THE FIRST BUTTERFLY
"ONE of the superstitions prevailing in Devonshire is, that any individual neglecting to kill the first butterfly he may see for the season, will have ill luck throughout the year." [a] The following recent example is given by a young lady :-- "The other Sunday, as we were walking to church, we met a man running at full speed, with his hat in one hand, and a stick in the other. As he passed us, he exclaimed, 'I shan't hat 'en now, I b'lieve.' He did not give us time to inquire what he was so eagerly pursuing; but we presently overtook an old man, whom we knew to be his father, and who, being very infirm, and upwards of seventy, generally hobbled about by the aid of two sticks. Addressing me, he observed, 'My zin a took away wan a my sticks, miss; wan't be ebble to kil'n now though, I b'lieve.' 'Kill what ?' said I. 'Why, 'tis a butterfly, miss,--the fursi bee 'th a zeed. for the year; and they zay that a body will have cruel bad luck if a ditn'en kill a furst a zeeth.'"
I have found this belief prevailing in the east, but never in the west, of Cornwall.
[a] Hone's Table Book