While driving to the store the other day, I had a close encounter of the memory kind. I’m driving along and suddenly something flew across my vision and onto my driver’s side car window (inside). Usually when I encounter flying bugs inside my car while driving, my initial instinct is to roll down the window and get them out. But, in my peripheral vision, I noted that this was no ordinary insect. This was a LADYBUG! Gosh, I haven’t seen one around in such a long time. The ones I was always used to seeing were red and black but that was up north. Perhaps the orange and black is the southern version? Or maybe the red faded in the hot sun! 😆 Childhood chants came flooding into my mind:
Ladybug ladybug fly away home,
Your house in on fire, your children will burn.
YOUR HOUSE IS ON FIRE, YOUR CHILDREN WILL BURN?? Now just how strange and morbid is that? All my life I’d said that superstitious little saying when I’d see a ladybug and never thought anything of it. Suddenly it sounded gruesome! I don’t think I was ever taught the last two lines. They’re just as bad:
All except one and that’s little Ann,
For she crept under the frying pan.
There were superstitious beliefs that it was unlucky to kill a ladybird [ladybug in the U.S.], and that the verse would make them fly off. Another superstition states that you should chant the verse if a ladybird lands on you: if it then flies away again, your wish will come true. [This is the part I was taught!]
Ladybirds are useful as eaters of aphids, which would otherwise damage plants. They can also be a nuisance, but there would be logic from a farmer or gardener’s viewpoint in trying to shoo them away rather than kill them. This could be the rational basis for teaching children to respect them.
Hmm, I wonder if my wish will come true?
I found this short video showing in slow motion a ladybug taking flight. It’s actually after the 1 minute mark that it begins to fly!
In researching information on ladybugs for this post, I was amazed at reading and learning much of the history of some of these old nursery rhymes that children have grown up with over the past 100 years or so. If you’re ever curious, try Googling the titles of some of the Old Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes.
Ya gotta wonder sometimes…. Just what were they thinking??