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Duke University Press 


The Frank C. Brown Collection of 






The Folklore of North Carolina collected by Dr. Frank C. Brown 

LINA Folklore Society of \vhich he was Secretary-Treasurer 1913-1943 


General Editor 

Associate Editors 







Wood Erjgravings by 




Volume I 


Edited by 
Paul G. Brkwster, Archer Taylor, Bartlett Jere Whiting, 
George P. Wilson, Stith Thompson 

Volume II 


Edited by 
Henry M. Belden and Arthur Palmer Hudson 

Volume III 


Edited by 
Henry M. Belden and Arthur Palmer Hudson 

Volume IV 


Edited by 

Jan P. Schinhan 

Volume V 


Edited by 
Wayland D. Hand 


Frank Clyde IJrDvvn was horn at liarri.sonl)urg, Viri^inia. lO 
October 1870 and died at Durham. North Carohna, 3 June 1943. 
He was graduated with the degree from the University of 
Nashville, Tennessee, in 1893 and began at once his long career 
as a teacher. In the same year he married Miss Ola Mar- 
guerite Hollis, of Covington. Georgia. She died in 1928, and 
in 1932 he married Mrs. Mary Henkle Wadsworth. In iqoj 
he received from the University of Chicago the M.A. degree, 
and in 1908 the Ph.D. degree, with a dissertation on Elkanah 

In 1909 Dr. Brown came to Trinity Ctjllege, Durham, as 
Professor of English. He was then already interested in folk- 
lore, and a few years later organized the North Carolina 
Folklore Society. At the same time he was actively concerned 
with the affairs of the college: he was chairman of his depart- 
ment and as Marshal he superintended for many years all its 
public ceremonies. After the college became Duke University 
he was made Comptroller and was continuously occupied with 
the plans and appointments of the new buildings on both cam- 
puses. Though he left his mark on Trinity College and Duke 
University, his most enduring monument is this Collection of 
North Carolina Folklore, which was made mainly through his 
personal efforts and the enthusiasm he inspired in others. 






Edited by 









Cambridge Uniz'crsity Press, London, N.Jf. i, England 




In Memoriam — Frank Clyde Brown 

Foreword by Paull F. Baum xi 

General Introduction by Newman I. White i 

Folklore : Its Meaning and Significance 3 — The Frank C. Brown 
Collection: Its History, Nature, and Growth 12 

Children's Games and Rhymes 

Edited by Paul G. Brewster 29 
Introduction 31 — Ball Games 36 — Hiding Games 37 — Jumping and 
Hopping Games 39 — Practical Jokes 41— Battle Games 43— 
Dramatic Games 44 — Guessing Games 57 — Forfeit and Penalty 
Games 63— Games of Chase 72— Games of Dexterity 83— Imita- 
tive Games 84 — Courtship and Marriage Games 89 — Teasing 
Games 133 — Tug-of-War and Similar Games 137 — Games of 
Smaller Children 144— Elimination Games 153— Dancing Games 
154 — Miscellaneous Games 157 

Counting-Out Rhymes 160 — Game Rhymes 169 — Rope-Skipping 
Rhymes 170 — Catches or Sells 172 — Teasing Rhymes 175 — De- 
risive Rhymes 178 — Divination Rhymes 179 — Charms 181 — Lulla- 
bies 183 — Finger Rhymes 184 — Tickling Rhymes 188 — Assevera- 
tions 190 — Recitations 190 — "Smart Aleck'" Rhymes 195 — Friend- 
ship Verses 197 — Tongue-Twisters 197 — Miscellaneous Rhymes 
198 — Bibliography 207 — Indexes 215 

Beliefs and Customs Edited by Paul G. Brewster 221 

Introduction 223 — Childhood 225 — Folk-Toys 232 — Courtship and 
Marriage 235— Holidays and "Get-Togethers" 239— Household 
Superstitions 247 — Plants and Animals 252 — Death and Burial 
254— Miscellaneous Items 261 — Quilt Patterns 263 — Dyeing 
266— Cooking and Preserving 270 — Beverage Making 274 — 
Bibliography 276 

Riddles Edited by Archer Taylor 283 

Introduction 285 — Comparisons to Living Creatures 288 — to an 
Animal or Animals 292 — to a Person 294 — to a Plant 297 — to a 
Thing 297 — Enumerations of Comparisons 299 — Description of the 
Parts of an Object 303 — Description in Terms of Colors 304 — 
in Terms of Acts or a Scene 305 — Neck-Riddles 307 — Genealog- 
ical Riddles 310— Arithmetical Riddles 311— Biblical Riddles 313— 
Spelling and Letter Riddles 314— "How" Riddle 316— "What" 
Riddles 316— "When" Riddles 318— "Where" Riddles 319— "Who" 
Riddle 319— "Why" Riddles 320 — Miscellaneous Puns 322— Catches 
324 — Miscellaneous 325 — Bibliography 326 




Proverbs and Proverbial Sayings 

Edited by B. J. Whiting 329 
Introduction 331— Bibliography 355— Proverbs and Proverbial 
Sayings 360 

Folk Speech Edited by George P. Wilson 503 

Glossary 505 — Salutations and Replies 611 — Bibliography 615 

Folk Tales and Legends Edited by Stith Thompson 619 
Introduction 621— Origin Legends 631— Queer Tales about Ani- 
mals 636 — Tales of Magic 639 — Witches and their Deviltry 
643— Ghosts and Hants 669— Other Mysteries 686— Buried Treas- 
ure 691 — Numskulls and Fools 697 — Jokers 700 — Anecdotes 702 — 
Animal Tales 703 — Bibliography 705 

List of Contributors to This Volume 709 


Dr. Frank C. Brown frontispiece 

Wood Engravings 
by Clare Leighton 

Corn Shucking in the Mountains facing page 126 

The Baptizing facing page 226 

Fish Caught page 354 

Washing Clothes facing page 456 

Dragging Nets facing page 632 


One of my earliest memories of North Carolina is that of a 
chilly ride to Raleigh, in February 1923, in an open Ford, to 
attend a meeting of the North Carolina Folklore Society. This 
was my first acquaintance with the Collection which is now at 
long last being published. Since then I have had occasional 
and casual glimpses of its progress, but until the present no 
actual connection with it. In April 1949, however, I was asked 
by a committee reporting to President Edens and Vice-President 
Gross to take over the task, left unfinished at Dr. White's 
sudden death, of seeing the Brown Folklore Collection through 
the press. Much had been done; much remained to be done. 
The manuscript of the present volume and that of the Ballads 
and Songs (nearly two thousand pages) were ready and wait- 
ing for the final editing. The problems of handling the music 
were far from clear or settled. Later I learned of more mate- 
rial, some of it not even yet in writing, for which apparently 
no provision had been made in the plans for publication. What 
had at first seemed plain sailing presently ran into heavy going ; 
but now the haven is in sight and I can honestly express my 
gratitude to the Associate Editors for their long patience and 
firm forebearing. 

Some of the delaying difficulties are readily accounted for. 
Dr. Brown was an enthusiastic and indefatigable collector ; and 
when one collects one collects everything — what may or may 
not belong. Then only a Briarseus with the strength of a 
Hercules can winnow and discard. It might be argued (suc- 
cessfully) that a more highly selective representation of Dr. 
Brown's Collection would have met the requirements; but the 
gods have thought otherwise, and the gods not only have the 
last word, they are often right. Nevertheless, it should be 
stated clearly that though much is given, much remains, and 
that the editors have omitted a great deal. In fact, a tabulation 
of their rejections was once planned, but has been suppressed; 
for the complete Collection, with multiple indexes, is now acces- 
sible in the Duke University Library, 


Moreover, as Dr. White's Introduction explains, the Collec- 
tion was made over a large number of years in a great variety 
of circumstances by various methods and from miscellaneous 
sources. Some of the learned annotations betray this — an un- 
evenness or incompleteness or similar irregularity. Much of 
this was natural and inevitable ; but some of it also has been 
aggra\ated by the lapse of time and of memory and the separa- 
tion both among Dr. Brown's contributors and between them 
and his later editors. It is hardly possible to exaggerate the 
difficulties faced and so skilfully overcome by Dr. \\ bite when 
he undertook to sort and copy, to arrange and index, the mass 
of more or less unarranged papers. And after the happy selec- 
tion of specialists as Associate Editors most suited to handle the 
separate groups of folklore materials, each Associate Editor had 
in turn to sort and arrange the materials he had received ; had 
to consult with the General Editor and with his colleagues about 
overlapping and interrelating details ; and finally each according 
to his own lights and according to the special requirements of 
his particular subject had to organize his matter into suitable 
shape for publication. It is no wonder then that signs of un- 
evenness and irregularity remain. It will be a wonder if many 
errors do not remain — errors which the General Editor would 
have caught and removed but which a late comer, who is hardly 
more than a repair man, has not even recognized. 

It is often hard to know where editing leaves oflf and inter- 
fering begins. But inasmuch as the manuscripts came to me — 
those which have come — in the state already described I could 
not allow myself the presumptuous pleasure of 'editing' beyond 
the requirements of formal consistency ; and even in these, such 
is the variety of matter and such the necessary latitude (and 
corresponding responsibility) which the General Editor had 
given his Associate Editors, I have fallen far short of satis- 
faction and should have fallen still lower without the expert aid 
of Mr. Brice, of the Duke University Press. Different branches 
of the general subject, and even parts of the same when a 
division of labor was necessary, had to be treated by different 
and not always consistent methods, and each specialist left to 
his own ways and means. In this first volume, particularly, each 
section should be regarded as a separate monograph, and what- 
ever keys and clues are proper for an understanding of the text 
should be sought in their normal places. Moreover, owing to 
the multiple authorship and the variety of sources, a certain 
amount of repetition could not be avoided; some of the Asso- 


ciate Editors have been handicapped Ijy an unfaniiharity with 
the local background (it may be noted that of all the persons 
named on the title page. Dr. White alone is a native of the 
state) ; and many contributors, owing to the long period of time 
over which their notes were accumulated, have changed address 
and even their names, by marriage. We cannot hope to have 
escaped frequent error in this respect ; we can only hope, under 
the circumstances, to be forgiven. 

The list of contributors, at the end of this volume, was 
prepared by the General Editor. It is both a record and an 
expression of gratitude for their interest and co-operation ; and 
the same gratitude is due to all those whose contributions are, 
for one reason or another, not here included. Special mention 
should be made of Dr. Brown's enthusiastic and indefatigable 
collaborator from 1921 until her death in 1936, Miss Maude M. 
Minish, who in 1924 became Mrs. Dennis H. Sutton; and of 
Paul and Elizabeth Green, of Chapel Hill. In 1926-29 Mr. 
and Mrs. Green made a collection of "Folk Beliefs and Practices 
in Central and Eastern North Carolina." which they generously 
presented to the Brown Collection in 1945. The items in this 
collection have been severally distributed through the present 
volume in their appropriate places and are generally indicated 
as the Paul and Elizabeth Green Collection. 

It was Dr. White's hope, I believe, that this body of folklore 
coming from the folk now all about us and assembled by one 
of our contemporaries could be presented somehow in its natural 
state, in some fashion to hold its position as 'popular.' But it 
was a forlorn hope ; and for an obvious reason. The collections 
of Dr. Brown and of the North Carolina Folklore Society had 
become so large and miscellaneous that drastic simplification 
and sorting, the regular work of scholars, was a necessary final 
step — a process to be followed (in Jamesian phrase) without 
mitigation of rigor. 

It is still an ironical paradox that such interests as these, 
springing from the folk, in the narrow sense of that word, the 
unlettered members of the community, their tales and songs and 
beliefs and their wisdom — grave and gay, trivial and otherwise, 
cynical, tragical, comical, and nonsensical — should fall into the 
hands of scholars, who have their own non-popular ways of 
doing things. But it is inescapable. Das Volk dichtet: the 
people make, the scholars codify and edit. When studies of 
folk wisdom and habits are concerned with the prehistoric past 
or the interpretation of 'savage' customs to explain what would 


Otherwise have been lost to us, the paradox is extenuated ; for 
folklore then takes its place with archaeology, anthropology, and 
the other disciplines whose work it is to penetrate beyond the 
barriers of recorded history. But the irony is intensified when 
the records are contemporary and the results are an exhibit of 
survival, of that persistence of racial instincts and uncultured 
practices into our own civilized environment ; are a proof that 
the race remains in so many ways what it was a thousand or ten 
thousand years ago and progress appears to be a superficial 
boast. Here our undeveloped past mingles with our advanced 
present. Not only is there the juxtaposition of stages of grow^th 
(if that is the word for it), but also the conflict of methods: 
the mind of the scholar operating with the most unscholarly of 
all subject-matters. They may cleave, as Bacon would say. but 
they will not incorporate. 

What results thus is something not only anathema but in- 
comprehensible to the generality of the folk. Yet there is some- 
where, if we can recognize it, a middle ground. For the 
language, feelings, and beliefs of the people, their 'folkways,' 
though they reveal often with uncomfortable poignancy the 
lamentable limitations of our poor humanity, represent also our 
fundamental and persistent vulgarity (in every best sense of 
that word, bicn ctitcndu), our wholesome grossness and too too 
solid earthiness, that part of us which remains free from the 
taints of delicate culture and effeminating sensibility, or what 
has come to be known as civilization. When the scholar, having 
his own share of this commonness, records and analyzes by his 
sophisticated techniques these many variations on the folk 
theme, makes of them a spectacle and a sort of Athenian 
holiday, there is of course no condescension, no affectionate 
patronizing; and it is therefore pleasant to witness, with due 
detachment, the two alien parties agreeing for the moment to 
co-operate more or less, each a little amused and misunder- 
standing, but both amenable and concessive to the oddities of 
the other. It is pleasant and in its way enlightening. 

There could be no better illustration of how such opposite 
elements can be harmonized than in the wood engravings of 
Miss Leighton in this volume and in the volumes to follow. 
With an extraordinary blend of subtle comprehension and skil- 
ful technique Miss Leighton has caught and reflected the North 
Carolina folk-spirit in its many forms. Her pictures are not 
meant to illustrate particular details of these volumes, but rather 
to be a parallel record of the same phenomena. 


Newman I. White 


Folklore: Its Meaning and Significance 

THE first spot on the earth's surface witli which folklore is con- 
nected by a written record was the Garden of Eden. Why did 
Satan assume the form of a serpent, and why has the serpent borne 
such an evil reputation in tradition ever since ? The answer in both 
cases is folklore. As for Satan afterwards, what except folklore 
has transformed that scriptural Prince of Darkness into the mali- 
cious, but somewhat familiar and companionable Auld Nick or 
Clootie of Burns's 'Address to the Deil,' and the eternal, spell- 
casting seducer of Ralph Hodgson's 'Eve'? Whose version of the 
serpent is more potent today, that of science, when it tells us that 
most snakes are harmless and beneficial, or that of folklore, when it 
tells us that all snakes are our mortal enemies? 

Wlien and where folklore began, and where will it end, nobody 
knows. The word folklore was unknown in English previous to 
1846, but the congeries of beliefs and practices that the word de- 
notes was the law of all primitive societies and of family life even 
before tribes came into existence. Archaeological investigations of 
the most ancient civilization yet uncovered show that in Ur of the 
Chaldees a princess collected antiques — which is a form of conscious 
interest in what we call folklore. Thus the Chaldeans probably had 
a word for it. If, as Sir Thomas Browne suggested, "what song 
the syrens sang" is "not beyond conjecture," the nearest approach 
to an answer will surely be made by folklore. 

Today we celebrate Easter and Christmas and enjoy our mince 
pies, gift-giving, holly and mistletoe, without thinking that they are 
all pagan folklore survivals taken over and adapted by Christianity. 
Divinities of two pagan folklores that have been "dead" nearly 
two thousand years receive unconscious tribute from us when we 
daily mention the names of months and weekdays. Adolf Hitler 
followed soothsayers to his final catastrophe, just as Julius Caesar 
met his death, as some thought, by not following them. Less than 
seventy years ago a Negro magistrate in W^ilmington, North Caro- 
lina, subjected a white man accused of murder to one of the most 
primitive of all trials by making him touch the dead man to see if 
the corpse would pronounce him guilty by bleeding afresh. As these 
words were written a religious sect in Virginia was defying the 
Governor of that state by persevering in snake rites which in one 
form or another are older than history. Two years later, as these 

N.C.F., Vol, I, (2) 


words are being revised for publication, tlie same sect is repeating 
the same defiance, and newspapers in Durham, North Carohna, are 
publishing photographs of the use of snakes by a white congregation 
in Durham, in defiance of a local ordinance hastily passed to end 
the practice. 

These are sporadic cases, but the number of people assaulted on 
account of witchcraft spells in various parts of the United States 
is much greater in the records of various petty courts than the 
newspaper reader knows, and much greater in fact than the courts 
know. George Lyman Kittredge, the great authority on witchcraft 
in old and New England, w^as convinced that in the twentieth cen- 
tury more than half the people in the world still believe in witch- 
craft. Mr. G. C. Norman, the professional magician, says that in 
his professional career he is often asked to counteract spells and 
sometimes to impose them, and that he has probably encountered a 
thousand such cases in the southeastern states. In 1907 the Uni- 
versity of California published a report by Mr. Fletcher B. Dressier, 
based upon an examination of nearly nine hundred normal school 
students who had stated their belief, partial belief, or disbelief in 
a number of current superstitions. The report indicated 44.9 per 
cent belief. i\Ir. H. Addington Bruce, in an article in the Outlook 
(August 26, 1911) concluded on the basis of a similar test of the 
Harvard faculty that three-fourths of those tested were not immune 
to superstitious beliefs. In both these tests "partial belief" was 
counted as "belief." Very few confessed to being superstitious: 
they were simply treating superstition with traditional, cautious 

All of our arts and many of our present laws and beliefs orig- 
inated in folklore many centuries before modern scholarship found 
a name for it. Medicine originated mainly in tribal magic and 
folk-tradition. So did chemistry. Astronomy was first the hand- 
maiden of Chaldean soothsayers ; music served first the traditional 
folk song and folk dance; painting and sculpture were closely re- 
lated to magic and traditional beliefs and tales. In the Cro-Magnon 
cave paintings, where surviving pictorial art began, the surprisingly 
realistic representations of animals are supposed to have been efforts 
to produce the animals themselves by sympathetic magic. History 
and biography began with folk legends ; some bilious critics assert 
that historians and biographers still occasionally mistake legend for 
fact. Homer, the first great poet, merely assembled and touched 
with his individual genius the various legends and beliefs long cur- 
rent among the Hellenic folk. Aesop did the same for animal 
fables. All arts and sciences were first transmitted by oral tradi- 
tion, the common hallmark of all folklore. 

The arts have continued to the present day to depend largely on 

G E N E R A I, I N T R O D l^ C T I O N 5 

folklore. The great medieval sources for theme, plot, and incident — 
such works as the Gcsia RoiiianoriDii, the bestiaries, fabliaux, 
and saints' legends — were largely folklore. Chaucer, one of the 
most urbane of Englishmen, used folklore for some of his best 
talcs. Shakespeare would hardly be Shakespeare without his mid- 
summer night's fairies, his ghosts of Caesar and Hamlet's father, 
his weird sisters, his Caliban, and his Ariel. The full extent to 
which the greatest English poet drew upon folklore can be learned 
only by recourse to T. F. Thiselton Dyer's Folk-Lorc of Shake- 
speare, a book of over 550 pages. One of the most popular nar- 
ratives of recent years, Franz Werfel's Song of Beniadettc, is a 
medieval saint's legend revived. The music of many national songs 
originated in folk songs — including the state song of North Caro- 
lina, which is an old Swiss folk tune preserved in the Frank C. 
Brown Collection. All artists in all times and places who have 
drawn upon ancient mythologies for theme or ornament have thereby 
become debtors to folklore. 

The modern sciences have been less affected, but there is still 
more folklore in science than all except the most thoughtful and 
candid perceive. Our common law is traditional practice regularized 
by legal recognition, and some statute laws are much the same. 
Thus the adoption of children was practiced in England from the 
earliest times, though the first .statute regularizing it was passed 
in 1819. Previous to the end of the sixth century there was no 
written Anglo-Saxon law, although laws, clearly recognized as sucn, 
had long been in existence in the form of traditional custom. A 
number of primitive races today have no laws at all except certain 
clearly defined traditions that have never been written or stated 
by any court or assembly. 

Our acknowledged obligations to folklore are great, but our un- 
recognized debts are probably greater. Folklore in its many forms 
is by nature so nmch a part of our habitual lives that we are no 
more conscious of it than we are of many other habits. The partial 
consciousness that we have achieved is itself an evidence that we 
are less close than formerly to the thing itself. And yet. once we 
stop to think, we are surprised at the extent to which it still oi)erates 
in our lives. Our very language is influenced by it. not only by the 
thousands of folk proverbs and similes that we easily recognize as 
such because they are still current, but by hundreds of words that 
bear no immediately obvious evidence of folk origin. Thus the very 
word influence preserves the primitive superstition that men's lives 
were governed by some essence which flowed in from stars, and 
the adjective recalcitrant pompously embalms a humorous folk im- 
age of an animal kicking back while being urged forward. 

When a Negro wants his wire screen repaired, not to keep out 
the flies, but the ghosts, it is not merely current Negro imagination 


that Speaks, but millions of primitive people in the past who con- 
trived various ghost barriers. The Algonquin Indians (who were 
in contact with Negroes and whites in Colonial Virginia) used nets 
as a protection against evil spirits; the Louisiana Cajuns (who were 
in contact with slaves imported from Virginia) still use sieves as a 
protection against the supernatural loitp garou. When a boisterous 
mob hangs an unpopular person in effigy, it is unconsciously con- 
forming to the age-old and still extant belief that a person may 
be injured by mutilating an image made to represent him. Modern 
court eti(|uette is a survival of the primitive taboos by which chief- 
tains were hedged about and protected. Similarly the modern cus- 
toms of throwing old shoes after a newly married couple and 
carrying a bride across the threshold both originated in primitive 
taboos. When Joseph interpreted dreams in Egypt, he proceeded 
upon the theory, current today, that dreams are symbolic. Dr. 
Freud himself testifies that the dream which caused Alexander the 
Great to resume his attack on Tyre was interpreted correctly and 
according to Freudian principles. Dr. Freud also notes that the 
theory of dreams as wish-fulfilment was anticipated by various folk- 
proverbs, such as "The pig dreams of acorns," and "The hen dreams 
of millet." 

Folklore which today may be scientifically worthless has in the 
past formed the lasting foundations of some of our most stable 
institutions. Thus Sir James G. Frazer, in The Devil's Advocate 
(1909, 1913), shows that marriage, private property, respect for 
life, and respect for governmental authority all rest largely on wide- 
spread primitive taboos mainly illogical in themselves. The same 
author, in his The Scope of Social Anthropology (1908), has also 
given eloquent testimony to the fact that even the crudest super- 
stitions are anything but trifling today : 

The reason why the higher forms of superstition or religion (for the 
religion of one generation is apt to become the superstition of the next) 
are less permanent than the lower is simply that the higher beliefs, being 
a creation of superior intelligence, have little hold on the minds of the 
vulgar, who nominally profess them for a time in conformity with the 
will of their betters, but readily shed and forget them as soon as these 
beliefs have gone out of fashion with the educated classes. But while 
they dismiss without a pang or an effort articles of faith which were 
only superficially imprinted on their minds by the weight of cultured 
opinion, the ignorant and foolish multitude cling with a sullen determina- 
tion to far grosser beliefs which really answer to the coarser texture of 
their undeveloped intellect. Thus while the avowed creed of the en- 
lightened minority is constantly changing under the influence of reflection 
and enquiry, the real, though unavowed. creed of the mass of mankind 
appears to be almost stationary, and the reason why it alters so little is 
that in the majority of men, whether they are savages or outwardly 
civilized beings, intellectual progress is so slow as to be hardly per- 


ceptible. The surface of society, like that of the sea, is in perpetual 
motion ; its depths, like those of the ocean, remain almost unmoved. 

jNIany of our common daily practices still depend more upon folk 
tradition than upon the printing press, which has done so much to 
supplant oral tradition. How many have learned from books how to 
row a boat, dress a baby, milk a cow, lire a g-un, bait a hook, tie a 
knot, or drive a nail ? Soapmaking and spinning may have been 
largely captured by science and industry, but despite hundreds of 
cookbooks, cooking is still largely a traditional art, and so, perhaps 
(if we include the wliole world), are husbandry and all the domestic 

The extensive claims I have just made for the importance of 
folklore are reasonable enough when one comes to consider its 
accepted definitions. These have been well summarized in a state- 
ment often made by Dr. Frank C. Brown to his folklore classes 
and lecture audiences : 

The term folklore may be said to include in its definition everything 
which makes up the body of knowledge and of material things possessed 
by the simple illiterate people, created by them, and inherited from past 
generations : the language in large measure ; the social customs ; the out- 
ward forms of religion and the folk-explanations of the phenomena of 
nature ; how to farm and raise cattle and sheep and hogs and horses ; 
how to hunt and fish successfully ; how and when to cut and cure grain, 
handle woods, cook meats, fruits, vegetables ; how to build houses and 
boats and implements for farming or hunting or warfare ; how to make 
clothing and hats and shoes ; how to foretell the weather or the promise 
of good crops or good and bad luck; how to become skilled in the use 
of powers other than human or to defeat another's skill in the use of 
magical powers. All legends and stories, songs, sayings, games, toys, 
cures, charms, implements of war or of the chase, designs of lace, car- 
pets, rugs, quilts go to make up the body of folklore, which originated 
with the folk and which belongs to them. It is so extensive that it is 
to be found in every phase of thought and activity in which man is 

This conception of folklore represents an evolution of two or 
three hundred years. In the seventeenth century men like John 
Aubrey, Anthony a Wood, John Selden, and Samuel Pepys collected 
traditional "curiosities" in the spirit of antic|uarianism rather than 
of philosophic scholarship. In the early eighteenth century Joseph 
Addison defended the traditional ballad, though rather apologeti- 
cally. Shortly after the middle of the century the Gothic Revival, 
the Ballad Revival, and the popularity of Chatterton and Ossian 
came into vogue almost simultaneously, all of them aided and sup- 
ported by that great expansion of anti(|uarian research all over 
England which was such a valuable foundation aid for history and 
biography as well as folklore. Yet Dr. Johnson ridiculed such 
interests, and Bishop Percy was half ashamed and "improved" his 


ballads, as ]\Iacpherson did his Ossian. Thomas Gray's weird sis- 
ters and Celtic bards are conscious revivals, smelling of anti- 
quarianism when compared with Shakespeare's natural use of similar 
materials. But by the end of the century Robert Burns was writing 
boldly and naturally in folk language about folk beliefs, and Words- 
worth was defending both as proper materials for poetry — even 
though neither Wordsworth nor Burns ever completely emancipated 
himself from the conventional tradition. 

