Journal Extract, Deadman's Bells
(A Journal extract submitted to Lord Galvathalion and Lady Mornariel for approval, in aid of the House of Healing's complete knowledge of herblore)
A highly poisonous plant in its entirety, from my observations, in particular the leaves of the upper stem that when consumed apparently leads to an untimely end, in certain cases. Early known signs are vomiting, nausea and some visions of a queer nature. This plant, too, is toxic to nearly all animals of livestock and poultry kind. I have noted this as a truth myself, supported by disgruntled rumours from the Shire-folk.
Despite its sinister nature, its appearance is one of simple yet great beauty. Its flowers are drooped and are layered, and can often range from pink to white, and in general their appearance can be likened to small bells. A fascinating plant.
Of the many names that are known, ‘Fairy-folks-fingers’ is the most common amongst the locals of the Shire, it seems, and the dwellers of Staddle- which by extension, I can assume, will be known by the Men of Bree. It is claimed in various folklore that fairies often frequented these plants, and when one of the ‘bells’ is grabbed, and the others are tapped by finger or hand, the fairy’s thunder can be heard. Doubtless this is naught but an idle tale, but it remains a quaint one for the imagination.
Its other names, used particularly by traders along the disused greenway to the Trestlespan are ‘Witches gloves’ and 'Foxglove'. I know for myself that we Rangers of the wild who roam the northern downs know of its growth among the fields near the ruins of Norbury, known commonly as ‘Deadman’s Dike’- which may be the origin for the plant's other name, ‘Deadman’s Bells’, though I cannot confirm this with any confidence.
I wonder if its properties have been perused by the knowledge of the Eldar, and if indeed there are tales or names for it of a different kind?