Thistles for Children

Yon is a student at USC who I am close friends with. He is originally from Israel, and this is his first year in America. He speaks with a thick Israeli accent, and jumped at the opportunity to share his culture’s folklore with me.


Performance: “Ok so we have this plant. And it’s this plant where it’s like a branch and if you take your fingers and slide it up you’ve got all those sorta seeds… you know what i’m talking about? you have a name for it. and people like throw them? So what we do we take em and we throw em at someone’s shirt. and however many seeds stick into the shirts is how many kids he’s going to have.”


Response: This is an interesting piece of folklore. It is at both times a game and also magic, being able to predict the future. The obvious allusion which can be drawn is that the boys are throwing the literal seeds of the plant at each other in order to divine how many children they will in tern bear with their own seed. Though they likely do not see the similarities at the time, it is interesting that such an overt connection exists in this example of folklore.