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Donkeys: superstition.

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62420.  Wed Mar 29, 2006 6:22 am Reply with quote


What should you do to a dead donkey?


Drop it.


Jump over it.


In the [unspecified] past, and into the 20th century, dead donkeys were considered a very rare sight - it was thought that a donkey, when it knew it was dying, would hide itself (similar to the elephants’ graveyard). To see a dead donkey was therefore considered very lucky. To maximise the good luck, one should leap over the donk’s carcass three times.

Other donkey superstitions include:

- Donkeys originally had unmarked hides, but after Christ's entry into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey they received the dark cross on their backs (which links to animals receiving medals for valour).
- The hairs from a donkey’s cross were cures for many ailments; worn in a charm around the neck to guard against whooping-cough, toothache, fits, and to ease teething pains in babies; sometimes the hairs were eaten in a sandwich.
- Riding on a donkey, facing its bum, was a preventative for toothache, snakebite, measles and other complaints.
- To cure whooping-cough and ague, patients were passed under a donkey and over its back either three or nine times.
- A donkey could be fed some of a patient‘s hair to transfer the illness from the human to the donkey.
- Letting a black donkey run with mares in a field was thought to stop the mares miscarrying.
- If a woman sees a donkey while pregnant her child will grow up wise and well-behaved.

Other donkey bits:

Chambers English Dictionary (1988) says that donkey was considered a slang term (for ass) as late as 1823.
Donkeys are used as ambulances: post 50470.
The Blondin Donkey was a tightrope-walking mule: post 50471.
Donkey Kong was a Nintendo game: post 50487.
How donkeys came to Ireland: post 51962.
Donkeys on war memorials: post 55768 onwards.
Donkeys jumping: post 56778.
Plutarch on donkeys: post 61841.

Links to:


Picture ideas:

“Vitamin Q” by Roddy Lumsden (Chambers, 2004).


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