Crows' Feathers

: Welsh Folk-lore

In Montgomeryshire it was, at one time, supposed that if a person picked

up a crow's feather he was sure to meet a mad dog before the day was


But in other parts it was considered lucky to find a crow's feather, if,

when found, it were stuck on end into the ground. This superstition

lingered long in Llanfihangel Glyn Myfyr, a remote, hilly parish in


Some year
ago, crows' wing or tail feathers could be seen stuck upright

in the ground in many parts of Wales, but at present such a thing cannot

be seen. The practice and the superstition have come to an end.

A Rookery deserted was a sign of bad luck, but when they nested near a

house it was a sign of good luck.

The writer visited, in the year 1887, a gentleman's park, where for

generations the rooks had made a lodgment, and by several persons his

attention was called to the ominous fact that the rooks had left the

ancestral trees which ornamented the spacious and well-wooded park, and

had even carried their nests away with them. He was informed that the

desertion boded no good to the highly respected family that occupied that

ancient seat.

The writer also visited a friend, who lives in an ancient abode, a mile

or two from the rook-rejected park, and, with a smile, he was informed by

the lady of the house that a colony of rooks had taken possession of the

trees that surrounded her house. He gladly wished her luck, to which she

responded--It has been a long time coming.

Both these places are in East Denbighshire.

The writer remembers a case in which a rookery was deserted just before

misfortune fell upon the gentleman who occupied the house around which

grew the trees occupied by the rooks. This gentleman one morning noticed

the rooks carrying away their nests to a new home. Se called his servant

man to him, and desired him to go after the rooks and destroy their nests

in their new abode, in the fond hope that they would thus be induced to

return to their old home. This was done more than once, but the rooks

would not take the hint; they persisted in gathering up the scattered

sticks that strewed the ground, but these they replaced in the trees

above, which now had become their new home. When it was found that they

would not return, the man desisted, and his master, as he had feared, met

with dire misfortune shortly afterwards (see p. 304).