In Turkish and Arabic traditions, cats have six lives. This contrasts with seven lives in Italy, Germany, Greece and Brazil. In most other countries the number is nine. There is an old English proverb that states, “A cat has nine lives. For three he plays, for three he strays, and for the last three he stays”. this echo’s the fact that cats give their owners the most love when they are old- too old to chase mice!
In a previous blog I spoke of the old beliefs regarding the fox fortuitously crossing one’s path, and I think we’ve probably all heard of the superstitions regarding black cats crossing your path too, but are there any other mystical path traversing beasties out there?
To the untrained eye some people might struggle to tell the difference between a rabbit and a hare: after all, they both have long fluffy ears, they both hop about, I mean what’s the deal? Well, at birth the differences between these two species couldn’t be more stark.
The story of every type of whale started in what is now known as Pakistan some 50 million years ago. In fact all of the cetaceans - the collective family name for whales, dolphins, and porpoises - started their pre-evolved existence there: all as one single mammal, the Pakicetus.
Here are ten interesting narratives about songbirds with references to their place in our culture. Some are form ancient mythologies like the wren being, "King of the birds" and others like the deaf thrush more recent.
In South Africa you will find the historic ethnic culture called Xhosa. These people have very strong oral lore traditions, and for centuries they have passed down spoken tales of myth and folklore.
In the ancient collection of Welsh Mabinogian myths, you will find a Celtic story about a boy called Dylan, forsaken by his mother, but acknowledged by his great uncle, Math. When the boy is baptised he literally takes to the baptismal waters like a fish, moving and swimming through the water as though he was sea born. Dylan ail Don - son of the wave - was to be known as the sea god who lived under the stormy waters of Cardigan Bay.
The South American Incas were famous for their remarkable use of gold, and even considering it to be the sweat of the sun. Not only did they make jewellery and elaborate head dresses out of this precious metal, they also crafted gold into cups, figures, and even animals. These golden treasures were often used as offerings for the dead, as gold did not tarnish like copper and silver, and it was quite common for deceased Incan noblemen to have shiny figurines accompanying them to the grave; and most notably figurines of Llamas and Alpacas.
Being that the Stag Beetle is active during the hot summer nights, and due to the fact that they’re attracted to bright lights, it has been know for them crash in though an open bedroom window; and being that they’re Britains largest terrestrial insect, which limits them to certain ungainly flight, “crashing” is probably the appropriate term.
Anyone who has ever read one of Terry Pratchett’s fantasy ‘Discworld’ novels will know that the fictional flat Discworld rests upon the backs of four gigantic elephants, who, in turn, spin the world whilst walking on the shell of the enormous Turtle, ‘Great A’Tuin’.