Go drive dull care away from you
So the witches can’t cast their charms,
Hang an owl’s wishbone over the door
It will shield you from all the harm.
I’ve never heard of the protective power of an owl’s wishbone over the door, but the Victorians loved to insert such wisdom into their postcards. Watch out Woodsy!
The wise old owl, who works at night,
knows lucky secrets good and bright.
Consult him at the witching hour,
twill bring you joy and wealthy dower.
I love the shadowing on this is a sweet and slightly weird vintage postcard. Why is the owl holding an apple like a Christmas ornament over the burning flame of a jack-o-lantern? And he might want to mind his naughty bits. But what intrigued me the most about this postcard is the term “wealthy dower.” What’s a dower, I thought. A quick jaunt around the web is always enlightening…
Dower, or morning gift, was a legal agreement that arranged financial support for a wife should her husband pass away. The term “morning gift” derives from the Germanic practice of the groom’s officially granting the dower on the morning after the wedding night; making such a settlement was evidence that the marriage had been consummated and the bride had proven to be a virgin.
So, with this definition and an understanding of the sinister nature of Halloween in mind, does this postcard seem to encourage this very young gal to not only find herself a rich mate, but to knock him off in order to collect an early dower? That paring knife is awfully handy. Perhaps it’s the assassination of her future husband that is this girl’s “Hallowe’en Secret.”
It’s Halloween night. Mr. Owl is serving as navigator for the crew, but he takes a wrong turn somewhere, and suffers the shame of the witch’s wagging finger. She should really be shaming herself for going out with such significant 5 ‘clock shadow.
I find this vintage Halloween postcard very melancholy. The witch doesn’t look menacing. She doesn’t seem to be plotting against the young girls inside. She looks lonely. An outsider. She looks like she wants to ring the bell, have the girls invite her inside, and bob for apples like one of the gang.
But despite her inclination, she decides against making herself known. She’s been burned too many times before. Shunned once too often. So misunderstood. So she remains an outsider with only her friends Mr. Cat and Mr. Owl to console her…and the full moon mocking her unfortunate station in life.
Be kind to the outsiders this Halloween. And if you see a “wicked” witch looking in, invite her inside to enjoy your own brand of festivities.
Beware of ye wiles of Satan. S’mores anyone?