A Fishy Remedy


Make your hiccups stop by saying “fish” over and over again.


When PK was younger, he had hiccups and couldn’t get them to stop, so he asked his dad what to do. He told him to say “fish” over and over again until they went away. He tried a bit, found that it didn’t work, and then asked his father a second time. His father said to try again–“it will work eventually.”

He would say it over and over and over again until the hiccups stopped. Whether or not they stopped because of “fish” or of natural causes is unknown, but PK likes to believe that saying “fish” was the remedy.


These folk “remedies” are told to children to provide an effective, lighthearted solution to their inexplicable problems. This is where folklore separates from science and biology: unofficial knowledge passed down from parent to child cannot be taught in institutions. Even if saying “fish” doesn’t actually stop the hiccups, it further establishes this sense of trust; it is comforting to know that your father has different tricks up his sleeve for each problem you encounter. The magic behind folklore rests upon our ability to believe. These ‘life hacks’ reflect a reservoir of experience and knowledge; the power dynamic between parent and child is created from the differences in our stages of life. What we learn from our parents can be passed down to our children, and remedies can soon become familial traditions. Even without fully understanding why you’re doing something, you believe in it because of parental authority and familiarity. We don’t question the logicality of folklore. Although some of these remedies may be widespread and have different variations across multiple regions, it’s almost as if your parent has this special, niche understanding of how the world works–they possess wisdom beyond standardized, common knowledge.