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INSECTS AND OTHER CRITTERS
HANG on to your ears when you sight one of these darning-needles flying around out-doors. If you don't, they will like enough sew up your ears so that you can't hear. If they don't do that, they are liable to make it uncomfortable for you by going right through your head, — in at one ear and out at the other. Besides, they might sting you.
Many New England children are so afraid the darning-needles will do some of these dreadful things that at sight of them they clap their hands over their ears, and run in great terror.
Some say the darning-needles will sew up your mouth or your nose, or they think the creatures will dart straight through your body.
If you kill a toad, and one of your cows catches sight of the dead toad and smells of it, she will give bloody milk.
This will come true, even if it is one of the children of the household that kills the toad.
It is a common belief among children that angleworms and little toads are rained down. Visible proof of this they find in the fact that these creatures are seen most just after rains. I suppose a heavy rain draws them both out, — the worms come up from their holes and crawl about, and the toads leave the spots where they have buried themselves in the dust the night before, and jump about for some time after the shower is over.
Some say that the worms come out to get a drink, and the toads come out to get the worms.
In case these creatures really are rained down, they ought to be found after showers on city pavements as well as along country roads.
Red lizards are also supposed to be rained down.
If you meet with a lion or a mad bull, or anything of that kind, all you have to do is to look them right in the eye, and they won't touch you. If they do, that proves you did not properly catch the eye of the creature that charged you.
If you should ever take a nap out in the fields, sleep with your mouth shut. 1f you don't, like enough a lizard will crawl in, and go down into your stomach and make trouble there.
It brings bad luck to kill daddy-longlegs and lady-bugs.
Don't buy a horse with one white leg. It is a sign of a weak horse.
Give a dog burnt brandy, and it will stunt him so he will stop growing. That's the way these poodles and little terriers are made.
you buy a horse remember this —
It is said that alight-colored hoof is softer than a black, and has to be shod oftener. Light-hoofed horses are therefore not as good as dark. The sense of "Two white feet buy him," is explained by the fact that there was a time when a good deal of pride was taken in a horse with white socks or stockings on his hind legs. "Stockings" were white-haired legs up to the knee, while in socks the white stopped lower down.
If a lamb's ears lop over, it is a sign the lamb will die.
It is well for children to remember that if they go out to play on Sunday, the bears will eat them up.
If you don't do what your mother tells you to, the boogers will get you.
The Iittle fellows used to be greatly frightened when they heard a hound baying in the woods; for they understood that a hound dog liked nothing better than to eat up a small boy when he found one handy.
See two white horses, and then the one'll come that you want to go with.
Corner a toad, and it will spit poison at you.
Dogs are said to be healthy animals, and cats unhealthy.
To play with and fondle a cat much will give a person poor health.
The child that plays with a cat that is shedding its hair is liable to get the hair into its stomach and be killed by it-
Many believe that cats will cause the death of babies by sucking their breath,
The only reason they suggest for the action is that the cats are attracted by the baby's breath because it is sweet. They will tell you that cats have been caught in the act, and give much detailed evidence. The story ends with the killing of the cat, and a great commotion to restore the gasping baby's breath. Physicians do not credit the breath-sucking part of the stories, and I will suggest one or two partial explanations of the phenomena. Firstly, there might have lingered about the baby's mouth fragments of a recent lunch that the cat was removing when found with its mouth near the baby's; and secondly, the baby's gasping may have been caused by fear of the cat, or by the alarming commotion on its account among its relatives.
Hold your breath, and you can handle wasps and bees without fear of being stung. This recipe has often been tried with complete success. Some say that the philosophy of it is that holding the breath closes the pores of the skin, and thus makes a person impregnable to the wasp's sting. I fancy, however, that the believer insures his safety by handling the wasps much more surely than the timid unbeliever would, and does not give them a chance to use their stingers.
If your cows eat the chestnut blossoms when they fall, it will dry them up.
Others simply say, "The cows dry up when the chestnuts begin to blossom," and affirm that the eating has nothing to do with the matter.
