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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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SUPERSTITION--BAD LUCK

IT IS UNLUCKY TO LIGHT THREE CIGARETTES FROM A SINGLE MATCH.

Submitter comment: FROM FRIENDS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BIRMINGHAM

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
686 Thirds / Thrice / Three / Triple
BELIEF -- Bad luck

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THE HEN-PECKED DEVIL

SEVERAL HUNDRED YEARS AGO THE MAYOR OF HAMBURG, GERMANY,
CONTRACTED TO HAVE A BRIDGE BUILT OVER THE ELBE. THE CONTRACTOR
PROMISED TO HAVE THE JOB COMPLETED BY A CERTAIN DATE, BUT,
BECAUSE OF INCLEMENT WEATHER, HE WAS HOPELESSLY BEHIND SCHEDULE.
SINCE THE BUILDER KNEW THAT THE MAYOR WOULD NOT FULFILL HIS END
OF THE CONTRACT UNLESS THE BRIDGE WAS COMPLETED IN TIME FOR THE
SPRING FESTIVALS, HE MADE A PACT WITH THE DEVIL FOR ITS COMPLE-
TION. THE DEVIL WOULD COMPLETE CONSTRUCTION IN RETURN FOR THE
SOUL OF THE FIRST PERSON TO CROSS THE BRIDGE.
WHEN THE BRIDGE WAS COMPLETED AND TO BE DEDICATED, THE MAYOR AND
BUILDER ARGUED WITH ONE ANOTHER ABOUT WHO SHOULD BE THE FIRST TO
WALK ACROSS THE SPAN. THE MAYOR, SUSPECTING SOMETHING WAS AMISS
BECAUSE OF THE JOB'S RAPID COMPLETION, INSISTED THAT THE BUILDER
PROCEED FIRST. IN ANTICIPATION OF THIS, THE BUILDER HAD TUCKED
A HEN UNDER HIS COAT. WHEN HE APPROACHED THE MIDWAY MARK OF THE
BRIDGE WHERE THE DEVIL WAS LURKING BEHIND A COLUMN, HE THREW THE
HEN OUT TO HIM. THE DEVIL SEIZED THE BIRD, BUT WHEN HE SAW THAT
HIS CATCH WAS ONLY A HEN, HE THREW IT DOWN IN DISGUST. THE
DEVIL'S ANGER WAS SUCH THAT THE HEN WENT CLEAN THROUGH THE BRIDGE,
AND TO THIS DAY THERE IS A HOLD IN THE BRIDGE WHICH WILL NOT BE
FILLED.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT HEARD TALE FROM A GERMAN PHILOSOPHY PROFESSOR AT
GANNON COLLEGE, ERIE, PENNSYLVANIA.

Where learned: PENNSYLVANIA ; ERIE ; GANNON COLLEGE

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Devil Demon
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Bird
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Product or activity of man or animal
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Measure of time
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Bridge

Date learned: 10-23-1965

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LEGEND

THERE IS A GRAVEYARD IN MIDLAND, MICHIGAN, THAT HAS A STRANGE
VISITOR EVERY TEN YEARS. HE IS A TALL, LEAN, HOODED FIGURE WITH
LONG NOSE, SUNKEN EYES, AND BONY FINGERS. EVERY TIME HE VISITS,
HE MURDERS TWO KIDS, WHO HAPPEN TO WANDER THROUGH THE CEMETERY
AT THE SAME TIME.
HIS APPEARANCE HAS BEEN REGULAR FOR THIRTY YEARS, I.E., HE HAS
COME THREE TIMES, THE MOST RECENT BEING A FEW MONTHS BACK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
686 Seconds / Twice / Two
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Outlaw Criminal Bandit Pirate
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Cemetery

Date learned: 12-02-1967

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MONEY AND WISH

IF YOU HAVE A PIECE OF MONEY AND SHAKE IT AT THE NEW MOON, AND
MAKE A WISH YOUR WISH WILL COME TRUE. THIS WILL GENERALLY ALSO
MAKE YOUR MONEY COME BACK DOUBLE TO YOU.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): INCREASE

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
BELIEF -- Moon
BELIEF -- Prayer

Date learned: 10-00-1974

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FIRST CHILD

IF THE FIRST CHILD IS A GIRL, NAME IT AFTER HER MOTHER AND YOUR
NEXT CHILD WILL BE A BOY.

Where learned: HOME ; SCHOOL ; MICHIGAN ; DEARBORN

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
686 Seconds / Twice / Two
BELIEF -- Birth
SPEECH -- S583

Date learned: CA1963-1975

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CHRISTMAS CUSTOM

IF THE FIRST PERSON TO COME THROUGH THE DOOR OF YOUR HOUSE ON
CHRISTMAS EVE IS A DARK HAIRED MAN YOU WILL HAVE GOOD LUCK IN THE
YEAR TO COME.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): BELIEF ; CHRISTMAS ; COLOR ; GOOD LUCK ; HAIR ; holiday ; LUCK ; Man ; OMEN ; SYMBOL

James Callow Keyword(s): FIRST FOOTING

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20
BELIEF -- Good luck P881.42

Date learned: 00001930S

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GOOD LUCK GESTURE

WHEN YOU SEE YOUR FIRST ROBIN OF THE SEASON, LICK YOUR THUMB,
TOUCH IT TO YOUR PALM OF YOUR HAND, AND THEN POUND THAT PALM WITH
YOUR FIST FOR GOOD LUCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting
BELIEF -- Bird
BELIEF -- Good luck P881.22
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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PROVERB

ANYBODY CAN BE FOOLED ONCE, BUT ONLY A FOOL CAN BE FOOLED TWICE.

