14 The Physique^ Customs^ and Superstitions
Now it is largely used, often three and four times each day. In addition, potatoes, Indian meal porridge, and large quan- tities of fish are consumed. Flesh-meat not common.
Customs. — In walking along the roads every one salutes every other one met, whether previously acquainted or other- wise. On entering any house where churning is going on the visitor is expected to bless the work either in the Irish or the English tongue. Irish is liked better. " Go m-bean- nuigid Dia an ba agus bainne " (God bless your cows and milk) is the usual salutation. To enter or leave without doing so is a sure indication of taking the butter away by supernatural means. Should one enter a house where the above work (churning) is going on, the visitor is expected to remain until the work is finished. If one's fire goes out (gets quenched) he cannot get a coal from his neighbour's without first bringing in two "turf" (peat) and placing them on the fire from which he wishes to get the coals. Doing contrary portends the taking away of all good luck. To lend salt bring-s bad luck. To meet a red-haired woman is a sure omen of misfortune. A barefooted or a bareheaded woman means the same.
When in a boat, the fishermen would almost throw one overboard should he chance to whistle. They say whistling always presages a storm. There is no objection to singing. After the boat is launched and a few yards from the beach, every head is uncovered, the oars lie idle, and prayers are said for a minute or two. A stranger never forgets this scene. Nothing appears more solemn. The long stretch of pebbly beach, the heaving waves, the rugged crags and serrated rocks around, the wide and boundless ocean out- side, the little cockleshells, as the boats seem, bobbing up and down, and then not a murmur is heard except the swish of the waves or the sharp scream of the gull. All is silent as a churchyard, and there in the boat the crew, clad in oilskins, with faces bronzed by wind and w-eather, plead- ing with clasped hands and upturned eyes to the God of the tempest.