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7-20-8

(1907), a “comedy of to‐day” by Augustin Daly. [Daly's Theatre, 49 perf.] Portrait of a Lady, picture #728 at the annual Academy exhibition, so lovingly depicts a beautiful woman ...

EGGS after sunset

EGGS after sunset   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Superstitions

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Subject Reference
Current Version:
2003
Subject:
Society and culture, Customs and Traditions
Length:
246 words

...sunset if they are to be set, or they will never hatch. 1982 Woman, 20 [Cleveland, Yorks.] In the country, it is considered bad luck to bring eggs into the house after...

PIN as present

PIN as present   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Superstitions

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2003
Subject:
Society and culture, Customs and Traditions
Length:
303 words

...‘thank you’ for a pin. 1923 [Bridgwater, Som.] It is very unlucky to receive a knife, brooch or anything with a pin in it, unless you pay a penny or two for the gift. 1968 Observer Suppl. 24 Nov. 8 [John McCormack, boxing champion] If you give a safety-pin never give it direct or you'll sever your friendship. Always pin it on his jacket. 1981 Woman, 20 [Sheffield, Yorks.] When a pin or needle is passed from one person to another it must always be in a piece of cloth. Cf. KNIFE as present...

CHIMNEY SWEEP, meeting: and actions to avert evil

CHIMNEY SWEEP, meeting: and actions to avert evil   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Superstitions

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Subject Reference
Current Version:
2003
Subject:
Society and culture, Customs and Traditions
Length:
465 words

...1958 Scarborough Evening News 31 Mar. 4 . The bride [received] a good-luck kiss from … the family's sweep. 1959 Yorkshire Post 8 Oct. 8 . Once on the way to a point-to-point meeting he saw a sweep throw him a kiss. His mount won. 1983 Daily Telegraph 26 Aug. 7 . A chimney sweep, Mr Cyril Buckland, is finding that kissing brides at weekend weddings is more profitable than sweeping chimneys … His charge for a 20-minute chimney sweeping is £4, but a five-minute ‘good luck’ attendance at a wedding is £5. Cf. BLACK MAN...

BIBLE AND KEY: divination

BIBLE AND KEY: divination   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Superstitions

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Current Version:
2003
Subject:
Society and culture, Customs and Traditions
Length:
1,193 words

...Counties 195–8 [long description]. 1871 KILVERT Diary 1 Feb. [Clyro, Radnor.] Mrs Jones declared two pairs of drawers and a ‘shimmy’ had been stolen, and her suspicions fell on some of the neighbours. She and her husband consulted the ordeal of the key and Bible … The key said ‘Bella Whitney’. 1888 Bye-Gones 79 [Welsh Border] If any thing had been stolen, and a person was suspected, she could tell whether the suspicion was justifiable by ‘turning the key on the Bible’. 1935 I Walked by Night (ed. L. Rider Haggard , 19–20) [Norfolk] Granny...

May (the month)

May (the month)   Quick reference

A Dictionary of English Folklore

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Current Version:
2003

...cf. N&Q 1s:7 ( 1853 ) 152); the broom brings death; boys born in May are particularly cruel to animals ( N&Q 12s:4 ( 1918 ) 133, 172, 257–8). Most often mentioned is the idea that May marriages will prove unhappy. The belief is undoubtedly ancient, as Ovid mentions it ( Fasti : V v. ii. 487–90); its first known airing in English, in Poor Robin's Almanack for 1675 , treats it as already proverbial. Yet, however well-known, it does not seem to have been translated into action; George Monger's research ( Folklore 105 ( 1994 ), 104–8) presents figures...

