History Main / OneForSorrowTwoForJoy

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[[quoteright:320:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Magpie.JPG]]
->''One for sorrow, two for joy,''\\
''Three for a girl, and four for a boy,''\\
''Five for silver, six for gold,''\\
''Seven for a secret never to be told.''
-->-- '''NurseryRhyme''' (one of many variations[[labelnote:*]]This one was popularised as the theme song to ''Magpie'', a British children's TV series, 1968-1980[[/labelnote]])

There are a number of superstitions surrounding magpies, black and white birds that feature in a lot of stories (especially in the British Isles). These include, as the [[NurseryRhyme rhyme]] indicates, those for being omens of the future and those that are related to warding off the bad luck of a lone magpie. Some of the "warding off bad luck" superstitions are quick and only require a simple salute while others a bit more eccentric, involving pinching, spitting or saying certain phrases. (This all leads to a flock of magpies being a "tidings of magpies".)

Magpies are members of the corvid family and relatives of RavensAndCrows, both in RealLife and as tropes. (The rhyme--in all its manifold variations--is also used for crows, on occasion.) However, magpies are one of the few birds known to have demonstrated self-awareness. German scientists Helmut Prior, Ariane Schwarz, and Onur Güntürkün used the mirror self-recognition test on four magpies--placing some kind of mark on them and showing them a mirror. Three of the magpies--Gerti especially--[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WZm6TPNww8 recognized themselves in the mirror]] and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqnO2C8BDxU used the reflection]] to try and remove the sticker. The fourth, Harvey, well ... [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9jdF2-IpAo he reacted the way most birds do]] and treated his reflection as another magpie.


Note: This trope is not about magpies per se (eg, in Creator/AsbjornsenAndMoe's ''Literature/TheGiantWhoHadNoHeartInHisBody'', the princess blames the smell of a man on a magpie's dropping a bone down the chimney), ''but'' about magpies and the above described association of certain ''numbers'' of magpies with bad (or sometimes good) luck and the rituals for warding the bad luck off. Also, compare with ThievingMagpie, which is about magpies' compulsion to steal, particularly shiny objects.
----
!!Examples

[[AC:ComicBooks]]
* Invoked in ''ComicBook/TheSandman''
-->'''Delirium''', in ''The Wake'': One for sorrow, two for sorrow, three for sorrow, four for for for I don't know. But I'm bored of sorrow, five for three two one, six for gold, seven for a magpie who tells me where to go...''
** In the earlier story "Parliament of Rooks", Eve sings the rhyme while holding the infant Daniel. Abel finishes with the last line, then adds, "It's true, you know."
* In ''Comicbook/TheCrow'', the rhyme is referenced (with blackbirds in the place of magpies) by Eric as he prepares to kill a bar full of thugs, and capped with a classic line.
-->'''Eric Draven''': Seven blackbirds in a tree, count them and see what they be. One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl and four for a boy. Five for silver, six for gold, seven for a secret that's never been told. You're all going to die.
** See also reference below to the film ''Film/TheCrowCityOfAngels''.
* JourneyIntoMystery begins with 7 magpies on a quest after the demise of Loki at the end of Siege. The seventh is the only one to make it to their destination.
** Also, Ikol (a magpie-shaped remnant of the old Loki) tells kid Loki the magpie rhyme at the beginning of the Everything Burns crossover, and sets the record straight about it.
-->'''Ikol:''' ''Humans'' see groups of magpies. Magpies don't. Magpies know they stand alone. ... There is only ''ever'' one for sorrow.

[[AC:FanFic]]
* The rhyme is used in the ''KingdomHearts'' fanfic ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/2941935/1/A_Sorrow_of_Magpies A Sorrow of Magpies]]'' in a WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic kind of way.
** More specifically, the rhyme is as follows:
---> '''[[DeathDealer Luxord:]]''' [using [[TheGambler two dice]], but mentions magpies] "Two is for fresh luck, while three starts the play. Four means start running, five means you stay. Six earns you silver, seven earns gold. Eight for new allies, nine for the old. Ten wins good fortune, eleven risks all -- but twelve wins the match and there, stops the ball." (and when asked about one) "One is for sorrow, because it's always alone."
** [[FridgeBrilliance It's impossible to roll a one on a pair of dice; hence, sorrow.]]
* In the ''FanFic/TrollCops'' {{Homestuck}} AU, there is a pair of stories called "One For Sorrow", which has:
-->''One is for Sorrow.
-->Two is for Mirth.
-->Three is for a Funeral.
-->Four is for a Birth.
-->Five is for Heaven.
-->Six is for Hell.
-->Seven's for the Devil himself.''

