Telling Tales

When I was pregnant I heard all kinds of “old Wives Tales”.  Especially with #1.  Every time I turned around it seemed like someone was trying to give me their two cents worth on what I should and shouldn’t do.  

I tried to remain as active as I was pre-pregnancy and as independent (and maybe stubborn – ok I hear you guffawing) as I am I tried to do things for myself as I always have.  I remember how every time I was around my mother and would reach for something above like shoulder height she would yell at me and tell me I was going to kill the baby because their umbilical cord was going to wrap around their neck.  Fortunately this did not hold to be true because I think I was always reaching above my head for something and none of my three were born with their umbilical cords around their neck.  

I also heard many times that staying too busy and running yourself ragged would produce a nervous and highstrung child.  Not sure the validity of this but I did hear this a LOT when I was pregnant with #3 because I was working full time and taking classes and volunteering for the PTA and taking care of a 6 and 7 year old and a husband and trying to keep up with my household.  Not sure if that actually had anything to do with #3 being slightly A D D BUT…. You never know. I’m just saying. Sorry boo if I scarred you for life by trying to maintain everything I had going on. 

I also heard that if you have heartburn when you are pregnant your child will have a lot of hair. I don’t know if that is an actual old wives tale or if it’s the fact that the hair is causing your heart burn??? I’m not sure, I just know that I had heartburn to beat the band with all three of my girls and all three were born with heads full of hair.  Maybe it was just a big coincidence. 

Keep cats away from babies because they “suck the breath” of the child.  All I can say is it’s amazing our kids made it to adulthood because we have always had cats and the cats have always pretty much slept with them, on them and at least in their bed. I have many pictures of my kids, as babies, with the cats sleeping in the crib with them. I think the cats just like the warmth and I think most babies probably smell like milk!  The cats aren’t trying to suck their breath, they are trying to find out where the milk is! 

I also heard repeatedly that having a BIG SCARE while you were pregnant would scar the unborn baby or cause it to have a “birthmark” that resembled whatever it was that scared you.  I’m wondering if my mom must have gotten stuck on some railroad tracks or something because I swear I have a birthmark that looks like a train on my hip?  Did she get hit in the hip by a train?  Did someone throw a toy train at her which hit her in the hip when she was pregnant with me and it sufficiently scared her to where it permanently scarred ME?  Not sure if there is any validity to that or not.  

Of course there are all the non sense ones we hear growing up likes “step on a crack, break your mama’s back”.  I KNOW I have stepped on a gazillion cracks in my life and even though my mom may have arthritis in her back, I don’t think she has ever broken it.  If I was the cause of the pain, I’m so sorry.  Had I known it was actually true I’d have watched where I was stepping all those years. 

Of course there’s the old adage of finding a penny: See a penny, pick it up all that day you’ll have good luck. See a penny let it lay, you’ll have bad luck all that day.  But I have also always heard that if you see a penny face side up you should pick it up for good luck but tail side up you have bad luck if you pick it up.  So… how can you have it both ways?  If you let it lay it’s bad luck but if its tail side up and you pick it up it’s bad luck… so do those two things cancel each other out?  If it’s tail side up and you let it lay does that make it good luck to leave it? Hmmmm….. I’d like to know the explanation on that one.  And as for those pennies at the Inn…. That’s a WHOLE ‘nother thing altogether. 

I’ve also heard you shouldn’t store your shoes higher than your head. I’m not sure what that is about but I have lots of shoes on the shelf in my closet and I don’t know that it’s causing me any bad luck. We’ve been fairly happy so maybe I should trying moving them all to the floor of my closet and see if we win the lottery? 

I also have heard never to rock an empty rocking chair…. Something to do with someone dying or letting in evil spirits or something.   And never place your hat on the bed?  I’m not sure how either of those two things can kill someone, I’m just saying.  I have also heard that you have to get out of the same side of the bed that you got in the night before or it will bring bad luck. Is that where the saying “Someone got out of the wrong side of the bed” comes from? 

What about someone sweeping under your feet means you’ll never get married?  What if you’re already married? Does that mean you’ll get a divorce?  If that were true, I’d have never gotten married.  I have also heard its bad luck to bring your old broom with you to a new place when you move.  That you leave the old broom and leave your troubles behind.  New broom signifies new luck?  What if you already had good fortune?  Wouldn’t leaving the broom behind mean you’re leaving your good luck and bringing a change of bad luck?  Something to think about there. 

