How to Catch Flies, ca. 1400

manuscript illustration of men and beasts attacked by large flies

If you have a room or floor in your dwelling infested with flies, take little sprigs of fern, tie them together with threads like tassels, hang them up, and all the flies will settle on them in the evening. Then take down the tassels and throw them outside… otherwise, tie a linen stocking to the bottom of a pierced pot and set the pot in the place where the flies gather and smear the inside with honey, or apples, or pears. When it is full of flies, place a platter over the opening, then shake it.

Le ménagier de Paris (trans. Gina L. Greco and Christine M. Rose)

These flycatching remedies are from a handbook ostensibly written by a husband offering helpful advice to his teenaged wife. And, let’s face it: who cares whether they work for catching flies? Ladies, just imagine how impressed a husband would be by your decorative fern-tassels and honey-smeared socks.