This section is from the book "Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, And Superstitions Of Ireland", by Jane Francesca Wilde. Also available from Amazon: Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, And Superstitions Of Ireland.
Rub the part affected with flax and tow, heated in the fire, repeating in Irish-
" In the name of a rough man and a mild woman, and of the Lamb of God, be healed from your pains and your sins. So be it. Amen."
1 The ancient serpent-idol was called in Irish, "The Great Worm." St. Patrick destroyed it, and had it thrown into the sea. There are no serpents now to be found in Ireland, not even grass snakes or scorpions.
This custom refers to the tradition that one day the Lord Christ, being weary, asked leave to rest in a house, but was refused by the master of the house, a rough, rude man. Then the wife, being a mild woman, had pity on the wayfarer, and brought Him in to rest, and gave Him a cup of water to drink, and spake kindly to Him. After which the man was suddenly taken with severe pains, and seemed like to die in his agony.
On this Christ called for some flax and tow, and, breathing on it, placed it on the part affected, by which means the man was quite healed. And then the Lord Christ went His way, but not before the man had humbly asked pardon for his rudeness to a stranger.
The tradition of this cure has remained ever since, and a hot plaster of flax and tow is used by the peasantry invariably for all sudden pains, and found to be most efficacious as a cure.