Folk Belief: Smoke Travels to the Prettiest Girl

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Irish, Hungarian
Age: 48
Occupation: Teacher
Residence: Long Beach
Date of Performance/Collection: 2/12/2019
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

This is a Hungarian legend that was used by men when searching for a beautiful woman to take as their own.  It was during the fifties, a time when smoking was prominent in everyday life.

The legend is “the smoke always travels to the prettiest girl”.  With that in mind, men would take a puff and blow it into a room full of people, and wherever the smoke traveled, the men would follow it in order to find the prettiest girl to date.

Context:

The informant is a descendent of Hungarian culture, and she was given this legend by her father, whose parents grew up in Hungary.  They passed the legend down to him, and he passed it down to the informant.  As a symbol of her heritage as well as the fact that her father lamented the legend to her, she has kept this knowledge since she was a child; one rarely forgets traditions, legends, or customs from their ancestors, and this is no exception.  The informant admits that the legend is a little far-fetched—smoke can travel anywhere, especially with external forces—but entertaining all the same.  She finds it humorous that men, in the fifties, would rely on such a legend in order to find a companion.

Thoughts:

I thought this legend was quite funny.  The image of grown men blowing smoke into a room in the hopes that it will find the prettiest girl is entertaining to think about.  However, the fact that it was used makes me wonder if the legend has some truth to it.  It is definitely far-fetched, but the humor surrounding the legend makes me love the legend; it is a funny, light-hearted legend without any historical or serious undertones, and I enjoy that aspect of it.