★ Cockle-bread Story :

My granny is sick, and now is dead,[56] And we’ll go mould some cockle-bread; Up with my heels and down with my head, And this is the way to mould cockle-bread.

[Footnote 56: Another version says, “and I wish she was dead, that I may go mould,” &c., which, if correct, may be supposed to mean, “My granny is ill, and I wish she was dead, that I may use a charm for obtaining a husband.”]

A very old practice of young women, moving as if they were kneading dough, and repeating the above lines, which are sometimes varied thus:

Cockeldy bread, mistley cake, When you do that for our sake.

The entire explanation of this, which is not worth giving here, may be seen in Thoms’s Anecdotes and Traditions, p. 95. An allusion to cockle-bread occurs as early as 1595, in Peele’s singular play of the Old Wives Tale.

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