From To Kill a Mockingbird:

“Well, Indian-heads — well, they come from the Indians. They’re real strong magic, they make you have good luck. Not like fried chicken when you’re not lookin’ for it, but things like long life ‘n’ good health, ‘n’ passin’ six-weeks tests... these are real valuable to somebody. I’m gonna put em in my trunk.”

What does the sentence mean here?

  • Those would be Indian Head cents which were struck from 1859 to 1909. It is mentioned before that they are from 1906 and 1900, in which there were ~96 million and ~67 million produced respectfully.
    – Phil
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 18:02

1 Answer 1


It means that the good luck conferred by Indian-heads isn't just trivial good luck, like having fried chicken (usually served on relatively festive occasions) for dinner when you weren't expecting it, but important good luck, like long life and good health, and passing a six-weeks test.

Look for may have in Southern dialects the sense expect.

In Alabama schools grades are given out every six weeks, so for a child the 'six-weeks test' is a major milestone in the school year.)

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