They salted away caches of 'treasure' and drugs

ectropion

Senior Member
Hi there,
I'm facing some problems understanding the meaning of this sentence. The author of the book that it comes from, after having dealt about the professional treasure-hunting in medieval Middle East, went on talking about sharpers, fake treasure-hunters... that "salted away caches of 'treasure' and drugs" for stealing away amounts of money from their clients (the full text is available here). In my interpretation (however doubtful), they used to trick their clients hiding some bogus treasures and sometimes secretly administered drugs to them (to overpower them). But it's only a vague claim.
Thank you in advance
 
  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Yes, I think you understand it correctly. It's not clear to me what is causing you to doubt your interpretation.
     

    Lis48

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I think the drugs refers to the magical fumigations, tubes of mercury set off by trip wires etc. that the fake treasure hunters would use to make their clients think they were about to discover real treasure. The sharpers hid false "treasure" (hence the inverted commas to show it was not real) that thier victims were led to by a trail of visual effects produced by hidden drugs. I don´t think there is any suggestion of them administering drugs to overpower their victims. That´s my understanding of the text.
     

    ectropion

    Senior Member
    I have doubts because "drugs" seemed to me a word 'thrown' in this sentence, almost without context, explaination or references before or after it. Too unique to be really clearly understandable. But if it sounds not ambiguous to a mothertongue, all my doubts will fade away :) Thank you Cagey
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I have doubts because "drugs" seemed to me a word 'thrown' in this sentence, almost without context, explanation or references before or after it. Too unique to be really clearly understandable. But if it sounds not ambiguous to a mothertongue, all my doubts will fade away :) Thank you Cagey
    I agree that it is odd that they don't mention, even in passing, how the drugs will be used. They seem to have counted on the reader to construct the scenario you describe.

    Edit: I guess Lis48's interpretation is plausible, except that I would expect mercury and the chemicals used in fire traps to be referred to as "chemicals" rather than "drugs".
     
    Last edited:

    ectropion

    Senior Member
    I think the drugs refers to the magical fumigations, tubes of mercury set off by trip wires etc. that the fake treasure hunters would use to make their clients think they were about to discover real treasure. The sharpers hid false "treasure" (hence the inverted commas to show it was not real) that thier victims were led to by a trail of visual effects produced by hidden drugs. I don´t think there is any suggestion of them administering drugs to overpower their victims. That´s my understanding of the text.
    Interesting... so, in your interpretation, the drugs were burnt or something like this?
     

    Lis48

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I understood drugs in this context as meaning, for example, the chemicals or herbs that would be burnt to produce smoke and create magical fumigations. A drug is any substance that when absorbed causes a change in bodily function, so the magical fumigations were luring the victims to act against their better judgement. I have doubts about my interpretation, but I can´t see any reference to drugs being secretly administered to the victims and I think it´s more likely that the victims were caught up in the magic of the fumigations and other visual effects induced by drugs.
     
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