: BIRDS AND BEASTS.
Ill luck is thought to follow the killer of dear Robin Redbreast, the
children's winter friend. No one ever shoots Robin, nor do children rob
its nest, nor throw stones at it. Bad luck to anyone who does so. The
little bird with its wee body endeavoured to staunch the blood flowing
from the Saviour's side, and it has ever since retained on its breast the
stain of His sacred blood, and it consequently enjoys a sacred life. It
is safe from harm wherever English is spoken.
There is another legend, which is said to be extant in Carmarthenshire,
accounting for the Robin's red breast. It is given in Bye-Gones,
vol. i., p. 173, from Mr. Hardwick's Traditions, Superstitions,
Folk-lore, etc.:--Far, far away, is a land of woe, darkness, spirits
of evil, and fire. Day by day does the little bird bear in its bill a
drop of water to quench the flame. So near to the burning stream does he
fly that his dear little feathers are scorched; and hence is he named
Bronchuddyn (qu. Bronrhuddyn), i.e., breast-burned, or breast-scorched.
To serve little children, the robin dares approach the infernal pit. No
good child will hurt the devoted benefactor of man. The robin returns
from the land of fire, and therefore he feels the cold of winter far more
than the other birds. He shivers in brumal blasts, and hungry he chirps
before your door. Oh, my child, then, in pity throw a few crumbs to poor