One For Sorrow, Two For Joy

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Richard Herring: The magpie reward system will only bring you sorrow

Most counties have a magpie counting rhyme. Although one of our most handsome birds, the magpie has a sinister reputation. I don't know anything more about them:. This video shows them at the Music Meeting in Nijmegen on June 7, They noted:.


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Understandably, it didn't go down too well. However, it resulted in this wonderful song. A well-known superstitious rhyme is used as a chorus; also included are many widely held folk beliefs about the bird.

We base our version of this on the arrangement performed by the Unthanks, complete with crunchy harmonies and harmonium drone. Chorus after every other verse : One for sorrow, two for joy, Three for a girl and four for a boy.

Five for silver, six for gold, Seven for a secret never told. Devil, devil, I defy thee.

Oh, the magpie brings us tidings Of news both fair and foul; She's more cunning than the raven, More wise than any owl. Three is for a girl and four is for a boy.

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The Magpie [David Dodds]

Five is for silver, which seems proportionate. Six is for gold.


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The magpies have got the idea. You should get gold, because the chances of seeing six magpies is 14million to one. Coincidentally, the same odds as winning the National Lottery.

Mainly Norfolk: English Folk and Other Good Music

Maybe we should have a magpie-based lottery. Six magpies is the jackpot, three a guaranteed tenner, two joy and one sorrow. Which is not as good as gold! If you see seven magpies, you get sent an envelope with a secret inside it but if you open it, it spontaneously combusts.

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So six magpies is gold, seven you get a parcel bomb. For tickets and details, visit www. Follow Metro. Share this article via facebook Share this article via twitter Share this article via messenger Share this with Share this article via email Share this article via flipboard Copy link.