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Welsh Folk Lore - Birds And Beasts.

Music And Bird Singing Heard Before Death
The writer, both in Denbighshire and Carnarvonshire, was to...

Birds And Beasts
Folk-lore respecting animals is common in Wales. It has been...

Birds Singing Before February
Should the feathered songsters sing before February it is a...

Birds Flocking In Early Autumn
When birds gather themselves together and form flocks in th...

Birds' Feathers
Feather beds should be made of domestic birds' feathers, su...

The Cock
Caesar, Bk. v., c.12, tells us that the Celtic nation did n...

Cock-fighting
Cock-fighting was once common in Wales, and it was said tha...

The Goose
Should a goose lay a soft egg, a small egg, or two eggs in ...

The Crow
The crow figures much in Welsh folk-lore. In many ways he ...

Crows' Feathers
In Montgomeryshire it was, at one time, supposed that if a ...

The Cuckoo Y Gog
The cuckoo is a sacred bird. It is safe from the gamekeepe...

A White Cock
A white cock was looked upon as an unlucky bird, thus:-- ...

Crane
The crane is often mistaken for the heron. When the crane ...

Ducks
When ducks sportively chase each other through the water, a...

Eagle
Persons who had eaten eagle's flesh had power to cure erysipe...

The Goat Sucker
A curious notion prevailed respecting this bird, arrived at...

Putting Hens To Sit
Placing the eggs in the nest for hens, geese, and ducks to ...

The Heron
The heron as it flies slowly towards the source of a river ...

The Jackdaw
This bird is considered sacred, because it frequents church...

The Magpie
The magpie was considered a bird of ill-omen. No one liked t...

The Owl
The hooting of an owl about a house was considered a sign o...

Peacock
The peacock's shrill note is a sign of rain. Its call is s...

Pigeon
If the sick asks for a pigeon pie, or the flesh of a pigeon...

The Raven
The raven has ever enjoyed a notoriously bad name as a bird...

Robin Redbreast
Ill luck is thought to follow the killer of dear Robin Redb...

The Sea Gull
It is believed that when sea gulls leave the sea for the mo...

The Swallow
The joy with which the first swallow is welcomed is almost ...

The Swan
The eggs of the swan are hatched by thunder and lightning. ...

The Swift
This bird's motions are looked upon as weather signs. Its ...

Tit Major Or Sawyer
The Rev. E. V. Owen, Vicar of Llwydiarth, Montgomeryshire, ...

The Wren
The Wren's life is sacred, excepting at one time of the yea...

The Wood Pigeon
The thrice repeated notes of five sounds, with an abrupt no...

The Magpie Teaching A Wood Pigeon How To Make A Nest
The wood pigeon makes an untidy nest, consisting of a few b...

Woodpecker
The woodpecker's screech was a sign of rain. This bird is ...

Ass
The stripe over the shoulders of the ass is said to have be...

The Bee
The little busy bee has been from times of old an object of...

Buying A Hive Of Bees
In the central parts of Denbighshire people suppose that a ...

Time Of Bee Swarming
The month in which bees swarm is considered of the greatest...

The Day Of Swarming
Sunday is the favourite day for bee swarming. Country peop...

Luck Comes With A Strange Swarm
It is considered very lucky indeed to find that a strange s...

It Is Considered Unlucky For Bees To Fly Away From Their Owner
As the coming of a strange swarm of bees is indicative of g...

Bees In A Roof
It was thought lucky when bees made their home in the roof,...

Informing Bees Of A Death In A Family
Formerly it was the custom to tell the bees of a death in t...

Putting Bees In Mourning
This is done after a death in a family, and the bees are pu...

Stolen Bees
It was believed that stolen bees would not make honey, and ...

A Swarm Entering A House
Should a swarm enter a house, it was considered unlucky, an...

Cat
The cat was thought to be a capital weather glass. If she ...

Cows
Cows Kneeling on Christmas Morn. In the upland parishe...

Crickets
It is lucky to have crickets in a house, and to kill one is...

Hare
Caesar, bk. v., ch. xii., states that the Celts do not rega...

Haddock
The haddock has a dark spot on each side its gills, and sup...

Hedgehog
It was believed that hedgehogs sucked cows, and so firmly w...

Horse
A white horse figures in the superstition of school childre...

Lady-bird
This pretty spotted little beetle was used formerly in the ...

Mice
A mouse nibbling clothes was a sign of disaster, if not dea...

Moles
Moles are said to have no eyes. If mole hills move there w...

Pigs
Pigs used to be credited with the power of seeing the wind....

The Snake Serpent
The snake was supposed to be able to understand what men sa...

Flying Serpents
The traditional origin of these imaginary creatures was tha...

Snake Rings Or Glain Nadroedd
Mention is made in Camden of snake rings. Omitting certain...

Sheep
It was thought that the devil could assume any animal's for...

Spider
The long-legged spider, or, as it is generally called in Wa...

The Squirrel
Hunting this sprightly little animal became at Christmas th...

The Blind Worm Or Slow Worm
This reptile is a snake, varying from twelve to eighteen in...



The Crow






Category: BIRDS AND BEASTS.

The crow figures much in Welsh folk-lore. In many ways he is made to
resemble the magpie; thus, when one crow or one magpie was seen, it was
thought to foretell misfortune, as implied by the saying:--

Un fran ddu,
Lwc ddrwg i mi.

But should the spectator shout out in a defiant way:--

Hen fran ddu,
Gras Duw i mi,

no harm would follow. The former lines in English would be:--

One crow I see,
Bad luck to me.

But this foretold evil, brought about by the old black crow, could be
counteracted by repeating the following words, (a translation of the
second couplet), with a pause between each line, and thus the last line
would assume the form of a prayer:--

Old Black Crow!
God, grace bestow;

or the evil could be hurled back upon the Old Black Crow by the
repetition of these words:--

Hen fran ddu,
Gras Duw i mi,
Lwc ddrwg i ti.

Freely translated, these lines would be:--

Old Black Crow!
God's grace to me,
Bad luck to thee.

In the English-speaking parts of Wales, such as along the borders of
Montgomeryshire, adjoining Shropshire, I have heard the following
doggerel lines substituted for the Welsh:--

Crow, crow, get out of my sight,
Before I kill thee to-morrow night.

The bad luck implied by the appearance of one crow could also be
overcome, as in the case of the magpie, by making a cross on the ground,
with finger or stick.

Although one crow implied bad luck, two crows meant good luck; thus we
have these lines:--

Dwy fran ddu,
Lwc dda i mi.

Two black crows,
Good luck to me.

Many prognostications were drawn from the appearance of crows. A crow
seen on the highest branch of a tree implied that the person seeing it
should shortly see his or her sweetheart. The manner in which they flew
foretold a wedding or a burying. When they fly in a long line there is
to be a wedding, if crowded together a funeral.

There is a common expression in Montgomeryshire--Dwy fran dyddyn--The
two crows of the farm--just as if each farm had its two crows, either as
guardians of the farm--for two crows implied good luck--or as if they
were located by couples in various places, which places became their
feeding ground and homes. This, however, is not true of rooks, which
feed in flocks and roost in flocks.





Next: Crows' Feathers

Previous: The Goose



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