It was thought very unlucky to take eggs into or out of a house after sunset. There were rules about setting them to be hatched - it should be done with a waxing *moon, but not on a *Friday or Sunday; there should be an odd number, preferably *thirteen, for an even-numbered clutch would produce cockerels only. In some coastal areas, it was thought that eggs set at ebb-tide produced hens, and those at the flood cockerels. The abnormally small yolkless egg sometimes produced by old hens were believed to be cock's eggs. They were very unlucky; if hatched, they would produce a *cockatrice, so they were thrown over the roof.
   A form of girls' *divination, known since the 17th century and usually done on *Midsum-mer Day, was to drop egg-white into water and observe what shapes it made; these foretold one's destined husband's occupation (Opie and Tatem, 1989: 135). Another, done on *St Agnes' Eve in Northumberland, was to fill an empty eggshell with salt and eat it, shell and all, and then go to bed backwards; the future husband would be seen in a dream (Radford, Radford, and Hole, 1961: 144).
   In Sussex, it was thought unlucky to bring the eggs of wild birds indoors, though strings of them were hung on outbuildings in spring (why, is not said) (Latham, 1878: 10); more commonly, it was unlucky to take *robins' eggs.
   See also *Easter eggs, *primroses.

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

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