One for Sorrow, Two for Joy

One for sorrow, two for joy,
Three for a girl, four for a boy,
Five for silver, six for gold,
Seven for a secret never to be told.

This traditional rhyme has its origins in superstitions connected with magpies.  These intelligent black and white birds – closely related to crows – were considered bad omens in some cultures dating at least as far back as the 1700’s.  According to some variations of the rhyme, the number of magpies one sees determines whether they will have bad luck.

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