I wouldn’t have said I was a superstitious person. I knew the rhyme about magpies, well bits of it anyway. One for Sorrow, two for  Joy, three for a Girl and four for a Boy. There is more, but I have to be honest and say that this is where my knowledge surrounding the rhyme ends. Here it is in it’s entirety, thank you Google:

One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret never to be told.

There are other various versions but this one suits my purpose just fine.

I remember hearing other things as a child (funny how the scary stories seem to stick) that magpies were bullies, ate other birds eggs and stole silver / shiny things from your house if you let them have access. I have no idea how much of that is myth and how much is fact, but now I am older it no longer seems as scary.

The superstition comes from the rhyme as it would lead you to believe that seeing a single Magpie is bad luck. However calling a greeting to the Magpie is supposed to reverse this / cancel out the bad luck.

One Saturday I was washing the dishes and looking out the window at the bird table and there perched on it was a large magpie that seemed to be staring straight at me waiting. So I started back and eventually it flew off to who knows where. It came back a short while later, same thing. I can’t remember if the Rhyme even crossed my mind, because up until that point I don’t believe I’d ever uttered it. although I was aware of it.

Later on that night while I was at work I heard my Mum had been in a car accident. For some reason the Magpie came back into my head.  That night I became Magpie suspicious…..errrm I mean superstitious

I’m concious of the fact that I look like an Eejit when I am saluting a Magpie and reciting “Good Morning Mr Magpie, how’s your family”, I mean lets face it I have no idea whether said Magpie is male or female and I could in fact be insulting it. But I now say it, after I have scanned in the vain hope of finding a second one.

One day while standing at the train station I glanced up to see a Magpie in a nearby tree staring my direction. I checked to make sure no one was watching, saluted and mouthed the greeting and what do you know, the Magpie flew away. I then started thinking back and can remember other times when this happened too……makes you think!

Out of interest I then decided to search superstition and came up with some of the common ones, from this neck of the woods anyway. It now appears I am a little more superstitious than I thought as I frequently touch wood, hate an umbrella being put up in a house, have palpitations if I drop a mirror, never put new shoes on a table and try to avoid walking under a ladder!

Wikipedia states “Superstition is a pejorative term for belief in supernatural causality: that one event leads to the cause of another without any physical process linking the two events, such as astrology, omens, witchcraft, etc., that contradicts natural science.”

So perhaps I am superstitious because generally my cup is half empty as opposed to half full! Or it could all just be a load of shite!

I think I’ll keep saying my wee rhyme just in case!


Thank you to Twins72-Stocks for the Magpie Image.

Wikepedia on Superstition

 (Originally written in 2003 but re-jigged and reposted for the Daily Prompt – Superstition)

25 thoughts on “Magpies!

  1. I’m right with you on a lot of these, Juls, and just like you I never quite realized how many! But hey, saying a little rhyme isn’t so much especially if it helps! :)


  2. Yeah, I am totally superstitious. Luckily I see magpies in groups around here. Oh, and best quote I have read about the glass, “Some see a glass half-full, some see a glass half-empty, I see a glass that’s too big.” :D


  3. woof! No sense in pissing off the Gods and Goddesses ;)

    and you’d be surprised at how many people actually are saying similar things in their heads all of the time …. or out loud ….. er …. well, hey, in my defense, I am not crazy – but a wise old soul XD

    Now seriously …. how is the mothership? what happened? are you okay?

    Hope everything is stable and you have’t further lost your mind, stepped on any cracks or walked under a ladder trying to avoid a black cat – and poor things – black cats – such a bad wrap when they are so lovely – mind, difficult to find when the lights are off!


    • lol You never read the bottom of the post, it was written a long time ago, so she is well mended, it was however the finish of her driving, perhaps no bad thing :)
      I don’t want to even think about any more superstitions, the magpie one is bad enough lol

      Liked by 1 person

      • what???? I did read through the post …. but I may have scanned the comments …. well then, phew …. as long as all is therefore “stable” and “normal” …. then we proceed as business as usual….

        right then, “tally ho!” …. and I hope you’re having a good week :)


      • Ach now, I never said things were stable and normal, will they ever be lol
        I’m off this week and supposed to be getting caught up on a myriad of things, instead I am getting caught up in things other people need me to do, it would be marginally less stressful to be at work lol

        Liked by 1 person

      • oh hell …. now that would look good …. showing up to work on your week off, wearing fuzzy slippers and sipping coffee ‘cos it’s “calmer” there!


        Umm … yeah, I know I know, but I’ll say it anyhow, a quiet reminder:
        “You are aware and familiar with the word “NO.” right?”

        Seriously … I hope that at the very least you manage to either throw a tantrum and once the dust has settled that you are able to carve out time to do what YOU need to do …. and if that fails, well, eat a whack of sprouts and toot up a storm …. that would keep all but the most determined and insane from being so bothersome?! ;)


      • LOL@gassing the guts …. gorgeous phrase! XD

        yeah, I figured it was off season, but there must be something that comes in at a close second that is readily available ;)


  4. I was hoping you took up photography to capture that image. I have a soft spot for the mysterious magpie…and the American equivalent, the crow. I prefer the black bird to the black cat…unless it’s a black panther. Cuz those are purrrfection.

    I share a few of those superstitions and think we acknowledge them because someone poked us with the suggestion til it stuck. Sometimes it just takes one shock/poke to create ripples throughout life.

    As for your situation, does it matter if the birds appear in number or multiple times? Because I was expecting good news from the first one that came and went. I thought maybe two visits/sightings would be good news. Or, was another version of the rhyme worse news?

    Interesting story, nonetheless. Consider me inspired to write something from this! Maybe a future pick-a-path book.


    • It’s as the rhyme was told here, one fro sorrow, ‘allegedly’ I have heard the reason is this, Magpies are meant to mate for life, so if you see a single one there is a possibility it has lost its mate and this is what brings the sorrow, that is why you enquire after the well-being of it’s family. That also could be a load of garbage that I was foolish enough to believe lol


      • You reciting a formatted greeting is a tad worrisome. But, that kinda goes with superstitions like the one about stepping on cracks in the sidewalk. You’re supposed to do something to cancel the effect. But, meh.

        But, I like this magpie/blackbird rhyme bit…if you haven’t already written about this subject once before.


  5. I do some of those things. I’ve mostly learned to ignore the magpies – or stare them down. They lost their power over me when I moved somewhere there were lots of them. I still touch wood, or tap my head if no wood is available. For years I wouldn’t step on cracks between paving stones, which meant I did a peculiar teeny stepped walk – not much use when you’re rushing for a bus!


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