DRÚTH, when used in early Irish narrative literature, refers to a professional entertainer, perhaps some kind of jester or buffoon. There are references in legal texts, however, which suggest that the word could be used also of someone suffering from mental illness. One Early Modern glossary claims that DRÚITH have a lump on their foreheads called the CORR CRECHDA. No further details are given but scholars have wondered whether this may reflect the tradition of the ‘Mark of Cain’ or may derive from medieval belief in an actual ‘stone of folly’, commonly thought to be located in the head. Attempts to extract this ‘stone’ are depicted in a number of art works, including a fifteenth-century painting by Hieronymus Bosch (below).
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