Music Of The Waters - online book

Sailors' Chanties, Songs Of The Sea, Boatmen's, Fishermen's,
Rowing Songs, & Water Legends with lyrics & sheet music

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336                Music of the Waters.
accidents unto such as frequent the seas as fishermen and sailors, who discourse of noises, flashes, shadows, echoes, and other visible appearances nightly seen and heard upon the surface of the water."1
Amongst the animals which the sailor considers as omens of good or ill-luck are cats, hares, rats, porpoises, or sea-hogs. Certain birds also come under this category, the Stormy Petrel, the great auk, the kingfisher, and the sea-gull.
The cat is the object of many an odd belief. In the neighbourhood of Scarborough, for instance, we are told how a few years ago sailors' wives were in the habit of keeping black cats to ensure the safety of their husbands at sea ; black cats thus increased in value to such an extent, that few could afford the luxury of them. Many sailors object to having cats on board, and if one happens to be more frisky than usual, they have a saying that " the cat has got a gale of wind in her tail." Also a firm notion exists amongst seamen, that the throwing of a cat over­board will bring on a storm. A dead hare on board a ship is considered a sign of an approaching hurricane, and Cornish fishermen (than whom no more superstitious set of men exist) declare that a white hare seen about' the quays at night indicates that there will be rough weather. The fisherman of Filey, like the Japanese sailor, hesitates to go to sea on any day when he has encountered a pig early in the morning. The blue-jackets of the " Empire of the Rising Sun," however, have an equal objection to meeting a priest previous to setting out upon a voyage. Piggie is an object of aversion to more seafaring people than the Filey fishermen and Japanese sailors ; there is scarcely a book or article on the superstitions of the sea that I have read, that does not allude to his Jonah-like propensities. As to rats, we all well know of their connection with ships. Shakespeare, in the most nautical of his plays, " The Tempest," says, in speaking of the vessel in which 1 Extract from the Leisure Hour.

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