This bright little insect (also called lady-cow or Bishop Barnaby) is said to bring luck if it alights on someone, and should never be harmed. Children encourage it to fly away with some variant of the rhyme:
   Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home,
   Your house is on fire, and your children all gone,
   Tell me when your wedding be:
   If it be tomorrow day,
   Take your wings and fly away.
   This can also be a divination, as in 19th-century Shropshire:
   Lady-cow, lady-cow, fly away, flee! Tell me which way my wedding's to be, Uphill, or downhill, or towards the brown Clee!
(Burne, 1883: 237)
   A ladybird affected the whole course of modern English folklore studies by settling on Peter 'Opie's finger one day in 1944, causing him to quote this rhyme and rouse his wife Iona's curiosity; within a few days they had started the exploration of nursery-lore and child-lore which became their life's work.
   ■ Opie and Opie, 1951: 263-4; Opie and Tatem, 1989: 326.

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

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