I remember reading many years ago the myth of Coyote and the Giant. Coyote was a popular figure among the Native American Navajo tribe.
The story goes that many years ago the earth was ruled by giants. The giants loved eating and killing little children. Coyote was crossing a river one day when he saw a giant. Coyote decided to teach the giant a lesson.
He said that he would perform a miracle. He would break his leg and then mend it. The giant was astounded. They waited until night fell. Coyote picked up a rock and hit the leg of an unskinned deer. The leg broke with a crack. Coyote then asked the giant to feel his leg. The giant was astounded to feel Coyote’s leg whole again.
Coyote offered to repeat the miracle on the giant’s leg. The giant agreed and Coyote hit the giant’s leg again and again with a rock. The giant screamed with agony. Coyote kept on hitting the leg until it broke. Coyote slipped away in the night leaving the giant in agony.
Now there is a point behind this story. We all know that it is considered to bring bad luck to an actor or actress if you wish them good luck before they go out onto to stage. You never say the words: “Good luck.” What you do say is `break a leg’.
So when your child is about to write his or her eleven plus examination please do not wish them good luck. It would be much safer to suggest that they `break a leg’. In the world of the theatre the words `good luck’ can cause a thespian to forget their lines.
You certainly don’t want to wish your child any bad luck before an examination.
However, and there is always a `however’, if someone asks you to break a leg – please be very careful that you are not asking to have great pain inflicted on you.