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Posted by Shae on October 27, 2002

In Reply to: Watch out for the white ones posted by Barney on October 27, 2002

: : : : : I have often wondered about the connection between "cricket", the game and "cricket", the insect. I have read several definitions that say they are both from the Old French "criquet", but then they give different meanings for "criquet" - one is to chirp imitatively and the other is a wooden stick.

: : : : : Is there a connection? I'm also wondering - just in passing - if there are crickets (the insects) in Britain. I never heard any in all my time there. (Though I did once give a friend a mechanical one).

: : : : : Camel

: : : : There were crickets around in England when I was a lad. In fact we used to keep them in little cages near the hearth. I don't know why, it's something many people did. I've not heard one for years now though.

: : : Aren't crickets supposed to be good luck? Maybe that's why people imprisoned the little things.

: : In my part of the U.S. (W.Va./Kentucky) crickets start to come in the house when it's fall and the weather is getting colder. A Kentucky superstition book says it is bad luck to kill crickets. It must be a West Virginia belief too because I've always tried to capture them and put them back outside. There's suppose to be an herb (rosemary?) that one can put in the doorways and keep them out.

: : A book on English folklore says:

: : CRICKETS - "Beliefs about crickets vary considerably. As a rule, these friendly little insects, which love to make their home with human beings, are thought to be fortunate. If they leave a house suddenly, after long dwelling therein, it is an omen of death, and to kill one brings sure misfortune. On the other hand, their chirping is sometimes regarded as a death omen, or the sign of a coming storm. If they suddenly invade a house where none was before, bad luck is expected in some districts; and the appearance of a white cricket on the hearth is almost everywhere considered an extremely bad omen, foretelling a death in the family soon." From Encyclopedia of Superstitions by E. and M.A. Radford, edited and revised by Christina Hole, Barnes and Noble Books, 1996. First published in 1948.

: Cricket, the game, requires vast reserves of stamina, intelligence and patience if one is to remain alert for the duration of a five day match and was invented by the English, who are not a very religious people, to give them some concept of eternity.

I'd agree with the requirement for stamina and patience. Micheal Chinery, in 'A Field Guide to Insects of Britain and Northern Europe' observes that grasshoppers and crickets share with radio announcers the distinction of being known more by their voices than by their looks. Grasshoppers feed primarily on grass while animal material features largely in the diet of crickets. The Great Green Bush Cricket is not uncommon in southern England. Lady Camel might be interested to know that the Wingless Camel Cricket is a completely wingless and rather hump-backed creature with extremely long antennae and a long, almost leg-like pair of palps! Although not native to Britain, the Greenhouse Camel Cricket, Tachycines asynamorus, has become established in market-gardening areas where it is usually regarded as an undesirable alien.

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