Cornish Fishing Superstition, Daily Racing Form, 1919-01-30


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CORNISH FISHING SUPERSTITION Jan Tregarden ffnd his "old woman," with two sons and a daughter, lived over a fish cellar in a little West Cornwall, England, haven. For many years prior to tills story there had been a great scarcity of pilchards; their cellar, where they pressed and packed the fish for export, was empty. Jan and his sons were fishermen, and things had gone hardly with them. They just kept the home together with "hook and line" fishing. They had even tried their luck in a trip to the Irish herring grounds, but there was no money in their venture. The summer had gone, and autumn was almost passing away. The seine boats had been out for weeks on end, but there were no "signs of fish." One evening, when Jan and the boqs came home feeling more down-hearted than ever, Betsy Aim Tregarden met them with an expansive smile on her face. "Well, mother," says Jan, "whats up long ee?" "The press stones a bin rollin!" "Haas they, sure enuff!" said both boys together. "Ees, ees they avc," cried Sarah, the daughter. "Listen, there they be again," exclaimed the old woman. And as they stopped to listen the heavy rolling of the press stones in the cellar below became louder and louder. By the noise they made it seemed as if these great round stones were dancing on the granite floor beneath. "Fish tomorrow!" shouted the old man, and the chorus of happy cries that followed this deduction showed the perfect faith in the old superstition that stones rolling down from a heap in which they had been lying useless for some time was. a true sign that pilchards were nearing the coast. Early next morning the old man and his boys were aboard their boat overhauling their nets. Every few minutes they would glance expectantly toward the "huers house" on the cliffs. Shortly after dawn there came a cry of "Heva! heva!" from the watcher on the hill. Seines were shot, and ere the darkness fell the cellars were once more filled with large quantities of "fish." There was great rejoicing among the Tregarden fisher-folk when the press-stones were at Mork again. Fishing Gazette.

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