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Animal Superstitions D-F
Daddy Long LegsIf a plow kills a daddy long legs the cows will go dry.
"When I was a kid on a farm in Ohio, somewhere we were told when we picked up a
Daddy Long Legs to ask it "Where are the cows?" and it would point (with it's
feelers) in the direction of the cows. I remember thinking this usually worked!"
If you kill a daddy long legs, there'll be rain soon.
DogsGreeks thought dogs could foresee evil.
"Usually superstitions about dogs are somewhat ominous. But here's one my
grandmother believed--if you have your new-born baby licked by a dog,
your baby will be a quick healer. We all believe this because I was not
licked, and I'm a slow healer and my brother, who was licked, is a quick
Howling dogs mean the wind god has summoned death, and the spirits of the dead will be taken.
A dog eating grass - rain
A howling dog at night means bad luck or somebody close to you will be very sick or worse.
According to Matt Groening, a dog with seven toes can see ghosts.
When a dog is staring intently, at nothing, for no apparent reason,
look between the dog's ears and you'll see a ghost.
Dogs have always been credited with the power of sensing supernatural influences, and seeing ghosts, spirits, faeries or deities which are invisible to human eyes. In Wales only dogs
could see the death-bringing hounds of Annwn; in ancient Greece the dogs were aware when Hecate was at a crossroads foretelling a death. Dogs are believed to be aware of the
presence of ghosts, and their barking, whimpering or howling is often the first warning of supernatural occurrances.
There are many instances of black dog ghosts which are said to haunt lanes, bridges, crossroads, footpaths and gates, particularly in Suffolk, Norfolk and the Isle of Man. Some black
dogs are said to be unquiet ghosts of wicked souls, but others are friendly guides and protectors to travellers; the Barguest of northern England could also appear as a pig or a goat, but
was most commonly a huge black dog with large eyes and feet which left no prints. Packs of ghostly hounds have also been recorded all over Britain, often heard howling as they pass by
on stormy nights rather than actually seen; these hounds generally foretell death, or at least disaster, if they are seen and the proper action is to drop face-down onto the ground to avoid
When a dog howls in an otherwise silent night, it is said to be an omen of death, or at least of misfortune. A howling dog outside the house of a sick person was once thought to be an
omen that they would die, especially if the dog was driven away and returned to howl again. A dog which gives a single howl, or three howls, and then falls silent is said to be marking a
death that has just occurred nearby.
Dogs were feared as possible carriers of rabies; sometimes even a healthy dog was killed if it had bitten someone, because of the belief that if the dog later developed rabies, even many
years afterwards, the bitten person would also be afflicted. Remedies for the bite of a mad dog often included the patient being forced to eat a part of the dog in question, such as its hairs
or a piece of its cooked liver. Dogs were also used to cure other illnesses; one old charm which was often used for childrens' illnesses was to take some of the patient's hairs and feed
them to a dog inbetween slices of bread and butter; the ailment was believed to transfer to the animal, healing the patient.
In Scotland, a strange dog coming to the house means a new friendship; in England, to meet a spotted or black and white dog on your way to a business appointment is lucky. Three
white dogs seen together are considered lucky in some areas; black dogs are generally considered unlucky, especially if they cross a traveller's path or follow someone and refuse to be
driven away. Fishermen traditionally regard dogs as unlucky and will not take one out in a boat, or mention the word 'dog' whilst at sea.
Dog Hause visitor Tom (from Sioux Falls) says: "Just thought I would add to your animal superstitions with one I learned from a elder South Dakota Lakota Sioux Indian was that if a member of the tribe would get sick they would lay with a dog and the sickness would transfer from the tribal member into the dog. On some of the reservations, among the elders, this practice is still taking place." Thanks Tom!
Christian tradition stated that donkeys originally had unmarked hides, and that it was only after Christ's entry into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey that they recieved the dark cross on
their backs. The hairs from the cross were widely believed to cure a number of ailments, and were often worn in a charm around the neck to guard against whooping-cough, toothache,
fits, and to ease teething pains in babies. Sometimes the hairs were eaten in a sandwich instead. Riding a donkey was also believed effacious, especially if the rider faced the donkey's tail
end, and was sometimes used as a preventative for toothache, measles and other children's complaints. One cure for whooping-cough and ague stated that the patient should be passed
under a donkey and over its back either three or nine times; the trick of feeding an animal some of the patient's hair to transfer the illness was also used with donkeys. The donkey was
also used to help cure the complaints of other animals; letting a black donkey run with mares in a field was thought to stop the mares miscarrying.
An old saying claims that no-one ever sees a dead donkey; however, there is also a tradition that to see a dead donkey means great good fortune, and even as recently as this century it
was considered a good-luck charm to leap over the carcass of a dead donkey three times.
ElephantsIn Siam, white elephants were rare and not made to work for their upkeep, so a White Elephant is an item that is a non profit expense. Considering the value of space in our homes, items kept as memorabilia could be considered White Elephants.
FishThrow back the first fish you catch then you'll be lucky the whole day fishing.
It's bad luck to get married when the fish aren't biting, according to the custom of some fisherfolk.
A fish should always be eaten from the head toward the tail.
Dream of fish: someone you know is pregnant.
If you count the number of fish you caught, you will catch no more that day.
It's bad luck to say the word "pig" while fishing at sea.
FrogsFrogs, like toads, were once thought to have peculiar properties, and were frequently used in healing charms, and in others of a slightly less innocent nature.
A well known country cure for thrush was to hold a live frog with its head in the patient's mouth. As it breathed, so it drew the disease away and into itself. Warts could also be cured by rubbing a frog across them.
The dried body of a frog worn in a silk bag around the neck averted epilepsy and other fits. Frogs were also used in love-magic. In one tale, a girl, whose lover was untrue stuck pins all over a living frog and then buried it. The young man suffered extreme pains and eventually returned to her. She dug up the frog and removed the pins, after which the pains ceased. The man, perhaps rather unwisely, married her.
A frog brings good luck to the house it enters.
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