Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/453

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443
WEATHER PROVERBS

Animals

"Grumphie smells the weather,
An' grumphie sees the wun';
He kens when clouds will gather,
An' smoor the blinkin' sun."

This extravagant tribute to the pig as a weather prophet is typical of a large number of proverbs, though, perhaps, no other animal has been credited with actually seeing the wind.

Doubtless the dampness and change in temperature that commonly precede storms somewhat modify the behavior of many animals, but of the numerous weather proverbs based upon their actions even the few that have any truth to support them have far greater physiological than meteorological interest, and consequently this is not a proper place for their further discussion.

Plants

"Pimpernel, pimpernel, tell me true
Whether the weather be fine or no."

A similar appeal might, with equally good reason, be made to the dandelion, to red clover, to the silver maple, and to numerous other plants, all of which commonly undergo some change, such as the closing of their flowers or an alteration in the attitude of their leaves, at the approach of rain.

These phenomena, however, do not long precede the actual storm, and therefore have but little warning value. They are due to such things as changes in moisture, temperature and sunshine and consequently, while inferior as useful weather signs, are the greatest help to those who would understand plant physiology.

Aches and Pains

"As old sinners have all points
O' th' compass in their bones and joints."
—Butler.

It is well recognized, and attested to by a family of proverbs, that those who are annoyed with rheumatic pains, as also the dyspeptic and the neurasthenic, often are more than usually troubled by their ills at the near approach of rainy and generally bad weather. It was for this reason that the wise, though we may suspect not overly joyful, editor, dedicated his almanac to "Torpid Liver and Inflammatory Rheumatism, the most insistent weather prophets known to suffering mortals."

However, such disagreeable signs are not universally available, for, fortunately, there are those who, like Tam O'Shanter, "never mind the storm a whistle." Therefore, while the influences of the weather and its changes on our feelings are worthy of careful study by both the