The Crow


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 w
uld 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.