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Cherry Trees and the Cuckoo

The cherry tree is strangely mixed up with the cuckoo in many cuckoo stories, because of the tradition that the cuckoo must eat three good meals of cherries before he is allowed to cease singing.

Cuckoo, cuckoo, cherry-tree,
Good bird, prithee, tell to me
How many years I am to see.

The answer is made by the cuckoo repeating its cry the prophetic number of times.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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