Old Wives Tales for Kids

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Old Wives Tales Origins

Old Timers seem to focus on planting cycles, weather, pregnancy and religion - the things that were important to them.

Here are some of the folk lore and sayings I have heard in the Asheville area over the last 28 years.

Old Sayings About Life

Many mountain folk in and around Western North Carolina are Irish-Scotch decent. These mountaineers kept the traditional customs and beliefs of their ancestors who settled in Western North Carolina. The Irish-Scotch brought with them the pilgrims and puritans views of nature and superstitions when they left the British Isles in the 1600's. Isolation in the NC mountains help keep the traditional customs and beliefs in tact.

Medicine - Warts, Headaches, Bleeding, Nightmares, Hiccups

Note: These are superstitions. These sayings have never been proven to be true. However, I have met mountain folk in the Asheville area who swear these sayings are true.

  • If you first see the new moon in clouds, someone in your family will get sick
  • When you comb your hair, you must not let a bird steal a strand for its nest or you will have headaches all summer
  • To stop bleeding, say a specific verse in the bible . Some people still swear by this method. "The Bible verse to stop bleeding is Ezekial (sp?) 16:6 Paraphrase --- Though I see you awash (drowning) in your own blood, I say to you live ...." from a reader
  • If you are having nightmares, put a bible under your pillow when you sleep, and your nightmares will go away.
  • To get rid of warts, steel someone's dishcloth (used) and bury it, the warts will disappear.
  • Stop Hiccupping by holding your breath, scaring or startling the person with hiccups.
  • Luck
    • It is bad luck to burn sassafras or apple logs in a fireplace
    • Always keep a horseshoe above the front door for good luck to all who live there
    • If your left hand itches you will get some money soon
    • if your right hand itches you will shake hands with a stranger
    • If your ear is burning someone is talking about you
    • If you set the table and accidentally set out an extra fork at a place setting someone is coming hungry.
  • Death
    • If a bird flies in your house, someone will die.
    • Death comes in threes
  • Christmas
    • If you sit under a pine tree on Christmas Eve, angel voices will sing all around you but you will die soon after.
    • The week before Christmas, roosters crow in the middle of the night so the day will come sooner.
    • The dawn comes twice on Christmas day.
    • The plants will bloom
    • Animals will talk
  • New Years Day Superstitions