The eighteenth century had made great strides toward what we 
now know as folklore. From the angle of scholarship, however, this 
interest was predominantly an antiquarian one, and from the angle 
of literature it was predominantly a revolt against literary fashions 
that were growing stale. Nevertheless, Wordsworth was soon to 
suggest a really philosophic sympathy for ancient myths, which 
several poets — himself, Keats, and Shelley — ^were to use in giving 
mythology a new vitality in English poetry. 

In the early nineteenth century Jacob and Wihelm Grimm, in 
Germany, gave a great additional interest to folklore through their 
work with folk tales and German myths. In England and in Europe, 
however, well into the nineteenth century, study was limited fairly 
generally to those branches of folklore which may be regarded as 
popular literature or its materials — tales, myths, ballads, etc. Not 
until the middle of the nineteenth century, after further expansion 
of the eighteenth century lines of interest, did the word folklore 
appear, as an indication that the interests it connoted had achieved 
status as a separate, recognized field of study. 

The first society for the study of folklore was the Folk-Lore 
Society, founded in London in 1878. At about the same time a 
broadened conception of folklore, known as the anthropological 
school (in contrast with the older philological school), made its 
appearance and found expression in England in such works as 
Andrew Lang's Custom and Myth (1884) and MytJi, Ritual, and 
Religion (1887), and E. A. Westermarck's History of Human Mar- 
riage (1889-1901). It culminated in J. G. Frazer's The Golden 
Bough (1890, 1907-15, 12 vols.), one of the great monuments of 
English scholarship in the present century. This approach empha- 
sized the importance of customs and institutions, rather than liter- 
ature and art. It employed commonly the comparative method and 
thus freed folklore from the channels of purely local or national 
tradition in which it had been too strictly confined. Contemporary 
primitive cultures received much of the attention previously re- 
served for the primitive stages of civilized European peoples. 

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries other devel- 
opments came more rapidly. Indifference to the significance of time 
and place, which had characterized most of the anthropological 
school (including even The Golden Bough), was corrected largely 


through improvements in the older historical approach. The new 
geographical approach, hrought to its highest fruition hy memhcrs 
of the so-called Finnish School with the founding of the Folklore 
Fellows organization in 1907, has done even more to put folklore 
on a scientific basis as to scope and method. After the appearance 
in France of the Linguistic Atlos of Edmond and Guillieron the 
philological approach was broadened to include not only literature 
but the language itself, a tendency whose most recent fruit is the 
Linguistic Atlas of America (1939 — ). Political, economic, psy- 
chological, and religious conditions have been increasingly recog- 
nized as influences upon folklore in different times and places. Not 
a little of the inspiration that went into the Atlns dcr dcntschcn 
Volkskundc (Leipzig, 1937 — ), a monumental cartographic treat- 
ment of German folklore, came from the Wrede-Wenker linguistic 
atlas. Many of its maps, however, go beyond the products of folk 
speech to include objects of material culture, showing that the con- 
ception of folklore in Germany, as elsewhere on the Continent, has 
perceptibly broadened since the golden age during the nineteenth 
century. It has now become fairly well recognized that material ob- 
jects, as w-ell as beliefs and oral traditions, are a part of folk life. 
Haphazard museums of local antiquities that have flourished and 
multiplied since the eighteenth century have been reorganized, en- 
riched, and studied as depositories of the folk arts and their prod- 
ucts. It is still true, however, that in America folk arts have yet 
to find their proper place beside other forms of folk expression 
which have always been regarded as more truly tracHtional. 

Both the nature of folklore and the evolution of its study show 
that it is fundamentally different from other recognized branches 
of study. It is in fact a group of all the studies necessary to 
understand a primitive or an illiterate society and the multifarious 
survivals from that society in the midst of the sophisticated culture 
that succeeded it. It is not merely a ghost of the past, but a ghost 
and a flourishing organism at the same time. It may be properly 
described as a stream, sometimes open, sometimes subterranean, per- 
haps dwindling in volume with its length, flowing through the whole 
history of man. 

The fragments of the earlier society that have been rejected by 
the sophisticated culture are those most easily recognized. They are 
generally the "worthless superstitions and beliefs" which cause some 
thoughtless condemnation of the whole subject as trifling. The con- 
siderable body of folklore which still functions actively in sophis- 
ticated societies is by comparison not nearly so fully recognized, but 
is probably more significant. 

From the fact that folklore is so closely related to most of the 
arts and sciences it follows that folklore cannot be adequately under- 
stood except partly through these same approaches. Anyone who 


would know folklore fully must, like Sir Francis Bacon, take all 
knowledge for his province, an ambition which was scarcely prac- 
ticable even in the sixteenth century. One branch of the subject, 
if its necessary connections are included, is about all that most schol- 
ars may hope to master. 

It also follows that tlie same arts and sciences have much to 
learn from folklore about themselves, once folklore is better under- 
stood and presented. Since a number of reputable scientists are 
now convinced that primitive magic charms really can cause sick- 
ness and death, that certain savages actually have walked barefoot 
over hot coals without being harmed, and that extrasensory per- 
ception may be a fact, perhaps the folk gifts of second sight, 
water-witchery, and even the removal of warts merit more serious 
study. If modern psychology by the study of dreams has made us 
recognize the ghastly power of the primitive mind underlying the 
sophisticated mind, then we need to know more of what the primi- 
tive mind thought of dreams, and we need to know vastly more, 
through a different and less subjective approach, about every mani- 
festation of the primitive mind that is recoverable. For the soci- 
ologist folklore is still a somewhat neglected approach to a true 
understanding of the group mind. Historians and biographers, con- 
stantly trying to separate legend from fact, would profit by a better 
knowledge of the nature of legend. Ethnologists, philologists, his- 
torical geographers, and archaeologists, who have already studied 
folklore to advantage, could use additional aid from a folklore better 
organized and better understood. 

The study of folklore will receive more light from allied branches 
of knowledge and will in return ofifer more light to them when folk- 
lorists modify their methods to meet these common interests more 
fully. The long and incomplete evolution of the study has not been 
matched, pari passu, by an evolution in method. Many collectors, 
and perhaps a few editors, still preserve too much of the common 
eighteenth-century attitude that folklore is primarily a mixed assort- 
ment of amusing oddities. An acceptable technique has been devel- 
oped and practiced for compact presentations. Many folklorists, 
however, are inclined to take refuge in this well-established con- 
vention and leave more intricate matters to "comparative folklore." 
Yet from the larger point of view present techniques constitute 
only an excellent foundation ; in the end all folklore is "compar- 
ative." Its chief value is the startling and stimulating evidence it 
can furnish of the kinship of the human mind in all ages and places. 
One thinks of the universal sweep and interest of such a book as 
Frazer's The Golden Bough, or of George Lyman Kittredge's 
Witcheraff in Old and Neiv T-mjland, which is enlivened and gen- 
eralized by parallel examples of almost every kind of witchcraft, 
first from classical history and then from recent and conremporary 


Have we really studied ancient and medieval medicine, herbals, 
bestiaries, household recipes, and works on needlecraft — not to 
mention travel books and diaries — from the point of view of folk- 
lore's deeper significance? It ought to mean more to us than it 
has meant that the evil eye we have heard Negroes speak of is 
dreaded not only by savages today, but was feared as an evil in- 
fluence by Gaius Valerius Catullus, who was not afraid to lampoon 
Julius Caesar; that the mythical hoop snake of current legend may 
be some sort of collateral descendant of that more terrifying snake 
reported by Caesar's troops which launched itself through the air 
and penetrated trees and shields ; that the same veterans were more 
nervous about the witches swarming over Thrace than about Pom- 
pey's soldiers ; that the grain sacks used in Joseph's Egyptian 
granaries (to judge by ancient models in the Metropolitan Museum) 
were scarcely distinguishable from those used today ; that a gold 
chain from Ur of the Chaldees is very like specimens of nineteenth- 
century German goldsmiths' craft ; that one or two conventionalized 
architectural decorations seem to be just about the same in ancient 
Greek and ancient Mayan buildings ; that a spider has been credited 
with saving, and in the same manner, the lives of King David, 
Jesus, Mahomet, Robert Bruce, and a Revolutionary hero of New 
York state named Tim Murphy; that some children's games being 
played today in North Carolina are descendants of some games 
played in the sand-lots and alleys of Athens and Rome. 

Comparative folklore has indeed brought us a long step toward 
fuller understanding of our dimly recognized, vastly complicated 
human heritage. In the field of the folk tale, for example, we 
have the five-volume Bolte-Polivka Amncrkungen zu den Kinder- 
iind Hausmdrchen der Briider Grimm (Leipzig, 1913-32), which is 
the cornerstone of all fairy-tale scholarship. An even broader 
approach to narrative forms is Professor Stith Thompson's six- 
volume Motif -Index of Folk-Literature (Helsinki and Bloomington, 
Indiana, 1933-36), which classifies twenty-three main divisions and 
nearly two hundred and fifty subdivisions of narrative motifs, with 
bibliographical references, including as nearly as possible all avail- 
able materials in all languages from folk tales, ballads, myths, 
fables, mediaeval romances, exempla, fabliaux, jestbooks, and local 
legends. As yet, however, there has appeared no interpreter to 
use it on a scale commensurate with its scope and value, or to con- 
nect its wealth of materials with other arts and sciences. 

These opinions are expressed only as those of the General Editor 
of these volumes. The associate editors are bound by them only 
to the extent of their own convictions. A technique of study and 
presentation which would realize fully the possibilities of folklore 
could only be a gradual evolution. Nor could any one scholar ever 
hope very reasonably to be able to apply it fully to more than one 


branch of folklore. It would cut across the highly compartmented 
view of knowledge encouraged by our modern age of specialization 
and would require an attitude and a training possessed by few 
scholars educated under the methods of this century. It might be 
a beginning, however, if editors kept themselves and readers azvare 
of the larger implications of folklore, even if they can attempt no 
explanations beyond the immediately practicable. Even a beginning 
would go far toward redeeming folklore scholarship from current 
charges of mere antiquarianism, when presented for scholars, and 
mere sentimental dilettantism, when presented for the general reader. 
A slight and inadequate contribution toward this end is all that 
these volumes can claim. In devoting one volume to music alone 
they recognize the claim of musicologists that folk songs as tradi- 
tionally edited have always made music too subservient to text. Folk 
music can be more adequately presented if presented independently, 
as folk music. In the illustrations by Clare Leighton it is hoped 
that the association of graphic arts with folklore has been made 
closer and more evident, with mutual advantages. Miss Leighton 
has not sought to illustrate any single story, song, or belief, but 
has tried to present an artist's interpretation of the life and environ- 
ment of the people of North Carolina who are the principal cus- 
todians of its folklore; and she has Hved and worked with them 
in order to do so. 

The Frank C. Brozvn Collection: Its History, Nature, 
and Grozvth 

The Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore 
originated through the efforts of Dr. Frank C. Brown and the 
North Carolina Folklore Society. It grew steadily over a period 
of more than thirty years. During all but five of those years I 
was in personal association with Dr. Brown, first as student, and 
later as a faculty colleague ; and during a part of that time I was 
also a member of the Society. The following account of the Society 
and of Dr. Brown's labors as its Secretary and collector-in-chief is 
based upon personal memory, therefore, as well as upon written 

In 1912 Professor John A. Lomax, then a vigorous collector of 
cowboy songs, was president of the American Folklore Society. 
Desiring to stimulate collection of other forms of folklore in the 
Southern states, he wrote to all North Carolina professors of Eng- 
lish who were listed as members of the Modern Language Asso- 
ciation of America, urging the formation of a North Carolina 
folklore society. Answers arrived expressing various degrees of 

C E N K R A L I N T R O D U C T I N I3 

willingness and ability to co-operate. It was soon agreed among 
the various professors interested that the lead had best be taken 
by Professor Frank C. Brown, who had come to Trinity College 
(now Duke University) just three years before as Professor of 
English. Dr. Brown had already shown himself to be an energetic 
organizer, and he w-as probably already interested in folklore, for 
his collection contains a manuscript of "Lord Thomas and Fair 
Annet" in his hand, dated 1898-99. 

Dr. Brown began work at once, with the encouragement and 
assistance of Professor Maurice G. Fulton, of Davidson College, 
Professor George Summey, of the Agricultural and Mechanical 
College, and Professors Tom Peete Cross, James F. Royster, and 
John M. Booker, of the University of North Carolina. By Novem- 
ber 2^, 1912, Professor Summey was reporting to Professor Lomax 
that Dr. Brown "seems to be going at things in a vigorous way." 

On the recommendation of Professor Lomax a copy of the Mis- 
souri Folklore Society's constitution was obtained from Professor 
H. AL Belden, who over forty years later was to become one of 
the associate editors of the collection at whose birth-throes he had 
aided. Favorable publicity was promised by the newspapers, and 
influential people all over the state were invited to become sponsors. 

On December 4, 1913, a committee of English teachers met in 
Raleigh, and Professors Brown, Royster, and Cross issued a printed 
statement announcing the first meeting of the Society for March 
24, 1913, in the Senate Chamber at Raleigh. Dues were set (and 
still remain) at one dollar, and all persons interested were invited 
to join. Purposes were set forth and ten classifications of folklore 
were listed. Forty leading citizens, most of them from the various 
colleges and universities of the state, were named as a Committee 
on Organization. Of this original committee the following are still 
active in North Carolina education : R. D. W. Connor, R. L. Flow- 
ers, Archibald Henderson, J. B. Hubbell, H. E. Spence, and W. H. 

The state newspapers gave generous publicity to this announce- 
ment : the Fayetteville Observer for March 18 even printed it entire 
on the editorial page. Eighty members joined, thirty of whom 
attended the first meeting at Raleigh on March 24. At this meeting 
a constitution was adopted, otificers were elected, and talks were 
made by Dr. Brown, Col. T. AL Pitman, and Professors Benjamin 
Sledd, Tom Peete Cross, and Collier Cobb. Dr. James F. Royster 
was elected President and Dr. Frank C. Brown Secretary-Treasurer. 

The second annual meeting, held in Raleigh some time before 
March 12, 1914, instructed the Publications Committee to begin 
raising funds for the publication of a volume of folklore; and on 
March 12, the committee issued a printed appeal, stating that enough 
material had already been collected for a volume of 125 pages. At 


about the same time it issued a printed circular of directions and 
suggestions for collectors. Not content with exhorting his students 
at Trinity College to contribute, Dr. Brown made efforts to interest 
other colleges and groups. The Charlotte Observer for November 
28, 1914, carried an account of a ballad concert and lecture given 
by him in Charlotte before the State Teachers' Association. At 
this meeting it was reported that 17 of the 305 old ballads in the 
Child collection had already been found in North Carolina. The 
Durham Sun for December 19 of the same year described a folk- 
lore lecture by Dr. Brown at the Durham High School, assisted 
with music by Mrs. T. E. Cheek and Miss Alice Hundley, both of 
whom continued to help him in such matters for a number of years. 

As a student at Trinity College at this time I was aware of all 
these activities, though not particularly interested ; but it was their 
influence that caused me later, as a teacher in Alabama Polytechnic 
Institute in 1915-17, to begin my own collection of Negro folk 
songs, finished in North Carolina and published in 1928. This was 
only the beginning of Dr. Brown's stimulating influence on other 
collectors. In the early 1920's Miss Maude Minish (later Mrs. 
Denis H. Sutton), a childhood friend of mine, gave me for Dr. 
Brown copies of a number of traditional ballads that she had been 
collecting for several years. This began Dr. Brown's long friend- 
ship with Miss Minish, which resulted in the addition of many 
valuable songs and other items to the collection. Mr. Frank War- 
ner, an undergraduate at Trinity College, began by singing songs 
at Dr. Brown's folklore concerts and became in later years a col- 
lector and interpreter in his own right, visiting many out-of-the-way 
corners of the country and bringing out folk songs for his audi- 
ences. Julian P. Boyd (now Librarian of Princeton University) 
and Lacy W. Anderson (now principal of Warwick County High 
School, in Virginia) went forth from Duke University as country 
schoolteachers and collected a considerable number of manuscripts 
in eastern North Carolina. Professor W. Amos Abrams, formerly 
of Appalachian State Teachers College, a later president of the 
North Carolina Folklore Society, was similarly started on a col- 
lecting career while an undergraduate at Trinity. All of these 
disciples contributed generously to Dr. Brown's collection, as did 
many another student during several college generations. 

Throughout all the years from 1912 to the present moment the 
North Carolina Folklore Society has flourished. There was a suc- 
cession of presidents, reports, papers, and concerts. Through the 
years the meeting place changed back and forth in Raleigh, from 
the Senate Chamber to the Woman's Club to the Sir Walter Hotel, 
but until Dr. Brown's death, in 1943, there was only one Secretary- 
Treasurer. Dr. Brown made the physical arrangements for the 
meetings, assembled tlie ])rogram, suggested (sotto voce, to the 


Nominating Committee) the next year's officers, reported on tlie 
year's business— and went on collecting folklore. Every fall, well 
in advance of the November or December meeting, the secretary 
of the English office at Trinity College was busy with Folklore 
Society correspondence. In the early days, well into the 1920s, 
most of his English department accompanied Dr. Brown to the 
annual meeting of the Society at Raleigh. The other colleges of 
the state were also usually rather well represented at these 

The programs were always well balanced between the reports of 
certain collectors and more specialized papers by various scholars. 
Usuallv some folk singer appeared with guitar or banjo. One mem- 
ber, Professor George P. Wilson, of the Woman's College of the 
University of North Carolina (later a President of the Society and 
now an associate editor of these volumes), read ten papers between 
1934 and 1944. 

Two specimen programs may be submitted as typical examples : 

November i, 1929 
Presidential Address : Mrs. S. Westray Battle. Asheville 
Lecture: Ballads and Other Songs of the Kentucky 

Mountains. Gilbert Reynolds Combs, Charlotte 
Paper: Treasure Hunting in North Carolina. Frank C. 

Brown, Durham 
Paper: Folk Customs. L. W. Anderson, Halifax, Va. 
Business Matters 

November 14, 1933 
Presidential Address: Mrs. D. H. Sutton, Lenoir 
Social Values in Folklore and Folk Ways. Dr. Howard 

W. Odum, Chapel Hill 
Music: Folksongs. Mrs. Peyton J. Brown, Raleigh 
Jesse Holmes, the Fool Killer. Dr. Jay B. Hubbell, 

The Vampire in Legend and Literature. Mr. C. W. 

Reeves, Durham 
Business Matters 

Everything went smoothly and briskly, thanks to Dr. Brown's 
thorough management. No truer words were ever spoken m the 
Society than those of a member renominating him to his perennial 
post: "Ladies and gentlemen," proclaimed this admirer (in fitting 
folk-metaphor), "our Secretary-Treasurer is a reg'lar steam engme 
in nants." . 

Dr. Brown himself seldom appeared on the program except in his 
official capacitv. In 191 5 he read a paper, afterwards printed, en- 
titled "Ballad Literature in North Carolina," and in 1929 he read 


a paper on "Treasure Hunting in North Carolina," which has sub- 
sequently disappeared. Outside the state he appeared twice on the 
program of the Popular Literature group of the Modern Language 
Association of America (December 1923 and 1938) and once on 
the program of the Southeastern Folklore Society (November 
1941). His last publication was a brief sketch of the North Caro- 
lina Folklore Society for the survey of North American folklore 
societies which appeared in the Journal of American Folklore in 

From the beginning, a principal object of the Society was the 
publication of its collection. A volume was planned to appear by 
Christmas of 1914, then was postponed until the following June. 
Over three hundred advance subscriptions were in hand by the 
beginning of 1915, and in February Dr. Brown reported himself 
to one of his correspondents as editing the materials for the printer. 
Toward the end of 1915 Thomas Smith, one of the principal con- 
tributors, and Professors C. Alphonso Smith and Tom Peete Cross 
asked the question that was to be raised again and again during 
the next quarter-century — when could The Book be expected? Dr. 
Brown thought then that by the spring of 1916 a two-hundred-page 
volume would be ready, with its prize exhibit a group of twenty- 
seven of the old ballads recorded by Professor Child. Some letters 
indicate that the volume was being prepared for the press in 1916, 
but for reasons now unknown it failed to get there. An unedited 
collection of dusty carbon-copies found among Dr. Brown's papers 
after his death seemed to the present editor to be probably the 
materials then meant for the press. 

In 1922 and again in 1925 Dr. Brown was asking publishers for 
estimates on publication costs. At the same time he was writing 
to Mrs. Reynolds (March 2"/, 1925), "It is going to require several 
years to erect our entire monument . . . we want to move slowly 
and surely. ... I am willing to put the time into it [but] I am 
eager to escape any possible blunder which we might make bv 
being too hasty." This was an attitude which he also expressed in 
meetings of the Society and to various individuals, in conversation. 
As long as there was anything more to be collected, he thought 
publication should wait. Had he actually published in 1925, he 
would have had available over two thousand song texts, one-half 
of them with airs, and about one thousand pages of other types of 

Most members of the Society interpreted this attitude to mean 
publication in a year or two. Tliomas Smith, encouraged, wrote 
that he was glad to hear that the collection would soon appear. 
Mrs. Sutton, who had written that she would like to publish a small 
volume of her own, separately, was persuaded to await publication 
of the whole collection. Mrs. Louise Rand Bascom Barratt, who 

C E N K R A L I N T R O D U C T I O N I7 

had threatened to withdraw lier materials, also consented to wait. 

Otliers, however, were less patient. .Several out-of-state mem- 
bers of the Society dropped their memberships because, as they 
.said, they received no publications. Mrs. W. N. Reynolds and 
Mrs. S. Westray Battle, who had made valuable contributions to 
the Society both in money and as officers, urged immediate pub- 
lication. Both ladies finally withdrew from the Society, and Mrs. 
Reynolds, as a last move, withdrew in 1927 a gift of $500 con- 
tributed for editorial purposes. She undertook to renew it, how- 
ever, when publication actually began, a promise which was duly 
redeemed in 1945. 

Dr. Brown would probably not have yielded to pressure in any 
event, but another factor had already made it virtually impossible 
for him to publish in the late 1920s. From about 1924 to 1930 his 
time was deeply absorbed by the expansion of Trinity College into 
Duke University. His newly created post of Comptroller (1926) 
made him the liaison man between the architects, contractors, and 
outfitters, on the one hand, and the University administration and 
faculty, on the other. He gave up most of his teaching. His time 
was filled with interviews, business trips, and business correspond- 
ence; his office overflowed with blueprints, time-reports, estimates, 
agents, and samples of all the innumerable objects that go to equip 
a modern university. Several times he had to cancel folklore ex- 
peditions because of necessary business trips to New York or Phila- 
delphia. During this time also the first Mrs. Brown died after a 
long illness. "I have been so rushed with obligations," he wrote 
to R. W. Gordon (October 26, 1920), "that when I do go home, I am 
so thoroughly tired in my brain that I am quite content to have 
my mind think on practically nothing." 

Nevertheless, every November the English office was as busy as 
usual w-ith preparations for the annual December meeting of the 
Folklore Society. Folklore correspondence during these years was 
as heavy as at any other time, sometimes even heavier, as in 1927, 
for which over a hundred and twenty letters are extant. The col- 
lection was increased by many new items, including the consider- 
able group of songs contributed by Julian P. Boyd in 1927 and the 
large group of children's games contributed by Mrs. Maude Minish 
Sutton and Miss Mary Wilder in 1928. 

Meanwhile, nobody was growing any younger. Thomas Smith, 
who had from the first been one of the most valuable and enthu- 
siastic contributors to the collection, wrote from his mountain home 
(December 30, 1929) : "I hoped years ago to have lived to see your 
work of North Carolina ballads published (my heart is still with 
you in your work) but the weight of years and ill health has about 
finished my hopes." 

Dr. Brown himself was not quite the "steam-engine in pants" he 


had once been called. His hair had grown thinner and grayer, his 
specially finished corncob pipe and his diamond stickpin of the early 
days had both long since been laid aside. He no longer barged 
into his work with the self-confidence that to some had seemed a 
little overbearing, and had long since earned him, among under- 
graduates, his nickname of "Bull" Brown. He had learned that 
energy must be conserved. But though his manner was quieter 
and far more patient (except with his automobile), he was as sure 
of himself and his collection, as persistent in his purpose as he had 
ever been. 

During the late 1920s there appear to have been no active plans 
for immediate publication. Pressure was renewed, however, as 
soon as a diminution of Dr. Brown's work as Comptroller of Duke 
University seemed to offer an opening. On September 27, 193 1, 
Mrs. Sutton, probably his most loyal, and certainly his most highly 
valued co-worker, wrote to warn him of the danger of further 
delay : 

I know too, how you feel. It is foreign to your nature to do anything 
halfway, and you think there is much material yet to be collected. I 
do not know whether you are right there or not. I am inclined to think 
that your song collection is complete, and I am sure that if it is not 
complete, there will be a popularized collection published at the Uni- 
versity of North Carolina soon. 

The next year (November 15, 1932) she informed him that she 
had been receiving letters from a group of younger members of 
the Society who seemed to be planning a coup. "There is a group 
of us," she quoted from one of the letters, 

who greatly appreciate the fine work done for the Society by the Sec- 
retary, Mr. Frank C. Brown, but nevertheless should like to see the 
materials collected made more available than they have been up to the 
present time in the Secretary's possession. We believe that it would 
be a great stimulus of interest for those newly become interested in 
North Carolina folklore if they could see what already has been done 
in the field. ... If enough of us who are really interested are present, 
we should be able to accomplish something. One suggestion has been 
made that we can move to have a committee appointed to index the 
material ; also that it would be accepted under any conditions we wish 
to impose, by the North Carolina Historical Commission, and could be 
housed with their archives in Raleigh where attendants are on duty to 
care for and show it. 

