Saturday, April 29, 2017

Why canaries are yellow (WTF - Weird Things in Folktales)

Welcome to my A to Z Challenge blog series titled WTF - Weird Things in Folktales! Find the introduction post (explaining the theme) here. Find all other participating blogs in the comments of each day's post on the main blog! You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Y is the third and final letter that has been excluded from the Motif Index. Once more, I searched for words that start with Y, and someone on Twitter suggested Yellow. I was not disappointed.

A2391.1 Why canary's eggs are yellow

First off: This is another one of Thompson's misnomers. The story actually explains why canary's feathers are yellow. It is a Flemish legend.

This one looks a little hung over
According to the story, canaries used to be white. One day, however, they went out to celebrate on a feast day, and got a little too much to drink. Instead of sitting on their eggs, they were out late into the night. When they returned home, the male canary fell into the nest and broke the eggs; his feathers were stained golden yellow from them. The female fell in too, but since the male had already soaked up most of the yolk, she did not get the same bright color.

I feel like this story was supposed to teach us something.

(Story in German here.)


  1. Lovely little story :-)

    The Old Shelter - 1940s Film Noir

  2. That's cute. Though, from a canary's perspective, pretty horrific as the drunk dad stumbles home, kills the babies, and stains his body with their remains. ;)

    A to Z 2017: Magical and Medicinal Herbs

  3. the moral - don't get drunk and stay out all night because you'll break eggs and turn yellow? not sure I would believe such a tale but anything's possible.

    have a lovely day.

    ~ my Y post - yada yada~

  4. The early bird gets home in time to see where he's stepping as well as gets the worm?

    Y is for the Yellowstone Conspiracy

  5. I'm always fascinated by creation tales, and yolk-stained feathers is a great one. I'm not sure what the moral is - perhaps, don't leave your assets unattended.

  6. Well this is a nice one. So are you saying the male can't handle his liquor and now he's marked forever? One bird ruins it for everyone. :D
    Discarded Darlings - Jean Davis, Speculative Fiction Writer, A to Z: Editing Fiction

  7. Indulgence can be not so good in the end. Better set limits and don't take the duties and responsibilities casually... is this what the canary tale trying to teach?
    On the lighter side, for a few drinks more, I don't mind getting dyed with pretty colours!!!
    Anagha From Team MocktailMommies
    Collage Of Life

  8. That is a strange tale. Morals: Don't drink and fly? Did the mother bird divorce the father bird after the incident? (My first pet bird, by the way, was a canary.) Visiting from A to Z - Alana

  9. Don't come home drunk and crush your children?But if you do, you'll be even more beautiful than you were before?
    Finding Eliza

  10. That story is kind of macabre. I wonder how they explain other canary colors, like green and cinnamon.

  11. I think the moral of the story is don't get so drunk that you squash your children? heh I don't know. Interesting tale!

    Here's my "Y" post :)