A contraction of magotpie, or magata-pie. “Mag” is generally
thought to be a contraction of Margaret; thus we have Robin
red-breast, Tom-tit, Philip —i.e. a sparrow, etc.
“Augurs and understood relations have (By magotpies, and choughs, and
rooks) brought forth The secretst man of blood.”
Shakespeare: Macbeth, iii. 4.
Here is an old Scotch rhyme:
One's sorrow, two's mirth,
Three's a wedding, four's a birth
Five's a christening, six a death
Seven's heaven, eight is hell,
And nine's the devil his ane sel'.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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