As for her own attitude, Mrs. Sutton added that she wished her 
contributions to be made available to all (jualified scholars but was 
unwilling to deposit them with the Historical Commission. 'T am 
sorry that the editing and publication of the material has been de- 
layed so long, but T am not finding any fault, and I am not com- 
bining in the coup." 


A similar warning came from Dr. T. 1'. Harrington, of State 
College. Dr. Brown was of the opinion that the storm would blow 
over ; moreover, he regarded a large part of the collection as due 
solely to his own efforts, and therefore not public property. "I 
am quite sure." he informed Mrs. Sutton, "that I am not going to 
give up my own materials to anybody." The proposal of the rebels 
apparently came up for discussion in the 1932 meeting, though the 
minutes of that meeting are lacking. Mrs. Sutton, elected Presi- 
dent at this meeting, appointed a committee of three to consider 
placing the collection with the Historical Commission. Perhaps she 
smiled to herself as she named Dr. Brown chairman of this com- 
mittee. And there is no record that the committee ever took any 

Duke University began classes on its new campus in 1930, after 
which the duties of the Comptroller, which had been growing 
lighter for several years, became virtually negligible. President 
W. P. Few was willing at any time after 1930 to arrange a leave 
of absence so that publication might begin. Since his second mar- 
riage in 1932 Dr. Brown had formed the habit of spending most of 
his summers in Blowing Rock, with Mrs. Brown and her family. 
There, in the midst of a region rich in folklore, he had spent a 
great deal of his time touring the surrounding country by auto- 
mobile and recording songs. 

For some years, however, he still clung to his old conviction that 
the collection should be "completed" before it was published. He 
had always thought of the editing as a one-man undertaking and 
probably never realized that in the steady growth of the collection 
for a quarter of a century its editing had long since become a 
problem to be handled only by collaboration. A man in his sixties, 
though still in good health, might well shrink from undertaking 
such a task, alone, and in addition to other duties. 

In 1939, however, at the age of sixty-nine, Dr. Brown once more 
approached the task of publication. He began looking over his 
manuscripts and marking items to be copied. Most of the copying 
was done in the summers of 1941 and 1942, by his secretary in 
Durham, from manuscripts mailed to her from Blowing Rock. Even 
then, however, Dr. Brown's greatest interest was in collecting. 
During the very years in which he was sending materials to his 
secretary to be copied, he was riding joyously about the mountains 
recordings songs and getting better versions of songs recorded years 
before. Instead of the old Ediphone with which he had begun in 
191 5 he now used a new Presto recorder provided by the Duke 
University Research Council in 1939. During his first summer with 
this machine (July-September 1940) he recorded 22^ songs and 
traveled 2500 miles over mountain roads, according to his report 
to the Research Council. A field journal, which begins July 18, 

N.C.F., Vol. I, (3) 


1939, and ends September 14, 1941, lists 365 songs as recorded 
between those dates. 

Very plainly, Dr. Brown's enthusiasm was for collecting, rather 
than editing. "When I try to write an article," he once wrote to 
Mrs. Sutton (July 24, 1930), "I almost invariably lose interest in 
it before I get my notes copied. My interest is at fever heat in 
making an outline and in making a rough draft, but as soon as this 
has been made, somehow my interest lags and I almost become sick 
when I feel that it is necessary to tear the thing to pieces and 
rewrite it." This feeling, which he rightly supposed to be common 
among scholars, could have no effect upon collecting. Nothing ever 
really stopped him from collecting. 

Since collecting was a joy forever and writing a weariness of 
the flesh, it is a waste of sentiment to regret for his sake that he 
never achieved the publication so long deferred. It is equally profit- 
less to speculate now as to whether or not it would have been better 
for the collection had it been published earlier. By delay the col- 
lection arrived at a degree of completeness that would otherwise 
have been improbable, but it lost the benefits of Dr. Brown's great 
knowledge of his materials, for he left few notes on his manuscripts, 
and most of his special information died with him. 

As a collector, Dr. Brown was patient, thorough, energetic, and 
enthusiastic. He allowed nothing to stop him. There are instances 
in his correspondence of his turning back and pursuing leads that 
had been either forgotten or laid aside for years under the pressure 
of other duties. He was as tenacious of his manuscripts as he was 
of his purpose. Few of those who considered withdrawing manu- 
scripts for separate publication ever persisted to the end. 

His principle was to collect everything of possible value, leaving 
rejections and eliminations to a time when fuller and more leisurely 
study could provide greater security against premature decisions. 
With beginning collectors he was inclined to stress this point even 
more. "I suggest," he wrote to Mr. R. F. Jarrett (January 28, 
1915), "that you collect for us anything in the world that you can 
find in the nature of a song, whether the title or the material seems 
to indicate any value or not." 

His dragnet for materials was an extensive one. For many years 
he continued from time to time to give folklore concerts in various 
parts of the state, usually at schools and colleges or for women's 
clubs ; and at all these concerts he tried to stimulate collecting. 
Through correspondence he furnished numerous programs, liter- 
ature, and suggestions for other concerts and for study clubs. I-^or 
nearly thirty years he managed the programs of the North Carolina 
Folklore Society with a main eye to their stimulative effect. Dur- 
mg the same years he was searching the student body of Trinity 
College and Duke University for anyone likely to become a con- 


tributor of folklore. From time to time he offered courses in folk- 
lore for juniors, seniors, graduates, and summer-school students. 
A prominent feature of these courses was always the collection of 
local parallels to all the branches of folklore studied in the courses. 
Many of the students in these courses continued to add to the col- 
lection for years afterwards. From these students, and from every- 
body else, he was always alert to secure the names of local sinj^ers, 
raconteurs, and collectors with whom he would later open relations. 

Most important of all, he was personally an indefatigable col- 
lector. The collection contains a number of items in his hand 
hastily penciled on old envelopes, cards, or pages from desk memo- 
randum pads that were evidently taken down on the fly, without 
anticipation or previous plan. Most of his personal collecting, how- 
ever, was done on field trips which were usually carefully planned 
in advance. How many such trips he made between 1914 and 1942 
will never be known, for he fails to mention many of them in his 
letters, and he usually kept no records except the materials collected. 
Nor did he ever talk very much about them. I was in almost daily 
contact with him from 1919 to 1942, sharing with him during many 
of these years a common office and a common interest in folklore, 
and yet I have learned far more about his field expeditions after 
his death, from his letters, than I ever learned from his conversation. 

Within less than twelve years after he began his collecting trips 
Dr. Brown had already covered most of the state. "I have per- 
sonally collected songs and other materials," he wrote to Henry 
Grady Owens (February 11, 1926), "on Roanoke Island, and at 
practically every one of the mountain counties along the Tennessee 
and Virginia lines, and we have material from practically every 
county in the state." In another letter he speaks of traveling twelve 
hundred miles while collecting in the summer of 1936, and in the 
summer of 1940 he traveled twenty-five hundred miles. 

The occasional passages in his letters in which he speaks of col- 
lecting trips confine themselves largely to a statement of the re- 
sults. To Thomas Smith he wrote (November 30, 1929) : "You 
will be interested to know that I made a collecting trip the first 
part of September, when I went to Hendersonville, Flat Rock, 
Sugar Loaf Mountain, Asheville, Burnsville, and Mount Mitchell. 
I took the Ediphone along, and I was able to get some verv inter- 
esting airs; one of the most interesting . . . was one to 'The British 
Lady.' " 

This trip happens to be one of those in which he was accom- 
panied by Mrs. Sutton, who had described it far more graphically 
in the Raleigh Nczvs and Observer for October 27, 1929. In her 
account a car slithers over steep, rutted roads of wet red clay to- 
wards a lonely cabin above Little Hungry Creek. Here an old 
woman sings 'Willie Ransome' and other ballads, while her husband 


just back from the penitentiary, is skulking about in the surround- 
ing woods, having no truck with furriners. Mrs. Sutton's account 
tells also of the old women who sang at the Yancey County Home 
for the Aged and Infirm, and of a steep climb to Mount Mitchell 
to record twenty-two songs (including The British Lady') as sung 
by Mrs. Wilson. 

Seven years later Dr. Brown is writing to Dr. A. P. Hudson 
(December 2, 1936) : "You doubtless know that Lomax and I 
made a great many records of folk-songs in the mountains of this 
state during the summer : Lomax was with me during most of the 
month of July, and I worked practically all summer. ... I was 
able to find a good many new airs and some songs which were new 
to me, and I collected a rather large mass of materials on other 
phases of the work." During this trip Professor Lomax was 
describing his impressions in frequent letters to Mrs. Lomax, from 
which I am permitted to quote the following typical extract: 

We were out the entire day yesterday with a sandwich for lunch. 
You would have enjoyed tlie dear old ladies singing in squeaky voices, 
tremulous with age, about Lord Thomas a-riding his milk-white steed 
up yanders (to rhyme with ganders) hill. They are as placid as these 
mountains and make no apologies for puncheon floors or crannies in the 
log walls of their houses. Presently we are off to hear some mountain 
fiddling. Tomorrow we bring in a banjo picker, while Sunday we drive 
a hundred miles to the home of one Bill Hoppas, far-renowned for his 
singing and playing ability. 

Dr. W. Amos Abrams, who accompanied Dr. Brown on a num- 
ber of expeditions between 1939 and 1942, has described some of 
his experiences in a letter to Mrs. Brown (January 2~, 1945) : 

Through a student in one of my classes I discovered a certain ballad 
manuscript which belonged to an Adams family over near Dehart, North 
Carolina. Inasmuch as it contains what I believe to be the earliest 
version (certainly handwritten version) of an ancient American variant 
of 'The Brown Girl,' Dr. Brown, Lillian, and I set out in search of 
the family, hoping to discover the history of the book and someone who 
could sing the songs it contained. It was a rainy season and the roads 
were red clay. I know no adequate adjective to describe how treach- 
erously slick they were. We slipped from one side of the road to the 
other, bent the running boards on both sides of the car, and at one time 
we were actually careened over the side of the mountain. It was really 
a fearful experience. We did get the history of the t)ook hut no singers 
could we find. I remember that we ate dinner witli the family, and 
what a meal ! A copy of the songs in the book is in Dr. White's hands. 

I likewise recall an experience Dr. Brown and I had when we sought 
for and found Mrs. Nancy Prather, whose post office address has slipped 
out of mind at this moment. We went to Trade, Tennessee, turned right 
and went back into North Carolina and took a road that led cross coun- 
try in the direction of West Jefferson. We became stuck in a river 


wliich we Iiad to cross without benefit of a bridge, the motor choking 
down because tlie exhaust pipe was under water. We finally chugged 
out in some fashion and found the house of Mrs. Prather's son or grand- 
son with whom she was living. We drove through a meadow to a foot- 
log but could not get the car across ; thus we were constrained to affix 
the wire from the motor in the back of the car to the footlog. Mrs. 
Prather came out on a little rickety porch with her flap-bonnet turned 
down over her eyes — sharp eyes, too — but she was reluctant to sing for 
us because only a year or two before this time some pretended ballad 
collector had come through the community with this result : a few days 
after his visit, revenue officers had arrested some neighbors for moon- 
shining. Dr. Brown and I were quite naturally suspected of being 
revenue officers, and it is not easy to prove one is not an officer under 
these circumstances. I had with me a record made by Mrs. Prather's 
grandson and on the record was a song Mrs. Prather had taught him 
to sing. The boy's name, I believe, was Oliver Proffitt. Anyway, when 
I played that record, she recognized his voice and her song. This little 
incident broke the ice, and she sang eight songs for us, six of which 
were Child ballads. The most valuable song she sang was 'Earl Brand' ; 
I believe she called it 'The Old Man at the Gate.' I can see her now as 
I write you, sitting on that rickety porch with her sharp eyes closed 
under her flap-bonnet, singing a song so old that the history of it meant 
much to us. Her voice was not good and her diction was hardly under- 
standable ; so I bribed her little granddaughter to write out the words 
and mail them to me. She did, and I sent Dr. Brown a copy of the 
words. I bribed the girl by buying some flowers from her — flowers 
which she wanted to give us. We came through the road to West 
Jefiferson, I think, for we dared not try to cross the river again. . . . 

This trip will be of interest to you, certainly. Miss Pearl Webb (one 
of our students who had taught in the community we wanted to survey), 
Dr. Brown and I left Boone one Sunday morning. We went to Heaton, 
North Carolina, and drove up the Dark Ridge Road which follows 
No- Where Branch. We had no luck during the morning hours, but we 
passed by a home and Miss Pearl saw some people she knew who were 
visiting at this home. She went in and found out that they knew some 
ballads and that they would sing them when they returned home. Dr. 
Brown gallantly ofifered to wait and take them home. The singers 
were to have a part in a memorial service early in the afternoon. We 
waited. We went to the memorial service, and I shall never forget this 
experience. The cemetery was on the crest of a hill ; the wind was 
blowing in quite a gale ; we were told that we were looking into three 
states from this point. The preacher's hair blew in the wind and he 
did his task in an eloquent fashion. When the service ended, our sing- 
ers loaded in the car. I believe there were about eleven people to ride, 
including seven adults and four children. I remember that I sat squatted 
in the foot between the two seats. Miss Pearl held two kids on her 
knee, and the others were stacked in quite tightly, as you can imagine. 
We finally took a road which led down the mountain to the foot of 
Dark Ridge and to the home of a Mr. and Mrs. Church. The children 
were actually beautiful in features with the bluest eyes I have ever seen. 
I think it was Mrs. Janie Cliurch who sang for us, and I am sure it was 


she who sang 'The Seven King's Daughters.' Dr. Brown made an ap- 
pointment and returned later, but I was not with him on this trip. We 
returned home long after dark. . . . 

I did not make this trip with Dr. Brown, but he told me about it. I 
don't even remember where it was. I do recall that he had collected 
songs from Aunt Becky Gordon some thirty years earlier and that he 
was trying to find her again inasmuch as some of her songs made thirty 
years ago on his wax records had been lost. I know that he chased her 
all over one county and finally found her "hired out" doing the ironing 
or washing for a family. She was to be paid fifty cents. Dr. Brown 
persuaded the employer to let Aunt Becky sing for him, and she sang — 
among the songs — 'O Lilli O,' a song he had collected nearly thirty 
years earlier from her. 

The lure of such names as Pick Breeches, Rip Shin Ridge, Little 
Hungry Creek, Boiling Springs, Powder Mill Creek, Upper Hin- 
son's Creek, Meat Camp, Mast's Gap was a strong one. "The 
Churches live," says a note in Dr. Brown's field book for August 
5, 1939, "at foot of Dark Ridge, on End of Nowhere Branch, Beech 
Creek, near Pogy Mountain." To get there must have seemed 
worth some of the reckless driving that witnesses hint of, even if 
one had to keep his hosts singing until after midnight, as happened 
in Boone on August 24, 1939. 

Mountain people still remember the heavy rains of August, 1940, 
which caused many a wash-out and road-slip. These rains— for a 
while — actually immobilized Dr. Brown and his Ford, and so his 
frustration by them is worth recording. His field book for 1940 
ends abruptly after August 18 with the following note: 

The floods have interfered greatly : I cannot go to Tinville, Banner 
Elk, Spruce Pine, N. Wilksboro, Jonas Ridge, or any of the places 
where I know material is to be had. I hope to get to Crossnore, Alta- 
mont, Hughes, Buck Hill, etc., etc., but am not sure whether roads 
can be opened before I must leave. This is August 18. The rains 
started on Friday August 9, and continued without intermission until 
August 15. 

I never heard Dr. Brown speak of either the hardships (if he 
thought of them as such) or the adventures of collecting. His let- 
ters, however, are not without a quiet pride in the growth of the 
collection and in the acquisition of particular rare items. One of 
his early moments of elation must have been receipt of the follow- 
ing praise from Professor A. H. Tolman of the University of Chi- 
cago (January 31, 1915) : "You have made the greatest single find 
possible in English balladry, in finding a good, full, traditional ver- 
sion of No. 272, "The Suffolk Miracle.' " The same year Dr. Brown 
was able to write to Professor I. G. Greer (February 13, 1915) 


that he had ah-eady found two ballads never before found in 

In those days collectors were much more excited than they are 
now about the discovery of a ballad in formation, or newly born. 
"Fortune has favored me also," Dr. Brown wrote to Dr. Benjamin 
Sledd, December 1915, "in throwint;- into my hands two Negro bal- 
lads which were composed in Durham within the last two years. 
One of these, I believe, will prove to be in some respects the most 
valuable item, in our whole collection. "- 

In 1935 Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught contributed from Taylors- 
ville the first text of 'Babylon' discovered in American tradition, 
and in September 1940 Dr. Brown made a find which he jubilantly 
described to Professor Reed Smith (February 21, 1941) as follows: 
"I had the good fortune to discover in one of the almost inaccessible 
coves in the mountains in North Carolina a very interesting version 
of 'Robin Hood and the Beggar,' number two; so far as I know 
this is the first time this particular ballad has been found in America, 
and of course I am very proud to come upon it and to record it 
upon nn^ machine."^ 

The treasures that might still be garnered were as alluring as 
those that had been. Professor C. Alphonso Smith wrote to tell 
Dr. Brown that D. W. Fletcher, in Durham county (his own back- 
yard), could sing some old ballads. Mrs. Sutton wrote of various 
marvelous ballad singers, such as "Myra" (Mrs. Barnette) who had 
sung ballads to her from her childhood on, and Aunt Becky Gordon, 
on Saluda Mountain, who "sings every song I have been able to 
collect heretofore, and then some" (July 30, 1928). A Trinity Col- 
lege student, P. D. Midgett, Jr., who had already furnished a num- 
ber of songs, wrote from his home on Roanoke Island (June 5, 
1920), "Papa says he knows 500." Another former student, L. W. 
Anderson, wrote from Nag's Head about Mrs. Wise, who could sing 

^ These were (i) 'The Suffolk Miracle,' as mentioned above, which 
was contributed from Taylorsville by Mrs. R. E. Barnes (and two years 
later, from Boone, by Professor I. G. Greer, both texts known locally as 
'Jimmy and Nancy'), and (2) 'Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne,' con- 
tributed from Marion by Mr. G. C. Little in 1914. "So far as I know," 
Professor Reed Smith wrote Dr. Brown about the latter, "this is the 
only variant of the Guy of Gisborne ballad found on American soil" (Jan- 
uary 4, 1915). Professor Belden informs me that Dr. Brown was mis- 
taken about 'The Suffolk Miracle' and that the ballad in question is not 
Child 272 but a version of 'Nancy of Yarmouth." After Dr. Brown's 
death, however, the true 'Suffolk Miracle' was added to the collection 
by Professors W. Amos Abrams and Gratis D. Williams, in 1946, as 
sung by Pat Frye, at East Bend, N. C, in the summer of 1945. 

- Referring probably to the two songs on the sinking of the Titanic 
by the Reverend J. H. Brown and Gaither Miller. 

^ Sung by Mrs. Nora Hicks, September 5, 1940, at Mast's Gap. Pro- 
fessor Belden states that this is really Child 140, 'Robin Hood Rescuing 
the Three Squires.' 


a hundred songs from memory. And a portentous well-wisher from 
Greensboro embarked upon the unfamiliar ways of correspondence 
long enough to write (December 14. 1936), "I can tell you a true 
Ghost Story that sounds untrue there is a Great Sign and Wonder 
that has arose in the human race." He never told, apparently, or 
committed himself further to the perils of ruled tablet-paper, but 
all the others were eventually sought out by Dr. Brown and levied 

Finally, there was a great satisfaction in watching and reporting 
the steady growth of the collection. By 1915 he was able to inform 
Miss Amy Henderson (April 13, 1915) that North Carolina ranked 
second among the states in the number of traditional ballads re- 
ported. During that year the number increased from 18 to 20 in 
January, then to 24 in April, and finally to 2^ in November. By 
1936 this number had increased to 50, according to Dr. Brown's 
count at the time. This accords fairly well with the final figures, 
as established by Dr. H. M. Belden in 1948, after a careful study 
of the song collection. Dr. Belden finds 51 Child ballads, but is 
inclined to exclude four as either fragmentary or secondary versions. 
This number is exceeded only by the state of Maine, represented 
by 56 ballads in Barry's British Ballads from Maine. Virginia 
counts 51 such ballads in Davis's Traditional Ballads of Virginia, 
but Dr. Belden's strict principles of selection would exclude four 
of these. Standard collections for other states (Indiana, Michigan, 
Missiouri, Ohio, West V^irginia) show a total of from 25 to 33 
Child ballads. 

In 192.S and 1926 the number of all songs in the Frank C. Brown 
Collection stood at 2000-2500, with about 1000 airs recorded. By 
1935 between 400 and 500 of these airs had been transcribed from 
the recordings.'* 

' No such definite indications of the growth of other groups are 
available. It is hard to estimate with any accuracy the number of 
short superstitions or folk expressions in an unorganized collection 
that has accumulated for years. Moreover, while Dr. Brown con- 
tinued to collect all types of folklore, the folk songs — and par- 
ticularly the traditional ballads as included in Professor Child's 
collection — were his first, last, and greatest love. The only esti- 
mate I have found of the general bulk of the collection exclusive 
of the songs occurs in a letter to Richard Chase, dated October 24, 
1942, in which he stated that he had typed about 2500 pages and 
that this was about three-fourths of the total of such materials. •'• 

Only after Dr. Brown's death, and after more than a year of 

* Dr. Brown to Professor George Herzog, October 13, 1935. This 
seems to have been an underestimate, for over 650 transcribed airs were 
catalogued in the collection after Dr. Brown's death, and there was 
little or no transcription from records after 1935. 

^ This does not include over a thousand items added to these groups 
after Dr. Brown's death. 


concentrated copying, classifying, and cataloguing, has it been pos- 
sible to arrive at a reasonably accurate computation of the size 
and distribution of the Frank C. Brown Collection. For the whole 
collection there are 556 contributors of 29,647 items from all but 
14 of North Carolina's 100 counties, and 95 contributors of 1409 
items from 20 other states and Canada. This does not include about 
9000 items contributed anonymously or without indication of local- 
ity, a grand total of over 38,000. If all contributions could be 
clearly localized, there is little doubt that every county in the state 
would be represented, as Dr. Brown believed. 

The distribution according to counties is given on the folklore 
map of North Carolina printed on the inside covers of this volume. 

The following table indicates the distribution of the items under 
Dr. Brown's sixteen main classifications: 

Contributors Items 

1. Husbandry I39 1834 

2. Omens, Luck Signs 240 7330 

3. Folk Medicine 138 2026 

4. Magic, Charms, etc 205 1862 

5. Divination 1 15 894 

6. Housewifery 55 548 

7. Folk Sermons 9 50 

8. Pseudo Science 57 264 

9. Folk Expressions 96 2711 

10. Origin of Place Names 29 196 

11. Riddles, Proverbs, Similes 57 6180 

12. Children's Rhymes 95 m8i 

13 Traditional Games 97 998 

14. Customs 43 188 

15. Legends, Tales 93 328 

16. Songs [and Ballads] 667 374i 

No collection of folklore is ever complete; the subject is far too 
extensive for that. There is not a single category in the present 
collection that could not be expanded. Folk dances are missing, 
and folk arts in general appear but sparsely. The coarse and ob- 
scene elements which persist so hardily in folk tales and folk songs 
and attain proportionate representation in so few collections are 
here almost entirely absent. Few informants like to commit such 
matter to paper, or to communicate it orally to an English pro- 
fessor. They are even more reserved with a Sunday School teacher, 
and Dr. Brown was both. 

Nevertheless the Frank C. Brown Collection is one of the largest 
collections of general folklore in the English language ever to be 
amassed mainly by the efforts of one man. It is also one of the 
most homogeneous, for over 95 per cent of it comes from North 
Carolina. This fact does not lessen its general interest, for North 
Carolina holds its folklore in common with the whole English- 
speaking world, but it does provide an unparalleled opportunity, if 


properly interpreted, of understanding more fully than ever before 
the folkways, sayings, beliefs, and songs of one region. 

In the spring of 1943 Dr. Brown, then in good health, had asked 
me to attend to the publication, so far as practicable, in case I sur- 
vived him. After his death the three most interested parties — Mrs. 
Brown, the North Carolina Folklore Society, and Duke University — 
asked me to proceed according to a general plan I had suggested. 

The manuscripts and all related materials were sorted, classified, 
and edited for typing.^ The manuscripts were then typed in tripli- 
cate. Each item was separately catalogued, and over forty mimeo- 
graphed catalogues were compiled for the use of the editors. The 
manuscripts, catalogues, and related materials were turned over to 
Duke University as a permanent collection, and typescripts, cata- 
logues, and other aids were sent to the associate editors. Work on 
the manuscripts began in the summer of 1943 and was finished in 
July 1945- 

An editorial board was assembled, consisting of Professors H. M. 
Belden and A. P. Hudson for the song texts and Professor Jan P. 
Schinhan for the music (succeeding Professor George Herzog in 
1947) ; Wayland D. Hand for husbandry, omens, folk medicine, 
magic, divination, and pseudo science ; Archer Taylor for riddles ; 
Stith Thompson for legends and tales ; Paul G. Brewster for house- 
wifery, customs, and children's games, rhymes, and sayings; B. J. 
Whiting for proverbs, similes, etc. ; George P. Wilson for folk 
sermons, place names, and folk salutations, phrases, pronunciations, 
and idioms. These editors were all chosen for their particular tasks 
upon the nominations of a number of leading folklore scholars who 
were consulted by the General Editor. Miss Clare Leighton was 
engaged as illustrator, with a commission to provide a series of 
wood engravings which would present an artist's interpretation, not 
ro much of the folklore itself as of the land, the people, and the 
customs out of which it grew. 