Notice your hens' eggs. The long ones will hatch roosters, and those more nearly round will be pullets.
you have a tooth pulled, don't leave it lying about. Burn it up. If
the cat gets hold of it, the next tooth that comes will be a cat's
If the rooster crows in the middle of the night, you may expect soon to hear bad news. It is understood that the direction the rooster's head is pointed indicates whence the bad news will come; and there have been persons who, hearing the rooster's midnight call, would get up and visit the hen-roost to find out in which quarter trouble was brewing for them.
Set a hen on Sunday night, and all the eggs will hatch. If thirteen eggs are set, there will hatch from them twelve pullets and one rooster.
"Eat hog, and you become a hog," said one old man to me. "The only feller in the world that'd gain anything by it is the shoemaker, because, when he got turned into a hog, he could reach around to his back, and pull out a bristle when he wanted one."
If the breast-bone of the fowl you have boiled is soft, it was young. If it is hard, it was old.
There is a saying that on the night before Christmas when the clock strikes twelve the cows kneel in their stalls. Some young girls in Hadley, years ago, sat up to discover whether this was true or not. At midnight they went out to the barn, and sure enough when the hour struck the cows knelt. At any rate, that was what the girls said.
A still older story told in the town with the same theme is that at midnight when the Christmas Day begins, all the cattle in the yards and fields might be seen kneeling with their heads turned to the east in adoration. Two girls of the olden time, who were eager to see for themselves whether this was true or not, sat up on Christmas Eve until the spellbound hour, and then visited the farm cattle-yard. But the cattle made no sign that they were at all affected.
What you are doing when you hear the first frog in the spring, you will be doing much of during the year.
If you catch a fish you don't care to keep, don't throw it back into the water until you have finished fishing. If you throw it in before, it will tell all the other fish what you are up to, and no more will bite.
If you see a white horse, take notice and in a few moments you will see a red-headed girl. Even the unbelieving, if they try it, are astonished at the truth there is in this statement.
Likewise, if you see a red-headed girl, take note, and a white horse will soon come to sight, even if it is not in sight at the moment.
If your bees swarm, and show signs of making away, or if a wild swarm flies on to your premises, you and all your folks had better "run out and ring bells and blow horns for all you're worth." The bees, if not too contrary, will then be either so charmed or confused that they will settle down, and all you need do is to hive them.
Another way to make a swarm of bees settle is to throw dirt or water at them. They cannot fly when their wings are wet. Even the bee that gets drabbled in the dew has to dry his wings before he proceeds on his travels.
It is often said that when a bee stings, it leaves its stinger in the wound, and that the loss of the stinger later causes the bee's death. I have at first-hand a story that tends to disprove this idea. A man was whetting his scythe when a bee flew into his face, and stung him on the tip of his nose. The man dropped his scythe and whetstone, and grabbed the bee in his right hand. Before he could crush the bee, it had stung him again on his palm. It plainly did not leave its stinger in the man's nose, else how could it sting his palm? Both wounds became equally swollen and painful.
One old farmer commented on this statement with regard to the bee in this way, "Oh, no! a bee doesn't lose his stinger when he stings half the time. When he, does, and he gets back to the hive, the old king bee'll kill him, 'cause if he ain't got no stinger he can't help defend 'em any more. If a bee stings you, and leaves his stinger, you'd better get it out as quick as you can, or it will pain you a long time."
The truth of the matter is that a honey bee does lose its stinger when it stings a person, and this loss causes its death. It is different with wasps and bumblebees. They will sting a person again and again with no bad result to themselves. The stings in a series, however, grow less virulent from first to last.
A rat won't go through a soaped hole.
Ants won't cross a chalk mark. You simply have to take a piece of chalk, and draw a circle around the dish you wish to protect.
In Hadley there was once a dog who used always to howl when the nine o'clock evening bell rang. This was the occasion of not a little talk and ominous wagging of heads among the townspeople, who thought it portended misfortune of some sort.
If you sell a calf, have it taken out of the barn backwards, and the cow will not mourn its loss so much.
When a horse lies down on the ground to roll, notice whether it rolls over or not. The number of times it rolls over, indicates the number of hundred dollars it is worth.
A cat knows it can go through any hole that it can get its whiskers through without touching. Therefore when a cat comes to a doubtful hole it just puts its head in, and notices whether its whiskers touch or not. If they do, it lets that hole alone.
A girl does well to notice the color of the first butterfly she sees in the spring. That will be the color she will wear mostly in her clothes for the next twelve months.