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Mother Carey’s Chickens


Stormy petrels. Mother Carey is Mater Cara. The French call these birds oiseaux de Notre Dame or aves Sanctæ Mariæ. Chickens are the young of any fowl, or any small bird.

“They are called the ‘sailor’sʹ friends, come to warn them of an approaching storm; and it is most unlucky to kill them. The legend is that each bird contains the soul of a dead seaman.”

(See Captain Marryat: Poor Jack, where the superstition is fully related.)

Mother Carey’s Goose. The great Black Petrel or Fulmar of the Pacific Ocean.

Mother Carey is plucking her goose. It is snowing. (See Hulda.)

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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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Moses Slow of Speech
Moses Primrose
Moslem or Moslemin
Mote and Beam (Matt. vii. 3–5)
Mother Ann
Mother Bunch
Mother Carey’s Chickens
Mother Country
Mother Douglas
Mother Earth
Mother Goose
Mother Hubbard
Mother Huddle’s Oven
Mother Shipton
Mother of Believers