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One for sorrow, two for…holy crud, that’s a lot of crows. - Barnstorming on an Invisible Segway [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Marissa Lingen

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One for sorrow, two for…holy crud, that’s a lot of crows. [Oct. 15th, 2013|04:19 pm]
Marissa Lingen

I know at least two rhymes for counting crows, off the top of my head (“One for sorrow, two for joy,” they both start out), but I just looked out in my backyard, and there were dozens of crows. Scores of crows. There were not more crows than I could shake a stick at, because I would just stand at the back door and shake it broadly. But I don’t really want to go shake a stick at the crows, because it has a sort of Hitchcockian vibe at the moment. Say what you will in favor of Lovecraft, pulsing horrors mostly don’t show up in my backyard without notice. And giant flocks of birds…apparently do.

So what I want to know is: where does the crow counting rhyme go after seven or, in some extreme cases, ten? It’s really looking to me like the fortune-telling aspect will start to wear thin with a flock like this. “Forty-seven for a hangnail…forty-eight for your library books came in…forty-nine for, uh, a sale on the kind of cheese you don’t want to buy….”

Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux


[User Picture]From: supergee
2013-10-15 09:29 pm (UTC)
A mass murder.
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[User Picture]From: columbina
2013-10-18 09:08 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: jhetley
2013-10-16 12:10 am (UTC)
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.
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[User Picture]From: also_huey
2013-10-16 01:55 am (UTC)
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.
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[User Picture]From: desperance
2013-10-16 02:02 am (UTC)
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.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2013-10-16 02:08 am (UTC)
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.
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[User Picture]From: klwilliams
2013-10-16 03:03 am (UTC)
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.
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[User Picture]From: oursin
2013-10-16 08:04 am (UTC)
If I see a magpie I look around hopefully for another, and say 'Hello Mr Magpie' just in case.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2013-10-16 11:15 am (UTC)
There were so many and so mobile that I was not confident I could determine odd or even, because I did think of that.
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[User Picture]From: xahra99
2013-10-16 08:17 am (UTC)
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
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[User Picture]From: shark_hat
2013-10-16 10:02 am (UTC)
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.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2013-10-16 11:16 am (UTC)
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 #.)
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From: diatryma
2013-10-16 12:56 pm (UTC)
Oh, lovely crows. I miss living downtown to see the dusk-crows moving in. Not a murder but a genocide of crows.
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[User Picture]From: thanate
2013-10-16 06:31 pm (UTC)
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.
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[User Picture]From: miz_hatbox
2013-10-16 09:23 pm (UTC)
Oh Mris... I really needed a good laugh! Thank you.

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