Birds of the crow family have long been heralds of doom and devastation. They destroy crops, devour corpses, act as emissaries for soothsayers and Gods, and are closely linked to human fortunes.
If a cow lost her milk, it could prove disastrous for a hard-up family. Witches and fairies were often blamed for this. It was commonly believed that witches took the form of a hare and suckled cows dry during the night.
Before the advent of agricultural machinery, harvest time was an important period of physical work and folk tradition and ritual amongst rural communities.
Sheep have been integral to British life for thousands of years, and a long tradition of lore has developed around shepherds and their flocks.