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Jackdaw of Rheims



Illustration of 'The Jackdaw of Rheims', by Arthur Rackham . . .  —  Buy this art print at


One of the best known of The Ingoldsby Legends, written supposedly by Thomas Ingoldsby of Tappington Manor, actually a pen-name of an English clergyman named Richard Harris Barham (1788-1845).

In the Jackdaw of Rheims verses the Cardinal's precious ring mysteriously vanishes during a pompous party.

The cardinal solemnly curses the thief by bell, book and candle, and the jackdaw's bedraggled and ill appearance, caused by the curse, reveals him as the culprit.

After the Cardinal's ring was found inside the jackdaw's nest, the Cardinal withdrew the curse and the jackdaw recovered. Subsequently the jackdaw became a faithful devout and, when it passed away, it was canonized.


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Sources: (1) The Encyclopaedia Britannica Eleventh Edition Handy Volume Edition
, Oxford University Press; (2) Dictionary of the Occult, Caxton Publishing.

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Curses! Broiled Again!: The Hottest Urban Legends Going.

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Don't Do It: A Dictionary of the Forbidden.

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Encyclopedia of Signs, Omens, and Superstitions (Library of the Mystic Arts).

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Forbidden Fruits: Taboos and Tabooism in Culture.


Golem: Legends of the Ghetto of Prague.


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-- Inventing Superstition: From the Hippocratics to the Christians.

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Mal'Uocchiu: Ambiguity, Evil Eye and the Language of Distress.

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Omens, Curses & Superstitions: How to Remove and Reverse Them.

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Taboo (Methodology and History in Anthropology , Vol 3).

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The Book of Spells, Hexes, and Curses: True Tales from Around the World.

The Breaking of Curses.

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The Golem of Prague: A New Adaptation of the Documented Stories of the Golem of Prague.

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The Malevolent Eye: An Essay on the Evil Eye, Fertility and the Concept of Mana.

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The Secret Footprints.

Totem and Taboo: Resemblances Between the Psychic Lives of Savages and Neurotics (Dover Thrift Editions).

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Further info:

-- Bell, Book and Candle.
-- Jackdaw of Rheims.
The Ingoldsby Legends.
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