The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #42119   Message #2705246
Posted By: MGM·Lion
21-Aug-09 - 04:06 AM
Thread Name: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
Nice to see such ancient threads revivified! As to why 4 & 20, the answer may be implied in a common medieval/renaissance riddle form which crops up when Lear's Fool is trying, unsuccessfully becoz he knows it, to cheer up the poor old King [King Lear I v] -

"Fool: ... The reason why the seven stars are no moe than seven is a pretty reason.
Lear: Because they are not eight.
Fool: Yes indeed. Thou wouldst make a good Fool."

[7 also a mystic much-quoted-in-folklore #, like 24; & thus, similarly, liable to be arbitrarily cited]