[[AC:{{Film}}]]
* Ashe Corven of the movie ''Film/TheCrowCityOfAngels'' references a variant of this rhyme as he's trashing the bad guys of a strip booth establishment where his second target is, using crows in place of magpies.


[[AC:{{Literature}}]]
* Several versions of the rhyme occur in Creator/TerryPratchett's ''Discworld/CarpeJugulum''. It's explained that none of them work very well, because nobody knows the version the magpies use. Also, the "modern" vampires of that book shape-shift into magpies rather than bats, which is a pun on their family name (de Magpyr).
** In "The Folklore of Discworld", Pterry bemoans the fact that Britain used to have hundreds of regional variations on this rhyme, but nowadays if you ask anyone they'll all give you the version from ''Magpie''. He got to know the book's co-writer, Jacqueline Simpson, because she answered "which one?" to the question "do you know the magpie song."
* There's a book called ''One For Sorrow, Two For Joy'', by Clive Woodall, about more-or-less-anthropomorphic birds. It's a little like ''WatershipDown'', but with birds. The villains are magpies.
* One non-speaking Magpie appears briefly towards the conclusion of Kenneth Oppel's book Silverwing, curiously investigating the recently lightning-struck villainous vampire bat, Goth; he's promptly killed and eaten when Goth comes to.
* A magpie literally named One For Sorrow appears as an assistant to and messenger of the guardian of the old animal highways in ''TheWildRoad''. [[TearJerker You can pretty much guess what happens to him based on his name.]]
** Not only this, but Cornish cat Pengelly mentions a (cat-adjusted) version of the rhyme that goes: "One's sorrow, two's mirth, three's a mating, four's a birth, five's a naming, six a dearth, seven's heaven, eight is hell, and nine's the devil, his own sel'".
* The MercedesLackey story "Counting Crows" has a different version: "One for sorrow, two for mirth, three for a wedding, four for a birth", IIRC.
* The beginning of Wolfram von Eschenbach's ''[[http://www.hs-augsburg.de/~harsch/germanica/Chronologie/13Jh/Wolfram/wol_pa01.html Parzival]]'' compares the unsteady man, in whom good and evil are mixed, to a magpie, which is half black, half white.
* ''Star In The Storm'' by Joan Hiatt Harlow uses "One for sadness, two for mirth; three for marriage, four for birth; five for laughing, six for crying; seven for sickness, eight for dying; nine for silver, ten for gold; eleven for a secret that will never be told."
* In MichaelFlynn's ''[[Literature/SpiralArm In the Lion's Mouth]]'', Shadows' subordinates, in black and white, are called magpies. When one is always in Donovan's line-of-sight, he feels uneasy, knowing the old Terran belief that a single magpie is bad luck.
* {{Weathercock}} by Glen Duncan has the Catholic protagonist (plagued by a case of ChronicVillainy, to put it mildly) suffer periodic intimations of evil. Outside a church, he is visited by no less than nine magpies. He tries to remember the rhyme, but to his unease can only recall the more modern version from TV's ''Magpie''. FridgeBrilliance or FridgeHorror, when the reader themself remembers that in most versions of the rhyme, nine magpies signify the presence of the devil.

[[AC: LiveActionTV]]
* ''Magpie'' was the name of a kids' TV show on {{ITV}} circa the 1970s/80s (which was pretty much a ''BluePeter'' lookalike). The theme song used a version of the rhyme as its lyrics (see beginning of this page), and the show's mascot was a cartoon magpie named Murgatroyd, who looked too fat to fly.
* A news discussion ''TopGear'' once went on about how dangerous magpies are while driving because of gestures, but none of which the presenters could agree on which one was correct. Richard Hammond's was the most confusing; it turns out rather than picking one of the many variations to ward off bad luck, he chose them all.

[[AC:MusicAndSoundEffects]]
* The rhyme itself appears in the song "A Murder of One" by CountingCrows. The rhyme is also the origin of the band's name.
* Creator/SeananMcGuire's FilkSong [[http://seananmcguire.com/songbook.php?id=143 "Counting Crows"]] opens with a version of the rhyme, and continues on the theme. Chorus:
-->In mercy's shadow, nothing grows./And she's running hard now, counting crows.
* Similarly, Vixy and Tony's FilkSong [[http://vixyandtony.com/lyrics_thirteen.html Thirteen]] asks what happens when there are more than seven:
-->Count my brothers and count my sisters, we'll tell your fortune and we'll tell you true/But the path's all covered in claws and feathers, Magpie, there's too many of you...
* PatrickWolf has a song that quotes the aforementioned rhyme as the last stanza. Unsurprisingly the song itself is named [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mLhqJMy_WA Magpie]]
* "Two Magpies" off of PaulMcCartney's album ''Electric Arguments'' features lines from the rhyme. Unsurprisingly, it's [[EarWorm extremely catchy]].

