One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret,
Never to be told.
Eight for a wish,
Nine for a kiss,
Ten for a bird you must not miss,
Eleven for health,
Twelve for wealth
Thirteen, lookout it is the devil himself.
This was always a rhyme I was conscious of as a child, my family often sang the rhyme. I always just assumed it would be to help with my development in memory and counting and singing (though I can confirm it did not). What I didn’t realise is that it was all part of a massive superstition.
So this is the part where I tell you the story:
My family are not the sort of people to be superstitious, just don’t cut your nails on a sunday, or break a mirror, or walk under a ladder. Okay so we aren’t superstitious about… much! It’s just we don’t really want to bring the bad Karma or bad luck. So we honour the superstition. So from a young age, I was told that magpies mate for life and it was bad luck to see one on their own, so you must salute it.
So I was coming home from school one day, my dad had picked me up. We was amazed to see on the roof of the nursing home over the road, 10 magpies all in a line. We sang the rhyme to figure out what was in store. “10 for a bird you should not miss” I mean how ridiculous? I live in a city that is notorious for having more pigeons than people- what on earth could be happening for a magnificent bird I should be amazed to see to turn up out of the blue? I thought nothing more of it.
I was absolutely blown away the following morning. I woke up to my mum informing me a peacock had escaped from the local wildlife sanctuary and had landed on our roof! I couldn’t believe it there was a peacock on our roof and better then that the magpies had predicted it! Consequently this is what I am superstitious of the most.
Now I understand what happened was a lucky coincidence… maybe? However, I’m not saying these magpies can predict the future. I also don’t believe they are as literal as the rhyme makes out. Maybe 3 for a girl might mean the next interaction you make will be with a female, who knows? However, they may make you a little more aware of your surroundings and what’s happening. And that in itself is never a bad thing.