God's penny

God's penny   Quick reference

A Dictionary of English Folklore

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2003

...and ingrained the custom was. Numerous reports also indicate that it was necessary to spit on the money if you wanted its luck to be effective, and this custom was still being reported in certain quarters late in the 20th century. F. J. Snell , The Customs of Old England (1911), 232–8; N&Q 5s: 7 (1877), 488; 5s:8 (1878), 37–8 376–7; 9s:11 (1903), 127, 196, 254, 358; 157 (1929), 454–5; 158 (1930), 31; Opie and Tatem , 1989:...

treacle mines

treacle mines   Quick reference

A Dictionary of English Folklore

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2003

...waste oil from an American airbase (Tadley, Hampshire). The machinery for extracting it, and the docks from which it is exported, are lovingly described (Corpusty and Fring, Norfolk); one mine employs boggarts (Sabden, Lancashire). Simpson , 1982; FLS News 18 (1993), 78; 19 (1994), 5–6; 20 (1994), 4–6; 21 (1995), 11–12; 25 (1997),...

seafaring customs and beliefs

seafaring customs and beliefs   Quick reference

A Dictionary of English Folklore

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Current Version:
2003

...sleep in the light of the moon , which was still being reported well into the 20th century ( FLS News 20 ( 1994 ), 7). Sailors had a particular antipathy to sharks, and when they caught one they delighted in treating it with more than ordinary savagery, in revenge for colleagues lost at sea. A shark following a ship was regarded as unlucky, perhaps because it was thought that they could ‘smell’ a sickness on board and thus seemed to be waiting for a death ( FLS News 20 ( 1994 ) 6–7). Many sailors were particularly prone to seeing omens in any occurrence out...

memorials at death sites

memorials at death sites   Quick reference

A Dictionary of English Folklore

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Current Version:
2003

...months or years. Less conspicuous forerunners of this custom in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were crosses scraped on the dust at the roadside, cut into turf, or painted on a wall to mark the scene of a fatality, and maintained over a period of time. Vickery , 1995: 146–7; FLS News 19–21 (1994–5); Tony Walter , Folklore 107 (1996), 106–7; George Monger , Folklore 108 (1997), 113–14. For the older customs, see Barbara Freire-Marreco , Folk-Lore 21 (1910), 387–8; Barbara Aitken , Folk-Lore 37 (1926), 80; The Antiquary 32 (1896),...

washing

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A Dictionary of English Folklore

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2003

...awry They that wash on Wednesday, are not so much to blame They that wash on Thursday, wash for shame They that wash on Friday, wash in need They that wash on Saturday, Oh! They're sluts indeed. ( Yorkshire , N&Q 5s:7 (1877), 139) See also SOAP . Opie and Tatem , 1989: 424–6; Henderson , 1879; N&Q 5s:7 (1877), 26, 108, 139, 378; 5s:8 (1877),...

animal infestation

animal infestation   Quick reference

A Dictionary of English Folklore

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2003

...18th century to modern children's lore. The possibility of animals in the stomach was repeatedly debated in N&Q , under the heading ‘newspaper folklore’ (1s:6 (1852), 221, 338, 446; 1s:9 (1854), 29–30, 84, 276–7, 523–4); also under the heading ‘animals living inside people’ (9s:7 (1901), 222–3, 332–3, 390–2; 9s:8 (1901), 89–90, 346; 9s:9 (1903), 467–8). See also Gillian Bennett , ‘Vermin in Boils: What if it were True?’, Southern Folklore 54 (1997), 185–95; ‘Bosom Serpents and Alimentary Amphibians: A Language for Sickness’, in Illness and Healing...

beds

beds   Quick reference

A Dictionary of English Folklore

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Current Version:
2003

...record, the others are all quite recent. The orientation of the bed is vital. A belief reported so far only from the 20th century cautions against sleeping with the foot of the bed towards the door, which is explained by the fact that coffins are carried out feet first. Placing a bed across, rather than in line with floorboards or ceiling beams was held to prevent sleep and, worse, to prolong the death of a dying person (N&Q 4s:8 ( 1871 ), 322). This is reported regularly from the mid-19th century and into the 1970s, although fitted carpets and...

talking

talking   Quick reference

A Dictionary of English Folklore

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Current Version:
2003

...times it is common to say that talking to yourself is ‘the first sign of madness’, but according to N&Q it means you will die a violent death (quoted Lean , 1903 : ii. 305). See also BACKWARDS , DUMB CAKE , LOVE DIVINATION . Opie and Tatem , 1989: 95, 367–8; Lean , 1903: ii. 305, 318–20; Roud , 2003:...

