Glas Ghairm
A rhyme or spell of Scottish origin to keep a dog from barking
or to open a lock. The glas ghairm was also supposed to
be of special value to young men in their courtship days. About
1900 a well-known character in Skye (Hebrides, Scotland)
named Archibald the Lightheaded was believed to know this incantation
but repeated it so quickly that no one could understand
what he said. The man was insane, but the fear that dogs
had of him was ascribed to his knowledge of the glas ghairm.
It was believed that this rhyme had some reference to the safety
of the children of Israel on the night before the biblical Exodus
‘‘against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his
tongue, against man or beast’’ (Exod. 117). (See also hand of