Death Forecast

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  • Teideal (Title): Death Forecast.
  • Uimhir Chatalóige Ollscoil Washington (University of Washington Catalogue Number): 840111.
  • Uimhir Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann (National Folklore of Ireland Number): none.
  • Uimhir Roud (Roud Number): none.
  • Uimhir Laws (Laws Number): none.
  • Uimhir Child (Child Number): none.
  • Cnuasach (Collection): Joe Heaney Collection, University of Washington, Seattle.
  • Teanga na Croímhíre (Core-Item Language): English.
  • Catagóir (Category): lore.
  • Ainm an té a thug (Name of Informant): Joe Heaney.
  • Ainm an té a thóg (Name of Collector): unavailable.
  • Dáta an taifeadta (Recording Date): 22/11/1983.
  • Suíomh an taifeadta (Recording Location): University of Washington, United States of America.
  • Ocáid an taifeadta (Recording Occasion): evening class.
  • Daoine eile a bhí i láthair (Others present): unavailable.
  • Stádas chóipcheart an taifeadta (Recording copyright status): unavailable.

There was a superstition that, if there were two people ill in the same village, one dark-haired and the other fair, the death of one of them could be foretold by two women going out, gathering up a black hen and a white hen, binding their legs together, and flinging them across the ditch at one another. Whichever of the two hens died first, that death would foretell the human death. So if the white hen died first, then the fair-haired person would die; and vice versa. They were never wrong.


This belief appears to be related to an international tale-type; see AT 808A, ‘The death of the good and bad man.’