truce terms

truce terms   Quick reference

A Dictionary of English Folklore

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Current Version:
2003

...schools, boys and girls made different gestures. Further work on truce terms is certainly needed. Opie and Opie , 1959: 141–53; Ian Beckwith and Bob Shirley , ‘Truce Terms: A Lincolnshire Survey’, Local Historian 11:8 (1975), 441–4; Kate and Steve Roud , ‘Truce Terms in Croydon, Surrey, 1988’, Talking Folklore 7 (1989), 15–20...

mandrake

mandrake   Quick reference

A Dictionary of English Folklore

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2003

...was still practised in East Anglia early in the 20th century, but partly in fun; countrymen would display ‘female’ mandrakes in the pub, and the most realistically carved would win a prize—after which the figures would be hung in a sow's sty to make her prolific, or put among money under the mattress ( Porter , 1969 : 46–7). In London street-markets in the 1920s the mannikins were sold to be fixed to the bedhead ‘for good luck’ ( Lovett , 1925 : 74). Vickery , 1995: 393–4; Opie and Tatem , 1989: 237–8; H. F. Clark , Folklore 73 (1962), 257–69; Roud ,...

Mischief Night

Mischief Night   Quick reference

A Dictionary of English Folklore

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Current Version:
2003

...except for the earliest, from the Scilly Isles in 1822 , which is completely outside the area (quoted in Wright and Lones, 1938 : ii. 196–7). Nevertheless, children in other areas played similar tricks at different times, such as Shrovetide , under different names (see Hole , 1976 : 210–11). Although not as widespread as formerly, Mischief Night has continued into the 1990s. Wright and Lones , 1938: ii. 196–8; 1940: iii. 109; Opie and Opie , 1959:255,276–80; Hole , 1976:...

fire (domestic)

fire (domestic)   Quick reference

A Dictionary of English Folklore

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Current Version:
2003

...could be considered even worse: ‘… all the fires in the house burnt only one side of the grate, which she considered a sure sign that a death would shortly occur in the family’ (Essex: N&Q 8s:9 ( 1896 ), 225). Nevertheless, in Herefordshire this could mean a wedding ( Leather , 1912 : 87). An extremely widespread practice reported regularly from the 18th to the later 20th centuries, was to place a poker against the bars of the fire-grate to induce the fire to burn briskly. It was widely stated that the poker and top bar of the grate made a cross which kept...

Áed

Áed   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Celtic Mythology

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Current Version:
2004

..., king of Leinster . Although he owned a magical cowl that would protect him in battle, a gift from Colum Cille (St Columba), he left it behind and so perished. 7 The son of the Dagda , seducer of the wife of Coinche(a)nn , who then slew him. The Dagda did not avenge the murder, but he obliged Coinche(a)nn to carry the corpse until he had found a stone big enough to cover the remains. 8 The king of Connacht . Mongán took his shape to visit Áed's beautiful wife, Aíbell. Mongán substituted a temporarily transformed hag for Aíbell, to complete the...

Brendan, Saint

Brendan, Saint   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Celtic Mythology

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Current Version:
2004

... the visit to the island of Paul the hermit; (15) the visit to the island promised to the saints. The work of several researchers in the late 20th century has implied much evidence of Irish travel to the New World, if not actually of St Brendan's voyage. Transatlantic voyages in curraghs, following St Brendan's directions, have been made three times, by Bill Verity in 1966 and 1970 and by Tim Severin in 1976–7 , who published an account in The Brendan Voyage (New York, 1978 ). See also Frederick Buechner 's popular novel Brendan (New York, ...

shepherds' score

shepherds' score   Quick reference

A Dictionary of English Folklore

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2003

...to Welsh and other Celtic languages. Individual words vary considerably from place to place, but overall the pattern is remarkably similar: 1 Yan 2 Tan 3 Tethera 4 Pethera 5 Pimp 6 Sethera 7 Lethera 8 Hovera 9 Dovera 10 Dick 11 Yan-a-dick 12 Tan-a-dick 13 Thethera-dick 14 Pethera-dick 15 Bumfit 16 Yan-a-bumfit 17 Tan-a-bumfit 18 Tethera-bumfit 19 Pethera-bumfit 20 Jiggit (From the Lake District, N&Q 180 ( 1941 ), 459–60) In England, the numerals have been collected in the counties of Yorkshire, Cumberland, Westmorland, Lancashire, Northumberland, and...

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