Tourists to the statue of Greyfriars Bobby in Edinburgh, Scotland, have recently noticed a sign around the dog’s neck. It reads:
Don’t touch my nose. It is not tradition and it is not good luck. You are rubbing my wee nose off and I won’t be able to smell any more. Love Bobby xx
Greyfriars Bobby has been an international symbol of love and devotion since 1858, when his master, John Gray, died of tuberculosis. For 14 years, the story goes, the faithful Skye Terrier would sneak into Greyfriars Kirkyard to guard the final resting place of his old friend.
In 1873, not long after Bobby died, the town of Edinburgh erected a statue in his honor. Since then, dog lovers from around the world have flocked to the statue to pay their respects.
Over the years, another legend blossomed. Like water from Lourdes or the Blarney Stone, the nose of the bronze canine, so the superstition goes, possesses magical powers to bring good luck.
So many visitors tried to improve their fortunes this way that they rubbed the finish off the statue’s nose, leaving it several tones lighter than the rest of the dog. In 2013, the damage had to be fixed with an emergency nose job.
City officials have begged the public to keep their hands off, to no avail. Just two years later, the statue is showing signs of needing of another nose job.
In a desperate move, anonymous concerned citizens (no one has taken responsibility) posted the sign in hopes of stopping the problem at its source by debunking the good-luck story, which has made lists of “10 of Edinburgh’s Best Urban Legends.”
City officials doubt that the plea will work, so for now they’ve settled for telling tourists that if they must rub the dog’s “wee nose,” they should do so gently.
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