An Old Wives Tale

An Old Wives Tale

Did you know you should give a penny whenever you give a knife to someone and they should in return give that penny back to you. We all dismiss old wives tales, after all that’s what they are, tales, something that has been erroneously passed down to us from generations before. In fact what makes then interesting is there roots.

The giving of pennies in exchange of a knife is not some desire to avoid being killed by your own blade as might be assumed it is in fact to preserve a friendship. It was thought the giving of a knife would result in the friendship being severed or cut and in some cases the recipient would be cut. Giving a penny would mean technically the knife is purchased and thus the inevitable end to the friendship would be averted, it also reassures the recipient that they won’t necessarily cut themselves. A nice touch.

There are more wives tales about knives and I am sure this post won’t cover everything. In Finland presenting a knife to someone is considered a sign of trust and friendship, in particular non-governmental organizations, clubs and government agencies give a ‘Puukko’ (a Finnish fixed-blade hunting/outdoor knife) as a gift to trusted employees. Equally stirring liquids or powders with a knife is often considered unlucky. As one rhyme says, “Stir with a knife, stir up strife”.

In America there are superstitions suggestion that it is bad luck to sharpen a blade after dark (it could be that one is more prone to accidents if they can’t see properly), also many cultures suggest that once a blade is drawn from it’s sheath it needs to draw blood, however we’d suggest chopping vegetables or fruit is quite enough. And finally we’ll leave you with the idea that a knife is never truly yours until it has 'bitten’ you, a knife needs to draw your blood to remain sharper and in your service for longer. We do supply plasters should you be tempted to follow this old wives tale.


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