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Ye Olde Blogge – Maggie Pies

Owd Mr Chatterpie (part two)

Owdo me owd butties, thank’ee most kindly for poppin’ in for another brevit. I thought you might like to know how to ward off some bad luck.

In Shropshire the Magpie is sin(seen) as the chief of all supernatural birds, some say they are Owd Nick’s (the devils) own bird and that they alus (always) have a drop of blood under their tongues.

It is often sin as unlucky to see a single Magpie and Shropshire folks have several superstitions to counteract the bad luck such as:

  • wet the forefinger with spittle and make the sign of the cross on the shoe ( ‘an’ood or Hanwood, Ruyton and Clun) My cousin alus did this until I pointed out the dangers of doin’ it whilst driving
    • Spit on the ground three times and say “Devil ,Devil i defy thee, Magpy Magpy(sic) I go by thee.” (Pulverbatch)
    • Salute and say “Good morning Mr Magpie” some folk add “how’s Mrs Magpie?”
    • Tip yer hat, touch yer collar or tug yer fore lock and say “mornin’ Mr Magpie”
    • Spitting over your shoulder thrice and then saying “Clean birds by sevens, unclean by twos, the dove in the heavens is the bird I choose”
    • Salute and say “Hello Magpie how are you today? May your love be not far away” – i think this is a more recent, gender neutral, greeting.

Others say that you munna(mustn’t) salute a single Magpie as it is a sign of bad luck or even jeth(death). In Shrewsbury it is sin as gud luck as long as you make a wish.

If you see a Magpie going in the contrary direction to the sun (anti-clockwise), take summat(something) out and throw it at him and say “bad luck to the bird that goes widdershins” or you will have the bad luck. (Condover)

In Wellington they say “Gud luck if the Magpie is flying high, bad luck if the Magpie is walking by”

Danker me! that’s enough chunnerin’ frum me for one day, thank’ee muchly to anyone who is still reading this far down, if you have any superstitions we’d love to hear them, now run along, play nicely and be lucky.