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Got a good reason For taking the easy way out

The other day, hubby and I were having a conversation and it went on and got me to thinking!

Bud: "Step on a crack, it'll break your mother's back"!
Me: "Oh my, did you honestly believe that stuff when you were a kid?"
Bud: "Damn straight, I did. I always avoided stepping on sidewalk cracks."
Me: *laughing* "You now realize that those sayings were nothing but 'old wives' tales, don't you?"
Bud: *quiet, looking out to the sea, contemplating his retort* "Well, it's better to be safe than sorry."

And the conversation didn't stop there...
I pushed him a bit further---

Me: "What about the old saying, 'Red sky in the morning, sailor's warning. Red sky at night, sailor's delight"?
Bud: "That isn't an 'old wives' tale', that's from generations of old salts and weather while aboard ship, sailing the seven seas."
Me: *okay, I couldn't resist this comeback*: "But, being sailors and on the seas for months, even years, I bet some of those men were 'wives' to some of the other sailors!"

With this, he clamped his jaws shut and the conversation ceased.

BUT---it got me to thinking. Just what about 'old wives tales'? And from where did the expression begin, you wonder? With today, the same would be called 'urban legend' or some where there 'bouts. Was the expression from way back, perhaps medieval or maybe way before recorded time began and then passed down from generation to generation? What about the 'tale' "If you carry your fetus high while in the pregnancy stages, the baby born would be a girl." Or, "Cats can 'steal' breath from an infant?" What about: "Feed a cold, starve a fever?" Perhaps: "Coffee consumption will stunt your growth." Maybe you've heard this one: "Eating carrots will improve your eyesight." Or, "Watching too much television, or sitting too close to the TV set, will harm your eyes."

I know there are hundreds, upon thousands of these tales, what we call today, urban legends. But how many are true? How many are nothing but a bunch of malarchy? [that word in itself is urban slang --- does it all get started that way?] By others' foolish ideas, and if it actually happens ---then, it's passed down to others?

Just what about the saying: "Step on a crack, you'll break your mother's back?" What about all the kids on or near the playground, or on a sidewalk playing hopscotch?--------And their mother isn't on this earth any longer? What will happen to them if these kids 'accidently' step on a crack? LOL

Maybe you've read once in your lifetime about how cats did - or can - take the breath from a sleeping infant. Do you really believe this can happen? Or would you be more inclined to believe that it's scientifically impossible for a cat to suck breath from a child!

Are these old wives' tales closely related to many of the superstitions, like throwing spilled salt over your shoulder?

Just how do they get started anyway, that's what I'd like to know.

And this morning?-----we had a red sky!! Oh, oh!! Beware....the sailors of long ago, just may have something in their 'old wives' warnings!!!

Old Wives

Tales of the Past


  1. Hi Hootin' Anni ~~ There sure are a lot of those old wives tales and I guess they get passed down from generation to generation.
    Thank you so much for your kind comments and I am glad you enjoy some of my posts, I have been very fortunate to have been a BC survivor for 28 years, as it was found very early and I had a good surgeon.
    Thanks for visiting. Take care,
    Love, Merle.

  2. Interesting is that it seems to be about the same ones all over the world :-)

    Pssst. You've been tagged - with Link Love...

  3. Gotta love them old wives tales! lol I've always found them so intersting and often wonder where each one comes from and who started it! Plus, as you say, how many times we grow up believing some of them!! xox

  4. I wonder when we "lost" our tales... *sigh*