The story cannot be closed, however, without an expression of 
gratitude for the generous financial support which made the editing 
and publishing possible — The Rockefeller Foundation (Division of 
Humanities), The xA.merican Council of Learned Societies, The 
American Philosophical Society, Independent Aid, Duke Univer- 
sity, Mrs. W. N. Reynolds, and Mrs. W. Murray Crane. 

Newman Ivev White 


®The related materials included nearly 1500 letters (1912-1943) con- 
cerning the collection, 1,000 or more newspaper clippings, several bib- 
liographies on various fields of folklore, and about 330 magazine articles, 
lists, books, student theses, etc. These have all been organized and 
arranged for convenient use and are now with the Frank C. Brown Col- 
lection in the Duke University Library, together with the original manu- 
scripts, the typescripts, and the phonograph records, music transcriptions, 
lists, and indices. 


Edited by 
Paul G. Brewster 



GAMES MEAN different things to different people. The folk- 
lorist and the ethnologist collect and study them for the light 
they often throw upon the religious beliefs and ceremonies, the 
social organization, and the general cultural background of the 
peoples among whom they have been collected. As later pages 
amply testify, they often retain traces of ancient custom, ritual, and 
belief that have long since been lost from other expressions of the 
folk mind. The teacher and the playground director value them 
as aids not only in the strengthening of the bodies of the youngsters 
under their charge but also in the inculcating of the ideals of team- 
work and good sportsmanship. The specialist in mental diseases is 
fre(|uently able to bring about an improvement in the patient's mind 
by inducing liim to engage in certain carefully selected games and 
sports. To the child who is playing, and to most of us, a game is 
a contest — physical, mental, or a combination of the two — from 
which both the participant and the onlooker derive pleasure. 

Many of the games represented in this collection are very old. 
Jacks, for example, was mentioned by Aristophanes two thousand 
years ago as a game played by Greek girls. 'How Many Fingers?' 
was played by Roman children at least as early as the first century 
of our era. and may be much older. The game of 'Blindman's Buff' 
is another that was known to Grecian youth of ancient times. 
Allusions to it in English literature occur as early as the sixteenth 
century. Our 'Odd or Even' was also well known to Greek and 
Roman children of centuries ago. 'Prisoner's Base' is alluded to 
in a literary passage of the thirteenth century. 'Oats, Peas, Beans, 
and Barley' was played in France at least as early as the middle of 
the fourteenth century. References to the playing of leapfrog appear 
in .Shakespeare's Hcnr\ V (V, 2) and Jonson's Bartholomew Fair 

The greater part of these games are not only ancient but also 
extremely widespread. Variants of the guessing game 'How Many 
Fingers?' have been found in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, 
the Scandinavian countries, France, Italy. Spain, Portugal, Germany, 
Belgium, Estonia. Greece, Yugoslavia. Switzerland, Turkey. India, 
and Japan. 'Blindman's Buff' is played in Germany, Italy, Spain, 
Norway, Sweden, and Poland as well as in English-speaking coun- 


tries. Descriptions and diagrams of 'Hopscotch' have been recov- 
ered from Italy. Greece, Albania, the Scandinavian countries, Spain, 
Portugal, and elsewhere. 'Knights of Spain,' from which the North 
Carolina 'Hog Drovers' is derived, is known in France. Italy. Spain, 
Finland, Iceland, and Sweden. 

In the editing of these games and rhymes. I have had in mind 
both the student of folklore and the general reader. With a view 
to aiding the former, I have indicated in the headnotes something 
of the age, the history, and the geographical distribution of the 
game, and have added whatever other information I could regard- 
ing it. However, since this material really belongs rather to the 
general reader than to the folklorist, I have, on the other hand, 
striven to keep the essential folk quality of both the games and 
the rhymes and, in order to convey to the former something of 
the flavor of collecting, have quoted as liberally as limitations of 
space permit from the comments of the collectors themselves. No 
attempt has been made to "prettify" the texts. Punctuation has been 
supplied only in cases where it was necessary for the sake of clear- 
ness. Obvious mistakes such as misspellings and faulty line or 
stanza order have been corrected. Aside from these changes, the 
texts are essentially as given to the editor. 

The editing of the games and rhymes in the Brown Collection 
has been both a pleasurable and an instructive experience. As a 
whole, the materials contributed are of a consistently high quality. 
Many of the collectors and contributors had formerly been students 
in Professor Brown's classes in folklore and consequently knew 
what to look for and how to evaluate properly the texts found. 
Some of them, notably Mrs. Sutton, were folklore collectors in their 
own right, wath years of experience in the field. Their contribu- 
tions, too. are valuable and important. Still others were persons 
with no academic connection and no formal training in folklore but 
enthusiastic and indefatigable in the collecting and sending in of 
whatever they felt might possibly come under that heading. In 
view of the fact that this latter group was the most numerous, the 
proportion of chaff to wheat in the Collection is remarkably low. 
By far the greater part of the material omitted from the pages 
which follow was excluded not because of any poorness of quality 
but because it had clearly been derived from printed sources or was 
definitely not North Carolinian. ^ 

It has been most interesting (and enlightening) to me to com- 

^ The only instance of deviation from this policy was the inclusion 
of Mrs. Sutton's version of 'Twelve Days of Christmas,' which was 
recovered in the neighboring state of Tennessee. The fact that the same 
racial stock predominates in hotli states and the additional fact that this 
particular version was collected not far from the boundary line made it 
seem reasonable to assume that the game is or was known in North 
Carolina as well. Games, like ballads, are no respecters of boundaries. 


pare these games and rhymes with tliose whicli 1 have collected in 
Indiana, Missouri, and elsewhere. With several of them, partic- 
ularly the dancing games, I was wholly unfamiliar. Others 1 was 
able to place with the aid of the accompanying descriptions, but 
would never have been able to recognize from the titles given. I 
learned, for instance, that 'Hail Over' or 'High Over' was the 
'Handy Over' of my Indiana boyhood, that 'Pretty Girls* Station' 
(a fine title, incidentally!) was the game I had always known as 
'Lemonade,' that 'Shu-li-lu' was merely a variant of the familiar 
'Skip to My Lou.' 

The bulk of these games and rhymes came from white informants. 
Whether the collectors felt, and with some reason, that sufficient 
materials could be obtained from these sources without the neces- 
sity of collecting from the colored minority or whether they felt 
that anything that might be recovered from the latter group would 
be only a duplication of texts already collected is not clear. Of 
course, the fact that much of the material was collected from people 
living in mountain districts, where the Negro is practically unknown, 
also helps to account for the meager number of Negro texts. It 
seems regrettable that Negro games and rhymes do not form a 
larger part of the Collection, not because they would have been 
particularly good versions, perhaps, but because the inclusion of a 
greater number would have given users of the Collection an oppor- 
tunity to investigate the question of mutual borrowings and sub- 
sequent changes to fit the borrowers' background and environment. 

No one who has not done considerable work in the field of chil- 
dren's games and rhymes can fully comprehend the difficulties to 
be encountered in attempting any system of classification. In the 
first place, it is impossible to make the divisions mutually exclusive. 
A game which at first glance seems to be clearly a guessing game 
will frequently contain, in addition to the element of guessing, those 
of imitation and of chase as well. A game which one is inclined 
to list as dramatic may, with equal justice, be classified as a court- 
ship or a dancing game. The element of chase is to be found in 
ball games, hiding games, dramatic games, guessing games, and 
others. A second headache is the game which, originally and gen- 
erally of one type, has been intentionally changed through the intro- 
duction of another element (sometimes even a part of another game) 
into something only remotely resembling the earlier and correct form. 

The system of classification which I finally adopted is of my own 
devising, and I anticipate criticism of it by admitting that it is not 
without flaws. However, it is the best that several hours of trial 
and error and general puzzlement could evolve. I have grouped all 
the games into eighteen divisions, in each case using the most dis- 
tinctive feature of the game as a basis for its inclusion in a particular 
group. These divisions are: 


Ball Games Games of Dexterity 

Hiding Games Imitative Games 

Jumping and Hopping Games Courtship and Marriage Games 

Practical Jokes Teasing Games 

Battle Games Tug-of-War and Similar Games 

Dramatic Games Games of Smaller Children 

Guessing Games Elimination Games 

Forfeit or Penalty Games Dancing Games 

Games of Chase Miscellaneous Games 

Classification of the rhymes follows the same general pattern: 

Counting-Out Rhymes Lullabies 
Game Rhymes (exclusive of the Finger Rhymes 

above) Tickling Rhymes 

Rope Skipping Rhymes Asseverations 

Catches or Sells Recitations 

Teasing Rhymes "Smart Aleck" Rhymes 

Derisive Rhymes Friendship Verses 

Divination Rhymes Tongue-Twisters 

Of the game divisions, that of Courtship and Marriage Games 
contains by far the most material. The reason for this fact is 
obvious. In the mountain districts, from which most of the games 
of this type were collected, the "play-party" was a social institu- 
tion of great importance. Residents of these localities, most of 
them people of simple tastes, had brought with them the folk tradi- 
tions from their native land. Cut off from contact with more 
sophisticated centers, they were forced to find or to create their 
own forms of entertainment and accordingly fell back upon this 
folk tradition, a sizable part of which consisted of the ballads, tales, 
and games which were their common heritage from English, Scot- 
tish, or Irish ancestors. So popular were these games and songs 
that even homes in which dancing was looked upon with disfavor as 
one of the devil's snares to entrap the unwary threw open their 
doors to the "play-party." 

Dramatic games were also highly popular, this division ranking 
second in point of size. Children have always been and always 
will be actors and imitators, whether in the mountains of North 
Carolina or on the sidewalks of New York. 

Some game types are very scantily represented. One would have 
expected to find at least one description of 'Bull Pen' among the 
ball games; of 'Scissors, Paper. Stone' in the division of guessing 
games; of 'Tin Tin' among the games in which the paying of a 
forfeit is the penalty for laughing. Other games which are not to 
be found in these pages are 'Crack the Whip,' 'Fruit Basket Upset,' 


"One and Over,' 'Red Rover,' 'Cross Questions,' "Duck on the Rock,' 
'Oranges and Lemons,' 'Marbles,' and 'Tit-tat-toe.' However, fail- 
ure on the part of collectors to submit versions of these does not 
mean, of course, that tliey are not to be found in North Carolina. 
In all probability, most, if not all, of those mentioned could have 
been or could still be recovered. * 

Here, then, are the games of North Carolina, eminently playable 
games, as their popularity through generation after generation 
attests. May older readers of the pages which follow find pleasure 
in recalling their own playing of many of the games described, and 
may those of a younger age pass them on to those who follow. For 
here, too, is America — its wholesome gaiety, its native resourceful- 
ness, its ability and readiness to use teamwork if demanded, its 
spontaneity, its individuality, its sense of humor, its love of fair 

N.C.F.., V'ol. I, (4) 




This game is still popular not only in the South but also in the 
Middle West, where it is called 'Anty Over' or 'Handy Over.' A 
Canadian name for it is 'Tickley Tickley Over' (JAFL, lviii, 154). 
In Newell, Games and Songs of American Children (p. 181), it is 
called "Haley Over,' one of the names given it in the South, where 
it is known also as 'High Over' or 'Hurley Over.' A description 
of the game as played in Texas appears in PTFLS, xvii (1941), 
148. See also Marran, Games Outdoors, p. 97 ('Aunty Over'). 

'Antny Over.' Description furnished by Maude Minish Sutton, of For- 
est City, who saw the game played at several schools in Avery county 
during the fall of 1917. 

One group of boys stands on one side of the schoolhouse 
and another group of approximately the same number stands 
on the other. A member of the group having the ball calls, 
"Ant'ny!" Someone on the other side then cries. "Over!" 
The first speaker calls out, "Over she comes !" and throws the 
ball over the roof. If it is caught, the player who made the 
catch dashes around the corner of the building and throws the 
ball at one of the players on the opposite side. Each boy hit 
must join that side that hit him. If nobody catches the ball, 
the game proceeds as before. 

'Hail-Over.' Contributed by Mamie Mansfield, of Durham, 1927-32. No 
source indicated, but presumably from Durham county. 

Players are in two equal (or nearly equal) groups on oppo- 
site sides of a building. The group which has the ball calls, 
"Anti-over" and the other side responds, "Let it come!" (or they 
call, "Hail Over" and the response is "Hail-over"). The ball 
is thrown over the building. If it is caught, the one who holds 
it may tag all the players he can as the groups rush to ex- 
change places, and they must then join his side. If the ball is 
not catight, each group keeps its position. 


Usually the ball is thrown into one of a circle of hats or caps; 
sometimes holes in the ground take the place of the hats or caps 
as in the following description. For other descriptions, see Newell, 
p. 183; Acker, Four Hundred Games for School, Home, and Play- 


ground, p. 225 ('Roly Poly'j and p. 227 ('Spud'j ; Goninie, Tradi- 
tional Games of England. Scotland, and Ireland, i, 14 ("Balls and 
Bonnets'), 199 ('Hats in Holes') ; Macla^an, Games and Diversions 
of Argyleshirc, p. 9 ('Bonnety') ; Vernaleken and I3ranky, Spiele u. 
Keime der Ki)tder in Oesterreicli, p. 10; Rochholz, .lleinannisclies, 
Kinderlied 11. Kinderspiel, p. 389; Bohnie. Deiitsclies Kindcrlicd it. 
Kindcrspicl, p. 609; Henius, Songs and Games of the Americas. 
p. 10. 

'Roley Holey.' Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, Forest City, 
c. 1928. Reported from Avery county. 

A row of holes is made in the ground, each being given the 
name of one of the players. Each boy takes a chance at rolling 
the ball into one of the holes, all players standing several feet 
away from the holes. The boy into whose hole the ball rolls 
tries to hit some of the others with it. If he succeeds, a stone 
is placed in the hole of the boy who was hit. When there are 
three stones in any boy's hole, he is out of the game. In an- 
other form of the game, the boy who gets three stones is pad- 
dled by all the other players.^ 



This is one of the most popular of games and is found in all 
parts of the country. It appears to be a favorite, too, among primi- 
tive and near-primitive peoples. See, for example, Best, Games and 
Pastimes of the Maori, p. 92 ('taupunipuni') ; Bryan, Ancient Ha- 
umiian Life, p. 51 ('pe'epe'ekua' ) ; Kidd, Savage Childhood, p. 177; 
Kidd, The Essential Kafir, p. 338; Culin, Korean Games, p. 51; 
Ivens, Melanesians of the Southeast Solomons, p. 100; Malinowski, 
The Sexual Life of Saz^ages, p. 246 ('supeponi') ; Stayt, The 
Bavcnda. p. 98. It was popular also in Greece (Gulick, The Life 
of the Ancient Greeks, p. 76). 

For additional descriptions and references, see Gomme, i, i ; 
Maclagan, p. 211; Marran, p. 134 ('Duck in the Hole'); Strutt, 
p. 301. Under the name of 'All Hid,' this game was very popular 
in Elizabethan England. Some allusions to it in the drama of the 
period will be found in my recent article "Games and Sports in 
Sixteenth and Seventeenth-Centtu'y English Literature" (irestern 
Folklore, vi, 143 ). 

'Hide and Hunt.' Contributed by Virginia Bowers. Reported from 
Stanly county. No date given. 

One player closes his eyes and, standing near a spot previotisly 

^ In my own boyhood, in Indiana, a miss resulted in the thrower's being 
given a stone. If the player at whom the ball was throw-n succeeded in 
catching it, the thrower was paddled by the others. 


designated as "home," counts slowly to one hundred while the 
others hide. When he has finished counting, he calls : 

"Bushel of wheat, bushel of rye, 
All not hid holler 'I.' " 

Then if there is no response, he calls: 

"Bushel of wheat, bushel of clover. 
All not hid can't hide over. 
All eyes open ; here I come !" 

When he discovers a hiding player, he runs to the place 
called "home," touches the tree or wall that has been so desig- 
nated, and calls out, "One, two, three for !" If the 

player who was hidden succeeds in reaching "home" first, he 
calls, "One, two, three for me !" When two or three have been 
caught, the hunter may end the game with "All the rest home 
free!" The first player caught is the next to hide his eyes. 

This game is often confused with 'Hide and Seek.' Newell (p. 
160) says that the two differ only in that players of the latter have 
no "home" to touch, a statement which is in contradiction to the 
preceding description. English forms are described in Gomme, i, 
212-213, but they bear little resemblance to the American game. 

This is the French cligne-mitsette or cache-cache, and is men- 
tioned by Froissart (14th c.) as one of the games played in his 

'I-Spy.' Description sent to Dr. Brown by Maude Minish Sutton, Forest 
City, c. 1928, who obtained it in Tyrrell county. 

This game is played just like 'Fifty-Oh' except that the 
counter has to count to a hundred instead of fifty. There are 
a number of short methods of counting used, such as a hundred 
by fives, by tens, or "Ten, ten, double ten. forty-five, fifteen." 
When a player is found, the counter must run "home" and 

count "One, two, three for ." If the hider escapes being 

found, he runs "home" and touches it, saying "Home free." 


Description furnished by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1928, wlio saw the 
game played in Tyrrell county. 

This game is a form of 'Hide and Seek.' A base is chosen. 
a tree or some other convenient spot. The counter is chosen 
by a counting-out rhyine. He counts to fifty, closing with a 
very loud "Fifty-oh!" He then says: 

G A M E S A N n R II Y M E S 39 

"A bushel of wheat and a bushel of clover, 
All not hid can't hide over. 
A bushel of wheat and a bushel of rye, 
All ain't hid holler 'I.' " 

If an3'one calls, the counting proceeds to fifty again. Then the 
counter begins hunting. As he finds each one, he touches the 

base and says "One, two, three for ." If any child is 

able to slip "home," he says, "Home free." The first player 
caught is counter for the second game. 


Contributed by Mrs. John Carr, of Durham. Reported from Durham 
county. No date given. 

This is a variant of 'Hide and Seek.' The player who is 
"It" kicks a can some distance from the base. While he is 
recovering it, the others hide. 

Description furnished by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1928. No source given. 
This is another form of 'Hide and Seek.' Players announce 
by whoops that they are hidden. The counter follows the 
whoops, often being misled by the players, who change their 
locations after they have whooped. As a rule, this changing 
of position is regarded as "no fair," but, as in most cases of 
controversy, the decision is against the child who is "It." 



Another very popular and widespread game and also a very old 
one. The earliest allusion to it of which I am aware is that m 
Poor Robin's Almanac for 1677, in which it is called 'Scotch- 
hoppers.' Other names bv which it is known are 'Hop-score,' 'Hop- 
crease,' 'Beds.' 'Hap the 'Bed,' 'Hickety-Hackety,' &c. 

For descriptions, American and foreign, see Newell, p. 188; 
Acker, p. 260; Marran, pp. 70-73; Smith, Games and Game Leader- 
ship p 229; Gomme, 1, 223: Strutt, The Sports and Pastimes of the 
People of England, p. 303: Henius, p. 14 ('El Peregrmo') ; Bohme, 
p 509- Lewalter-Schliiger, Dciitsches Kinderlicd n. Kinderspicl, p. 
242- Zeitschrift des Vereins fiir Volksknnde, xiii, 167; Folk-Lore, 
V 340- VI, 359 (Danish); xl, 372 (Albanian); American Anthro- 
pologist, N.S., I, 230 (Hawaiian) ; Parsons, Pegiiche, p. 52 ('ficha ) ; 
Ludovici, "Sports and Games of the Singhalese," p. 33 ('masop or 
'tatto') ; Martinez, Jucgos v Condones Infantiles de Puerto Rico, 


p. 68 ('La Peregrina') ; Notes & Queries, 4th ser., iv, 94, 186; 
Tradiciones Populares Espaiioles, v, 3 ; Ruiz, Los Jiiegos InfantUes 
en la Escnela Rural, p. 68 ('La Escalera de Caracol' ) ; Reyes and 
Ramos, Philippin-c Folk Dances and Games, p. 60 ('Piko' or 'Buan- 
Buan') ; Parry, The Lakhers, p. 188 CSeuleucha' ) ; Maclagan, p. 
134; Folk-Lore, xvi, 341-343: Earle, Child Life, p. 342; Woodward, 
p. 66; de Cock and Teirlinck, i, 309. 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton in 1928. Diagrams and directions 
for playing both A and B were obtained from a little girl in Forest City. 

Pitch a stone or a small block of wood into a square (i.e., 
from the first up to and including the sixth and last). Hop 
over that square into the next, hop into each square in succes- 
sion and return, pick up the block, and hop out. A player who 
steps on a line, pitches the block into the wrong square, or hops 
into the square where the block is must drop out of the game. 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton in 1928. The diagram used for 
this game has the form of a snail shell. Squares are not numbered and 
no block is used. 

Each player in turn hops into all squares in succession until 
he reaches "Home," the center of the figure, and then returns. 
If he makes the round without stepping on a line, he gets to 
put his initials in any square he chooses. Then, on the next 
tt-ip around, he is permitted to stop and rest in the square con- 
taining his initials. Any player who steps on a line or into a 
square containing another's initials is "out." 


This game was popular in England at least as early as the 1300's. 
Pendrill writes in his London Life in the 14th Century: "It was a 
popular habit throughout the Middle Ages to play such games as 
wrestling, hurlmg, and leapfrog in the streets and churchyards in 
spite of the efforts of the authorities to relegate them to such open 
spaces as Smithfield" (p. 21). 

Descriptions are given in Strutt, p. 302 ; Gomme, i, 327 ; Mac- 
lagan, p. 144; Ruiz, p. 62 ('El Burro Corrido') ; Culin, p. 33; Man, 
IV, 136 (the Herzegovinan 'Eagles'); Journal of the Royal An- 
thropological Institute, xxxix, 291 (British New Guinea) ; de Cock 
and Teirlinck, i, 283; Gustavson, p. 67; Dijkstra, i, 230. 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton. No source or date given. 

One boy stands over as far as he can. A second takes a fly- 
ing leap over the first, goes four or five yards ahead of him, 
and stoops over also. A third player does the same, and this 


continues until all the players have assumed the same position. 
Then the first hoy gets up, leaps over all the others, and takes 
his place at the head of the line. 


'Farmyard Chorus.' Contributed by Paul and Elizabeth Green, 1945, 
as collected in eastern and central N. C, 1926-28. ; 

In a whisper, the leader assigns to each player the name of 
the farm animal whose voice he is to imitate. All are to crow, 
whinny, moo. &c. at a given signal. However, the leader has 
secretly instructed all but one of the players to remain silent 
when the signal is given. At the signal, the voice of this un- 
fortunate is the only one heard, much to his embarrassment. 

Contributed by Cozette Coble, Stanly county. Reported from Stanly 
county, but no date given. 

Three chairs are arranged in a row and a girl is stationed 
behind each. Each girl has a scarf around her neck. One of 
the girls invites a boy to come and be shaved. He sits down 
in her chair, she ties the scarf around his eyes, and a little boy, 
who up to this time has been concealed behind the girls, kisses 
him. Then the scarf is removed and the customer is asked if 
that wasn't the quickest shave he ever had. 

Contributed by Elizabeth Janet Black, Garland, c. 1920-22. Collected in 
Garland, Sampson county, but no date given. 

Several people are seated in a circle. The leader crosses her 
legs, says, "I received them crossed and I pass them uncrossed," 
uncrosses her legs, and hands the scissors to the player sitting 
next to her. The scissors pass clear around the circle, and the 
joke is to see how many fail to cross and uncross the legs. 

Contributed by Elizabeth Janet Black, Garland, c. 1920-22. Reported 
from Garland, Sampson county. 

Players are seated in a circle. The leader takes a poker in 
one hand, pokes the floor with it, clears his throat, and says, 
"He can do little who can't do this, this, this." He then gives 
the poker to his neighbor, who is supposed to do exactly the 
same thing. Several of the players will forget to clear the 



For Other variants, see Gomme, i, 363 ('Malaga Raisins') ; Folk- 
Lore Journal, v, 51 (from Cornwall). 

Contributed by Elizabeth Janet Black, Garland, c. 1920-22. Reported 
from Garland, Sampson county. ' 

All of the players seat themselves in a circle. The leader 
clears his throat and then says, "Malaga grapes are very good 
grapes, but the grapes from China are better, better, better." 
Each is to repeat the performance of the leader, but some are 
sure to forget the clearing of the throat before speaking. 

Contributed by Elsie Lambert. No place or date given. 

Two or three boys go out of the room and then return one 
at a time. A group of girls are sitting in a row or a semicircle. 
The boy must go to the one he loves best, kneel at her feet, 
take her hand, and say. "My love, what have I done?"' The 
girl answers, "Acted a fool." 


See Gomme, i, 59 ('Carrying- the Queen a Letter') ; Newell, p. 
120 ('King and Queen') ; Strutt, p. 310; Folk-Lorc, xvi, 442 ('The 
King and Queen of Sheba') ; 443 ('Making Nuns') ; Rochholz, p. 
435 ; Vernaleken and Branky, p. 86. 

Description furnished by Gertrude Allen Vaught, Taylorsville. Reported 
from Alexander county about 1927. 

A boy and a girl are chosen as king and queen. Their 
"thrones" are draped with a sheet or some other large covering, 
with a vacant space left between the two, presumably an empty 
chair. Sometimes a pan of water is put under the sheet at this 
spot. A player is brought into the room to be introduced, and 
is urged to take the vacant seat in the middle so that their 
majesties may talk with him. As he sits down, the king and 
the queen rise from their "thrones," letting him take a seat in 
the pan of water. 


Contributed by Gertrude Allen Vaught in 1927. Reported from Alex- 
ander county. 

A large group of boys and girls form two rows facing each 
other. Players who have never had the pleasure of marching 
through Paradise are in another room. One by one, the mem- 
bers of the latter group are marched between the two lines. 
and those forming the lines, who have provided themselves witli 
pins, stick the victims from both sides as they pass through. 

G A M E S A N 1) R H Y M E S 43 



This is a variant of 'We Are the Roman Soldiers.' See, for ver- 
sions of the latter, Gonime, ii, 343-360; Newell, p. 248. 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. Only the text is given ; 
no place is indicated. 

