to have both dreams come true when
wishbone broke in three!
2500 years ago, the Etruscans, who lived in what is now Italy, believed the breastbone of a chicken, called the furcula or “little fork”, had magic predictive powers. They transferred that belief to the Romans, who carried it with them to the British Isles. "Merrythought" is a British term for the wishbone.
In England, the legend became associated with turkeys as well as chickens. When the English colonists came to North America, they brought the tradition with them. According to the legend that has grown up in America over the past 400 years, if two people pull the ends of the wishbone until it breaks, the person left holding the longer piece will have his or her wish granted. If the wishbone breaks in three pieces as shown, then both have their wish granted.
Opinions vary on how to hold the wishbone. Some people wrap their fingers around the ends and place their thumbs near the junction for extra leverage. That’s called “cheating”. Some hold the ends delicately between thumb and forefinger. And some pull the bone apart using only their pinkie fingers. That’s how it was done in my family.
- Chiefly British. the wishbone or furcula of a fowl.