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Seven Whistlers

Seven Whistlers
Seven Whistlers - Gaynor Leigh
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Although the piece functions effectively as an exercise in playing couplets, the title and the performance note refer to the common UK superstition surrounding the song of the curlew as a portent of imminent doom. 

[Fishermen] deprecate the cry of the "Seven Whistlers"... and consider it a death-warning.

"I heard 'em one dark night last winter... They come over our heads all of a sudden singing 'ewe, ewe,' and the men in the boat wanted to go back.  It came on to rain and blow soon afterwards, and was an awful night, Sir; and sure enough before morning a boat was upset, and seven poor fellows drowned.  I know what makes the noise, Sir; it's them long-billed curlews, but I never likes to hear them."

William Henderson 
Folk-Lore of the Northern Counties of England and the Boarders (1879)

While fear of this particular omen was common amongst fisherfolk around the UK, a similar superstition peculiar to Seaton Snook also existed around the cry of Jacob Cox's Horse.

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