Monday 26 August 2013

1908: Pearl of Pearl Island, by John Oxenham

From the Project Gutenberg EBook of Pearl of Pearl Island, by John Oxenham (1908):
"Well, Johnnie?" they heard. "Seen any crows this morning?"
"How many then, you wretched little croaker?"
"J'annéveu deu et j'annéveu troy."
"Ah now, it's not polite—as I've told you before — to talk to an uneducated foreigner, in a language he does not understand. How many, in such English as you have attained to, and what did they mean according to your wizardry?"
"Pergui, you, too, are not polite! Your words are like this" — measuring off an expanding half yard in the air,—"they are all wind."
"Smart boy! How many crows did you see this morning?"
"First I saw two and then I saw three."
"Two and three make five. Croaker! Five crows mean someone's going to be sick. And which way did they go this time?"
"Noh, noh! First it wass two, and when they had gone then it wass three more."
"I see. And two black crows — what might they mean now?"
"Two crows they mean good luck."
"Clever boy! Continue! Three black crows mean——?"
"Three crows—they mean a marrying, — ouaie, Dame!"

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