Monday, April 18, 2011

Old Wives Tales

Photo Credit:
Ever heard of "old wives tales"?
The term has been around in some fashion since the 1st century and the concept ranges from moral lessons to folk remedies.

I remember a couple of  "old wives tales" from my childhood.

The first that comes to mind is: Knock on Wood  to ward off bad luck.
I still do this when I don't want to jinx myself. I can't not do it. It's ingrained into my autonomic responses.

Another: Cats steal baby's breath.
I wonder if this came about because baby's breath smells like milk and cats like milk. My grandmother liked cats, but she never allowed one near infants or toddlers.

Ever had a chill run up your spine for no apparent reason? Well, that means someone in the future is walking on your grave. Ergo, I'm obsessively careful when walking in cemeteries.

I learned this one from my dad: Find a penny, pick it up. All the day you'll have good luck. I can't pass up a coin on the ground. Once, when Professor X and I were at Busch Gardens I picked up a penny in the parking lot. A little while later, I found a nickle, then a dime, a quarter. By mid-afternoon, I'd collected a few more coins and a dollar bill. Finally, I had enough to buy an ice cream. Ahhh, what a lucky day.

Hey, did you know it's bad luck to kill a lady bug?

And did anyone ever tell you that eating raw pasta would give you worms? Or walking barefoot would make your feet big? Yes, someone told me those things. No, I never got worms and my shoe size is 5 1/2.

How about step on a crack, break someone's back or break a mirror and have seven years bad luck? Don't cross paths with a black cat. 

Pulling out a gray hair will cause ten to grow in its place. Now that one, I believe.

Know any "old wives tales" that you'd like to share?

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS


Cally Jackson said...

Even to this day I try not to step on cracks in the footpath. I have to force myself to pay attention to them. :-)

Total Pageviews