Tuesday, 22 December 2020

Robin Redbreast

A close up picture of a robin on the floor with his chest all puffed out

There are many animals associated with this time of year, but most notably the Robin, who is often pictured perched upon a Yule Log.

Whilst many see the Robin as a symbol of good luck, fortune, and abundance, there is some dark folklore surrounding them, and they are closely associated with death.

Many believe a visit from a Robin is actually a visit from a relative in spirit. They’re seen as messengers for the spirit world, and there are many stories about their comforting presence following the death of a loved one. After my Grandmother died a Robin appeared every time my Mum entered her house. Some say that if a Robin pecks the windows or enters a house it signifies the coming death of a loved one. It is no surprise, then, that it is seen as bad luck to kill or injure one.

The old English ballad “Babes in the Wood” tells of the Wren and the Robin working together to cover the unburied bodies of two children who were abandoned and died:

And when they were dead 
The robins so red
     Brought strawberry leaves
And over them spread;
And all the day long,
The green branches among,
     They'd prettily whistle
And this was their song-

“Poor babes in the wood!
Sweet babes in the wood!
     Oh the sad fate of 
The babes in the wood!”

Christian stories suggest that the Robin was originally brown, his chest stained red by the blood of Jesus who was dying on the cross.

The Victorians were a fan of these little birds, and they would appear on Christmas cards, delivering letters like tiny postmen. The Royal Mail’s colour is red as it is linked to royalty, and thus the Victorians nicknamed their posties “Robins”.

We met this little chap last week who is fed by hand, so very friendly.

© Original content; repost with clear, written credits. @the_cemetery_witch

No comments:

Post a comment

Thanks so much for leaving comments!