- Apart from *ladybirds, beetles do not have much of their own lore in English tradition. The only belief regularly reported (from the 1870s to the present day) is that to kill one brings rain. The beetle also turns up in medicine, as for example in a report from Lindsey (Lincolnshire): a small girl was sent by her mother to ask that if anyone found a beetle - by accident it had to be - could they keep it as her sister had the whooping cough and they wanted to tie it round her neck, so that as it decayed the cough would go too (N&Q 3s:9 (1866), 319). It is more common in England to find spiders used in this context. Udal also reports a Dorset saying that if you kill a black beetle, twenty will come to its funeral, but again this is said of many insects (Udal,1922: 246-7). A letter in N&Q (2s:2 (1856), 83) hints at another beetle belief that is otherwise unrecorded. Some countrymen in the New Forest were seen stoning a stag-beetle to death, and when asked why said that it was the Devil's imp and was sent to do evil to the corn. Unfortunately, no other information is given.■ Opie and Tatem, 1989: 21.
A Dictionary of English folklore. Jacqueline Simpson & Steve Roud. 2014.
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