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