“All nations have their omens drear,
Their legends wild of woe and fear…”
-Sir Walter Scott (1808)
An interesting list of Auvergnat folk traditions was collected in the nineteenth century by the French folklorist and writer Antoinette Bon.
The English version, translated by Mary Osborn, first appeared in 1890. I have abridged the list slightly, and have published the first part below:
A child born between midnight and one o’clock will turn out badly.
Wood crackling on the hearth is the sign that good news or money will be received.
He who does not cry while being baptised will be good.
A child born with open eyes will become celebrated.
If one steps across a young child it hinders its growth.
A wedding that has taken place on the same day as a burial and a baptism will be unhappy.
When the wind blows and the snow falls at the same time, it is said that the devil combs his wife’s tresses; if it rains and the sun shines, he amuses himself; when it thunders, he has gathered in the wheat and is threshing.
The rainbow is called God’s garter.
Before putting the bread in the oven to bake, a cross should be traced on it with a finger.
If a person has lighted a candle and another begs a light from it, should the latter’s candle not light immediately, the former should beware.
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