Where learned: HOME

Keyword(s): NUMBERS

James Callow Keyword(s): ADVICE: NEGATIVE ; OBSERVATION ; REPETITION

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
686 Seconds / Twice / Two
PROVERB -- Proverbial Apothegm Maxim

Date learned: 11-09-1969

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PROVERB

A BIRD IN THE HAND IS BETTER THAN A PIGEON ON THE ROOF.
EIN SPERLING IN DER HAND, IST BESSER ALS EINE TAUBE AUF
DEM DACH. (GERMAN)
ENGLISH VARIANT: A BIRD IN THE HAND IS BETTER THAN TWO
IN THE BUSH. (TRANSLATION)

Submitter comment: INFORMANT HEARD THIS IN REGENSBERG, GERMANY.

Data entry tech comment: VARIANT

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; FERNDALE

James Callow Keyword(s): ANIMAL ; OBSERVATION ; PRIORITY

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
PROVERB -- Proverbial Metaphor

Date learned: 11-24-1967

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PROVERB

A BIRD IN YOUR HAND IS BETTER THAN TEN ON A TREE.

Submitter comment:

THIS IS A PROVERB FROM PALESTINE, NOT THE USE OF TEN ON A TREE
COMPARED WITH THE AMERICAN PROVERB SAYING TWO ON A TREE. (SIC)

Data entry tech comment:

TWO IN THE BUSH

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SAINT CLAIR SHORES

Keyword(s): BIRD

James Callow Keyword(s): ANIMAL ; NUMBERS ; OBSERVATION ; PRIORITY

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
686 First / Once / One / Newness
PROVERB -- Proverbial Metaphor

Date learned: 03-06-1970

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PROVERB

A BIRD IN THE HAND IS WORTH THOUSANDS IN THE AIR. (TRANSLATION)
ASFUR JIDEC AHIAR MIN ELF FLAIRU. (MALTESE)

Data entry tech comment: VARIANT

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): BIRD ; NUMBERS

James Callow Keyword(s): ANIMAL ; OBSERVATION ; PRIORITY

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
686 Sixths / Six
PROVERB -- Proverbial Metaphor

Date learned: 03-08-1970

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PROVERB

A BIRD IN THE HAND IS WORTH TWO IN THE BUSH.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): BIRD

James Callow Keyword(s): ANIMAL ; HYPOCRISY ; NUMBERS ; OBSERVATION ; PRIORITY

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
686 Seconds / Twice / Two
PROVERB -- Proverbial Metaphor

Date learned: 08-09-1964

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PROVERBIAL PHRASE

BREAK THE ICE.

James Callow comment: ACTUALLY NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS--CLIMATE--ALTHOUGH
I REALIZE YOU WANT LITERAL IDENTIFICATIONS--F.M. PAULSEN

Where learned: WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY

Keyword(s): CLIMATE

James Callow Keyword(s): CONVERSATION STARTER? ; IDENTIFYING?

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
PROVERB -- Proverbial Phrase

Date learned: 03-20-1968

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PROVERBIAL METAPHOR

BUSIER THAN A ONE ARMED PAPER HANGER WITH THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH.

Where learned: DEARBORN

Keyword(s): NUMBERS

James Callow Keyword(s): FRUSTRATION

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
686 Seven / Sevenths / Several
BELIEF -- Physically handicapped Deformed
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Upper body, arms, neck
PROVERB -- Proverbial Phrase

Date learned: 04-06-1971

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PROVERB

BUSIER THAN A ONE LEGGED MAN IN AN ASS-KICKING CONTEST.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): NUMBERS

James Callow Keyword(s): FRUSTRATION

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
BELIEF -- Physically handicapped Deformed
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Lower body, legs
PROVERB -- Proverbial Phrase

Date learned: 04-04-1970

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PROVERB

CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BIRMINGHAM

James Callow Keyword(s): ADVICE: POSITIVE

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.

Date learned: 10-10-1965

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PROVERB

CHILDREN WERE GIVEN TWO EARS AND ONE MOUTH SO THEY WOULD HEAR
TWICE AS MUCH AS THEY WOULD SAY.

Submitter comment: (CONVERSATION)

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): NUMBERS

James Callow Keyword(s): ADVICE: NEGATIVE ; DISCIPLINE ; OBSERVATION

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
686 Seconds / Twice / Two
BELIEF -- Body part Senses
PROVERB -- Proverbial Apothegm Maxim

Date learned: 00-00-1959

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GAME SUPERSTITION

IF A BATTER SWINGS AND MISSES AT THE FIRST PITCH, HE WILL
STRIKE OUT.

Submitter comment: THIS ALWAYS HAPPENED TO THE INFORMANT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): BASEBALL

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Special Object or Implement
BELIEF -- Entertainment Diversion
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.6

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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CROSSEYED

IF YOU LET A BABY LOOK IN A MIRROR BEFORE HE IS A YEAR OLD,
HE WILL BE CROSSEYED.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BIRMINGHAM

James Callow Keyword(s): ADVICE: POSITIVE (IMPLIED)

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
BELIEF -- Physically handicapped Deformed
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Eyes, evil eye
BELIEF -- Means of Causing or Avoiding Illness

Date learned: 10-00-1968

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BLEEDING HEART

IF YOU TAKE APART A BLEEDING HEART BLOSSOM IN FULL BLOOM
YOU WILL GET 2 RABBITS, 2 CLIPPERS, 2 EARRINGS, AND A BOTTLE.

Submitter comment: PARTS OF THE FLOWER RESEMBLE THESE THINGS
SAYS COLLECTOR

Where learned: OHIO ; TOLEDO

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
686 Seconds / Twice / Two
BELIEF -- Plant

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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