[[AC:OralTradition]]
* The famous rhyme, with many variations. (Sometimes quoted for RavensAndCrows--but chiefly magpies.)
** "... Eight's a wish, and nine a kiss / Ten is a bird you must not miss."
** "... Eight for heaven, nine for hell / And ten for the devil's own sel'."
** "One for sorrow, two for mirth / Three for a wedding, four for a birth."
** "... Eight for a letter over the sea / Nine for a lover, as true as can be."
** "... Five for England, six for France / seven for a fiddler, eight for a dance."

[[AC:RealLife]]
* This took place in India in 1878. Sir Louis Cavagnari was to lead an embassy to Kabul. Earl Roberts records in his memoir, "As we [met before the embassy left], curiously enough, we came across a solitary magpie, ... Cavagnari pointed it out and begged me not to mention the fact of his having seen it to his wife, as she would be sure to consider it an unlucky omen....my heart sank as I wished Cavagnari good-bye. When we had proceeded a few yards in our different directions, we both turned round, retraced our steps, shook hands once more, and parted for ever." About two months later "...telegrams were received..., telling of the Mission [in Kabul] having been overwhelmed and every member of it cruelly massacred..."
** You can read more about this incident in Frederick Roberts' ''[[http://archive.org/details/fortyoneyearsini00robe Forty-one years in India, from subaltern to commander-in-chief]]'' on pages 381-384.
** This is also covered in The Far Pavilions by M. M. Kaye.

[[AC:VideoGames]]
* In ''TheSecretWorld'', this rhyme is used as a clue in a quest to solve a long-ago murder mystery. To solve it, you have to be dead at the time.

[[AC:WebComics]]
* In ''WebComic/NoRestForTheWicked'', [[http://www.forthewicked.net/archive/05-05.html November was teased for using the verse for ravens, instead of magpies.]]
----

to:

[[quoteright:320:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Magpie.JPG]]
->''One for sorrow, two for joy,''\\
''Three for a girl, and four for a boy,''\\
''Five for silver, six for gold,''\\
''Seven for a secret never to be told.''
-->-- '''NurseryRhyme''' (one of many variations[[labelnote:*]]This one was popularised as the theme song to ''Magpie'', a British children's TV series, 1968-1980[[/labelnote]])

There are a number of superstitions surrounding magpies, black and white birds that feature in a lot of stories (especially in the British Isles). These include, as the [[NurseryRhyme rhyme]] indicates, those for being omens of the future and those that are related to warding off the bad luck of a lone magpie. Some of the "warding off bad luck" superstitions are quick and only require a simple salute while others a bit more eccentric, involving pinching, spitting or saying certain phrases. (This all leads to a flock of magpies being a "tidings of magpies".)

Magpies are members of the corvid family and relatives of RavensAndCrows, both in RealLife and as tropes. (The rhyme--in all its manifold variations--is also used for crows, on occasion.) However, magpies are one of the few birds known to have demonstrated self-awareness. German scientists Helmut Prior, Ariane Schwarz, and Onur Güntürkün used the mirror self-recognition test on four magpies--placing some kind of mark on them and showing them a mirror. Three of the magpies--Gerti especially--[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WZm6TPNww8 recognized themselves in the mirror]] and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqnO2C8BDxU used the reflection]] to try and remove the sticker. The fourth, Harvey, well ... [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9jdF2-IpAo he reacted the way most birds do]] and treated his reflection as another magpie.


Note: This trope is not about magpies per se (eg, in Creator/AsbjornsenAndMoe's ''Literature/TheGiantWhoHadNoHeartInHisBody'', the princess blames the smell of a man on a magpie's dropping a bone down the chimney), ''but'' about magpies and the above described association of certain ''numbers'' of magpies with bad (or sometimes good) luck and the rituals for warding the bad luck off. Also, compare with ThievingMagpie, which is about magpies' compulsion to steal, particularly shiny objects.
----
!!Examples

