Meele Crotte works as a porter at the castle of the lords of Beselare. She owes this rather high-ranking position to her father Paulus Wancourt, coachman to the marquis Maximilian Vanderwoestine.
When the marquis and marquise are not at home, she sends the beggars away with the mocking words ”Es crotte!” (there’s scarcity). Meele is an educated, prudish miss. Because of her vast knowledge of herbs and plants, she is known beyond the borders of the parish as a quack ointment maker.
Meele grows all kinds of fungi to make medicinal salves and potions. They help against scurvy, constipation, diarrhea, worms and ulcerated nails. People often call on her for one particular fungus – the Papenhoed tree – that keeps goats healthy. Her quackery led to more goats dying than cured. After her death in 1751, the devil’s sign was discovered on her body, after which her entire habitation and mushrooms were burnt.