Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/50

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The Birch.

There used to be hung up in every stable a crooked stick, on which to hang the harness. Its name in Gaelic was "Obair-latha," i. e. a day's work. It must be a natural growth, and had to be searched for by a woman. If she found one of the proper shape during the first day's search, she came to the marriage bed a maiden. A stable was not considered lucky, if it had not such a natural -grown hook. It was commonly of birch, but it was not essential that it should be of that tree.—(Advie.)

The Hedgehog.

It is very unlucky to meet a hedgehog on the road, particularly after nightfall.

Mr. Macpherson says: "This I discovered to be the case in the summer of 1886. I was returning home about midnight, and, when on the bridge crossing the Tulchan Burn at Straan, met a hedgehog. Next day, I, in jest, asked some of the older people if there was any superstition connected with such a meeting. They told me it was unlucky, and seemed to predict some calamity to myself. Two nights after a girl was drowned in the Spey, not far from the scene of my meeting the hedgehog." The hedgehog and the drowning of the girl were connected, and no amount of arguing could drive the idea from the minds of the people. The girl went in place of the one that met the animal.—(Advie.)

The Toad.

It is considered very unlucky for a toad to enter a house.

An old man, named C— N—, who died at Dalvey about twelve years ago, one day found a toad in his house. He immediately cast it out. It however returned. Again it was removed. It made its appearance the third time. The old man seized it with the tongs, threw it on the fire, with the words: "God! my lad, I'll mack ye ye winna (will not) come in again," and burned it to ashes,—(Advie,)