[[AC:ComicBooks]]
* Invoked in ''ComicBook/TheSandman''
-->'''Delirium''', in ''The Wake'': One for sorrow, two for sorrow, three for sorrow, four for for for I don't know. But I'm bored of sorrow, five for three two one, six for gold, seven for a magpie who tells me where to go...''
** In the earlier story "Parliament of Rooks", Eve sings the rhyme while holding the infant Daniel. Abel finishes with the last line, then adds, "It's true, you know."
* In ''Comicbook/TheCrow'', the rhyme is referenced (with blackbirds in the place of magpies) by Eric as he prepares to kill a bar full of thugs, and capped with a classic line.
-->'''Eric Draven''': Seven blackbirds in a tree, count them and see what they be. One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl and four for a boy. Five for silver, six for gold, seven for a secret that's never been told. You're all going to die.
** See also reference below to the film ''Film/TheCrowCityOfAngels''.
* JourneyIntoMystery begins with 7 magpies on a quest after the demise of Loki at the end of Siege. The seventh is the only one to make it to their destination.
** Also, Ikol (a magpie-shaped remnant of the old Loki) tells kid Loki the magpie rhyme at the beginning of the Everything Burns crossover, and sets the record straight about it.
-->'''Ikol:''' ''Humans'' see groups of magpies. Magpies don't. Magpies know they stand alone. ... There is only ''ever'' one for sorrow.

[[AC:FanFic]]
* The rhyme is used in the ''KingdomHearts'' fanfic ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/2941935/1/A_Sorrow_of_Magpies A Sorrow of Magpies]]'' in a WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic kind of way.
** More specifically, the rhyme is as follows:
---> '''[[DeathDealer Luxord:]]''' [using [[TheGambler two dice]], but mentions magpies] "Two is for fresh luck, while three starts the play. Four means start running, five means you stay. Six earns you silver, seven earns gold. Eight for new allies, nine for the old. Ten wins good fortune, eleven risks all -- but twelve wins the match and there, stops the ball." (and when asked about one) "One is for sorrow, because it's always alone."
** [[FridgeBrilliance It's impossible to roll a one on a pair of dice; hence, sorrow.]]
* In the ''FanFic/TrollCops'' {{Homestuck}} AU, there is a pair of stories called "One For Sorrow", which has:
-->''One is for Sorrow.
-->Two is for Mirth.
-->Three is for a Funeral.
-->Four is for a Birth.
-->Five is for Heaven.
-->Six is for Hell.
-->Seven's for the Devil himself.''

[[AC:{{Film}}]]
* Ashe Corven of the movie ''Film/TheCrowCityOfAngels'' references a variant of this rhyme as he's trashing the bad guys of a strip booth establishment where his second target is, using crows in place of magpies.


[[AC:{{Literature}}]]
* Several versions of the rhyme occur in Creator/TerryPratchett's ''Discworld/CarpeJugulum''. It's explained that none of them work very well, because nobody knows the version the magpies use. Also, the "modern" vampires of that book shape-shift into magpies rather than bats, which is a pun on their family name (de Magpyr).
** In "The Folklore of Discworld", Pterry bemoans the fact that Britain used to have hundreds of regional variations on this rhyme, but nowadays if you ask anyone they'll all give you the version from ''Magpie''. He got to know the book's co-writer, Jacqueline Simpson, because she answered "which one?" to the question "do you know the magpie song."
* There's a book called ''One For Sorrow, Two For Joy'', by Clive Woodall, about more-or-less-anthropomorphic birds. It's a little like ''WatershipDown'', but with birds. The villains are magpies.
* One non-speaking Magpie appears briefly towards the conclusion of Kenneth Oppel's book Silverwing, curiously investigating the recently lightning-struck villainous vampire bat, Goth; he's promptly killed and eaten when Goth comes to.
* A magpie literally named One For Sorrow appears as an assistant to and messenger of the guardian of the old animal highways in ''TheWildRoad''. [[TearJerker You can pretty much guess what happens to him based on his name.]]
** Not only this, but Cornish cat Pengelly mentions a (cat-adjusted) version of the rhyme that goes: "One's sorrow, two's mirth, three's a mating, four's a birth, five's a naming, six a dearth, seven's heaven, eight is hell, and nine's the devil, his own sel'".
* The MercedesLackey story "Counting Crows" has a different version: "One for sorrow, two for mirth, three for a wedding, four for a birth", IIRC.
* The beginning of Wolfram von Eschenbach's ''[[http://www.hs-augsburg.de/~harsch/germanica/Chronologie/13Jh/Wolfram/wol_pa01.html Parzival]]'' compares the unsteady man, in whom good and evil are mixed, to a magpie, which is half black, half white.
* ''Star In The Storm'' by Joan Hiatt Harlow uses "One for sadness, two for mirth; three for marriage, four for birth; five for laughing, six for crying; seven for sickness, eight for dying; nine for silver, ten for gold; eleven for a secret that will never be told."
* In MichaelFlynn's ''[[Literature/SpiralArm In the Lion's Mouth]]'', Shadows' subordinates, in black and white, are called magpies. When one is always in Donovan's line-of-sight, he feels uneasy, knowing the old Terran belief that a single magpie is bad luck.
* {{Weathercock}} by Glen Duncan has the Catholic protagonist (plagued by a case of ChronicVillainy, to put it mildly) suffer periodic intimations of evil. Outside a church, he is visited by no less than nine magpies. He tries to remember the rhyme, but to his unease can only recall the more modern version from TV's ''Magpie''. FridgeBrilliance or FridgeHorror, when the reader themself remembers that in most versions of the rhyme, nine magpies signify the presence of the devil.

