Tale Weaver’s Prompt #9 – Superstition: white horses

white horses

The pullover was where I remembered. The fields had grown up; no one farmed them anymore. We passed the skeletons of a 55+ development. Eventually the dirt road wound down into a gated community. Farm land here sold cheap.

When she asked where we were going that afternoon with the clouds touching high ground, and the creeks running fast. I had said into great-uncle’s past.

She never met him, but she was full of all his stories and adventures. She’d asked if she could have a photograph. She chose the picture of him as a young man, heading off to World War I, standing so proud in his uniform.

The war always haunted him. WW 1 shell shock; today’s PTSD. As an adult, I realized he was hollow, as if a bullet had torn out his soul. He had this far away stare, oblivious to the present, locked in the past.

He loved to tell stories to children. To see their wide-eyed smiles. To hear their giggles. To watch them fall under the spell of his tales. Then the war was a million years and miles away.

Great-uncle and I shared a love of good luck charms. My favourite was part of any ride to town I took with him. He would pull the car over, turn off the engine. We’d scan the horizon for them. Waiting, watching. As a little girl, the anticipation and excitement was almost too much.

Then they would come over the ridge of the hill. Horses. But, we were looking for a very special one, racing each other to catch the first glimpse. I suspect great-uncle let me win most times.

It was a white horse we needed for our charm, our chant, our spell. I doubted horses of any colour still grazed here. When I was a child, they were hold-overs from another world, another way of life.

She knew the white horse story, but not our spell. So, I showed her the hand movements and taught her the rhyme.

lucky lucky white horse, lucky lucky lea, lucky lucky white horse, bring good luck to me.

Thank you great-uncle. My childhood was special because of you. I’ll make sure her childhood is too.



lucky charms but not the cereal

A box of Lucky Charms from 2011

Not particularly superstitious as evidenced by walking under ladders (so far, no buckets of paint have landed on my head) and steping on sidewalk cracks without breaking my mother’s back.

Have a belief in lucky “charms:” items that, at the very least, I hope stave off danger if don’t bring actual good luck. These charms can just “fall” into my life or be given to me, taking on special meanings. Some come from the folklore instilled by my parents. For example, money, especially pennies, minted in your year of birth bring luck, so I have several – each in a different purse or spot to increase my chances at luck.

We never listen or watch the lottery numbers (check on the appropriate website), and keep the winnings (always small so far!) separate from other money and not for spending to encourage larger payouts in the future.

On a gold chain once belonging to my father are three charms: a gold saber (father), a gold delicately filigreed butterfly (mother) they always wore. As well, a pewter inuksuk, a gift from my mother shortly after my father died, and she had her personality-altering stroke. If not  wearing around my neck, I carry this with me everywhere.

My wardrobe contains some lucky clothes (from successful interviews, presentations, and thesis-defense). Of course, there is also lucky/special jewelry such as a bracelet given by a friend with a metal bead that reads strength on one side and courage on the other. I only take it off to wash up or have a shower.

Small stuffed animals, such as a fairy princess sheep, are tucked into my purse, and placed in suitcases before travelling.

I have a brightly painted small wooden box with 6 trouble dolls from Guatemala. Before going to bed, you whisper your troubles to them, put them under your pillow, and as you sleep, they try and resolve the issue, worry, or concern. As there are only 6, you can’t have more than 6 troubles to be solved.

In an effort not to tempt fate, statements become modified: if all goes as planned; “if things work out”; “I hope that”; “if I’m lucky . . .” There are the familiar rituals before certain events (no, not sacrificing anything) and creative visualizations when anxious, worried or afraid, such as when storms shake the large, old trees overhanging our roof.

Never tried Lucky Charms the cereal (with the leprechaun-based ad campaign), but lucky charms are a part of my daily life.

Do you have special/lucky charms? Are there incantations you evoke for luck? Does family folklore play a part in how you increase your chances for good luck, or for staving off disasters?