Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/235

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Collectanea. 205

the ensuing year. In the same way a forecast was given by a ring, coin, bean, or red rag in the cake on the same day, and by a ring in the pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. On the former day also lead was melted and poured through a key handle into water for fortune-telling. The key of a bachelor's house or room and a piece of wedding-cake put under a girl's pillow produced a pro- phetic dream in which she might see her future husband or lover. A slug or snail put under a saucer on a slate or cabbage leaf, sprinkled with turf ashes or flour, traced the future lover's initials, as did a long apple or orange peel waved thrice round the head and then thrown down. " Cup-tossing " {i.e. cup-turning with tea leaves) was used, unsuccessfully, by a lady in 1879 to find out the future purchaser of her family's demesne. Wandering beggar- women used cup-tossing for the fortunes of both maids and mistresses, and some gained much repute. One of these crones showed a sister of mine a rearing horse in the tea leaves, and foretold that her client was about to have a very narrow escape from death on the hunting field that day, which came true. Biddy Erly, a famous white witch living between Bodyke and Feakle in the middle of last century, used to foretell the death or recovery of her patients by a shamrock leaf in Fome fluid in a bottle ; if it rose they recovered, but if it sank they died, and her prophecies were received with such undoubting faith that it is likely that they worked sometimes their own fulfilments. I heard that by a Protestant servant a key was shut and tied up in a Bible, its wards on Ruth's reply when Naomi asked her to return from her, the book being then swung and the represen- tative of Boaz surmised from the direction in which it pointed; but this may not have been true Clare folklore. Among the country folk crystal-gazing is unknown, and palmistry httle, if at all, in use, but the more primitive methods have not been put down by increase of education, and the warning is still necessary of the quatrain cited in 1280, according to the Cathreim Thoirhealbaigh, by King Torlough mor O'Brien, as he set out to fight in this county, — "Attempt ye not the prediction of the lips ; neither in curved (new) moon nor in presage of soothsayer put your trust."