How about this one?  If you get a chill up your back or goosebumps, it means that someone is walking over your grave.   Now I just want to know, if I’m not dead yet, how the heck are they walking on my grave?  I have always heard that one and always wondered because it makes absolutely no sense to me… unless they are referring to reincarnation or something?  I have no clue.  

This is a funny one: Cows lifting their tails is a sure sign that rain is coming.  I personally think it’s just a sure sign that they have to poo.  What do you think? 

To break a mirror means 7 years bad luck.  I don’t even know what to say about that one other than I should probably live to be a thousand years old so I can have enough years to live out all the bad luck from all the mirrors I’ve broken.  Not on purpose.  Stuff happens ya know? 

Old Wives Tales

How about you?  What are some of the old wives tales you’ve heard?  Would you like to hear about more?  Come on over to Sprite’s Keeper and the Spin Cycle and read about everyone else’s tales.


About pegbur7

South of the Mason/Dixon Line
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26 Responses to Telling Tales

  1. SaucyB says:

    So many of these are so familiar to me as well. I have to say the whole heartburn means hair held true for me too!

    Thanks for visiting today. Nice to “meet” some others doing Mama Kat’s workshop.

  2. terrepruitt says:

    Funny I was just thinking about superstitions the other day. My mother’s father always used to say that once you leave the house can’t go back because it is bad luck. I almost NEVER leave the house without going back. I ALWAYS forget something. I’m lucky my head is attached.

    I think the shoe one just has to do with them falling on your head. When that came about they were probably those huge clod hoppers!

    Funny the superstitions and wives’ tales that get passed on.

    • pegbur7 says:

      I KNOW. I really have to laugh at some of them. I just remember when I was pregnant every time I’d reach for something my mom telling me about the umbilical cord.

      • terrepruitt says:

        I think pregnant women get the brunt of it because EVERYONE — even women like me that have never been pregnant — has something to say about it. But it totally wigs me out when stangers think they can touch a woman just because she is pregnant.

      • pegbur7 says:

        Yeah all modesty goes out the window and I can’t count the number of friends AND strangers who have rubbed my belly. And when I was pregnant it was even worse! LOL j/k only when I was pregnant.

  3. Angelia Sims says:

    Where in the world do these all come from!?! HA HA.

    Hilarious post! I can’t believe you know so many. 😀

    The pregnancy ones crack me up. I think I tried drinking mineral oil to go into labor. Yea, it didn’t work and that stunk!! Blech!

  4. suzicate says:

    I’m laughing at Terre’s remark about clodhoppers landing on your head! When I was thinking of the wives tales last night, Dirt Man said the same thing you said about the reason cows lift their tails!

  5. Alaina says:

    I’ve totally heard the one about the hair raising up on your neck and getting a chill means that someone is thinking of you but not someone is walking over your grave. Crazy! And I think I’m in trouble with the shoes over your head thing… I store a lot of them over my head, but I’m short so most things are over my head 🙂

    • pegbur7 says:

      hahaha I like that. Short so most things are over your head. At least things don’t “go over your head” cause I kinda doubt you’d let much get by. You’re a pretty savvy girl!

  6. Wow, you’ve got some great ones!
    I’ve heard of most of them but the rocking chair one is a new one to me!
    You’re linked!

    • Peg says:

      Thanks Jen! Yeah that one kind of creeps me out. I’ve heard it’s bad luck and I’ve also heard something to do with inviting in spirits? LOL Hopefully neither.

  7. Oh, these are some good ones, and many I’ve never heard. My kids have been around cats their whole lives too; no breath sucking here.

  8. Ron says:

    ” Keep cats away from babies because they “suck the breath” of the child.”

    HAHAHAHAHA…OMG, I LOVE that one! And do you remember that movie (I think it was a Stephen King film) where they showed a cat sucking the breath out of a baby???

    In the theater, they have a superstition that you NEVER say, “Good luck” before a performance. You say, “Break a leg” or you’ll have bad luck onstage.

    My mother believes very seriously in wives’ tales and superstition.

    “Don’t ever open an umbrella in the house.”

    So I use to do it to scare her – HA!

    Have a super weekend, dear friend!


  9. liz says:

    “I’m pretty sure they have to poo” – HAHAHA!

    The whole notion of getting hit in the hip with a train is pretty entertaining as well!

  10. NikNik says:

    Grandma once told me it was bad luck to get water on your shirt when you were washing dishes. I think she said it meant that your husband would beat you or leave you or something- I dont know it was a long time ago.

  11. If you spill salt, always throw some over your left shoulder and you’ll be just fine.

  12. Kate says:

    Ah, everyone has a pregnant story. I wanted to walk around with a sign telling them i didn’t want to hear it!

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