Monday, November 25, 2013


At my luncheon with the girls this week, we were discussing old wives tales and superstitions when "J" told one I hadn't heard before that cracked me up.

"Put a knife under the bed to cut the pain of childbirth."

After I quit giggling, this got me thinking about old wives tales  which I have always enjoyed. I mean, these sage women did become "old " wives after all.  If these were "young" wives tales, who would listen?

Here are some I remember or found. Most came from my grandmother who was a delightful old wife. 

1.   If you are unable to fall asleep, you are awake in someone else's dreams. 
I kind of like that thought. Sure hope I am having fun. 

2.   If you see a rainbow and make a wish while touching gold, it will come true.
Dang, I never have gold handy. 

3.   What you give on Friday, you will never get back.
For some things I'd really like to give that one a try. Like a cold to someone I am not particularly fond of. 

4.  If a woman has a longer second toe, she will dominate her husband. 
So that's why I am such a wuss.

5.   If a bird poops on you it will bring you good luck.
My grandmother had this happen so it might have been her way to put a good spin on a yucky event.

5.   If you laugh too much at night before bed, you will wake up crying.
I have found that it just makes me sleep much better and I wake up refreshed. 

6.   Moles on the neck means money by the peck. 
Think my mom made that up to make my moley necked brother feel better. However, he has done well.

7.   Three people on a journey is bad luck. Carry a stone as the fourth. 
Again one my  grandmother thought gospel. I have such a journey coming up. Where did I put that stone?

8.   Drop a fork, company is coming. 
I have found when bored that deliberately dropping one does not work. 

9.   Clothes worn inside out will bring good luck.
I console myself with that one when I get back from town and finally notice the error. It takes the sting out of being stupid. 

10. Going out in the cold with wet hair will make you sick.
Science says NO!  I say-- every time!!

11. Rub Menthol on the souls of your feet at night to stop a cough. 
I keep forgetting to try that one as I so rarely get sick. Probably because I don't go out in the cold with a wet head anymore. 

12. When you feel a shiver, someone is stepping on your grave. 
Planning a burial at sea would eliminate all shivers. 

13. If a cat washes behind its ears, rain is coming. 
Minnie just did that and rain is predicted for today. Think all weather men should own a cat.

14. If you say "rabbit, rabbit" the first thing when you wake up in the morning on the first of each month it will bring you good luck for the rest of the month.  
I just keep forgetting. Maybe for the first day in December??

15,  Tie a handkerchief to your wrist during a hurricane for safety.
This deserves explanation. My grandmother told  a tall tale of a terrible storm long ago in Key West.  As the waters surged up to a woman's house, the mistress, who had left the swamped home with her housekeeper, turned to the unfortunate servant and demanded she to back into the house to retrieve her heirloom hanky. The servant did so  and as the house slipped out to sea, the housekeeper was seen standing on the porch, waving the hanky

Those are some I have heard of. Do you have a favorite tale or superstition that has been handed down in your family or that some wise old wife told you??


  1. I have heard the one about the second toe before. They call it a "leader toe". And the one about the grave is creepy!

  2. "Breaking a mirror will bring seven years bad luck." I have broken one before and gosh, maybe it's true. Who can tell? And I also remember throwing salt over your left shoulder if you spill it, or you'll have bad luck. Maybe if you break a mirror you should find some salt over your shoulder! :-)

  3. Tell your brother that "rubbing his moles with a cut Irish potato will make his warts go away" that was my Granny's favorite and i remember her trying it....and does my "beans in the jar and black squirrel" mountain lore count?

  4. These are great... I've heard a lot of them ... the second toe one f'sure but not the touching gold while looking at a rainbow? dang... wish I had known that one... only real gold is in my wedding band though.. hm

  5. OMG That last water one was funny but yet so sad.
    I had a bird poop on my head last summer while working in the yard . I guess the luck was that I wasn't looking up with my mouth wide open. LOL

  6. Having heard most of these, I still think luck is how you make it. That said, I've tried most of them with little you think it's because I don't believe enough?

  7. Well, I can tell you #11 does not work, because I was desperate enough to try it one winter when I had a horrible cough that was keeping me up all night. Made my feet feel cool- that's about it! One of my friends on fb posted a photo of a spoon in a cut is that an old wives tale? Because it is icing over here and not even December I'm thinking it might be a true one!

  8. Great Wives Tales. I will have to remember on December 1st myself to repeat rabbit rabbit. haha
    After I had already married in May my sweet grandmother told me that If you marry in May you will rue the day. haha I certainly am living proof of that but then I know a lot of others thank goodness that this did not come true.
    Well I must go and turn my clothes inside out.
    Happy Thanksgiving Dear Friend

  9. I like the inside out clothing. My luck should be excellent then.

    I am not sure if it is a wives tale but I remember being told to stop crossing my eyes because they might stick.

  10. Fun post. I've heard that a loose thread on clothing means you're going to receive a letter.

  11. The most famous one I can think of is---if your Palm itches that means money is coming your way....!
    Some of the one's you mention I am familiar with, but some others were new to me....
    I laughed about the inside-out clothing because I think that was a 'fashion' statement for a shirt while sometime in the 1980's(?)...LOL!
    Wishing you a Very Happy Thanksgiving, my dear, and a safe trip, too!

  12. My hairdresser told me that I need to rub a gold ring over my stye to make it go away. I haven't tried it. I have the feeling it could make it worse!

