The peasants of the wood use crudely carved symbols to ward off wolves. They think the symbols are emblems of purity and goodness and that keeps the wolves away. The symbols work, but not for the reasons the peasants believe...
The symbols are actually arcance evil symbols which the wolves know and fear, but to which the peasants are oblivious. So how gullible are the peasants going to be when a strange horned man displaying the symbols on his shield turns up and asks for their allegiance?
The size and number of knots in hair, tied around neck, or hanging from belt could signify family, importance, worship, guild affiliations. Being able to translate the meaning of the size and placement of knots can give you a a large understanding of who somebody is.
May be used in a more barbaric society. Where in cities peoples clothes and crests show who they are, barbarians have no need for this so use knots.