Wishbones

The wishbone of any fowl is considered good luck, but if two people make a wish and pull the ends of a dried wishbone, the one breaking off the piece with the head on it will be the one to get the wish.

In ancient bird-lore, the hen and rooster were in great favor. Since the hen announced the laying of an egg and the rooster announced the beginning of the day, men were sure these fowls must be divine and could answer human questions.

There are records of people consulting "hen oracles" as early as 322 B.C.E. In one type of oracle a circle was drawn and divided into twenty-four sections, one for every letter of the alphabet of the time. Grains of corn were placed in these sections. A cock or a hen was led to the circle and the first grain picked up indicated the first letter of the name of a future husband. Other questions were answered in the same manner. Then the fowl was sacrificed to a special god. Its collarbone was saved and hung in the sun to dry. The person seeking an answer from this god made a wish on this bone which gave it the name "wishbone." Afterwords two people snapped the dry bone each making his own wish, with the wish only being granted to the one holding the longer end, as this was the "lucky break."

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