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Old-time Texas Folk Sayings and Wisdom: From Love to Water Witching

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Texas has a rich and varied folklore. From ghost stories to tales of lost treasure, from legendary critters to larger than life heroes, the Lone Star State is a wealth of mythology. One of the richest veins of that lore can be found in the regional sayings and superstitions (or is it old-time wisdom?) of yesteryear. For a great collection of this folklore, we highly recommend Black Cats, Hoot Owls, & Water Witches by Kenneth W. Davis and Everett Gillis. Check out a few of our favorites down below!

Texas weather folklore

Old-time Texas Folk Sayings and Wisdom: From Love to Water Witching

Photo: Pixabay.com

According to one west Texan consulted in the book by Davis and Gillis, when you see flies swarming on your window screens, you can be certain that a rain is coming soon. A resident of San Antonio advised that if the wind blows hard out of the east continuously for three days, “all the devils in hell can’t keep it from raining.”

A Lubbock man offered up his own little pearl of wisdom, saying that if you see rain and sunshine simultaneously, it means that “the devil is beating his wife” and it’s sure to rain again tomorrow at the same time of day. Another Lubbock resident noted that mesquite blooming in the spring is a surefire indication there won’t be any more killing frosts.

Water witching or dowsing

Old-time Texas Folk Sayings and Wisdom: From Love to Water Witching

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

If you’ve never seen anyone “witch” in order to locate a prime spot to dig a water well, it goes like this: the water witch takes a Y-shaped stick or rod and holds it out in front of him. He goes walking across the general area where the well is to be dug. When he feels some mysterious force pulling the long end of the stick toward the ground, he knows that he’s found the perfect spot to dig for water.

Not everyone has the gift of water witching. In fact, the folklore tells us that only one member in a family has the gift, and that it’s not passed down from father to son. Some water diviners make extra money by charging for their services. However, Claude P. Davis of Lubbock warned that if you’re special enough to possess the gift, you’ll lose it should you charge for your services.

Though some might claim you need a green branch to water witch and that it can’t be done with a metal rod, in truth, the power is in the man, not the tool.

Lucky in love

Old-time Texas Folk Sayings and Wisdom: From Love to Water Witching

Photo: Pixabay.com

A Plainview woman told Davis and Gillis that a sneeze prior to breakfast is a sign you’ll see your true love “before Saturday night.” And here’s a warning to all you cookie monsters: it’s said that if you snatch the final cookie off a dish, you’re doomed to end up as an old maid.

One San Antonio woman noted that some east Texans believe that an axe placed under the bed will serve as a means of contraception. That’s one piece of folk advice we strongly suggest you not try at home. Or anywhere else, for that matter.

Black Cats, Hoot Owls, & Water Witches also contains a couple of warnings for lovers. Mattie Green of Lubbock advised you never to give scissors to your love, because they will cut your romance in two. Loretta Spinner of Amarillo offered up this dire warning: a girl should never give a cat to her lover. If she does, the relationship will end and never be repaired.