The Everyday Lore Project

15 October 2020 – Rainbow

15 October 2020 – Rainbow

I was going to write Virgil a poem in hexameter to celebrate his 2090th birthday but then I saw a rainbow. Rainbows are tricky things, and not just because of their impossible nature when it comes to pots of gold. On the one hand it’s considered good luck to see one, but on the other, you should lay crossed sticks in their path to avert their misfortunate ways. I had sticks, I just didn’t know I was supposed to do that until afterwards.

So rather than dwell on the uncertainty of my future, I’m going to observe tomorrow’s weather instead, for it is said that:

The rainbow in the morning
Is the shepherd’s warning;
The rainbow at night
Is the shepherd’s delight.

And I saw this one after teatime. Mind you, in Cornwall it’s also said:

A rainbow in the morn,
Put your hook in the corn;
A rainbow at eve,
Put your head in the sheave.

All things considered, I think I’ll stick with the first version, and keep my fingers crossed for sun. 


Hazlitt, W.C. (1995) The Dictionary of Faiths and Folklore, Beliefs, Superstitions and Popular Customs, London, Bracken Books

Simpson, J. and Roud, S. (2001) Oxford Dictionary of English Folklore, Oxford, Oxford University Press

Published by Liza Frank

Author of My Celebrity Boyfriend. Obsessed with hula hooping, sons of preachermen and fresh dates, sometimes all at the same time. Curator of Folklore Agony and The Everyday Lore Project.

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