Have yoti any bread and wine? 
For we are the Yankees. 
Have you any bread and wine? 
For we are the Yankee soldiers. 

Yes, we have some bread and wine, 
For we are the Rebels. &c. 

May we have a bite and sip, &c. 

No, yoti'll get no bite and sip, &c. 

Are you ready for a fight, &c. 

Yes, we're ready for a fight, &c. 


Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. Version obtained in 
Rutherford county. 

Two boys choose up and select sides. A handkerchief is 
hung on a tree or a fence at the "home" of each side. The 
object of the game is for one side to capture the other's flag. 
When the flag is threatened, the rallying cry is "Captain Oh 
Flag!" If a member of one team is caught inside the home 
boundary of the other, he is put in prison, from which he must 
be rescued by one of his own party. The game ends when a 
flag is captured. - 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. This version is reported 
from Rutherford county. 

Among the many season sports in the South is one played 
by boys in the late fall. It has no name that we could find. The 
boys make weapons of a piece of soft wood with a pithy center. 
Into this pith or into a split in the blunt end of the weapon a 

- Contributor's note : "This battle game is the most popular of its kind 
in certain sections of North CaroHna. In one instance which came under 
our observation, three boys were disabled for some days in one of these 
hard-fought battles, and the winning captain broke his collar bone. It 
is played with all the spirit and fight of a football game. It is often 
used as a preliminary to a snowball battle or clod fight. The lines of 
players sometimes fight until all on one side are "killed !" Cf. 'Stealing 
Sticks' in this collection, p. 80. 


long- piece of broom sage is inserted. When a sufficient num- 
ber have been made, the sides station themselves at opposite 
sides of a field and hurl these weapons at each other. If one 
sticks up inside the "home" of the enemy, it must be returned. 
If it hits a player and then falls to the ground, he is wounded 
for a while. If it hits him and sticks in his clothes, he is dead. 
The game continues until all the weapons are exhausted or 
until all the players on one side are wounded or dead. 



This is one of the most widely known singing" games. It is also 
one of the most interesting, portraying (in the more complete 
Scottish texts) the lover from afar coming to Jenny's home to woo 
her, Jenny's daily occupations, and the subsequent illness, death, 
and burial of the heroine. Of particular interest to the folklorist 
are the color symbolism and the care exercised to select the right 
color for the burial clothing, the dressing of the body by girl friends 
and their carrying of it to the grave, the belief that excessive mourn- 
ing disturbs the dead and causes them to rise and even to remon- 
strate against it (cf. Child No. 78, 'The Unquiet Grave'), and the 
belief that burial places are haunted by spirits of the dead. 

Lady Gomme has given us seventeen versions of this game, sev- 
eral of them from Scotland, which appears to have been its original 
home. The 'Jenny Jones' and 'Jinny Jones' of English texts seem 
to be corruptions of the Scottish 'Janet jo,' the last part of which 
title is a term meaning sweetheart. 

For other texts and additional references, see JAFL, xlvii, 334 
(Georgia); xlix, 253 (Indiana); lx, 12-13 (Missouri); Notes & 
Queries, I2th ser., vii, 405; viii, 95; Newell, p. 63; Beckwith, 
Folk-Games of Jamaica, p. 45 ('I Come to See Jennie') ; Maclagan, 
p. 123 ('Genesis' Ghost'); Gomme, i, 260-283; 11, 432-435; Bot- 
kin, Tlie American Play-Party Song, pp. 30, 57, 100; Burne, Shrop- 
shire Folk-Lore, p. 508; Southern Folklore Quarterly, vi, 189; 
Gomme, Children's Singing Games, i, 22; Folk-Lore, xvi, 217-218; 
Folk-Lore Record, iii, 171; iv, 173; Chambers, Popular Rhymes of 
Scotland, p. 140; Collins, Alamance Play-Party Songs and Singing 
Games, p. 31 ; Martinengo-Cesaresco, Fssays in the Study of Folk 
Songs, pp. 14-15; Linscott, Folk Songs of Old Xew Fngland, p. 26. 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton in 1927. This version was obtained 
in Madison county. 

A group of children form into a line with clasped hands. 
Two of them act the i^arts of Miss Jennie Ann Jones and her 
mother. The mother stands or sits on the ground, and Miss 
Jennie Ann Jones hides behind her. The line advances, singing: 


"I'm going to see Miss Jennie Ann Jones, 
Miss Jennie Ann Jones. Miss Jennie Ann Jones; 
I'm going to see Miss Jennie Ann Jones 
And how is she today ?" 

"She's upstairs washing, 
Washing, washing ; 
She's upstairs washing, 
You can't see her today." 

"Very glad to hear it, 
To hear it, to hear it ; 
Very glad to hear it, 
And how is she today ?" 

The next answers are that she is upstairs ironing, cooking, 
scrubbing, &c. Then the "mother" answers that she is sick, 
better, worse, dead. The dancers then go back to the starting- 
place and come back singing: 

"What color is she to be buried in, 
Buried in, buried in ; 
What color is she to be buried in 
On her burying day ?" 

The mother suggests blue, and the others reply : 

"Blue is for the sailors, 
The sailors, the sailors; 
Blue is for the sailors, 
So that will never do." 

The next suggestion is red, but the singers object : 

"Red is for the army, 
The army, the army ; 
Red is for the army, 
So that will never do." 

Green is not suitable, for 

"Green is for the jealous, 
The jealous, the jealous; 
Green is for the jealous, 
So that will never do." 

Black is not appropriate for 

"Black is for the mourner. 
The mourner, the mourner; 
Black is for the mourner. 
So that will never do." 


Finally the mother suggests white, and the singers agree : 

"White is for the angels, 
The angels, the angels ; 
White is for the angels, 
So that will have to do." 

Then the singers retire and advance again, this time asking- 

"Where shall we bury her, 
Bury her, bury her? 
Where shall we bury her, 
Bury her today?" 

The mother replies, "Under the apple tree." The line then carries 
Miss Jennie Ann Jones to the spot representing the apple tree, 
and pretends to bury her. As they withdraw, she gets up and 
the other players sing : 

"I thought I saw a ghost last night, 
A ghost last night, a ghost last night ; 
I thought I saw a ghost last night 
Under the apple tree." 

She then chases them. The first one caught is the Miss Jennie 
Ann Jones for the next game, and the next one caught is the 

Contributed by Clara Hearne in 1923. This version, which is badly 
corrupted, comes from Chatham county. Has "Miss Jenny Jones" for 
"Miss Jennie Ann Jones." The game ends with a chase at the con- 
clusion of the "bury" stanza. 


Whether or not it is true that this children's game preserves the 
memory of tlie Lord Protector of the Commonwealth, it is a fact 
that a number of English texts contain the name Oliver Cromwell 
and that the title of at least one American version is 'Old Crom- 
well.' The North Carolina titles 'Crummle' and 'Grumble' lend 
weight to the contention that "Cromweir was the original name. 
There are many other titles by which the game is known: 'Old 
Grimes,' 'Old Roger,' 'Poor Robin,' 'Cock Robin,' 'Cock Robin is 
Dead,' 'Columbus is Dead,' 'Sir Roger is Dead.' 'Old Humpsy,' 'The 
Lodger is Dead,' 'Old Ponto,' &c. 

Other texts will be found in Gomme, 11, 16-24; Newell, p. 100; 
Fuson, Ballads of the Kentucky Highkinds, p. 186; Gomme, Chil- 
dren's Singing Games, i, 48; PTFLS, vi (1927), 229; FL, xvi, 
200; XXIV, 82; Journal of the Folk Song Society, v, 295-296; FLJ, 
I, 385; Broadwood and Maitland, English County Songs, pp. 94-95; 
Douglas, London Street Games, pp. 76-77; Shoemaker, North Penn- 


sylrania Minstrelsy (2cl eel.), p. 303; American Anthropologist, 
o's., I, 245; Graves, The Less Familiar Nursery Rhymes, p. 20; 
Neely,' Tafcs and Songs of Southern Illinois, p. 195 ; Sharp : Karpeles, 
English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians, 11, 370; Bot- 
kin, The American Play-Party Song, p. 100; Beklen, Ballads and 
Songs Collected by the 'Missouri Folk-Lore Society, p. 509; Pound, 
American Hallads'and Songs, p. 2t,2: Scarborough, On the Trail of 
Negro Folk-Songs, pp. 136-137; Henry, Folk-Songs from the South- 
ern Highlands, p. 408; Collins, Alamance Play-Party Songs and 
Singing Games, p. 13; Eddy, Ballads and Songs from Ohio, p. 176; 
Flanders and Brown, Vermont Folk-Songs and Ballads, p. 182; 
Gardner, Ballads and Songs of Southern Michigan, p. 415; Brown 
and Boyd, Old English and American Games, p. 21; Mcintosh, Sing 
and Szi'ing, pp. 56-58. 

Contributed by Carrie Stroupe. Lenoir. Obtained in Lenoir about 1922. 
Old Grumble is dead and laid in his grave, 
Laid in his grave, laid in his grave ; 
Old Grumble is dead and laid in his grave, 
Laid in his grave. 

They planted an apple tree over his head, 
Over his head, over his head ; 
They planted an apple tree over his head, 
Over his head. 

The apples got ripe and began to fall. 

Began to fall, began to fall ; 

The apples got ripe and began to fall. 

Began to fall. 

An old woman came along, a-picking 'em up, 

A-picking 'em up, a-picking 'em up ; 

An old woman came along, a-picking 'cm up, 

A-picking 'em up. 

Old Grumble jumped up and gave her a thump. 

Gave her a thump, gave her a thump ; 

Old Grumble jumped up and gave her a thump. 

Gave her a thump. 

Old woman went off a hippety-hop, 

A hippety-hop. a hippety-hop ; 

Old woman went off a hippety-hop, 

A hippety-hop. 

If you want any more, you can sing it yourself, 

Sing it yourself, sing it yourself ; 

If you want any more, you can sing it yourself, 

Sing it yourself. 


While singing the first verse, the singers make motions as if 
laying Grumble in his grave. At the second, they wave their 
hands over their heads. At the third verse, they raise their 
hands over their heads and let them fall. As they sing the 
fourth, they stoop over and pretend to be picking up apples 
and putting them into a bag. At the fifth, each singer strikes 
herself on the side. While singing the sixth verse, all put 
hands on hips and limp away as though crippled. 

Contributed by Junius Davis, Wilmington. Obtained in the vicinity of 
Wilmington, c. 1915. No description given. 

Old Crummle is dead and laid in his grave. 
Heigh-ho, and laid in his grave. 

There was an apple tree over his head. 
Heigh-ho, over his head. 

The apples were ripe and ready to drop, 
Heigh-ho. and ready to drop. 

There came an old cripple a-picking them up. 
Heigh-ho, a-picking them up.^ 

Old Crummle arose and hit him a knock, 
Heigh-ho, hit him a knock. 

That made the old cripple go hippity hop, 
Heigh-ho, hippity hop. 


Contributed by Amy Henderson, Worry. Collected in Burke county, 
c. 191 5. No description and a very corrupt text. 

Old Crumley is dead and laid in his grave, 

Um-on, laid in his grave. 

There was an apple tree grew over the wall ; 

The apples got ripe and began to fall. 

There was an old woman came picking them up ; 

Old Crumley arose and gave her a knock 

Which made the old woman go hippity-hop. 

My sister Betsy had a white horse ; 

The saddle and bridle lay under the shelf, 

H you want any more you can sing it yourself. 


Since 'Old Witch' and 'Chickainy, Chickamy, Craney Crow' have 
the same theme and the differences between them are only superficial, 

^ There appears to be a slight mixup here. The intruder should not 
be a cripple until after receiving the knock from Old Crummle. 


I list here descriptions and additional versions of both: Gomnie, ii, 
14-15 ('Old Danic'), 391 ("The Witch'j ; i, 39^ ff. ('Mother, 
Mother, the Pot Boils Over'); Maclagan, p. 133 ('Searchinj,^ for 
the Needle') ; Gomme, i, 151 ('Gled-Wylie'), 201 ('Hen and Chick- 
ens'), 499 ('Old Cranny Crow') ; 11, 404 ('Auld Grannie') ; Newell, 
p. 155 ('Hawk and Chickens') ; 215, 259 ('Old Witch') : Chambers, 
p. 130 ('died Wvlie') ; Scarborough. On the Trail of Negro Folk- 
Songs, p. 138; 'PTFLS, XVII (1941). 145 ("Old Uncle Tom'): 
FLJ, V, 53; VII, 218; I, 386; Beckwith, p. 33 ('Hen and Chickens') ; 
SFQ, \i, 221 ; Talley, p. 74.; Collins, p. 48; Tennessee Folklore So- 
cietv Bulletin, xi, g- American Anthropologist, o.s., i, 282 (a Gipsy 
text) ; Hunt and Cain, pp. 66-67 (Chinese) : Bernoni, p. 34; JAFL, 
III, 139-140: v, 119; xxxiii, 51, 115; XXXIV, 38-39, 116; XL, 30-31: 
XLVii, 335; Hurston, Mules and Men, p. 78 ('Chick, niah Chick, 
mah Craney Crow'). Miss Hurston calls this "that most raucous, 
popular, and most African of games." 

Just as children's games have retained vestiges of ancient ritual, 
traces of human sacrifice, hints of water and tree \vorship, and 
the like, so have they preserved the witch tradition, in this par- 
ticular instance the tradition of the child-stealing witch. From 
earliest times belief in and charms against witches which abduct or 
injure small children have existed in all lands. The evil Gello 
(Gelu, Geloo, Gilo, Gylou), whose name lives on in the bitterly 
ironical proverb "Fonder of children than Gello" and may be con- 
nected with the Arabic-Persian ghoul (ghul), was the special dread 
of the Greek mother. Lamia (whence the lamiae), whose cliildren 
were killed by the jealous Hera, wife of Zeus, was believed to harm 
mortal children in revenge. Hebrew mothers feared the malicious- 
ness of Lilith, first wife of Adam. Mothers in Rumania took (and 
perhaps still take) particular precautions against another child- 
stealing witch, Avestitza. For an exhaustive study of the subject, 
see Gaster, "Two Thousand Years of a Charm against the Child- 
Stealing Witch." FL, XI (1900), 129-162 (reprinted in Studies and 
Texts in Folklore, Magic, Mediaei'al Romance, Hebrczv Apocrypha, 
and Samaritan Archaeology, 11, 1005-1038) 

'Chicky My Chick My Craney Crow.' Contributed by Maude Minish 
Sutton, c. 1927. This version from Caldwell county. "This game is 
played in many places in the South. We found it as widely apart as 
Harrodsburg, Ky., Lenoir, N. C, and Decatur, Mississippi." 

There must be at least ten players. They are named re- 
spectively : the witch, the mother, the cook, and Monday, Tues- 
day, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. 
All of the group except the witch go to a "home." usually 
a tree or a house corner, with a line drawn in front of it. The 
witch goes a short distance away and sits down, pretending to 
scratch in the earth with a stick. The mother, with a great 
deal of dramatic action, orders the cook to go to the s])ring. 
The cook goes, taking Sunday with her ; as they go. they sing : 


Chicky, my chicky, my craney crow ; 
Went to the well to wash my toe ; 
When I got there, my chicken was gone. 
What time is it, old witch? 

The witch answers, "Twelve o'clock." 

The cook puts Sunday behind her, and she and the witch 
carry on the following dialogue : 

Cook: What you doing? 

Witch: Digging a well. 

Cook: W'hat for? 

Witch: There's a frog in the spring. 

Cook: I don't believe it. 

Witch : Look and see. 

When the cook looks at the place where the witch has been 
scratching, the latter steals Sunday and puts her behind a tree. 
The cook calls her. pretends to get a bucket of water at the 
spring, and goes home. The mother beats her for losing the 
child, and goes to the spring herself, taking Monday with her. 

Mother: Chicky, my chicky, &c. 

Witch (ignoring mother's question) : There, give me a 

match to light my pipe.^ 
Mother: I haven't any. 
Witch: There's a frog in the spring. 
Mother: I don't believe it. 
Witch: Look and see. 

The mother looks, and the witch steals Monday and hides her 
behind a tree. This continues until all the children are stolen. 
Mother and cook plot to recover them. The mother goes to 
the witch's home for dinner. The witch tells her that she is 
having chicken. She brings in Sunday and places her before 
the mother. The latter pretends to bite her and says. "This is 
no chicken; this is Sunday." She than spanks Sunday and 
sends her home. Eventually all the children are similarly 

No title. Contributed by Mamie Mansfield, Durham, c. 1928. Obtained 
in Durham county. 

The children choose a mother hen and an old witch. The 
witch pretends to be building a fire, while the mother hen with 

* It was believed in early times that the "giving of fire'' out of the 
house would give any evilly disposed receiver power over the household. 

G A M E S A N U R II Y M E S 5I 

all the chickens goes around her, each child holding to the 
clothing of the one in front of her. 

Chickery, chickery, cranny crow 
Went to the well to wash niy toe ; 
When I got back, my chicken was gone. 
What time is it, old witch? 

When they sing, "What time is it, old witch," the witch says 
7, 8, 9, II, 3, or 10 o'clock. If she says a time other than lo 
o'clock, the song continues. The mentioning of lO o'clock is a 
signal for the chickens to get into a straight line behind the 
mother hen for protection. 

Mother: What are you doing, old witch? 

Witch: I'm building a fire. 

Mother: What are you building a fire for? 

Witch: To boil a chicken. 

Mother: Where are you going to get the chicken ? 

Witch: From you. 

Mother: I'm not so sure of that. 

The mother holds out her hands and the witch tries to get 
the chickens which stray out of the line. This game continues 
until all are stolen. Then one or two other children, while the 
witch and chickens are asleep, go and touch each chicken on 
the head to wake him up and then all fly home cackling and 

'Chick-O-My, Chick-O-My, Craney-Crow.' Contril)uted by Lucille Bill- 
iard, 1916. Reported from Robeson county. 

Chick-o-my, chick-o-my, craney-crow ; 
Went to the well to wash my toe ; 
When I got back, my chick was gone. 
What o'clock is it, old witch ? 

These words are repeated by the old lady and her children. 
The player who is the witch names any hour. If she names 
12 o'clock, the mother asks, "What are you doing, old witch?" 
(Unless the hour named is \2 o'clock they return home and 
come again.) 

Mother: What are you doing, old witch? 

Witch : Picking up sticks. 

Mother: What for? 

Witcli: To cook a chicken. 

Mother: Where are you going to get one? 

IVitch: I'll get one of yours. 

X.C.F., Vol. I, (5) 


The witch then tries to tag one of the children, who have run 
behind the mother for protection. The child tagged follows the 
witch to her den, where she remains until all are caught. Then 
the mother goes to dine with the witch. She pretends to taste 
of a child, and tells the witch, "This tastes like my chick." The 
children suddenly come to life, and they and the mother chase 
and beat the witch. 

'Old Witch.' Contributed by Jessie Hauser in 1923. Reported from For- 
syth county. 

In this game one child is chosen for the witch. She scratches 
around on the ground as if hunting for something. The other 
children come to her, and the spokesman and the witch carry 
on this conversation : 

"What are you looking for, old witch?" 
"My darning needle." 
"Is this it?" 

Here the spokesman shows first one foot and then the other and 
then each hand until the witch says "Yes" and starts after the 
other players. They run to safety within a circle. Those 
caught must be the witch or witches next time. 

'Old Granny Hibble-Hobble.' Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, 
c. 1927. This particular version is from Abingdon, Virginia, but the 
contributor has found others in N. C. 

The mother selects the name she wishes to be known by ; 
the children are all called by their own names. The mother 
starts out to get a chicken to kill, when she meets Old Granny 
Hibble-Hobble. The dialogue runs : 

"Morning, Mrs. . Give me some fire to light my 

"I haven't any." 
"How come you haven't ? I see sinoke comin' out your 

"Oh, that's just the chickens a-scratchin' in the ashes." 
"No, it ain't either. The fox done caught all your 

"I don't believe it." 
"Look and see." 

The mother goes to look, and Granny steals the child. Then 
the mother goes home crying and calling the child's name. 

G AMES A N I) R II Y M F. S 53 

The next day there is a repetition, and this continues until 
all the children are stolen. Then the mother goes after Granny 
to get her to wash for her. Ciranny gives all kinds of excuses, 
all of which the mother counters with "I'll lend you mine." 
Finally Ciranny consents. i)rovided the mother will stay for 
dinner. Granny brings out a child at a time, calling each some 
kind of food. The mother pretends to bite each one. Then 

she says. "This is no chicken ; this is my !" She spanks 

the child and orders it to "(iit home!" When all have been 
recovered, the mother sicks the dogs (i.e.. the cliildren) on 
Granny, and they pretend to tear her to pieces. 

This version was collected from white children, who had 
learned it from little Negro boys. 

'Old Man Hippety Hop.' Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. 
No source given. A Negro version. 

Old iMan Hippety Hop tuck my chile; 
Put him over in de corn fiel'. 
Bugs an' flies eatin' out he eyes f 
Po' little thing cries. Mammy, 
Mammy, Ivlammy, Mammy. 

The mother steals her children one at a time from Old Man 
Hippety Hop, who runs around with them behind him. When 
he is between them and the mother, she cannot get one. He 
dodges expertly, always limping." with the children holding to 
each other in a line behind him. They cannot turn loose until 
the mother holds one and counts "One. two. three." 

The mother sings the above verse at intervals, and the chil- 
dren call out "Mammy!" When all but one or two are caught, 
the game gets hard. It ends when the last one is caught. 

The second line of the verse has many variants: "Put him 
grubbin' in de swamp," "Put him to choppin' (or pickin') cot- 
ton." &c. We find the Negro child much more apt at impro- 
vising than the white one. When the former has forgotten a 
line, he will make up one rather than disappoint you. The 
Negro version is most interesting in that it takes the child-eating 
demon of folklore and makes of him an overseer forcing the 
child to work in the fields. This is the best illustration we have 

'' This is given as a lullaby by Scarborough, On the Trail of Negro 
Folk-Sonys, pp. 147-148. 

" Lameness is traditionallv a characteristic of the witch. Many an old 
woman in the England of King James and in Puritan New England as 
well went to her death largely because of a physical inhrmity. Note the 
lameness of the witch in tlie following version and that implied m 'Old 
Granny Hibble-Hobble.' 


of a folk game being adapted to the understanding of the chil- 
dren who play it. 

'Old Witch.' Contributed by Gertrude Allen Vaught, c. 1928. Frag- 
mentary version reported from Alexander county. 

One child is the witch and another the mother, while the 
rest are children. The old witch comes hobbling up on a stick. 
The children exclaim : 

"Here comes old Granny Hippeltyhop; 
Wonder what she wants today?" 

The witch knocks at the door, and the mother answers : 

"What do you want ?" 

"I want one of your children." 

"Which one do you want?" 

"Any of them." 

"You can't have them." 

No title. Contributed in 1945 by Paul and Elizabeth Green, as collected 
in eastern and central N. C, 1926-28. 

Chicky, ma chicky, ma craven crow ; 
Went to the well to wash my toe ; 
When I got there, the well was dry. 
What time is it, old witch ? 

No title. Contributed by Alma Irene Stone. No date or place given. 
Chick-a-ma. chick-a-ma. crainy-crow ; 
Went to the well to wash my toe ; 
When I got back, my chickens were gone. 
What time is it, old witch ? 


No title. Contributed by Julian P. Boyd, Alliance. Collected about 
1927-28. No place given. 

Chicky, my chicky. my craney crow ; 
Went to the well to wash his toe ; 
Come back, one of his chickens was gone. 
What time is it, old witch? 


No title. Contributed by AUie Ann Pearce. Reported from Bertie 
county; no date given. 


Chickaniy, chickamy. craney crow ; 
Went to the well to wash my toe ; 
What time is it, Old Woman? 
One o'clock going on to two. 


See Gomme, i, 364-368; Newell, pp. 96-97; Pound, pp. 225-226; 
SFQ, VI, 240-242; JAFL, XXVIII, 273-274; xl, 18-19; n'-ix. 254- 
255; LX, 18; Botkin, p. 28; Gardner, Folklore from the Schoharie 
Hills, p. 201 ; Shearin and Combs, pp. 44, 74; Linscott, i). 31. There 
are numerous foreig^n parallels and analogues. 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. Version collected from 
Nell Searcy, Chimney Rock. 

Mother- Lazy Mary, will you get up ; 

\\'ill you. will you. will you get up? 
Lazy Mary, will you get up; 
Will you get up today? 

Mary: What will you give me for my hreakfast, &c. 
If I'll get up today? 

Mother (speaking) : Butter and hread. 

Mary: No, mother, I won't get up, &c. 

Mother: (ist verse repeated) 

Mary: What will you give me for my dinner, &c. 

Mother (speaking) : Peas and cornhread. 

Mary: No, mother, I won't get up, &c. 

Mother: (ist verse repeated) 

Mary: What will you give me for my supper, &c. 

Mother (speaking) : Nice young man with rosy 

Mary: Yes, mother, I will get up, &c. 

The players form a circle with Lazy Mary in the center, 
seated in a chair. One speaks as the mother ; this one and all 
the others march around Mary, singing. The ]:)layers select the 
boy Mary is to be given for getting up. 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, who oljtained it from colored 
children in Buncombe and Caldwell counties, c. 1927. 

Here sits a lady in the dining room, 
A-sitting by the fire. 
Head bent down, with an aciiing heart ; 
Draw your children nigher. 


This is a pretty game. The children form a ring, with one 
of their number in the center. She sits with bowed head. They 
circle around her until the last line, when they go in toward her. 


Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927, whose account of the 
finding I give in her own words. 

"I ran across a funny thing the other day. My nurse, from 
Newberry, S. C, was playing a sort of dialogue game with my 
children. It is a corrupted arrangement of 'The Maid Freed 
from the Gallows.' It goes like this: 

'My father oh no, my father oh no 
Have you brought me any silver or gold? 
Oh no, oh no, oh no, oh no, 
I didn't bring you no silver and gold 
I came to you, I came to you 
I came to see you hanged, my dear ; 
You need a shady tree.' 

