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Wall and the 7 Magpies
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Last night I read the prologue to "Wall" (the prequel) at the end of Stardust. This morning I went to hang out some washing when I noticed a magpie sitting in a tree. One for sorrow... Then I though funny I was just reading about that last night. A second magpie appeared and I thought 2 for joy. An eerie sense began forming in my mind. As if on cue a third magpie appeared (Girl) then a fourth (Boy). I have never seen more than 4 together so when 5 and 6 arrived I was delighted. Thoughts of wealth crossed mind until...ominously number 7 settled in the tree. I knew I was witnessing something super real at that instant and I wondered if Mr Gaimans faerie tale was influencing me or the world around me. I received no secret message (that I am aware of)but it was delightful either way.


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Posts: 3 | Location: Dublin, Ireland | Registered: January 31, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Neil seems to have a thing for the old magpies - there's the Parliament of Rooks story in Fables & Reflections where Abel tells baby Daniel that the 'one for sorrow' rhyme is all true. Then Cain murders him for telling the secret...AS far as I know, in folklore, the rhyme goes on past 7...hmm, might be worth looking into...


cause and effect:
the best often die by their own hand just to get away, and those left behind can never quite understand why anybody
would ever want to get away
from them.
Charles Bukowski Septuagenarian Stew
 
Posts: 243 | Location: lies to the east of Eden | Registered: February 02, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi Sammael, there appear to be many variations of the rhyme. Most of the ones I found were just as people tended to remeber them, without a literary reference:

One for sorrow,
two for joy,
three for a girl,
for for a boy,
five for silver,
six for gold,
seven for a secret,
never to be told,
eight for a wish,
nine for a kiss,
ten for a time
of joyous bliss.

Oxford University Press published this version in their 1992 The Dictionary of Superstitions:

One for sorrow,
two for mirth,
three for a wedding,
four for birth,
five for rich,
six for poor,
Seven for a witch,
I can tell you no more.

...which is the most menacing I found and my favorite.

Smile


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Posts: 3 | Location: Dublin, Ireland | Registered: January 31, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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It's also mentioned, actually in two versions, in Terry Pratchett's Carpe Jugulum, and it goes for quite long. But I don't remember the exact words, especially because I know only the Czech translation...


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There is Robinson, alone on a deserted island; but they will marry.
 
Posts: 180 | Location: alternating between Bohemia and Moravia | Registered: September 10, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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From Annotated Pratchett:

+ [p. 82] "'Good morning, Mister Magpie,' said Agnes automatically."

As Agnes and Nanny go on to discuss, there are many different counting rhymes for magpies, but they generally agree that a single magpie is unlucky. Some people believe that one can avert the bad luck by being polite, or even downright flattering, to the magpie in this manner.

The rhyme Agnes repeats over the next few pages is similar to the one Mike learned as a child:

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.

Nanny's version seems closer to the Scots version given in Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable:

One's sorrow, two's mirth,
Three's a wedding, four's a birth,
Five's a christening, six a dearth,
Seven's heaven, eight is hell,
And nine's the devil his ane sel'.

-- although Nanny's also varies noticeably from this, which just goes to prove what she says about there being lots of different rhymes.


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Posts: 3 | Location: Dublin, Ireland | Registered: January 31, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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i remember reading in neils blog once that his computer crashed after he saw 13 magpies and he did wonder if the original rhyme had finished because technology hadn't caught up with it yet.


~
I prefer to live in a country that's small, and old, and where no one would ever have the NERVE to wear a cape in public, whether they could leap tall buildings in a single bound or not.

the parrot... ...gets tiresome.
the parrot... ...i ate him.


CHIKKINZ?
 
Posts: 20596 | Location: England | Registered: June 21, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Smaug:
i remember reading in neils blog once that his computer crashed after he saw 13 magpies and he did wonder if the original rhyme had finished because technology hadn't caught up with it yet.


That's a nice theory. Big Grin


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There is Robinson, alone on a deserted island; but they will marry.
 
Posts: 180 | Location: alternating between Bohemia and Moravia | Registered: September 10, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I've always said 'Good morning, Mr Magpie, and how are your wife and children?' to a lone magpie. Apparently it's something to do with magpies mating for life (not actually sure if that's true) so it's unlucky to see a single one because it's lost it's family. Hence assuming it's got a family tucked away somewhere else!

I did have a friend at Uni who saluted single magpies, but I've never seen anyone else do that!
 
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