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Birds (protected by superstitions)


Choughs are protected in Cornwall, because the soul of King Arthur migrated into a chough.

The Hawk is held sacred by the Egyptians, because it is the form assumed by Ra or Horus.

The Ibis is sacred in Egypt, and to kill one was at one time a capital offence. It is said that the god Thoth escaped (as an Ibis) from the pursuit of Typhon.

Mother Carey’s Chickens, or Storm Petrels are protected by sailors, from a superstition that they are the living forms of the souls of deceased sailors.

The Robin is protected, both from Christian tradition and nursery legend. (See Robin Redbreast.)

The Stork is a sacred bird in Sweden, from the legend that it flew round the cross, crying Styrka, Styrka, when Jesus was crucified. (See Stork.)

Swans are superstitiously protected in Ireland from the legend of the Fionnuala (daughter of Lir), who was metamorphosed into a swan and condemned to wander in lakes and rivers till Christianity was introduced. (See Irish Melodies, Silent OʹMoyle.)

⁂ The bat (a winged animal) was regarded by the Caribs as a good angel, which protected their dwellings at night; and it was accounted sacrilegious to kill one.

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Binary Arithmetic
Binary Theory
Bingham’s Dandies
Birchin Lane
Bird in the hand
Bird in thy Bosom
Bird of Estë
Birds (protected by superstitions)
Bird’s-eye View
Birdcage Walk (St. James’s Park, London);
Birmingham Poet
Birthday Suit
Biscuit (French-Latin, bis, twice; cuit, baked)
Bishop (Evêque)
Bishop, Cardinal, Pope (as beverages):
Bishop Barnaby