Weather And Folk Lore Of Peterborough And District Part 8

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If killed when the moon is waning the fat of the pork will shrink.

It is unlucky to bring a squirrel into a house.

The first time you see any lambs turn your money.

If their heads are turned towards you it is lucky, but if their tails it is the reverse.

Moles work harder than general before rain.

A mole's foot carried in the pocket is a sure prevention against witches.


Crows foretell rain when they caw and walk along on the banks of rivers and pools.

A crow alighting in front of anyone walking is unlucky.

Two crows bring good luck, and if they fly away over the person's head it is very great good luck.

Four crows foretell a death in the person's family.

I was recently told that two crows alighting on a house betokens a death, and a very peculiar instance was given. My informant told me that his coat of arms bears three Choughs and the night before his father died two crows sat on the window sill of his father's bedroom, and it was remarked that one of the three birds being absent foretold the death which occurred next day.

A bird flying into a house foretells a death.

A white pigeon is a bird of ill omen, and if after hovering about it alights on a house it is a token of the death of one of the inmates.

A hen crowing is a sign of death.

When swallows fly low it foretells rain.

The cuckoo comes in May. In June he changes his tune. In July he goes away. In August away he must, for a cuckoo in September n.o.body can remember.

It is said woodlarks are never found in Northamptonshire.

Larks rising very high and singing for a long time is a sign of fine weather.

Kites flying aloft betokens fine weather.

Peac.o.c.k's feathers, even now, are considered to bring bad luck into a house.

When you see a heron flying the first time in the year put the tips of your right thumb and the finger nearest the thumb together and form a ring. Then wish and at the same time spit through the opening, and if the spittle does not touch the hand the wish comes to pa.s.s. This, I believe, is a strictly local custom, as there is a heronry in Milton Park, about three miles from Peterborough.


On the death of their master or mistress one of the family or household must go to the hives and tap on them and say who is dead and who is to be their new master. If this is neglected the bees will pine away. Some sugared beer is given to the bees at these times.

The various flights of bees are named as follows: A swarm. 2. A cast. 3.

A colt or second cast, and should there be a fourth, which is very rare, it is called a spem--a swarm from a swarm is called a virgin swarm.

The different values of the swarms are described in this rhyme:

A swarm of bees in May Is worth a load of hay; A swarm of bees in June Is worth a silver spoon; A swarm of bees in July Is not worth a fly.

Bees flying far from their hives and coming home late foretells fine weather.

Bees are more industrious just before rain, but do their best to reach their hives before the rain falls.


Spiders were considered efficacious in cases of Ague. If put alive in a bag and tied round the neck or swallowed alive wrapped in paste.

If you wish to live and thrive Let the spiders run alive.

Spider webs in the air or on the gra.s.s and nets foretells fair weather.

A spider on one's clothes means a new suit or dress.

Woodlice, of the kind which roll themselves up when touched, if swallowed in that state, were taken for the ague.

With regard to wearing out boots, there is a doggrel on this subject:--

Trip at the toe, live to know woe, Trip at the ball, live to spend all, Trip at the heel, live to do well.

One funeral brings two more.

A variation of this makes the "two more" dependent on a Sunday intervening between the death and burial of the body.

Another variation affirms that the first death must be that of a female.

When a grave opens for a "she," it will open for three.

It is the custom, in some places, to place some salt, in a pewter plate, on the chest of a dead body; but especially when the death has been through dropsy. This was done only a short time since.

The roaring noise of a fire foretells a quarrel in the house.

A thin flake of s.m.u.t on a bar of the grate betokens a visit from a stranger.

Cinders flying out of the fire, taking the form of a purse and giving a jingling noise when shaken, foretells the receiving of money. When they are in the shape of a coffin (and with no jingling) this betokens a death.

If anyone by stirring or otherwise makes a dull fire get bright, it is said to make his or her sweetheart smile.

To prevent cramp at night place your shoes by the bedside in the form of a T. One end pointed to, and the end of the other shoe pointed from the bed, is also considered a preventative.

Knives laid edge upwards on the table cut Angels' feet.

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Weather And Folk Lore Of Peterborough And District Part 8 summary

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