  13. My grandmother used to tell me not to cross my eyes because they'd get stuck that way!

  14. Keith,
    Yes it is and kind of gives one the willies when that random shiver hits.

    Sounds like a good one/two punch. Hey, it obviously works for Rachel Ray who pitches salt over her shoulder all the time.

    Blue Ridge Boomer,
    I play close attention to your bean count even though we are in different parts of the country. I forget to do it here.

    That was my real gold also and it went the way of my ex.

    Ha, yes, things could have been worse. It is a natural thing to open your mouth when you tilt your head back.

    Yes you must believe to make it work. How else did we keep Tinker Bell alive?

    Thank you for sparing me the menthol on the feet. I trust your test results. I had to look up "a spoon in a cut persimmon". That is really interesting. Finding a persimmon might be the hard part.

    We both could us a dose. Lets try to remember. It can't hurt. I do remember that "rue the day" for May. Think it works for September also.

    Good to know another who isn't afraid to show her labels and stitching. I use to get the same warning about the eyes.

    Hum, wonder it that translates today to include a text or email.

    I remember that one too. My palms evidently never itched but my nose did which meant I would "kiss a fool." Hard to win with these tales.

    I'd make sure the ring was super clean and give it a whirl. A stye isn't fun.

    Good to hear from you. Our grandmothers went to the same school.

  15. I heard that a bird pooping on your window brings good luck and that dropping a fork means company, but not any of the others. However, I was told that an itchy palm meant money was coming onto your hand and my father always told me that eating the crusts of bread would rgive me curly hair. (My father not being an old wife, I guess that one doesn't count.)

  16. I loved reading your editorial comments about these old wives' tales. You had me chuckling. I have rubbed a menthol on my feet, then put on stocking, before going to bed when I've had a cough. It works! It really does. I didn't cough all night.

    I used to hear all those old wives' tales a lot when I was a child. I don't hear them anymore. I wonder if that is because all the old wives died.

  17. I don't know that I have ever heard of most of these. That was a fun post.

  18. Enjoyed reading your post. I have heard many of the information which you have given in the post.

  19. I've never heard some of these. It was so much fun to read them. My second toe is shorter, but I'm still a wuss. I never have gold when there's a rainbow either. My mom has a mole on her neck, but she isn't exactly wallowing in money. Still, she is frugal and does save. And bird poop? No kidding?

  20. When I go into the chicken house at night to count, I work hard to avoid getting under the birds roosting in the rafters so I won't get pooped on. Looks like that is a mistake. Guess I'll venture forth from now on hoping a few plops will land on me. Yuk!

  21. My mum used to say when the sun was shining and it rained at the same time:" There is a fancy fair in hell now!"

  22. How 'bout "Feed a cold; Starve a fever"….OR "Drinking warm milk makes you sleepy"… OR "An apple a day keeps the doctor away"… OR "Don't step on a crack, or you will break your mother's back"….

    HA HA ---great list..

  23. I've only heard a couple of those. The one about rubbing Vicks on the bottoms of your feet doesn't work for that, but it does give you smooth feet.

  24. It's interesting that all of these have survived the years. I wonder if they will continue to the next generation. I was told about the itchy palm meaning that you were going to come into money, but also that an itchy nose meant that you were going to kiss a fool. There are many here that I had not heard before. I wonder if there is some regionality to these.

  25. Olga,
    Ah yes but your dad was raised by one and probably married one so that does count.
    I was told my teeth would fall out if I didn't eat the crusts.

    Ok, one says for sure it works and two say it doesn't. That is good enough for me to want to try it should I get a cough. Thanks.

    Linda R.
    Glad you enjoyed. You were most likely raised by folks that didn't believe in them.

    Glad we could enrich your knowledge of folk lore.

    With a shorter second toe, that almost guarantees you will be compliant like me. I guess the more the moles the more money you will get. One will keep her solvent which is good.

    Grannie Annie,
    Maybe you could encourage family and friends to do your collecting for you to improve their good luck quotient. Just a thought.

    Reader Wil,
    That is new to me and I rather like that one.

    Good ones. You know, I really believe that apple one. I could never swallow warm milk. I need ice in mine.

    Ha,ha. Smooth feet is a better side effect than most medicines advertise. I'll keep that in mine if I get scruffy feet.

    I think you are totally right on the regionality aspect of some of these. Pretty sure no one not living in the Keys has ever heard about the hanky in the hurricane one.

  26. I have heard some of these and the others not until now. The one about the moles I had not heard but now that I have I will be looking for all that money I have not yet seen. lol This was a fun post sweet Patti. Hugs and give Minnie nose kisses for us. Happy Thanksgiving!

  27. Well I just have to tell you BE Safe, and have a wonderful 2 weeks with your sibs!!

  28. Dear Arkansas Patti, I so enjoyed these "old wives' tales." Most of them I'd never before heard. The first one just appeals to my fancy. It could be the impetus for a wonderful short story--or even a novel.

    I hope you are enjoying your visit with your sister and brother. Take care. Peace.

  29. I recall having a rabbit's foot on you was good luck and they used to sell tons of them!
    Loved your own explanations too.
    Now what about the pince of salt over the shoulder toss?

  30. I know the bird poop one.

    We said Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit and rolled over three times on our birthday morning for good luck the rest of the year.

    Throw spilt salt over you shoulder to avoid bad luck.

    Put lentils in your wallet on New Years and carry around for a prosperous year.