Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/234

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204 Collectanea.

the hens from laying more ; this is held at least near Tulla and Sixmilebridge, but seems dying out near the former place.

XIII. Omens, Dreams, a7id Divination.

Omens. — It is an unlucky sign to meet "a stranger woman with red hair," or a hare, or a fox, when setting out in the morning. A poem by Andrew MacCurtin, as already noted,* condoles with Father MacDonnell, a Franciscan living in Cor- comroe, for the loss of his horse, and suggests that the garran fell a victim to the evil eye or to the look of a red-haired woman. A sign much feared in north-east Clare is the flying of a bat into one's face, which forebodes sickness. A robin, a stray cat, or a cricket coming into a house is lucky, but some regard the last as a sign of death, — though this belief is rare and perhaps imported, for in Dublin "the ever-faithful cricket" is also a death omen. If the right ear tingles some one is praising you, and if the left someone is abusing you. If the right hand itches you will lose money, and if the left you will receive it, providing you rub or scratch it on wood. Any one of these omens from itching is good after sunset, and rubbing the right hand on wood saves the situation or the money in either case. To get dirt on one is most lucky, — " the dirtier the better." To stumble upstairs, and to be looked at by a cat after it has washed its face, are signs of approaching marriage.

Dreams. — It is most unlucky to dream of church or clergy, and, above all, of the sacraments. To dream of a cat foretells an enemy ; of a dog, a friend ; of crows or filth, riches and plenty ; of silver, disappointment ; and of dirty or stormy water, trouble. Cheap dream books have corrupted local belief so much that it is now almost impossible to separate the older dream lore.

Divination. — I have not found many methods of foretelling the future, but the following were of such common knowledge that I need cite no single authorities. On All Hallows Eve, I remember, before 1870, a blindfolded person would touch one of several saucers in which were respectively earth, water, salt, a bean, etc., symbolising death, emigration, luck, marriage, etc., in

  • Vol. xxi., p. 196.