[[AC: LiveActionTV]]
* ''Magpie'' was the name of a kids' TV show on {{ITV}} circa the 1970s/80s (which was pretty much a ''BluePeter'' lookalike). The theme song used a version of the rhyme as its lyrics (see beginning of this page), and the show's mascot was a cartoon magpie named Murgatroyd, who looked too fat to fly.
* A news discussion ''TopGear'' once went on about how dangerous magpies are while driving because of gestures, but none of which the presenters could agree on which one was correct. Richard Hammond's was the most confusing; it turns out rather than picking one of the many variations to ward off bad luck, he chose them all.

[[AC:MusicAndSoundEffects]]
* The rhyme itself appears in the song "A Murder of One" by CountingCrows. The rhyme is also the origin of the band's name.
* Creator/SeananMcGuire's FilkSong [[http://seananmcguire.com/songbook.php?id=143 "Counting Crows"]] opens with a version of the rhyme, and continues on the theme. Chorus:
-->In mercy's shadow, nothing grows./And she's running hard now, counting crows.
* Similarly, Vixy and Tony's FilkSong [[http://vixyandtony.com/lyrics_thirteen.html Thirteen]] asks what happens when there are more than seven:
-->Count my brothers and count my sisters, we'll tell your fortune and we'll tell you true/But the path's all covered in claws and feathers, Magpie, there's too many of you...
* PatrickWolf has a song that quotes the aforementioned rhyme as the last stanza. Unsurprisingly the song itself is named [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mLhqJMy_WA Magpie]]
* "Two Magpies" off of PaulMcCartney's album ''Electric Arguments'' features lines from the rhyme. Unsurprisingly, it's [[EarWorm extremely catchy]].

[[AC:OralTradition]]
* The famous rhyme, with many variations. (Sometimes quoted for RavensAndCrows--but chiefly magpies.)
** "... Eight's a wish, and nine a kiss / Ten is a bird you must not miss."
** "... Eight for heaven, nine for hell / And ten for the devil's own sel'."
** "One for sorrow, two for mirth / Three for a wedding, four for a birth."
** "... Eight for a letter over the sea / Nine for a lover, as true as can be."
** "... Five for England, six for France / seven for a fiddler, eight for a dance."

[[AC:RealLife]]
* This took place in India in 1878. Sir Louis Cavagnari was to lead an embassy to Kabul. Earl Roberts records in his memoir, "As we [met before the embassy left], curiously enough, we came across a solitary magpie, ... Cavagnari pointed it out and begged me not to mention the fact of his having seen it to his wife, as she would be sure to consider it an unlucky omen....my heart sank as I wished Cavagnari good-bye. When we had proceeded a few yards in our different directions, we both turned round, retraced our steps, shook hands once more, and parted for ever." About two months later "...telegrams were received..., telling of the Mission [in Kabul] having been overwhelmed and every member of it cruelly massacred..."
** You can read more about this incident in Frederick Roberts' ''[[http://archive.org/details/fortyoneyearsini00robe Forty-one years in India, from subaltern to commander-in-chief]]'' on pages 381-384.
** This is also covered in The Far Pavilions by M. M. Kaye.

[[AC:VideoGames]]
* In ''TheSecretWorld'', this rhyme is used as a clue in a quest to solve a long-ago murder mystery. To solve it, you have to be dead at the time.

[[AC:WebComics]]
* In ''WebComic/NoRestForTheWicked'', [[http://www.forthewicked.net/archive/05-05.html November was teased for using the verse for ravens, instead of magpies.]]
----
[[redirect:MagpiesAsPortents]]
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