Date: Tue, 22 Aug 1995 11:54:16 CDT


Subject: Chicken gods

Posted recently on LINGUIST:


Date: Sat, 19 Aug 1995 16:54:36 +0200

From: Hiwis-Wode[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] (" (Hiwis Wode)")

Subject: Huehnergoetter

Recently I came across the German word Huehnergoetter (sg. Huehnergott, the

translation would be something like chicken god(s)) which is used to refer

to a certain kind of stone you can find on the beach from time to time.

These stones have one or more holes in them. I'm very interested in the

etymology of 'Huehnergoetter' but I could not find any information so far.

The only slight hint I got is that this word is very frequently used by

German boy scouts. Does anyone know anything about this term or are there

similar names in other languages?

Gerd Krohn, English department, University of Kiel, Germany

I remembered the term from my childhood near Cleveland as "chicken stone",

but my mother assures me that it was "chicken god". The story she

was told was that Russian peasants picked up these stones and hung them

in chicken coops to eoncourage them to lay eggs. I have asked friends

who grew up in a variety of different places around the US and none of

them had ever heard of such a term--though one friend recalled hearing/

reading something which related such a practice in the Caucases (he thought).

Doed anyone on the list know of a term for such stones? Where used?

Barbara Need

University of Chicago--Linguistics