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Magpies revisited

More magpie ruminations

Didn't find your answer?

So picture the scene of yours truly driving the Bentley through the leafy lanes of Artfordshire (it could equally have been Ampshire or Errorfordshire, of course) this morning the following events occurred:

i) First I saw a group of SIX magpies.

ii) Some time later I saw a further TWO magpies.

iii) Later still I saw a further TWO magpies.

iv) Shortly after that a saw ONE magpie.

v) A little later I saw another ONE magpie.

In total I saw TWELVE magpies.

Hazy on the precise details, I have done some additional research and find that it is:

ONE for sorrow,

TWO for joy,

THREE for a girl, and

FOUR for a boy.

FIVE's for silver,

SIX is for GOLD, and

SEVEN's for a secret never to be told.

EIGHT's for a wish,

NINE's for a kiss, and

TEN's a surprise that must not be missed.

ELEVEN's for health,

TWELVE's for wealth, and

THIRTEEN beware; it is the devil himself.

Now the application troubles me once again. Did I narrowly escape meeting devil bird, and am now destined to become wealthy.

Or, am I going to get some gold, some joy, more joy, and then sorrow followed by more sorrow? Is there any possibility that sorrow and joy cancel each other out and I can just duck off over yonder with a pot of gold in a neutral state of jolliness?

There is, of course,  another possibility; that there is a cumulation period but that it is relatively short, such that only events (iii) and (iv) cumulate. In that case I get gold, joy, a toyboy (who I am apparently obliged to share with Luce, because she would obviously do the same for me if she were the one with the toyboy), followed by some sorrow, which may or may not be cancelled out by the earlier joy.

It is not explained particularly well is it? Does anybody have any ideas what I can expect as a result of this morning's events?

Replies (15)

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Portia profile image
By Portia Nina Levin
17th Nov 2016 11:10


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By mrme89
17th Nov 2016 11:15

You may not be due any wealth, sorrow, silver or gold. You may have bird mess on the Bentley though.

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By alan.rolfe
17th Nov 2016 11:47

The key is whether you followed the correct procedure.

For good luck you must tip your hat and say, "Good morning Mr. Magpie. How is your lady wife today?"

Failing that who knows what bad fortune may follow the sight of 12 magpies!

Thanks (1)
By TheLambtonWorm
17th Nov 2016 11:49

I think the rules state that the counter resets itself each time you blink - therefore the aggregate number of magpies aren't relevant.

So don't worry, I don't think you were close to meeting the devil himself.

Keep your eyes on the road instead of magpies though, else you might be meeting him sooner than you think.

Thanks (1)
Red Kite
By Red Kite
17th Nov 2016 11:52

There is nothing joyful about Magpie's. The scourge of bird life, in my humble opinion. At least with a Merlin, Peregrine, Kestrel, Harrier etc, you know what to expect.

Earlier this year I watched two "Maggies" pecking away at one of their colleagues (do Magpie's have "colleagues" or "bro's") whilst one held it down! That's sic man.

Frankly Portia, if you've seen 12 Magpie's you've not had the best of days!

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Replying to Red Kite:
Portia profile image
By Portia Nina Levin
17th Nov 2016 11:59

When I say that I saw 12 magpies, I suppose that, given that they fly in straight lines (I assume that they behave similarly to crows in that respect), and the leafy lanes of Artfordshire are rather long and winding, I may have seen some of the same magpies on more than one occasion.

That possibility had to go on the too complicated pile though.

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By michaelblake
17th Nov 2016 12:01

It is difficult to know. You probably need to consider the authors intention when drafting the rhyme. Whatever conclusion you come to we would suggest that you make a timely note documenting your reasons for believing that the conclusions that you have come to are in the spirit of the rhyme before acting upon them. This will be useful evidence should the Corvid police come looking for you casting aspersions on your professional standards. Yours Professional Bodies (Corvids Division)

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By Cloudcounter
17th Nov 2016 12:28

You also need to consider the correct interpretation of the rhyme.

I've a friend who works on the basis that it's the number of people that see the magpie, not the number of birds. So if he saw a magpie, that was one for sorrow, but if he pointed it out to me and I saw it as well, that was two for joy.

I don't think that he ever got 12 of us to see the same magpie at the same time, so that's why I'm still working away (apart from the obvious time wasting on AW, evidently)

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By SteveHa
17th Nov 2016 13:30

It's academic from April 2018 when Magpies Turn Digital.

Thanks (5)
By Abacus Finch
17th Nov 2016 13:50

I believe there's a £100 fine for not waving at the first magpie, then £10 a magpie after that, but with a minimum charge of £300 after 12 magpies

Thanks (1)
By NomDePlume
17th Nov 2016 13:56

I read it the other way around. You saw a minimum of 6 magpies (first occasion), then you may have seen a further 2 magpies (cumulative 8), or you may have seen one of the original magpies and one not previously observer (in which case cumulative 7), or you may have re-observed 2 of the original 6, so cumulative stays at 6. So the answer to me is anywhere between 6 and 12. These are presumably birds in a bush and not in hand. If in hand, scale down accordingly.

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By dialm4accounts
17th Nov 2016 14:13

I've heard a different rhyme after seven :)

Eight for a queen
Nine for a king
Ten for a woman with a diamond ring

In my childhood, "x for a wish, y for a kiss" was "One for a wish, two for a kiss" for sneezes :)

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Replying to dialm4accounts:
Portia profile image
By Portia Nina Levin
17th Nov 2016 14:20

I used the only version that I could find that went up to twelve:

If I get the gold and a toyboy, the job's a good'un as far as I am concerned.

Thanks (1)
By Constantly Confused
18th Nov 2016 09:37

Terry Pratchett had another one, I forget most of it and Google would be cheating...

One for sorrow
Two for Mirth
Three for a wedding
Four for a birth
Five for heaven
Six for hell
Seven for the devil, his own sel'

This of course does not help your predicament.

Thanks (1)
Replying to Pembroke:
By Sheepy306
18th Nov 2016 10:14

Millennial magpies??????? I'm on the phone to Xero and the Aweb editorial right now, they LOVE that stuff.

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