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SUPERSTITION IN PROVERBS
See Fortune and Luck in Proverbs.
After a dream of a wedding comes a corpse. (English).
It was a common superstition of olden times that
when anyone, particularly lovers, dreamed about
marriage, death and disaster were sure to follow. To dream about a wedding always “denotes the death of some near friend or relation, with loss of property and severe disappointment.”
Old English Chapbook. “To dream you are married is ominous of death and
very unfavourable to the dreamer; it denotes poverty, a prison, and misfortune."
Old English Chapbook.
A gift on the thumb is sure to come; a gift on the finger is
sure to linger. (English).
presents that may be received or withheld, but to
on the finger nails.
Specks on the thumbs, fortune surely comes."
the white spots that they saw on their nails and
A hair of the dog that bit you. (English).
“To take a hair of the same dog." (English).
To take more of the liquor that intoxicated you."
had been bitten by a dog it was desirable to secure one of the animal's hairs and place it on the wound for a cure.
A king reigns on land, in half-filled-up tanks reigns the
water sprite. (Assamese).
haunt the swamps and marshes and lead people
A man had better ne'er be born as have his nails on a
Sunday shorn. (English).
morrow.”—Old English Rhyme. A serpent unless it devours a serpent grows not to a
dragon. (Latin and Greek). A Sunday child never dies of plague. (French).
"A child of Sunday and Christmas Day
Is good and fair, and wise and gay.” Bush natural; more hair than wit. (English).
Meaning that when a person has a large quantity
of hair on his head he is deficient in intellect. Shakespeare refers to this superstition in Two
Gentlemen of Verona (Act III, Scene 1) when
he makes Launce say: "More hair than wit? It may be; I'll prove it. The cover of the salt, and therefore it is more than the salt; the hair that covers the wit is more than the wit, for the greater hides the less, what next ? "
Cross a stile and a gate hard by, you'll be a widow before
you die. (English).
Don't wash the inside of a baby's hand; you will wash his
(American Negro). The above saying is one of many current in Tide
water Virginia, given by a writer in the Southern Workman (Hampton Institute) for November, 1899. Others are as follows: “Don't leave the griddle on the fire after the bread is done; it will make bread scarce." Don't
sweep dirt out of the door after night; you will sweep yourself out of a home. Don't step over anybody's leg; it will turn to a stick of wood."
“Don't comb your hair at night, it will make you forgetful.”. "Don't be the first to drive a hearse, or you will be the next to die." “Don't shake the tablecloth out of doors after sunset; you will never marry." “Don't sweep a person's feet, it will make him lazy; so will hitting them with a straw.” “Don't whip the child who burns another; if you do, the burnt child will die." “Don't measure yourself; it will make you die." “Don't lend or borrow salt or pepper; it will break friendship. If you must borrow it, don't pay it back. “Don't kill a wren; it will cause your limbs to get broken." “Don't pass anything over a person's back; it will give him pains.” “Don't pour out tea before putting sugar in the cup, or some one will be drowned. Some say it will drown the miller." “Don't kill cats, dogs, or frogs; you will die in rags." “Don't move cats; if you do, you will die a beggar." “Don't meet a corpse, or you will get very sick before the year, is out." Don't point at or speak of a shooting star.' “Don't count the teeth of a comb; they will all break out.' “Don't lock your hands over your head."
Dry bargains bode ill. (Scotch).
An allusion to an old Scotch custom of ratifying a
bargain with drink.
Eat cress to learn more wit. (Greek).
Friday is a cross day for marriage. (English).
See Fortune and Luck in Proverbs: “He that
laughs on Friday will weep on Sunday.” Prob-
“Monday for wealth,
Happy is the bride the sun shines on, and the corpse the rain rains on. (English).
“While others repeat: Your praise and bless you, sprinkling you with
wheat; While that others so divine, Bless'd is the bride on which the sun doth shine."
He was wrapp'd in his mither's sark tail. (Scotch).
“He was lapped in his mother's smock.” (English). There is an old Scotch superstitious custom of
receiving every male child at birth in its mother's shift, believing that by so doing it will be made acceptable to women in after life, so that when a man is unpopular among women people say, “He was kept in a broad claith; he was some hap to his meat, but none to his wives."
If in handling a loaf you break it in two parts, it will rain
all the week. (English).
is placed between a man and his wife at a social
If skin-spots come, our wants will be supplied. (Marathi).
If the skin becomes discoloured or if moles or other
blemishes appear on the cheeks it is a good sign.
If the cow snore, the cow-house will fill; if the bullock
snore, the master will die. (Marathi).
this proverb may imply that the bullock is weak
If thou seest a one-eyed person pass by, turn up a stone.
water-jar behind the back of any person whom
J. L. Burckhardt.
In the home the wife is supreme, in the ditch reigns the
water sprite. (Assamese).
drains, ditches, etc., and sometimes draws down
helpless victims and destroys them. “By digging a drain you have brought the evil
sprite closer. By digging a drain near your house you enable the evil sprite to come closer
to you. (Assamese). “The king reigns on land, in half filled up tanks
reigns the water sprite." (Assamese). Keep a wall-eyed horse and be ruined. (Urdu). Kiss the black cat, an' 'twill make ye fat; kiss the white
one, 'twill make ye lean. (English). Malisons, Malisons, mair than ten, wha harries the queen
of heaven's wren. (Scotch).
Malisons—i.e., curses or maledictions.
bird, secured the coveted fire from heaven and