Saluting Magpies

An old British superstition has it that if you see a single magpie you are supposed to salute it with the words "Hello Mr Magpie, how's your wife today?" Those more familiar with the ways of country folk will know that animal etiquette doesn't end there. For instance, if you meet a duck you're supposed to ask where it went on its holidays. If you come across a sheep you're obliged to support its application to join the local golf club. A pig should be provided with a letter of recommendation to any prospective employers, the correct form of greeting for a cow is a standing ovation and if you should chance upon a donkey or small horse it is generally considered polite to take it out to lunch, although you are advised to avoid anything too spicy.

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