Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 31.djvu/266

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BY-AND-BY, when a few months have passed over the head of the new-married couple, and the young matron becomes aware that the prophecies pointed at by the doll's cradle and the broken distaff are likely to come true, she is carefully instructed as to the conduct she must observe in order to insure the well-being of herself and her child.

In the first place, she must on no account conceal her state, or deny it when interrogated on the subject for if she do so, her child will never learn to speak; nor may she wear beads on her neck, for that would cause the infant to be strangled at its birth. Carrying peas or beans in her apron will produce malignant eruptions; and sweeping a chimney will make the child narrow-breasted.

On no account should she be allowed to pull off her husband's boots, nor to hand him a glowing coal to light his pipe; for both these actions bring misfortune. In driving to market she may not sit with her back to the horses, nor may she ever drink at the well out of a wooden bucket.

Also, her intercourse with the pig-sty must be very carefully regulated; for if she listen too attentively to the grunting of pigs, her child will have a deep, grunting voice; and if she kick the swine or push them away with her foot, the infant will have bristly hair on its back. Hair on the face will be the result of beating a dog or cat, and twins will be the consequence of eating double cherries or sitting at the corner of the table.

During this time she may not stand godmother to any other child, or else she will lose her own baby, which will equally be sure to die if she walk round a newly made grave.

If any one throw a flower suddenly at the woman who expects to become a mother, and hits her with it on the face, her child will have a mole at the same place touched by the flower.

Should the young matron imprudently have neglected one of these rules, and have cause to fear that an evil spell has been cast on her child, she has, however, several very efficacious recipes for undoing the harm. Thus, if she sit on the door-step with the feet resting on a broom for five minutes at a time on seven consecutive Fridays, thinking the while of her unborn babe, it will be released from the impending doom; or else let her sit there on Sundays, when the bells are ringing, with her hair hanging unplaited down her back; or else climb up the belfry-tower and look down at sunset on to the landscape below.

When the moment of the birth is approaching, the windows must