    Commented Feb 4 at 20:14

1 Answer 1


Yea my Estonian grandmother read me a short story about this from a book when I was young, from what I remember it was about an impoverished young girl who’s father was lost at sea, her hand in marriage was promised by her mother to a butcher, but she refused to marry him because of his hideousness. The mother made a stew that would cause the daughter to become blind, so that there would be no reason not to marry the butcher. The daughter refused it, smashing the pipkin on the floor. In a rage, the mother threw embers into her daughters eyes, blinding her anyway. When the daughters sight returned, she fled the house and lived in the forest, or far far away or something. I remember this because I still have some drawings that I made of the pipkin and the young girl from this tale from when I was growing up

  • Thanks, do you recall anything about the book, English or another language?
    – Frog
    Commented Feb 5 at 3:33

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