Magpie Superstition

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Snappy | 22:52 Sun 21st Nov 2004 | Phrases & Sayings
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Whenever i see a magpie i salute+say hello but what i want to know is with the rhyme 1 for sorrow and so on do you carry it on thoughout the day? I mean if you see 1 magpie its 1 for sorrow but if half an hour later you see another magpie would it be 1 for sorrow again or 2 for joy?! Confusing!


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I think you salute a single magpie.  They mate for life, and if you see one on its own, it's supposed to be because it's lost its mate, so you salute it to show sympathy for its sorrow (and to avert disaster, if you're superstitious!).  So no matter how many single magpies you saw in one day, you'd still salute them.  Where I live, you tend to see vast flocks of the things - what do you get with fourteen magpies, I want to know?!

With 14 magpies you'd get lots of lime on your car maybe?

I only know the old rhyme:1 for sorrow, 2 for joy, 3 for a girl, 4 for a boy, 5 silver, 6 for gold, 7 for a secret that's never to be told, Magpie.

No, it's collective at one point in time:  you see one magpie at a time (oopsy daisy), or you see six together at one time (woohoo - gold!!).


If you are superstitious though and you see a lonely magpie, its always better to keep an eye out for it's mate.



Further to those above, I heard that you're meant to salute a single magpie, say "good morning" and tell him to give your regards to his wife and family.  I seem to remember this has something to do with a tendency for them either to abandon the nest or otherwise neglect their duties.  Thus, by giving him a message to deliver he is obliged to go home.

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Magpie Superstition

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