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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Old Wives' Tales

We've all heard the remark "That's not true, that's just an old wives' tale."

What's your opinion? Should old wives' tales be thought of as nonsense or is there a grain of truth in them?
Sometimes I think there's a fine line between superstitions, old sayings and old wives' tales.

For centuries, the memories and wisdom of our mothers and grandmothers kept the family safe and healthy. They didn't have experts to rely on, so they dealt with things as best they could.

Here are a few old wives' tales for you to ponder on.
Are they fact or fiction? Come back tomorrow and I'll tell you what the experts say. . .
if they're True, False or Maybe.

Put butter on a burn. (I've actually did this before. Why? Because my parents told me to.)

One of the best ways to stop a nosebleed is to tip your head back. (My mom used to dab her finger in the blood and draw a cross on our forehead with it. I continued to do this with my kids. My grandpa used to say a Bible verse and it stopped the bleeding.)

Black coffee sobers you up.

Drinking coffee will stunt your growth. (My mom always told me this.)

When a newborn smiles, It's only gas.

Solid foods help a baby sleep through the night.

A cat will steal a baby's breath.

Don't pick up a baby every time she cries. It's good for a baby to cry, it exercises the lungs.

If you carry a baby high, it's a boy. If you carry a baby low, it's a girl.

Raising your hands above your head causes the umbilical cord to strangle the baby.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Carrots are good for your eyesight. (I've also heard that carrots will make you have curly hair.)

Fish is brain food.

Brown eggs are more nutritious than white eggs.

A little warm milk will help you go to sleep.

Chicken soup for a cold.

Swallowing gum takes 7 years to digest. (Well, actually it will (to put it nicely) plug you up. At least that's what my mom said.)

If you swallow a watermelon seed, it will grow inside your belly. (I've always told my kids that.)

Cracking your knuckles causes arthritis. (I hope not, my son does it all the time and it drives me crazy)

If you pluck a gray hair, two will grow back in its place.

A ring around the moon means rain.

Put a steak on a black eye.

Feed a cold, starve a fever.

Shaving makes your hair grow back thicker.

Don't touch poison ivy blisters, you'll spread them.

Don't go out with wet hair, you're catch cold.

Don't read in dim light, you'll ruin your eyes.

Watching too much TV is bad for your eyes.

The little white marks on your fingernails are for each lie you have told. (I currently have one of those on my middle finger, maybe I should confess and get it over with.)

Playing in the fire will make you pee the bed.

Don't cross your eyes, they'll get stuck that way.

OK, everybody, what's your opinion?
Have your parents told you any of these?
I bet you can add your favorites to my list, too.


  1. Well Janet, some I believe, some I don't believe and some I really don't know. Does Matthew really believe them all or is he just kidding us? lol (what about it Matthew?)

  2. Hey Jan, I've heard them all and if I think about it for a while, I could probably come up with some more. I believe some are true and some are not.

  3. Some of them are on the money, others are not. Like butter on a burn--my mother told us to do this, but actually it makes the burn worse. An onion slice is better. But fish is brain food? Now that is right and scientifically proven, but I can't remember why. I just know it's good for you!

    I suppose we all base our actions on our experience, and that is probably where these sayings come from. It worked for someone, apparently and they passed it on.

  4. Janet I love the list-I've heard every single one of them. Now I can't wait for you to tell me which ones are true : ) I was telling the girls the one about chewing gum and 7 years the other day-their Daddy told them I was crazy : )

    I hope someone asks Matthew if he is serious or not-I love his outlook on our heritage.

  5. What makes y'all think that a good ol' corn-fed, mountain-raised, cabbage-eatin', stump-jumpin' hill boy like me would be anything other than completely honest and candid with you about such things?

  6. I've heard them all. Some of them are definitely true. Some I'm not so sure about.
    Can't wait to read your confirmations!


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