I have wondered the same thing, as our evening "crow river" flows by on their way to the night roost. Hundreds, if not thousands, of them.
I think you'd be forgiven if at some point you just started opening drawers in the kitchen and pulling things out. "...fifty seven for the potato masher, fifty-eight for the pasta fork, fifty-nine for the wooden spoon with a crack in it that you'd throw out but it used to be grandma's..."
When Elderly Snow Dog was younger, he'd delight in running out there at full tilt and barking madly as the black cloud would rise. Now he just stands there and looks at 'em.
Hunh - you use that to count crows? In the UK. it's strictly for magpies. Which you almost never see in numbers higher than eight, so the rhyme need go no further.
Mind you, in the UK we also say that if you see one rook on its own, it's a crow; see a whole lot of crows together, they're rooks.
To paraphrase my uncle's elderly relations, magpie we have-a no, rook we have-a no.
We are somewhat limited in our corvidae in these parts.
We've had an influx of crows (or possibly ravens) in the Bay Area. They're showing up a lot right now as the weather gets colder. Very Lovecraftian indeed.
I know the answer for magpies, and I expect it transfers.
With numbers greater than 7, it wraps, so 8 is one again. With really giant numbers, odd is sorrrow and even is joy. At least as practiced in my family.
I am genuinely superstitious about magpies, such that if I see one I feel a tiny bit sad all day and if I see two I feel quite considerably cheered and if I see four I feel sure I will have email... and regard the next piece of significant email I have as the one the magpies told me about.
This is actually a good example of my theory of how magic in this world only works inside your head. If I get asked again today whether I believe in magic, which has become one of my four Polish words, I shall use this. The crows here are big and grey, with black hoods and wings, and look like a weird order of crow-monks.
If I see a magpie I look around hopefully for another, and say 'Hello Mr Magpie' just in case.
There were so many and so mobile that I was not confident I could determine odd or even, because I did think of that.
The Scottish rhyme goes to nine. "One for sorrow, two for mirth, three for a funeral, four for a birth. Five for christening, six for a death. Seven for heaven, eight for hell, and nine's for the devil, his own self."
Presumably things then go downhill from there.
Thank you for reminding me of my granny :D
I just saw a comedy routine with this in it not long ago which went basically apocalyptic.. "fifty-nine for oh god, they're coming through the doors" sort of thing.
It had a bit of that feel, I have to say. I wouldn't have let the littledog out without preceding her out the door (and likely ruining her fun, but still, she is only 11-12 #.)
Oh, lovely crows. I miss living downtown to see the dusk-crows moving in. Not a murder but a genocide of crows.
If we have to roust out 48 birds every time there's a library book in, we're going to have to resort to starlings.
I know a rhyme that goes up to eleven, but that's apple seeds. (One I love, two I love, three I love I say, four I love with all my heart, five I cast away. Six he loves, seven she loves, eight they both love; nine they tarry, ten they part, eleven they die of a broken heart.) On the whole I think there's a trend for the ones that go over seven or eight to turn into things you don't want.
Possibly when you get above numbers that are easy to count visually it's time to move to other forms of augury. Tea leaf patterns, perhaps, or flock direction.
Oh Mris... I really needed a good laugh! Thank you.