Earlier today, somebody searched for “how many magpies indicate sorrow” on my blog. I’ve got no idea how they found this site to perform the search – but if you are still around Mr (or Mrs) Random Searcher – here’s your answer..
According to the popular rhyme, 1 magpie indicates sorrow:
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.
But there’s also:
One for sorrow, two for mirth,
Three for a wedding, four for a birth,
Five for silver, six for gold,
Seven for a secret not to be told.
Eight for heaven, nine for hell,
And ten for the devil’s own sel’.
and from Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable:
One’s sorrow, two’s mirth,
Three’s a wedding, four’s a birth,
Five’s a christening, six a dearth,
Seven’s heaven, eight is hell,
And nine’s the devil his old self.