There is nothing that can rain upon a well-planned trip quite like evil-seeming omens. It gets in your head until calamity comes, and if it never comes it may as well have. Like, what do you think when you look up in the sky and you see a raven and a seagull engage and the seagull falls dead in a shower of feathers? Well, in that case, it happened to be a random occurrence. Sometimes these things happen. Maybe it was a weak seagull. Anyway, the world does not revolve around you. But, then again, sometimes the world is trying to tell you things, or maybe it’s trying to tell someone else things and you’re just a bystander. It gets confusing. My travels have made me an expert on these matters; hopefully, I can shed some light.

Discovering a boot at the bottom
of a barrel of wine or ale

This is a telling sign of things being amiss and bad luck afoot. If you were thinking about taking a boat somewhere, reconsider. Wear the boot and walk instead. Wearing a cape would not be a bad idea, either. Capes bring luck and purple capes, in particular, are said to frighten away the mischievous sprites that torment Ireland.

Milk raining from the sky

I have been caught in a milk storm twice: once in Scotland and another time in Corinth. Both times, good luck came my way within days. In Corinth, I won 20 camels in a game of dice, and in Scotland I found two camels wandering unattended by the side of the road. No one had ever seen camels in Scotland before and I made a considerable income leading the camels as a sort of circus from town to town, until they died of dehydration. Be sure to discard whatever you were wearing in the milk storm, though. Within days, it will smell very bad and attract dense clouds of flies.

Being thrown off a horse
and into a leech pit

Once, while I was riding out of the city of Trier, I was thrown off my horse and into a leech pit. My three traveling companions pointed and laughed uproariously. It wasn’t funny; it hurt a lot and I was quite embarrassed. What’s worse, it was a terrible omen. My companions would not have laughed had they known it foretold that two of them would freeze to death in the Carpathians.

An eagle flying off with a small child

Once, while traveling from Damascus to Aleppo, I observed a giant bird descend from the sky and carry off a small child. ’Twas an unfortunate sign. The next day, I had an admixture of lamb and chickpeas that was so distasteful I overturned the table.

Finding two hearts in a chicken

Some people foolishly study the innards of birds as a method of divination. Once, in Denmark, the chef I hired to get me through my stay in the dreadful town of Esbjerg discovered that in one of the chickens he slaughtered there existed two hearts. I think the discovery revealed more about the chicken than about myself, as my time in Esbjerg was just as intolerable afterward as it had been prior to the discovery.

Having your hat fly off when
approaching the coast of Crete

Having your hat fly off anywhere is a bad sign. I’ve found it means you’ll be punched in the face within several days. The worst time for it to happen, though, is when approaching the island of Crete. I have been informed that it means the boat will be dashed to pieces on the rocky cliffs unless you placate the gorgons by saying, “Alexander the Great lives and reigns. He keeps the world at peace.” Gorgons like Alexander the Great, apparently.

A woman giving birth to a stone

On the night of my arrival in the town of Béziers, I learned that a woman had given birth to a large stone. I was vain enough to believe that it had something to do with my arrival and left immediately, mourning that I would not get to sample the white wines the region was famous for. However, the city burned to the ground that very night. I kind of lucked out with that one.