All of the wall next to me on the left is packed with books. I'm a reference book junkie and at some point I will probably need an intervention...
I did a lucky dip amongst the books to see what I could post here today. :D It's fun. Whatever book I find, whatever page I open onto I write about. (I also find a lot of plot-bunnies this way) Today, it was my fairly fat Book of Superstitions.
Opening it, my finger landed on 'Beards'...which conveniently gives me the opportunity to post the cover for AGAMEMNON FROST AND THE HOUSE OF DEATH...and Mr Frost's nice bit of scruff :D
They've been a sign of ungodliness, faithfulness and personal strength through the ages. Elizabeth I taxed them, which meant they disappeared during her reign--though Edmund Blackadder sported a rather nice one. A beard's renewal led to the ancient belief that facial hair was some divine gift and shouldn't be cut. To do so--and for your enemy to find the trimmings--would give them power over you.
Modern superstitions are that men with beards can't be trusted (look at the mirror universe in Star Trek...) and throughout Europe a man with a red beard can't be trusted at all. And finally I do like this odd little US rhyme:
Beware of that man
Be he friend or brother,
Whose hair is one colour
And moustache is another.