It follows the usual pattern : Mother. Brother. Sister, ana 
Sweetheart. My oldest, Betty, was the 'maid.' The nurse was 
the 'relatives' and 'friends.' " 


For other versions of this widespread game, see Gomme, i, 170; 
Children's Singing Gomes, i, 28-31; Beckwith, p. 62 ('Green 
Guava'); Burne, p. 510; Owens, p. 8; Newell, pp. 71, 242; Mac- 
lagan, p. 83; Balfour and Thomas, p. 117: Collins, p. 21 ; Randolph, 
The Ocarks, p. 161 ; SFQ, vi, 210; American Anthropologist, o.s., i, 
244 ('Sweet Gravel'); Notes & Queries, 4th ser., vii, 415, 523; 
TFLS, V, 28; FLJ, VII, 214; FLR, v, 84, 86; Haddon, The Study 
of Man, p. 339; Broadwood and Maitland. pp. 26, 2y; McDowell, 
p. 64; Halliweli, Nursery Rhymes, p. 148; Ford, Traditional Music 
of America, p. 256; Shearin and Combs, p. 37; JAFL, viii. 254; 
XXVI, 139; XXXIII, 100; XL, 13; XLii, 220-221; Lx, 42; Linscott, 
p. 10; Mcintosh, Sing and Szving, pp. 65-66. 

Gomme (i, 177. 182) calls this a funeral game. On the asso- 
ciation of the color green with death or the dead, see JFSS, v, 83; 
L. C. Wimberly, Folklore in the English and Scottish Ballads (Chi- 
cago, 1928), p. 243; Wimberly, Death and Burial Lore in the Eng- 
lish and Scottish Popular Ballads (University of Nebraska Studies 
in Language, Literature, and Criticism, No. 8). 


Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, who collected versions in Bun- 
combe, Rutherford, and Avery counties, c. 1927. The source of this 
particular one is not given. 

C A M K S A N I) R 11 Y M E S 57 

A ring is formed around one girl, and those in the ring dance 
around her, singing : 

(ircen gravel, green gravel, as green as grass grows, 
And all of the girls are red as a rose. 

One of the dancers leaves the ring, goes up to the girl in the 
center, and offers her hand. The ring goes on singing : 

Poor Marg'ret, Poor Marg'ret, your true love is dead ; 
He wrote you a letter, so how down your head. 

The girl in the center of the ring jjretends to cry on the shoulder 
of the other girl who has joined her. 

Contributed by Gertrude Allen Vaught, Taylorsville. From Alexander 

Green gravel, green gravel, the grass is so green ; 
It's pretty, it's pretty, as ever I've seen. 
O Mary, O Mary, your sweetheart is dead ; 
He wrote you a letter to turn back your head. 

Players formed a ring, then marched around, singing the 
above verses. As a girl was addressed, she had to turn her 
back and march that way. The game continued until all were 
turned the opposite way ; then it was begun again. 

Contributed by W. Amos Abrams, Boone. Version obtained in Boone 
in 1937. The A text, with " 't is beauty" for "it's pretty." 

Contributed by Jessie Hauser, 1923. Reported from Forsyth county. 
The A text, with "the fairest of ladies is fit to be seen" for line 2. 



Games in which a blindfolded player must guess the identity of 
or locate another are of several different kinds. In some of them 
the one blindfolded tries to identify other players by touching their 
clothing; in others, by listening to the sound of their movements 
about him. Here the identification is made through the sound of 
the player's voice. Of the same type are the Spanish 'El pi' and the 
Polish 'Mruczek.' A similar Russian game is described by Pokrov- 
skii in his Dctskic iyry. My article "Some Games from Other 
Lands" (Southern Folklore Quarterly, vii, 109 ff.) contains de- 


scriptions of identification games from Africa, Hungary, and 

See PTFLS, xvii (1941), 145 ("Texas Grunt'). 

Contributed by J. T. C. Wright, Boone. Collected at Appalachian Train- 
ing School, Boone, in 1922. 

A ring- of players forms around one in the center who is 
blindfolded and furnished with a stick. As the circle goes 
around him, he touches one of the other players with his stick. 
The one touched must grunt like a pig, and the toucher tries 
to identify him by his voice. If he succeeds, the two exchange 


The name is modern, but the game is both old and widespread. 
For a somewhat similar game played by Makonde children, see my 
"Two Games from Africa" (American Anthropologist, n.s., xlvi, 
269). In the latter, however, the player is tapped on the bead and 
the game does not end with hiding. The French 'La Main Cbaude." 
in which the player is struck on the palm of the outstretched band, 
belongs to the same type, as does also the English 'Hot Cockles' 
(Gomme, i, 229 J, which was popular in Elizabethan times and 

Contributed by Sadie Smith. No place or date given. 

One person stands with his back tow^ard the rest. Someone 
punches him once in the back. He turns aroimd and tries to 
guess who punched him. If he is successful, the player guessed 
must act as counter in the game of Hide and Seek which 


This game, too, has many foreign parallels: the Spanish 'ijuanita, 
donde estas?,' the Jugoslav 'Zmirke,' and 'Jack, Where Are You?,' 
&c. For another American variant, see Acker, p. 27. 

Contributed by Clara Hearne. Collected in Chatham county about 1922 
or 1923. 

A boy and a girl stand in the center of a ring of players. The 
boy, who is blindfolded, calls, "Where are you, Rachel?" The 
girl answers, "Here I am, Jacob." Then he tries to catch her. 


This is a game that has practically worldwide currency. It is 
played in England, Ireland, Scotland. Wales. Germany, the Nether- 
lands, Italy, Spain, Norway. Denmark. Sweden, Switzerland, Por- 
tugal, Greece, Estonia, Jugoslavia. India, Turkey, Japan, Argentina. 
Africa, and the United States. 

For British and American variants, see Gomme, i, 46; Gutch. 


County Folk-Lore, vi, p. 139; Balfour and Thomas, County Folk- 
Lorc, IV. p. 104; Newell, p. 148. For foreign variants and refer- 
ences, see my "Some Notes on the Guessing-Game 'How Many 
Horns Has the Buck?'" {Hcaloidcas, xiii, 40-79), "'How Many 
Horns Has the Buck?': Prolegomena to a Comparative Study" 
(Volkskunde, n.s., iv, 361-393). "A Roman Game and Its Survival 
on Four Continents" (Classical Philology, xxxviii, 134-137), "Some 
African Variants of "Bucca, Bucca' " (Classical Journal, xxxix, 293- 
296), and "The Kitte ande hoi Game of India" (Southern Folklore 
Quarterly, vii, 149-152). 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. Collected in Tyrrell 
county, one of the earliest settlements in the state. In this version the 
game has become merely an ending to the game of 'Horns' ('Feathers'). 
Since the latter is quite a different kind of game, I have reserved the 
first part of Mrs. Sutton's version for another section. 

One player, blindfolded, is potinded on the back by another 
to the accompaniment of this rhyme : 

"Hickety hack on your poor back. 
How many fingers do I hold up?" 

The victim guesses the number of fingers. If he guesses in- 
correctly, he is again potinded to the accompaniment of 

"Two you said and fotn- I had, 
Hicke'ty hack, &c." 

This continues until the blindfolded player makes a correct 
gtiess, when the two exchange places. 

Contributed by Katherine B. Jones, Raleigh. Collected in Raleigh. 
Rhyme only. 

Come, Billv Buck, 
Come try your luck ; 
See how many fingers 
I hold up.' 

See Gomme, i, 218 ('Ho-go') ; Newell, p. 147; PTFLS. i (1916), 
150; JAFL, I, 139; Lviii, 154 ('How Many Eggs in the Bush?'); 
Bealoidcas, in, 415; Hunt and Cain, Games the World Around, p. 
159 (the Japanese 'Mek-Kong') ; Hall, Children at Play in Many 
Lands, p. 36 (the Korean '^Nlek Konk'). Italian children play a 
practically identical game which they call "Quantu lanzi.' 

' The Sec of line 3 should be Say. 'Billy Buck' could not see the 
number of fingers, since they are held up behind his back and he is 
blindfolded besides. 


Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. From Caldwell county. 
This game is played with grains of corn or with chinquapins. 
Each child starts out with the same number. The first puts 
a small number in one hand, extends it toward the other, and 
says, "Hul Gul." The other responds, "Hand full." Then the 
first asks, "How many?" and the second must guess the num- 
ber. If the guess is correct, the guesser wins all in the hand. 
If wrong, he must give the other the number he guessed. The 
game is won by the player who has the most grains at the end 
of a certain time. 


For an English version of the game, see Gomme, i, 187 ('Hairry 
my Bossie'). 

Contributed by Jean and Hallie Holeman, Durham, c. 1930. Collected in 
Durham county in 1922. 

The first player holds out a number of chinquapins in his 
closed hands and says. "Jack in the bush." The second player 
replies, "Cut him down." "How many licks?" demands the 
other, and the second player must guess the number. If the 
guess is correct, the guesser gets all the chinquapins. If the 
number guessed exceeds the actual number, the guesser gives 
the first player the difiference. If the number guessed is less 
than the actual number, the first player gives the guesser the 

Contributed in 1945 by Paul and Elizabeth Green, as collected in eastern 
and central N. C. in 1926-28. 

One player puts a number of grains of corn in his hand, 
closes his fist, holds it out, and says, "Jack in the bush." The 
other replies, "Cut him down." The first player then asks, 
"How many licks?" If the second player's guess is correct, he 
gets all the corn. 


'Snake in the Grass.' Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. 
Collected in Avery county. 

This is the same as A except for the questions and answers, 
which run : 

"Snake in the grass." 

"Bust his head." 

"How many licks?" 




Tliis is a very ancient game, known to Greek children centuries 
ago as Mvitt x"^X'- Hazlitt (Dictionary of Faiths and Folklore, p. 
56) conjectures that it may have had its origin in the traditional 
story of Polyphemus. A description of the old Greek game will be 
found in Gu'lick, The Life of the Ancient Greeks, p. 76. 

It is known by many different names. German children call it 
'Blinde Kuh,' 'EHnde Maus,' "Blinde Eule,' 'Piep iMaus,' and 'Blinde 
Katze.' To Danish youngsters it is known as 'Blinde-momme' or 
"lege Mus i Morke.' In France it is 'Mouche' or 'Colin-maillard.' 
Italian children know it as 'Mosca' or 'Mosca cieca.' Other Eng- 
lish names by which it is sometimes known are 'Billy Blind,' "Blind 
Harie,' 'Blind Hob,' 'Blind Bucky Davy,' and "Hoodman Blind.' 
The latter was given it because of the fact that the player was orig- 
inally blinded with his hood. See Strutt, p. 308 for plates from a 
Bodleian MS showing how the game was played in early times. 

For versions of the game, see Newell, pp. 162-163; Strutt, p. 308; 
Gomme, i, 37-40; Acker, p. 20; Smith, Gaines and Game Leadership, 
p. T,2; Ruiz, p. 79 ('La Gallina Ciega'); Henius, p. 16; Martinez, 
La Poesia Popular en Puerto Rico, p. 254; Culin, p. 54. A Rho- 
desian form of the game is described in Smith and Dale, The Ila- 
Speaking Peoples of Northern Rhodesia, p. 250 (Ing 'ombe ingofu' — 
the blind cow). A Hawaiian version, called To-ai-pu-ni,' appears 
in American Anthropologist, N.S., i, 233, and the manner of playing 
the game in the Fiji Islands is described in Williams and Calvert, 
Fiji and the Fijians, p. 127. The game is played also by the Jap- 
anese. Henry Albert Phillips, author of Meet the Japanese, writes 
(p. Ill): "For more than an hour we played 'Blind Man's Buff," 
'Scissors, Paper, Stone,' and 'Going to Yedo.' ..." A description 
of the Chinese game appears in Yui Shufang, Chinese Children at 
Pla\ (no pagination). An Eskimo form is described by Nelson in 
his article "The Eskimo about Bering Strait" {liighteenth An- 
nual Report of the BAE, pt. i). For a Filipino version, see Reyes 
and Ramos, p. 51 ('Takip-Silem'). See also Lewalter and Schliiger, 
p. 255 ; Bohme, p. 627. 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. Collected in Buncombe 

One of the players, selected by a counting-out rhyme, is blind- 
folded. He must chase the others until he succeeds in catching 
and identifying one of them. The player who is cauglit and 
identified then wears the blindfold in the next game. This game 
is very popular with children in their early teens. 


See Gomme, i, 117 ('Dumb Motions') ; Newell, p. 249; Maclagan. 
p. 140 ("The Dumbies' Trade'); FLJ, vii, 230; Douglas, p. 21 
('Please We've Come to Learn a Trade') ; American Anthropologist, 
o.s., I, 265; ^larran. p. 144 ('New Orleans Tag'); Smith, p. 318; 
Rolland. Rimes et Jeux de I'Enfance, p. 149 ("Les Metiers'). In 


Indiana and, I believe, in neighboring states, the game is known as 
'Lemonade.' The questions and responses are as follows : 

"Here we come !" 
"Where from ?" 
"New York !" 

"What's your trade?" 
"Lemonade !" 
"Go to work !" 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. Collected in Caldwell 
county. Mrs. Sutton reports that she found the game also in Ruther- 
ford county and in Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Mississippi. 

The children divide into two groups. One grotip decides 
upon an occupation to imitate, and marches toward the other. 
They stop a short distance away, and the following dialogue 
ensues : 

1st group: Bum, bum, bum. 

2d group : Where do you come from ? 

1st group: Pretty girls' station. 

2d group : What's your occupation ? 

The members of the first group then pretend to do the work 
previously agreed upon, and continue until those of the second 
group guess correctly what the occupation is. Then the actors 
run, while the players in the second group try to catch as many 
as possible before they reach "home." 

Contributed by Louise Bennett, Middleburg. Collected in Vance county, 
but no date given. This version is like A except for the dialogue. Title 
given as 'Pretty Girls' Town.' 

"Where are you from?" 
"Pretty girls' town." 
"What's your trade?" 
"Making signs." 
"What's your sign?" 

Contributed by Mabel Ballentine, Wake county. Collected in Wake 
county, but no date given. Played in the same way as A. Title given 
as 'Pretty Girls' Town.' 

"Bum, bum, bum !" 
"Where you from?" 
"Pretty girls' town." 
"What's your trade?" 
"Hot lemonade." 



Contributed by Gay W. Allen, Canton, Ohio, c. 1922. 

Two sides are chosen, and they walk away from each other 
until they are ahout 100 feet apart. One j^nnip then marches 
back and dramatizes some kind of occupation. When this is 
guessed by the opposing side, the others try to run back to their 
station before they are tapped. All who are tapped must join 
the other group. The game continues until all the players of 
one group have been captured. 

Contributed by Gertrude Allen Vaught, Taylorsville, c. 1928. Collected 
in Alexander county. Identical with A. 


See Newell, p. 151. Although his version derives from a German 
source, the resemblance between its rhyme and that of our North 
Carolina version is striking. 

"Dollar." Contributed in 1945 by Paul and Elizabeth Green, as collected 
in eastern and central N. C, 1926-28. 

Chairs are placed in a circle. A person is seated in each, and 
one stands in the center. A silver dollar is passed from hand 
to hand as the players sing : 

Dollar, dollar, how you wander 

From one hand into the other ! 

Is it fair, is it fair 

To keep Mr. standing there? 

The object, of course, is to keep the person in the center from 
knowing who has the dollar. If he guesses correctly, he and 
the player holding the dollar exchange roles. 



This game is known also as 'Feathers' or 'All the Birds Fly.' It 
is particularly popular in Northern Europe. For texts and descrip- 
tions, see Newell, p. 119 ("Ducks Fly'); Gomme, i, 228: Beckwith, 
p. 15 ('Bird Fly; Horse Fly'); Maclagan, pp. 157-158 ('All the 
Horns in the Wood') : Bcaloidcas, x, 286 (as a game played at 
wakes) ; Bohme, pp. 676-677; Eewalter and Schlager, p. 257'('Alle 
Vogel fliegen') ; Vernaleken and Branky, p. 94; de Cock and Teir- 
\inck,Kinderspel & Kinderlnst in Zuid-Nederland, p. 330 ('De vogel 
vliegt') ; Collan, Siwmen kansan leikkejd, p. 139; Okkola, Siiomen 


kansan kilpa- ja kotileikkcjd, p. 95. There are many versions in 
manuscript in the archives of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Latvia, 
and Finland. 

Contributed by Maude Alinish Sutton, c. 1927, who recovered it in Tyrrell 

The players ptit their forefingers down on a flat stirface, and 
the leader says: "Horns, horns, horns, cow's horns" (or goat's, 
deer's, &c.). As he names the animal, the players raise their 
hands and point their fingers from the sides of their heads like 
horns. The play proceeds rapidly. Suddenly the leader says : 
"Horns, horns, horns, horse's horns" (or bird's,, cat's, &c.). li 
a player raises his hands to his head when the animal men- 
tioned has no horns, he must pay a forfeit.^ 

See Gomme, i, 96 ('Diamond Ring'); Newell, p. 151; American 
Anthropologist, n.s.. i, 242; Best, p. 64; Bryan, p. 50 ('Papuhene') ; 
Taylor, Te ika a niaui (New Zealand), p. 174; Theal, Kaffir Folk- 
lore, p. 222 (Tnfumba') ; Stayt, The Bavcnda, p. 98 ('Kubvhe') ; 
Maspons y Labros, Jochs dc la Infancia, p. 86; Arwidsson, in, 399. 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. 

All the players except one sit in a row with clasped hands 
extended in front of them. The extra player goes up and down 
in turn, saying, "Hold fast all I give you." To someone in the 
group he gives a thimble. At the end of the line he says to the 
first player: "Thimble, thimble, who's got the thimble?'"^ The 
child questioned indicates the player next to him and says, 
"Jim's got it." The leader then asks Jim if he has the thimble, 
and Jim denies it, whereupon the leader asks him. "What are 
you going to do with him for saying you have the thimble?" 
Jim then sets a task for the other to perform, and the game 
continues in this way until each child has performed some task 
imposed. Finally, the leader calls, "Rise up. thimbler !" and the 
player with the thimble is leader for the next game. Common 
"stunts" set are "Circle the room three times on your tiptoes" 

"Kneel to the prettiest. 

Bow to the wittiest. 

Kiss the one you love the best." 

* For the forfeit in this particular version, see 'How Many Fingers' 
under the heading Guessing Games, pp. 58-59. 

" Mrs. Sutton reports also an analogue called 'Hold Fast My Gold 
Ring' in which the dropper says : 

"Mary, Mary, hold my ring 
Till I go to London and back again." 



See Acker, p. 140 ('Thus Says the Grand Mufti') and p. 287 
('Simon Says'); Smith, p. 219 ('O'Grady') ; Journal of the Royal 
Anthropological Institute, LXiii (1933), 171; Gomme, 11, 383; 
Martinez, Jucgos . . . , pp. 204-205; iMulac, p. 217. 

Contributed by Jean and Hallie Huleman, Durham, c. 1930, who collected 
it in Durham county. 

Any number of players can participate. One selected as the 
leader sits in front of the others with his hands on the table, 
thumbs sticking up. The leader says, "Simon says up!" All 
the other players follow the action of the leader. When he says, 
"Simon says down," he and the others turn their thumbs down.' 
At "Simon says wiggle waggle," all rock their hands back and 
forth on their thumbs. i" 

If the leader gives a command without "Simon says," the 
players must not obey, even though the leader performs the 
action called for. If players make motions at the wrong time, 
they must pay forfeits. 


See Smith, p. 54; Acker, p. 137; FL, xvi, 217 ('Spin the 
Trencher'); FU, vii, 238 ('Truckle the Trencher'); Gutch and 
Peacock, p. 260; Hedges, p. 25. 

Contributed by Gertrude Allen Vaught, Taylorsville. Collected in Alex- 
ander county in 1927. 

Take a pan of any size and select a leader to spin it. Then 
each player takes a number. The leader calls out a number 
and spins the pan. If the player whose number was called 
does not catch the i)an before it stops spinning, he must pay 
a forfeit. As a promise that he will pay the forfeit when the 
time comes, he must give the leader some small article such 
as a pin, ring, &c. When there are a large number of forfeits, 
a sale is held. One person sits in a chair to decree punish- 
ments, while another holds the forfeited articles over the judge's 
head without letting him see them. Then he says to the judge, 
"Heavy, heavy hangs over your head," and the judge asks, 
"Heavy or light?" The person responds "light" if it belongs 
to a girl and "heavy" if the article belongs to a boy. Then the 
judge imposes "fines" that cause everyone to laugh. 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. Collected in Caldwell 

^'' Sometimes the players leave their fists in the first position and 
merely wiggle the thumbs. 


The players sit in a circle on the floor. Each takes the 
name of a flower. One of the number spins a plate in the cen- 
ter, calling out one of the flower names as he does so. The 
child who impersonates that flower must catch the plate before 
it stops spinning or pay a forfeit. If he succeeds, he is the 
next spinner. The game continues until all the players have 
paid forfeits and then the forfeits are sold. 


For Other versions, see Gonime, i, 117 ('Dump'), 207 ('Hewley 
Puley'), II, 146 CSacks'), 305 ("Trades'), 419 ('Dump'); Newell, 
p. 134; Northall, English Folk-Rhymes, p. 94; Abbott, Macedonian 
Folklore, p. 325 ; Martinez, La Poesia Popular en Puerto Rico, p. 
238, and Juegos y Canciones Infantiles de Puerto Rico, p. 91 ; 
JAFL, IV, 36-37 (Spanish) ; xxix, 508 (New Mexican Spanish) ; 
Beckwith, p. 19 ('King's Cupboard') ; Johnson, Folk Culture on St. 
Helena Island, South Carolina, p. 167; Bohme, p. 504; Rolland, p. 
45; Bernoni, p. 19; Kuret, p. 98. 


Contributed by W. Q. Grigg, Indian Trail. Reported from Cleveland 
county, c. 1925. 

Players put their fists on top of each other, each grasping 
the thumb of the one just below his. The one whose fist is 
on top asks the others if they want to take their fists oft' or if 
they want them knocked off. When all but one are off. he 
asks the owner, "What you got there?" and the other replies. 
"Bread and cheese." Then follows this dialogue : 

W'here's my part ? — In the cupboard. Where's the cup- 
board? — In the woods. Where's the woods? — Fire 
burnt them. Where's the fire? — Water quenched it. 
Where's the water? — Ox drank it. Where's the ox? — 
Butcher killed it. \Miere's the butcher? — Rope himg 
him. Where's the rope? — Rat gnawed it. Where's the 
rat ? — Cat caught it. Where's the cat ? — Hammer killed 
it. Wliere's the hammer? — Behind the church door 
cracking hickory nuts. 

The first one that shows his teeth gets four slaps, five pinches, 
six spankings, and four hair pulls. 

Contributed by Miss Amy Henderson, Worry. Collected in P.urke county 
in 1915. 

One player sets his fist on his knee and sticks the thumb up. 
and another catches the thumb in his fist and sticks his thumb 

G A M E S A N D R H Y M E S 67 

up. When all are on, the leader asks the owner of the top 
fist, "Take it off or knock it off?" /Vfter all have chosen and 
only one fist remains, the following dialogue takes places he- 
tween the leader and the owner of the last fist : 

What you got there? — The king's cupboard. What's 
it got in it? — Bread and cheese. Where's my share? — 
The rat got it. Where is the rat ? — The cat caught it. 
Where is the cat? — It's in the wood. Where is the 
wood? — Fire burnt it. Where is the fire? — Water 
quenched it. Where is the water? — Ox drank it. 
Where is the ox? — Butcher killed it. Where is the 
butcher? — Rope hung him. Where is the rope? — Rat 
gnawed it. Where is the rat? — Cat caught it. Where 
is the cat ? — Dead and buried behind the church door. 

The first one that speaks or laughs shall have a slap and two 

Contributed by Jean and Hallie Holeman, Durham, c. 1930. Collected 
in Durham county. - 

One person places his fist on the table with the thumb stick- 
ing up. The next takes hold of that thumb, leaving his own 
sticking up. Each does the same except the leader, who keeps 
his right hand free. The leader asks, "What you got there?" 
The owner of the top fist answers, "Club fist." The leader 
then announces, "Take it off or I'll knock it off !" If the answer 
is "Knock it oft'," he knocks the fist loose from the others. 
When only one fist remains, there ensues the following dialogue : 

What you got there? — Bread and cheese. Where's my 
share ? — The cat's got it. Where's the cat ? — In the 
woods. Where's the woods ? — Fire burnt it. Where's 
the fire ? — Water quenched it. Where's the water ? — 
Ox drank it. Where's the ox? — Butcher killed it. 
Where's the butcher? — Rope hung him. Where's the 
rope? — Knife cut it. Where's the knife? — Hammer 
broke it. Where's the hammer? — Laying behind the 
old church door. 

The first that laughs or shows his teeth will get three boxes on 
the ear and three pinches. 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. She writes, "It has prac- 
tically universal circulation. We found no group of children who were 
not familiar with it." Xo source given for this particular version. Like 
C except for ending. 

X.C.F.. Vol. T, (6) 


Where's the rope? — Rats gnawed it. Where's the 
rats? — Hammer killed them. Where's the hammer? — 
Behind the old church door cracking hickory nuts. 

The first who smiles and shows his teeth gets ten pinches and 
a knock. The game ends with a grinning contest, each child 
seeing how wide he can grin without showing any teeth. 

Contribv:ted by Lida Page, Durham. Collected in Durham county. No 
date given. Same as C version except for ending. 

Where's the rope? — Knife cut it. Where's the knife? — 
Hammer broke it. Where's the hammer? — Stickin' 
up behind the new church door. 

The first one that laughs or grins gets two pinches and one 

Contributed by Paul and Elizabeth Green in 1945, as collected in eastern 
and central N. C, 1926-28. Same as C version except for ending. 

Where's the cat ? — Rope hung him. Where's the 
rope? — Knife cut it. Where's the knife? — Hammer 
broke it. Where's the hammer? — Saw sawed it. 
Where's the saw ? — Broke in three pieces and hid be- 
hind the old church door. 

All shut their lips tight, and the first to show his teeth in a 
grin gets a pinch and a hair pull. 

