Crossing the Hand

Fortune-tellers of the gipsy race always bid their dupe to “cross their hand with a bit of silver.” This, they say, is for luck. Of course, the sign of the cross warded off witches and all other evil spirits, and, as fortune-telling belongs to the black arts, the palm is signed with a cross to keep off the wiles of the devil. “You need fear no evil, though I am a fortune-teller, if by the sign of the cross you exorcise the evil spirit.”

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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