Contributed by Louise Watkins, Goldsboro. Reported from Wayne 
county. Same as C except for ending. 

Where's the knife? — Hidden behind the old church 


For Other versions, see Gomme, i, 148; Newell, p. 139 (from 
Georgia). The latter assigns the game French origin and cites 
Celnart, Manuel Complct dcs Jciix dc Socictc, p. 162 ('Le Chevalier 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. Collected in Giimney 
Rock. This is the only version of this game in the Collection. 


The first player says, "I, genteel lady, always genteel, come 
from the genteel lady, always genteel, to tell you that my ship 
has just come in from China bringing apricots" (or apples, or 
any food beginning with a). The next player has to repeat 
this formula and add to it an object beginning with b, and so 
on. When a player makes a mistake, he must pay a forfeit. 


Contributed liy Grace Barbee. Collected in Stanly county, but no date 
given. This is the only text in the Collection. 

One of the group of players says, "I sail my ship." Another 
asks, "What is it loaded with?" Then the first speaker has to 
name some kind of fruit, the name of which begins with the 
first letter of his surname. If he fails, he must sit on the floor 
until it comes his turn again. 


For analogues of this game, see Newell, pp. 136-137. A similar 
game, which I have seen played in Indiana, is called 'Poor Pussy.' 
Players seat themselves in a circle, with one in the center for 
"Pussy." The latter kneels before each of the others in turn. Each 
player must, without laughing, stroke her head three times, saying, 
"Poor pussy, poor pussy, poor pussy." 

Contributed by Aura Holton, Durham. Collected in Durham county in 
1923 or 1924. 

Two players approach each other and, looking straight into 
each other's eyes, say while solemnly shaking hands : 

1st: The Prince of Morocco am dead, am dead. 
2nd: I'm sorry to hear it; I'm sorry to hear it. 
1st : He died of the gout in his big left toe. 
2nd: I'm sorry to hear it; I'm sorry to hear it. 
1st: And all the princes are coming in mourning, 

wearing black rings in their noses. 
2nd : I'm sorry to hear it ; I'm sorry to hear it. 

The two then shake hands violently, saying, '^(iood evening, 
good evening, good evening." The object is to keep from 


See Newell, pp. 145-146; Strutt, p. 313; Gomme, 11, 79 ('Priest 
of the Parish') ; Douglas, p. 83 ('Daddy Red-Cap') ; Billson. County 
Folklore, 1 (Leicestershire and Rutland), p. 62; Beckwith. p. 13 
('Master and Boy') ; Parsons. Pcguchc, p. 201 ('El Fichilingo') ; 
Rochholz. p. 440. Cf. Reyes and Ramos, p. 66 ('Juego de Prenda') ; 
Hedges, p. 95; van Gennep. p. 648; Alaclagan. p. 115; Bohme, p. 


'The Priest of Paris Lost His Hunting Cap.' From an anonymous con- 
tributor in Morganton. Collected in Morganton. No date given. 

All the players are seated in a row. The one at the end is 
the priest. The rest choose caps of various colors : red, yellow, 
purple, &c. The object of the game is to send another player 
to the foot of the line, all the others moving up. Each player 
is particularly eager to send the priest to the foot. In that case, 
the man below him becomes the priest and the original priest 
takes a cap. 

The priest opens the game. He says, "The priest of Paris 
lost his hunting cap and (a certain color) cap found it." Then 
he counts : "One, two, three, go foot." If he finishes before 
the indicated cap can speak, the player goes foot. If the player 
with the cap mentioned is on the alert, the following dialogue 
takes place : 

Player : I, sir ? 

Priest : Yes, you, sir. 

Player : Not I, sir. 

Priest : Who then, sir ? 

Player : Yellow Cap, sir. One, two, . . , 


Since we are accustomed to think of 'The Twelve Days of Christ- 
mas' as a song rather than as a game, we are likely to forget that 
the latter was its original form. It was a game of the Christmas 
season, and was commonly played in English homes each Twelfth 
Day night. Then as now it was a forfeit game, a forfeit being 
exacted for each error in repetition. 

For descriptions and texts of English versions, see Gomme, ii, 
315-321. FLJ, VII, 244 gives the usual text but in a different kind 
of game. Here the list of gifts is to be recited by each player in 
one breath. 

This is not a North Carolina version, having been recovered in 
Hawkins county, Tennessee, but on the assumption that versions al- 
most certainly exist on the other side of the Tennessee-North Caro- 
lina line, I am including it here. 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. Collected in Hawkins 
county, Tennessee. Airs. Sutton adds that Isabelle Gordon, of Knox- 
ville, has recovered other versions of the game in the mountains of East 
Tennessee, where it is played during the Christmas season. 

Players sit in a row. The first one says, "The first day of 
Christmas my true love brought to me one pigeon." The second 
says, "The second day of Christmas my true love brought to me 
one pigeon and two doves." The third says, "The third day 
of Christmas my true love brought to me one pigeon, two doves, 
and three sparrows." 

Thus the game continues, birds being mentioned each time. 

G A M E S A N 1) R H Y M E S /I 

The first player to omit any of the gifts must pay a forfeit, 
and the game goes on until each has failed to enumerate one 
of the birds. Then the forfeits are told, and each owner re- 
deems his by performing some allotted task. (The lady from 
whom we collected this ([uaint game had forgotten the last three 


Contributed I)y Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. No source given for 
this or the following game. 

I saw three ships a-sailing on the Main, 
Three white ships a-coming from Spain; 
These three ships a-sailing on the sea 

Are bringing some home to me. 

What are they bringing you ? 

This verse is repeated by each player in turn, and all the 
gifts are repeated by each. If a player forgets any of the pre- 
ceding names of objects, he is out. 


"What had you for supper?" 

"I had biscuit for supper. What had you?" 

'T had biscuit and milk, &c." 


Contributed Iiy Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. Text and tune obtained 
from Negro children in Forest City. 

Somebody's in your cellar, 

Miss Sue, Miss Sue ; 
Somebody's in your cellar. 

Miss Susie Anna Jane. 
Did you ever see a monkey make a motion. 

Miss Sue. Miss Sue? 
Did you ever see a monkey make a motion. 

Miss Susie Anna Jane? 

This is played by a ring of children, with "the monkey" in 
the center. The first verse is sung as the ring skips around. 
As the second verse is started, the child in the center makes 
all kinds of motions and grimaces, which are copied by the 
others. The player who fails to perform the motions is put out 
of the game or required to pay a forfeit. 


For other versions, see PTFLS, xvii C194O. 146: Acker, p. 26; 
Smith, p. 136 ('Poison Circle Tag'). This is not a forfeit or a 


penalty game, but rather what may be termed a taboo game. First, 
the "poison stick" is taboo and is avoided by all the players ; then 
the unlucky player who touches it becomes taboo from the contact, 
and the others try to stay out of his reach. Since this is the only 
game of the type in the Collection, I include it in this section rather 
than list it separately in another. 

'Poison Stick.' Contributed by Lucille Cheek, Chatham county. Collected 
in Chatham county in 1924. 

xA.ll the children join hands and form a circle. A stick about 
a foot long is stuck upright in the center. All the players pull 
and try to make someone knock the stick over. The one who 
knocks it over must try to catch the others, who cannot be 
caught while they are stooping down. When one player is 
caught, he must help to catch the rest. 

'Poison Stick.' Contributed in 1945 by Paul and Elizabeth Green, as 
collected in central and eastern N. C, 1926-28. 

All join hands in a circle and try by pulling and pushing to 
cause some player of the group to touch a stick whicli has been 
sttick up in the center. The player who knocks it over must 
then try to touch the others with the "poison stick." Players 
touching wood are safe. 


Contributed by Mrs. John Carr, Durham. Collected in Durham county 
No date given. 

I'm going to Paris ; 

I'm going to pack my bag with 

Each player fills the blank with the name of an article be- 
ginning with the next letter in the alphabet, after having 
repeated the other articles named by preceding players. 


prisoner's base 

See Strutt, p. 67 ('Base' or 'Prisoners' Bars') ; Gomme, 11, 70- 
83; Douglas, p. 19 ('Release'); Newell, p. 164; Maclagan, p. 217; 
Acker, p. loi ; Smith, p. 255 ; Best, p. 93 (accompanied by a count- 
ing-out rhyme); Ludovici, p. 33; Ruiz, p. 53 ('I.os Encantados') ; 
Martinez, Jiiegos . . . , p. 211 ('La Barra') ; American Anthropol- 
ogist, N.S., I, 233 (Hawaiian); Stair, Old Samoa, p. 136; FL, v, 
40 (Malay) ; Bernoni, Guiochi Pop. Veneziani, p. 87; a Portuguese 


version in Henius, p. 15 ('Barra Mantei^a' ) ; a Persian form of 
the game in Hall, p. 67. 

Literary allusions to the game occur at least as early as the 
i20o's. Hazlitt (Dictionary of Faiths and Folklore, 11, 501) writes: 
"In the Dictionary of Johannes de Garlandia. written in the early 
part of the 13th century, under the enumeration of requisites for 
the house of a respectable person, wc meet, oddly enough, with 
barri, which are thus explained to us: 'Barri sunt genus ludi, Gallice 
barres." Mention of it appears also in the Faerie Qneenc (1590), 
the 30th song of Drayton's Polyolbion, Shakespeare's Cymbeline, 
Marlowe's Edxvard the Second, and Jonson's The Sad Shepherd. 

Contributed by Gertrude Allen Vaught, Taylorsvillc, c. 1928. Collected 
in Alexander county. 

Two leaders are chosen. These choose ahernately their fol- 
lowers from all those playing. Each group selects a base some 
fifty yards from that of its opponent, and each dares the other. 
Any member of either side tapped by someone belonging to the 
opposite side must stand in prison, a ring marked on the ground 
a few yards behind the base. He may be won back if one of 
his own side dares to run in and tap him. The game ends when 
all members of one side have been caught. 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. Manner of playing the 
same as that described in A. 

Contributed by Maude Alinish Sutton, c. 1927. No statement as to where 
the game was collected. 

Two children who are good runners choose up and select 
players until all are chosen. Two bases are selected as far apart 
as "desired. Lines are drawn in front of these and parallel to 
them. Behind these lines the players are safe. One side goes 
over and dares the other. Sometimes the dare is accompanied 
by a rhyme: 

Dare, dare, double dare. 

Anybody like you w^ould take a dare 

And kill a sheep and eat the liair. 

The others chase their oi)i)()nents home, catching as many as 
thev can. The game ends when all the members of one side 
have been captured. 

Tag is one of the most common and most widespread of children's 
games. There are numerous varieties of it: 'Iron Tag,' 'Wood 


Tag-/ 'Squat Tag,' 'Cross Tag,' 'Shadow Tag,' etc., most of which 
are represented in this collection. 

Versions and descriptions are to be found in the following works : 
Newell, pp. 158-159; Gomme, i, 83 ('Cross Tig'); Douglas, p. 76 
('French Touch') ; Hall, p. 61 (a Syrian form in which the one 
who is "It" has to hop while chasing the others, who can run) ; 
Best, p. 92 ('Wi') ; Culin, p. 51 ; Maspons y Labros, p. 81 ; Humph- 
reys, The Southern Nezu Hebrides, p. 51 ; Gardner, Folklore from 
the Schoharie Hills, p. 247; Maclagan, pp. 207 fif. ; Reyes and Ramos, 
p. 50 ('Kapitang Bakod'). 

This and the versions of other forms of tag which follow were con- 
tributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. Her collecting in North 
Carolina appears to have been done in Avery, Burke, Caldwell, Mc- 
Dowell, Mitchell, and Yancey counties. The sources of these versions 
are not given. 

One child, selected by a counting-out rhyme, is "It." He 
chases his comrades and taps them. The first one he can hold 
until he counts "One, two, three" succeeds him as "It." 


In this form of the game, "It" cannot tag a player who is 
squatting. Players are allowed only three "squats" during the 
course of a game. 


In this variety, "It" must chase anyone who crosses between 
him and the child he is pursuing.^^ 


In this form of Tag, the players are safe if they are able to 
touch iron.^^ 


This game is known by many names : 'King and Queen of Can- 
telon,' 'Marlybright,' 'Molly Bride.' 'Molly Bright,' &c. Gomme, 
who gives 19 versions, thinks it illustrative of some fact in history. 
Newell would derive it from the ancient English game of 'Barley 
Break,' allusions to which appear in the works of Dekker, Beaumont 
and Fletcher, Massinger, Middleton, Jonson, Shadwell, Sidney, Her- 

" Another name for this is 'Cross Tag.' Maclagan (p. 207) calls it 
'Tig and Relieve.' 

^^ The efficacy of iron as an instrument for warding off the powers of 
evil is well known. The Priest of Jupiter placed a piece of iron under 
his pillow at night to ward off evil influences ( Burris, Taboo, Magic. 
Spirits, p. it6). It was also used as a fiif/a dacmonum by the Hebrews 
(Trachtenberg, Jewish Magic and Superstition, p. 160). Numerous ex- 
amples of a belief in the virtues of "cold iron" are to be found in Eng- 
lish and other traditions. The prototype of the "tagger" in all forms 
of Tag was, of course, the Witch. 


rick, Browne, and other i6tli and 17th century writers. The fact 
that Strutt (p. 302) descrihcs the latter as closely resembling? 
'Prisoner's Base' lends weight to Newell's conjecture. Mactaggart's 
theory that the game perpetuates the activities of English chivalry 
in the time of the Crusades — "Then Babylon in the rhyme, the way 
they had to wander and hazard being caught by the infidels, all 
speak as to the foundation of the game" {Gallovidian Encyclopedia) 
— is interesting, but seems farfetched. 

See Gomme, i, 231; Billson. p. 63; Simpson, p. 217; FLJ, vii, 
230; Chambers, pp. 19, 123; Newell, p. 153; Collins, p. 49; JAFL, 
V, 120; LX, 32; PTFLS, XVII (1941), 142: Southern Folklore Quar- 
terly, VI, 256; American Anthropologist, o.s., i, 280; Notes & 
Queries, 4th ser., vii, 141, 271, 415, 506, 523; O'Suilleabhain, p. 
674; Northall, pp. 396, 398, 421, 422; Bancroft, p. 108; Botkin, p. 
loi ; Hofer, Children's Singing Games, Old and New, p. 43; Mc- 
Dowell, Folk Dances of Tennessee, pp. 68-69; Einscott, p. 18 

'How Many Miles to Babylon?' Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, 
c. 1927. Collected m Yancey county. 

Two grotips of children station themselves at opposite ends 
of a field. (3ne child, the "Witch," takes her position halfway 
between them. One group calls to the other: "How many miles 
to Babylon?" and the members of the second group reply: 
"Three score miles and ten." The next question is: "Can we 
get there by candlelight?" to which the others reply: "Yes, if 
you can run. But look out for the old witch who lives by the 
road." Then the players who are going to Babylon start. The 
witch chases them, and each one she catches has to help her 
catch the others. 

'How Far Is It to Molly Bright?' Contributed by Gertrude Allen Vaught, 
Taylorsville, c. 1928. Collected in Alexander county. 

One child stands at one tree, and another stands at another 
tree. A third child between them is the "witch." 

I St: How far is it to Molly Bright? 
2nd : Three score miles and ten. 
1st: Can I get there by candlelight? 
2nd : Yes, if your legs are long and light and the witches 
don't catch you. 

Then the first two children leave their trees and try to exchange 
places before the witch catches them. The one caught must be 
"witch" in the next game. 



Contributed by Jessie Hauser, PfafFtown. Collected in Forsyth county 
in 1923. 

The cliildren choose sides and stand on bases some distance 
apart. The questions and answers run : 

"How far is it to Molly Bright ?" 
"Three-score and ten." 
"Can I get there by candlelight ?" 
"Yes, if your legs are long enough." 

Then the first speakers dash past the base of the second. All 
who are caught before they can circle around to their own base 
then become prisoners of the other group. This is repeated 
until one side "breaks up" the other. 

From an anonymous contributor. Robeson county. No date given. 

Molly Bright stands at one base and the rest of the players 
at another. Molly and the leader on the other side carry on 
the following dialogue : 

Leader : How far is it to Molly Bright's ? 
Molly : Three score miles and ten. 
Leader : Can I get there by candlelight ? 
Molly : Yes. if your legs are long and light, there and 
back again. 

(Sometimes "Yes, if the bears don't get you" or "Yes, but don't 
let the witches get you.") Then all the other players run for 
Molly Bright's base, and she catches as many of them as she can. 


Contributed by Minnie Stamps Gosney. Raleigh. Collected in Wake 

"How many miles to Boston?" 
"Three score and ten." 
"Can I get there by candlelight ?" 
"Yes, and back again ; 
What time is it. Old Witch ?"i3 

Contributed by Lida Page, Nelson. Collected in Durham county, 
"How far is it to Molly Bright?" 
"Three score and ten." 
"Can I get there by candlelight?" 
^•■' An intruder from 'Chickamy, Chickamy, Craney Crow.' 


"Yes, if your legs are long and light ; 
Look out for the old blue bear." 


Contributed by Allie Ann Pearce, Colerain. Collected in Bertie county. 
"How far is it to Molly Bright?" 
"Three score and ten." 
"Can I get there by candlelight ?" 
"If your legs are long and your heels are light." 

Contributed by Amy Henderson, Worry. Collected in Burke county in 

"How many miles to IMarley bright ?" 
"Three score and ten." 
"Can I get there by candlelight?" 
"Yes, if your legs are long and your heels are light, 
But watch out for the old witch on the way." 

Contributed by Thomas Smith, Zionville, c. 1915. Collected in Zionville. 
"How far is it to Molly Bright's ?" 
"Three score and ten." 
"Can I get there by candlelight ?" 
"Yes, if the bears don't get you." 


Contributed by W. C. Daulken, Chapel Hill, 1915. No source given. 
"How far is it to Molly Bright ?" 
"Three score miles and ten." 
"Can I get there by candlelight ?" 
"Yes, if your feet are quick and si)right 
And the old witch don't get you. Look out !" 

Contributed by Flossie Marshbanks, Mars Hill. Collected from childrci 
in Mars Hill. No date given. 

"How far is it to Molly Bright?" 
"Three score and ten." 
"Can I get there by candlelight ?" 
"Yes, if your legs are long and light. 
Look out for the old witches on the way." 

Contributed by Ethel Hicks Buffaloe, Oxford. Reported from Gran- 
ville county. No date given. 


"How far is it to Molly Bright?" 
"Three score miles and ten." 
"Can I get there by candlelight?" 
"Yes, if your legs are long enough." 


This is an example of a type of game in which players pretend 
to be animals, and chase (or are chased by) each other. Other 
games belonging to the same general type are 'Hen and Chickens,' 
'Hawk and Chickens,' 'Gled Wylie,' "Wolf and Deer,' "Sheep and 
Wolf; etc. 

For other descriptions, see Strutt, p. 301; Gomme, i, 139; Mac- 
lagan, p. 132 ("Hen and Chickens') ; Smith, p. 258 (played in 
snow); Marran, p. 186 (played in snow); Acker, p. iii (played 
in snow) ; Hunt and Cain, p. 69 (a Chinese version). 

O. Henry has a short story titled "Fox-in-the-Morning," in the 
course of which the game is described by one of the characters. 
Whether or not the version given there was learned in Greensboro 
(and there seems to be no reason for doubting that it was), its in- 
clusion here appears to nie to be appropriate. 

"I'll tell you how it's played. This president man and his com- 
panion in play, they stand up over in San Mateo, ready for the 
run, and shout: 'Fox-in-the-Morning!' Me and you, standing here, 
we say: 'Goose and the Gander!' They say: 'How many miles is 
it to London town?' We say: 'Only a few, if your legs are long 
enough. How many comes out?' They say: 'More than you're 
able to catch.' And then the game commences."^'* 

'Fox in the Corner.' Contributed by Mamie Mansfield, Durham, c. 1928. 
From Durham county. 

One player is the fox ; all the others are geese. Both the 
fox and the geese have homes (bases) ; these are some distance 
apart. When they have taken their places, this conversation 
follows : 

Fox : Fox in the corner. 
Geese : Geese in the corner. 
Fox : How many men you got ? 
Geese: More than you're able to catch. 

The geese then try to get to the fox's home, where they are 
safe. The fox catches as many as he can, and all that are 
caught must go with him to the other base and become foxes. 
The dialogue is repeated, and the geese are chased again and 
again until all have been caught. The last one caught becomes 
the fox for the next game. 

'^* The Complete Works of O. Henry (Garden City: Doubleday, Page 
& Company, 1927), p. 435. It will be noted that a couple of the lines 
belong to 'Molly Bright.' 



'Fox in the Morner.' From an anonymous contributor. No source or 
date given. 

One player is fox ; the otliers afe geese. The fox has a home 
(base), and so have the geese. \Mieii they have taken their 
positions, the following dialogtie takes place : 

Fox : Fox in the morner. 
Geese : Goose in the corner. 
Fox : How many men you got ? 
Geese : More than you can catch. 

The geese then try to get to the fox's home, and he catches as 
many of them as he can. All those caught become foxes. 

Contributed by Gertrude Allen Vaught, c. 1928, from Alexander county. 
Same as A except for the dialogue. 

Fox : Fox in the morning. 
Geese : Geese and the gander. 
Fox : How many comes out ? 
Geese: More than you can bander. 

'Goosey Goosey Gander.' Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. 
From Caldwell county. 

Three or four of the best runners challenge the crowd to a 
game of Fox and Geese. Bases are arranged and the chal- 
lengers are foxes, while the rest of the players are geese. The 
foxes call from their base : "Goosey goosey gander !" 

Geese: Fox over yander. 

Foxes : How many geese you got ? 

Geese : More'n you can catch. 

The geese all run out and the foxes chase them. Frequently 
they catch all the geese before they themselves are caught. 

'Foxy Goosey Gander.' Contributed by Mrs. Norman Herring, Toma- 
hawk. No source or date given. 

Players choose sides, and the two groups face each other at a 
distance of some 20 yards. One side calls: "Foxy Goosey 
Gander!" The other answers :" 'Way over yander." The first 
side calls: "How many geese have you?" The other replies: 
"]\Iore than you can manage," and they try to reach the base 
of their opponents without being caught. 



See Newell, p. 163 ; Handelniann. J'olks- 11. Kiiidcr-Spiclc aiis 
Schlcsivig-Holstcin, p. 65. 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. This version is identical 
with the one given by Newell. 

A home, usually a tree, is selected. All the players except 
one, the "witch." are at this home. The witch draws several 
circles on the ground, one for each of the other players. These 
are the jars. The witch then chases the others and puts each 
captive into one of the jars. Here he must stay until one of 
the other players fresh from "home" frees him. A player who 
has been freed from a jar cannot be recaught until he has been 
"home." However, his rescuer can be caught, and so it is a 
dangerous risk to attempt a rescue. When all the players are 
captured, a new witch is chosen. 


Contributed by Gertrude Allen Vaught, c. 1928. Collected in Alexander 
county. A variant of 'Drop the Handkerchief.' For an English version, 
see Gomme, i, 144 ('French Jackie'). 

Any number can play this game. All take hands and form 
a large ring. One player is chosen to tap. He or she runs 
around the ring and taps someone on the back ; the one tapped 
runs after the tapper and tries to catch him (her). H the player 
catches the tapper, he (she) gets in the ring and remains there 
until everyone else is caught and in the ring too. 


See Newell, p. 168; Smith, p. 214; Acker, p. 119; Reyes and 
Ramos, p. 65. 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. Played by students of 
Woodfin High School, Buncombe county. 

This is played like Prisoner's Base except that each side has 
a number of sticks which are kept in its home preserve. Each 
side tries to steal the sticks belonging to the other. If caught 
in their opponents' lines, players are sent to "prison." This 
game, a very popular one with boys of from 10 to 14, gives 
opportunity for the development of a good deal of strategy. In 
some localities it is called 'War.' 


Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, who found it, c. 1927, played by 
students in Buncombe county. 

This is a sort of steci:)lechase. (3ne boy is given a start ; then 
the rest chase him, singing: 

G A M E S A N n R H Y M E S 8l 

Let us chase the squirrel 

Up the hickory, down the hickory ; 

Let us chase the squirrel 

Up the hickory tree. 

and following exactly in his tracks. The object is to see if they 
can catch him by taking the same risks he does. I once saw a 
boy run along the top rail of a pasture fence. A ])ull was in 
the pasture, and the fastest runner among the i)ursuers <|uit the 
race, declaring. " 'T aint no fair fur him to run n\) tlKir when 
he knows my galluses got red flowers on 'em." 

Contributed by Mrs. Norman Herring, Tomahawk. No place or date 

All the players except one stand inside a large circle drawn 
on the ground. The player outside the ring is the shepherd, 
and he walks away calling : "Co-sheep, co-sheep, co-sheep !" All 
must follow slowly and bleat : "Baa-baa. . . ." 

Suddenly the shepherd turns around and chases them. All 
that are caught before they reach the ring must help catch the 
otiiers. The last player caught becomes shepherd. 


Contributed by Zilpah Frisbie. Reported from McDowell county c. 

This is a game originated by children of the neighborhood. 
Two "robbers" hide along the path where the travelers have to 
pass. After the robbers have hidden, the travelers walk along 
singing : 

No robbers out today, 

No robl)ers out today ; 

We are singing on our way, 

For there's no robbers out today. 

Suddenly the robbers rush out and try to catch the rest. 
Those caught become robbers. 


For Other versions, see JAFL, xxxi. 57; xxxiii, 96-97; xl. 2>2)\ 
Gomme, i, 305-310; 11, 407-408. 418; Northall, pp. 364-365; New- 
ell, pp. 168-169; Pound, p. 74; Botkin, pp. 21, 30. 2^2; Hudson, 
Folksongs of Mississif^pi, p. 118; Brown and Boyd. p. 32; Wolford, 
The Play-Party iu Indiana, p. 59; JAFL, lx. 24: Gardner, l-'olk- 
lore from the Schoharie Hills, p. 2^7, ; Loniax, Our Singing Country, 
pp. jj, 168; Owens, Swing and Turn, p. 7: Johnson, p. 170; Ban- 


croft, pp. 268-270; Linscott, p. yj ('Lucy Locket'); Halliwell, 
Nursery Rhymes of England, p. 165 ; Popular Rhymes atid Nursery 
Tales, p. 130; Bett, Games of Children, pp. 16, 29; de Fouquieres, 
p. 91; Maclagan, p. 213; Gustavson, p. no; Stoylen, No. 113; 
Acker, p. 23. 


Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1928. Collected in McDowell 

The children form in a ring, with one of their number out- 
side. He runs around the circle and drops a handkerchief be- 
hind someone. This player chases him around the ring. If the 
dropper is caught, he is either kissed, takes his captor's place 
in the ring, or has to tell the name of his sweetheart, depending 
upon the locality. If he is not caught, the one behind whom he 
dropped the handkerchief proceeds as he did. 

Contributed by Mildred Peterson, Bladen county. Collected in Bladen 
county c. 1923. 

Drip, drop, drip, drop, 
Send a letter to your love, 
Tell my love I dropped it. 
Little boy picked it up 
And put it in his pocket. 
Where shall I drop it? 
Where shall I drop it? 
Guess I'll drop it here. 

Contributed by Mrs. John Carr, Durham. Collected in Durham county. 
No date given. 

A Tisket, a Tasket, 
A green and yellow basket ; 
I wrote a letter to my fellow 
And on the way I dropped it. 


Contributed in 1945 by Paul and Elizabeth Green, as collected in eastern 
and central N. C. in 1926-28. 

A large circle is drawn in the snow, with divisions like the 
marks for cutting a pie. The fox stays in the middle at the 
intersection of these lines, and chases the geese down the 
"paths." None must step off them. 




For descriptions of this game, see Newell, p. 189; Maclagan, p. 
142 CObair na Sgeine') ; JAFL, ix, 272 (the Iroquois 'Da-yuh-sah- 
yeh-huh'): Boyd, pp. 123-124. 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. No source given. The 
game is known nearly everywhere, and could probably have been found 
in all the counties in which she collected. 

A double-bladed knife is opened with the long blade out and 
the short blade halfway open. Each player in turn tries to 
throw it so that one or the other of the blades will stick into 
the ground. If the knife falls on its side, that counts nothing. 
If it falls on its back, the thrower scores five points. If only 
the short blade is sticking in the ground and the rest of the 
knife does not touch, the score is fifteen. Scoring differs in 
different localities. The knife is thrown by striking the ground 
three times with the short blade and then" flinging it over with 
a flip of the right forefinger. The game is often played by 
grownups, particularly by old men on country store porches. 


For descriptions, see Gomme, i, 95 ('Dibs'), 122 ('Fivestones'), 
239 CHucklebones'), 259 ('Jackysteauns') ; Notes & Queries, 9th 
ser., IV, 378, 379; Maclagan, pp. 66-77 ('Chucks'); Best, p. 29 
('Koruru' or 'Tutukai') : American Anthropologist, n.s., i, 228 
(Hawaiian) ; Underbill, Social Organication of the Papago Indians 
(Columbia Univ. Contributions to Anthropology, xxx), p. 146 
('Mikitowua') ; Folk-Lore, xl, 373 (Albanian); Hall, p. 11 (ver- 
sions from India, Korea, Syria, Persia, Turkey). Culin tells us 
(PP- 58-59) that in the Chinese form of the game, from five to ten 
or more jackstones are used. The version most nearly resembling 
the usual form of the game in this country is Gomme's 'Check- 
stones' (p. 66). Newell's version (p. 190) is a very complicated 
one, as are also the English and Gaelic versions given by Maclagan. 

The game of 'Jacks' is very old. Aristophanes mentions it, and 
Pollux has left us a description of the game as played in Greece 
two thousand years ago. It was popular later with Roman children 
(Showerman, Rome and the Romans, p. 374). It was and is still 
played in Russia and in Japan ('Tedama' or '0-tedama'). A form 
of it exists also among the Eskimo (Nelson, "The Eskimo about 
Bering Strait," p. 332). 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. Collected from children 
near Chimney Rock. 

Five small pebbles or small iron "jacks" in the form of double 
tripods are used in playing this game. The player throws them 

X.C.F., Vol. I, (7) 


all up at once and catches them on the back of his hand. He 
then goes through a series of intricate figures called by various 
names such as onesums, twosums, threesums, foursums, &c. In 
these first figures, the jacks are rolled out on the floor, then 
one is chosen and thrown up. While it is in the air, the player 
picks up the others in groups of one, two, three, and four. 
Should he fail, another player takes his place. There are numer- 
ous other figures, more or less intricate, that belong to this 
game : feeding the chickens, riding the elephant, putting bulls 
in the pen, etc. All are performed while one jack is in the air 
or resting on the back of the hand. We found no boys who 
were not familiar with the game. 



For additional versions, see Newell, p. 131; Gomme, 11, 13-14; 
Maclagan, p. i ('The Afflicted'); FL, xvi ('Aunt Dinah's Dead'); 
PTFLS, XVII, 146 ('Grandmother Humbum'), 149; Acker, p. 286 
('Queen Dido') ; Williams, Folk-Sovgs of the Upper Thames, p. 79 
('Three Jolly Bachelors' — as a song) ; Martinez, Juegos . . . , p. 237. 


'My Mamma Sent Me to You.' Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, 
c. 1927. Collected in Forest City. 

The children divide into two groups. One selects some form 
of housework to imitate. The first group marches up to the 
second, and this dialogue follows : 

1st: My mamma sent me to you. 
2nd: What for to do? 
1 st : To do as I do. 

They go through the motions of the work chosen, the others 
trying to guess what it is. Variant titles are 'My Master Sent 
Me to You' and 'Working by the Day.'^^ 

'Grandmammy Sent Me to You.' Contributed by Gertrude Allen Vaught, 
c. 1928. Alexander county. 

In this game all the players are seated in a circle. The leader 
.says to the person next to him : "Grandmammy sent me to you." 
The other asks, "What to do?" The leader replies. "To do as 

^'^ As will be noted, this is really a combining of 'Old Mother Hobble- 
Gobble' and 'Pretty Girls' Station.' The "To do as I do" and the title 
are all that connect it with the former game. 

G A M E S A N D R II Y M E S «5 

I do," and begins to pat one hand on his knee. The other then 
passes it on to the next and finally each player in the circle is 
patting his knee with his hand. When it conies the leader's 
turn again, he gives another motion. This continues tmtil all in 
the circle are doing half a dozen things at the same time. 


See Newell, p. 86; Gomnie, i, 404-407; FIJ, vii, 210; Bancroft, 
pp. 283-285; JAFL, XXVII, 250; XXXIII, 1 13- 1 14; XL, 15-17; 
XXXI, 54; XXXIV, 38; XLVii, 339; SFQ, vi, 187; Pound, p. 74; 
Johnson, p. 169; Wolford, pp. 56-57; Brown and Boyd, p. 8; Bot- 
kin, p. 29; Gardner, Folklore from the Sehoharie Hills, p. 113; 
FLR, IV, 173; Chambers, Popular Rhymes of Scotland, p. 134; 
Linscott. p. 38; Sharp: Karpeles, 11, 373 ('Early Sunday Morning') ; 
Hofer, p. 20. 

Contributed by Lucille Cbeek, Cbatham county. Collected in Chatham 
county in 1924. 

As we go round the mulberry bush. 
The mulberry bush, the mulberry bush, 
As we go round the mulberry bush 
So early in the morning. 

This is the way we wash our clothes, &c. 
All of a Monday morning. 

This is the way we iron our clothes, &c. 
All of a Tuesday morning. 

This is the way we scrub our floor, &c. 
All of a Wednesday morning. 

This is the way we mend our clothes, &c. 
All of a Thursday morning. 

This is the way we .sweep our house, &c. 
All of a Friday morning. 

This is the way we bake our bread, (S:c. 
All of a Saturday morning. 

This is the way we go to church, &c. 
All of a Sunday morning. 

Contributed by Mrs. John Carr, Durham. Series : bake cake, brush 
teeth, wash clothes, wash face and hands, brush hair, iron. 



Contributed by Mabel Ballentine, Wake county. A variant of 'Mulberry 

I went to visit a friend one day, 
She only lived across the way ; 
She said she couldn't go out to play, 
For Monday was her washing day. 

Chorus: This is the way she washed away. 
This is the way she washed away, 
This is the way she washed away, 
For Monday was her washing day. 

Series : Tuesday, ironing day ; Wednesday, mending day ; Thurs- 
day, sewing day ; Friday, baking day ; Saturday, sweeping day. 


For other versions, see Newell, p. 87; Scarborough, On the Trail 
of Negro Folk-Songs, pp. 140- 141. 

'Pity My Case.' Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. No 
source indicated. 

There are seven verses following the housewife's weekly 
routine : 

My clothes to iron when I get home 
My clothes to mend when I get home 
My floors to scrub when I get home 
My house to sweep when I get home 
My bread to bake when I get home, &c. 

The players in a ring imitate the work they are supposed to do. 


See Newell, pp. 88-89; Bancroft, pp. 261-262; Collins, p. 16; 
Gomme, Children's Singing Games, i, 15-20; Gomme, 11, 362-374, 
457; Johnson, Education by Plays and Games, p. 135; SFQ, 11, 151 ; 
JAFL, XL, 15. 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. Collected at Woodfin 
School, in Buncombe county. 

When I was a young girl, a young girl, a young girl. 
When I was a yoimg girl. oh. this way did I, 
And that way and this way ; 
When I was a yoimg girl. oh. this way did T. 

Series; gentleman, old man. school teacher, mother, doctor. 
The game is played by appropriate motions in imitation of 

G A M E S A N n R H Y M E S 87 

the people mentioned in the song. It has as many verses as 
the imagination of the child can devise. 


Contributed by Maude Alinish Sutton, c. 1927. Collected far up in the 
mountains of Mitchell county.^" 

Green trees hending, green trees bending, green trees bending, 

Hold to the side and swing to the back ; 

If you want to see a i)retty boy, back right back. 

This game is played by a ring of children. ( )n the first three 
phrases they sway in imitation of trees. On the fourth and 
fifth phrases they swing as far back as they can, and t>n the last 
line they jump back three steps. 


For other versions, see Gomme, ii, 1-13; Children's Singing 
Games, 11, 50; Newell, p. 80; Journal of the Folksong Society, i, 
67; Collins, p. 17; SFQ, vi, 193; American Anthropologist, o.s., i, 
252; Botkin, p. 254; Walter, Old English Singing Games, pp. 26-27; 
Wolford, pp. 94-96; JAFL, xii, 73-74; xxviii, 273, 494; xxxii, 
494; XL, 14; LX, 16; Chase, p. 37; Hofer, p. 22; Gardner, Folklore 
from the Schoharie Hills, p. 235 ; Brown and Boyd, p. 22 ; Ban- 
croft, pp. 287-290; Burne. p. 508; Broadwood and Maitland, p. 87; 
Linscott. p. 50 ('Shall I Show You How the Farmer?'). 

This might be classitied either as an imitative or as a courtship 
game. I am including it in the former group, proceeding on the 
assumption (in which I may be quite wrong) that the typical "play- 
party" lines which appear in most texts are accretions and that the 
original form, which far antedates any we possess at present, was 
nearer Mrs. Sutton's 'See the Farmer,' or the 'Shall T Show You 
How the Farmer?' of Linscott. 

Contributed by Ethel Hicks Buffaloe. From Granville county. Text 

Oats, peas, beans, and barley grow ; 
Oats, peas, beans, and barley grow ; 
You nor I nor no one knows 
How oats, peas, beans, and barley grows. 

Thus the farmer sows his seed ; 

Thus he stands and takes his ease. 

He claps his hands, he stamps his foot^" 

And turns all 'round to view the land. 

i« "We found this game at two places. In one. Mitchell county, it 
was played by a group of children of purest Colonial descent. In the 
other, near Columbia, S. C. it was played by a group of Xegro children." 

^^ For He stamps his foot, he claps his hands. 


He's waiting for a partner ; 
He's waiting for a partner ; 
So open the ring and take her in, 
And kiss her as she enters in. 

Now you're married, you must obey ; 
Now you're married, you must obey ; 
Now you're married, you must obey ; 
So take a kiss and walk away. 

Contributed by Lucille Massey. Reported from Durham county. Text 
only. Practically identical with A except for last verse. 

Down on this carpet you must kneel. 
Low as the grass grows in the field ; 
Salute your bride and kiss her sweet. 
And rise upon your feet. 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. No source given. Text 
only. The A text, with only minor verbal variations. Has concluding 
couplet "To her be kind, to her be good. And always chop the kindling 

Contributed by Minnie Stamps Gosney. From Wake county. Text only. 
The A text, with slight differences in wording. 


Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. No source given. 

See the farmer plow his ground, 
Plow his ground, plow his ground ; 
See the farmer plow his ground 
So early in the morning. 

Chorus: Merrily merrily on. 
Merrily merrily on ; 
Over the stormy sea we go 
Merrily merrily on. 

See the farmer sow his seed. &c. 
See the farmer hoe his corn. &c. 
See the fanner rake his hay. &c. 
See the farmer milk his cow, <S:c. 
Players form a ring and imitate each task in unison. 

G A M E S A N D R H Y M K S 89 

'Oats, Peas, Beans.' Contributed by Mrs. R. D. Hlacknall. From Dur- 
ban! county. Stanzas i, 2, 3 of iMassey text (B). 


See Newell, p. 115 ('My Household'); his version was obtained 
from a Georgia informant. 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. Learned from an old 
lady who visited their home when Mrs. Sutton was a child. 

I bought me a hen, 

And my hen loved me ; 

Fed my hen imder yonder tree. 

Hen said fiddle 11 fee. 

Bought me a turkey, 

And my turkey loved me ; 

Fed my turkey under yonder tree. 

Turkey said gobble, gobble ; 

Hen said fiddle li fee. 

We imitated the sounds of the animals and frequently their 
actions also. The game goes on until every animal or bird 
known to the children playing it is named. It may end : 

Bought me a wife. 

And my wife loved me; 

Fed my wife under yonder tree. 

Wife would scold, scold {or jower, jower) ; 

Donkey said bray, bray ; 

Horse said neigh, neigh; 

Cow said moo, moo ; 

Dog said bow, wow ; 

Cat said meouw, meouw ; 

Sheep said baa, baa ; 

Goat said maa, maa ; 

Guinea said potrack. potrack ; 

Duck said quack, quack ; 

Turkey said gobble, gobble; 

Hen said fiddle li fee. 



Numerous versions of this game have been collected; for some 
others, see Newell, p. 47; Hudson, p. 296; Tennessee Folklore So- 
ciety Bulletin, v, 27; JAFL, xl, 8; xlii, 229; XLvii, i^^y ; xlix, 


257-259; Wolford, pp. 52-54; Gomme, 11, 233, 282, 455; Owens, 
p. 5 ('Here Come Three Merchants A-Riding') ; Thomas, The 
Singin' Gatherin', p. 14 ('Duke A-Riding'); FL, xxxv, 264-265; 
FLJ, V, 46; VII, 222 ('The Duke of Rideo') ; FLR, in, 160 ('The 
Duke'); v, 89; SFQ, vi, 200; Colhns, p. 33; Gomme, Children's 
Singing Games, i, 42; American Anthropologist, o.s., i. 258; Beck- 
with ('Ten Jews Arriving') ; Bealoideas, 11, 394 ('The Nine Daugh- 
ters' — played at wakes); Douglas, p. 42; Botkin. p. 329; Dearmer 
and Shaw, Song Time, p. 72; Kidson and Moffatt, Eighty Singing 
Games, p. ii; Henry, Folk-Songs from the Southern Highlands, p. 
242 (fragment) ; Broadwood and Maitland, p. jy; Brown and Boyd, 
p. 19; Northall, p. 383; Chambers, Popular Rhymes of Scotland, 
p. 143; Halliwell, The Nursery Rhymes of England, p. 107; Talley, 
Negro Folk Rhymes, p. 85; Maclagan. p. 90 ('Three Brothers Come 
from Spain') ; Linscott, p. 13. 

'Ranchy Tanchy Teen.' Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, who col- 
lected versions of the game in Avery, Caldwell, Buncombe, and Ruther- 
ford counties, c. 1927. This particular version comes from Chimney 

The children form in a line as if they were going to play 
Base. Three of their number go a distance away, and then 
begin to march back toward the others. The three and the line 
alternately advance and retreat between verses. 

Group : Here comes three dukes a-ridin', 
A-ridin'. a-ridin', a-ridin' ; 
Here comes three dukes a-ridin' 
For the Ranchy Tanchy Teen. 
What are you a-comin' here for? 
Here for, here for. here for? 
What are you a-comin' here for 
For the Ranchy Tanchy Teen? 

Dukes : We are comin' here to git married, 
Married, married, married ; 
We are comin' here to git married 
For the Ranchy Tanchy Teen. 

Group : Who do you think will have you, &c. 

Dukes : We want Miss to marry us, &c. 

Group : Who do you think will have you, &c. 

Dukes : We want Miss to marry us, &c. 

This is repeated three times, and a different girl is chosen each 
time. These girls stay with the grouji. 

Group : You are too black and dirty, &:c. 

G A M E S A N I) R H Y M E S QI 

Dukes : We are just as white as you are, &c. 
Three Ciirls: Then we will p^o with you, &c. 

The Dukes and their companions are chased "home" by the 
rest of the group. Sometimes this game is played by all the 
boys on one side and the girls on the other. Then the form is: 
"Here comes some Dukes a-rovin'." 

Contributed by Gertrude Allen Vaugbt, c. 1928. Reported from Alex- 
ander county. 

In this game the girls line up on one side of the room and 
the boys on the other. Any number may be inserted in the 
opening lines. The boys march up to the line of girls and then 
withdraw ; the stanzas are sung by the boys and the girls 

Here come three dukes a-riding, 
Here come three dukes a-riding 
So early in the morning. 

What are you riding here for, &c. 

Riding here to get married, &c. 

\\'ho do you think will have you, &c. 

Any girl I want, ma'am, &c. 

You look too dirty and greasy, &c. 

Look as well as you do. &c. 

Which one do you want, sir. &c. 

Believe I'll take Miss , &c. 

You may have Miss , &c. 

Then each boy selects his girl and walks out. 

'Here Come Three Dukes A-Riding." Contributecl by Mamie Mansfield, 
Durham, c. 1927. 

Three children come tripping to the long line of children some 
distance away, and sing the first verse. The line answers with 
the second verse, and so on through the game. 

Dukes : Here comes three dukes a-riding, 
A-riding. a-riding ; 
Here comes three dukes a-riding. 
Ransom, transom, tra, la, la, la. 


Line : What are you riding here for, 
Here for, here for? 
What are you riding here for ? 
Ransom, transom, tra, la, la, la. 

Dukes : We are riding here to get married, &c. 

Line : Who do you think would have you, &c. 

Dukes : We think Miss will have us, &c. 

The child named goes over to the dukes ; they continue until 
all have been chosen. ^^ 

Contributed by Doris Overton, Durham. Collected in Durham county 
about 1922. Text only. Same as C except for refrain, which is "You 
ransom, tansom, turpin too." 

Contributed by Lida Page, Nelson. Version collected in Durham county. 
No date. 

Here comes the Duke a-riding, 
A-riding, a-riding ; 
Here comes the Duke a-riding. 
Ransom, tansom, tee. 

We are riding here to get married, &c. 

O, will you not take me, sir, &c. 

We are just as fair as you, sir, &c. 

ril take the fairest of you, &c. 


Contributed by Caroline Biggers, Monroe. Fragmentary text collected 
in Union county. 

You are too black and dirty. 
You are too black and dirty 
Upon a summer's day. 

Lm just as clean as you, miss, &c. 

Who do you think would have you, &c. 

^^ Note that in the three versions above, the transaction is strictly 
between the parties most directly concerned. It is worth noting, too, 
that there is no kissing and no marriage formula ; the whole matter is 
purely a business arrangement. Gomme finds in this game traces of the 
practice of exogamous marriage, which followed the earlier marriage by 


Contributed by Mary Olivia I'ruette, Cbarlutte. Fragmentary text from 
Mecklenburg county. Same as /•", with "So early in the morning" for 
"Upon a summer's day." 


'The Three Dukes.' Contrilnited l)y Thomas Smith, Zionville, c. 1914. 
Watauga county. With music. 

Up step three Dukes a rovin' 
Chorus: With a rancy tancy tee. 

Pray will you have one of us, sir? 

We are (juite as fair as you, sir. 


Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. "I saw it played by 
grownups at a molasses boiling in .^very county." 

This is a game very mtich like Rauchv Tanchy Teen. The 
girls seat themselves in a row. The boys advance toward them 
singing : 

We are three fine kings of Spain 

We've come to court your daughter Jane. 

]\Iy daughter Jane she's far too young 
To be courted by your lyin' tongue.^'' 

Be she young or be she old 

Her beauty's fair, she must be sold.-" 

The "Go back" of the next verse should, of course, be "Come back" or 
"Turn back." 

Go back, go back, you Spanish king, 
And choose the fairest in our ring. 

One boy steps out and says : 

The fairest one that I can see 
Is Miss to walk with me. 

The girl thus chosen takes his hand, and they promenade around 
the two groups. The game continues until all the boys and 
girls are matched, and they then play some game that requires 
partners. In this particular instance the latter game was Cross 
Questions and Crooked Answers. 

^^ Presumably this stanza and the fourth belong to the girls, though 
the collector has not made this clear. 

^° Unintelligible, but clarified by the corresponding verse in Newell : 
Be she young or be she old, 
'T is for the price she may be sold. 



Contributed by Jewell Robbins, Pekin. Text collected in Montgomery 
county in 1922. 

One boy holds a girl on his knee, while two others march 
around them singing : 

Hog drovers, hog drovers, hog drovers we air, 
A-courtin' your darter so neat and so fair ; 
Can we get lodgin' here, oh, here? 
Can we get lodgin' here ? 

The seated player sings in reply: 

This is my daughter who sits on my knee, 
And no hog drover can take her from me. 
And you can't get lodgin' here, oh, here ; 
And you can't get lodgin" here. 

The two others march around singing : 

Little for your darter and less for yourself ; 
We'll travel this road to better and best ; 
Then we'll get lodgin' here, oh, here ; 
Then we'll get lodgin' here. 

In the meantime, the lady informs her father which of the 
crowd she wishes for a partner. Then the father replies to the 
question of the hog drovers : 

This is my daughter who sits on my knee, 

And Mr. can take her from me 

By bringing me another one here, oh, here. 
By bringing me another one here. 

Concession to modern taste has been made by having the lady 
seated in a chair beside the gentleman who plays her father, 
and the song goes : 

This is my daughter who sits by my side, 
And no hog drover can make her his bride. 

'Pig Drover.' Contributed by Gertrude Allen Vaught. Reported from 
Alexander county in 1927. 

This game recjuires a large number of boys and girls. A 
ring is formed of an ecjual number of boys and girls, and an- 
other boy to play the father stands behind a chair in which a 


trirl is seated. The f,^inie I)egins with the players marching 
around these two, singing: 

Pig drovers, pig drovers, pig drovers we are, 
A courtin' your daughter so handsome and fair ; 
Can we get lodging here, oh, here? 
Can we get lodging here? 

The father sings : 

This is my daughter who sits on mv lap, 
And no pig drover can take her from pap; 
You can't get lodging here, oh, here ; 
You can't get lodging here. 

The group replies : 

Your daughter is pretty, you're ugly yourself ; 
We'll go a house farther and hetter ourselves. 
We don't want lodging here, &c. 

Then the father sings : 

This is my daughter who sits on my knee, 

And you, , can take her from me 

By bringing me another here, oh, here. 
By bringing me another here. 

The boy whose name is called brings one of the girls who are 
in the ring, and takes the girl in the chair as his partner. The 
game continues until each boy has a partner for the game which 
is to follow. 

A circle is formed again double file (i.e., a double circle), 
boys on the outside and girls on the inside. They march around, 
and the boy who plays the part of the father begins calling : 
John Brown will fool you directly ; 
John Brown it's boys up to the next one. 

The boys then move up one place so that each one has a new 
partner. Sometimes the father calls: "John Brown, it's hack 
to the next one," thus causing the boys to move back one place. 
The game may have the girls change instead of the boys. It 
is more fun if the caller calls the moves very quickly, making 
the players pay close attention. All the time the game is being 
played, the players continue marching around in a circle. 

Contributed by Ivey Talmage Poole, Swepsonville. Nn date given, but 
apparently collected in 1914 or 1915, from Burke county. 


Hog Drovers is a game that used to be played in Burke county 
by the young people. A boy and a girl would be seated in the 
center of the room, side by side, and the rest of the crowd, act- 
ing as hog drovers, would enter the room singing : 

Hog drovers, hog drovers, hog drovers we are. 
All courting your daughter, so pretty and fair ; 
Can we get lodging here, oh, here. 
Can we get lodging here ? 

Then the boy sitting l)y the girl in the center sings : 

This is my daughter who sits by my side. 
And no hog drover can have her for a bride. 
And you can't get lodging here, oh, here, &c. 

The hog drovers would then reply : 

Your daughter is pretty, you're ugly yourself ; 
We'll go to a house further and think it much best [ !] 
And we don't want lodging here, oh. here, &c. 

Last, the boy in the center would sing : 

This is my daughter that sits by my side. 

And you, Mr. may have her for a bride. 

And you can get lodging here, oh. here. &c. 

The boy named would then take the place of the one in the cen- 
ter, and the game would start all over again. \\'hile the hog 
drovers were singing, they marched two by two around the 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. Collected from a moun- 
taineer in Ingalls. 

Hog drivers, hog drivers, hog drivers we are, 
A courtin' your daughter so neat and so fair ; 
Can we get lodging here, here. 
Can we get lodging here? 

Here sits my fair daughter close up by my side ; 
No ugly hog driver gets her for a bride. 
You can't get lodging here, here ; 
You can't get no lodging here, here ; 

Your daughter is fair, but you're ugly yourself ; 
We'll go further on and get us more wealth. 
We don't want no lodging here, here ; 
We don't want no lodging here. 

G A M E S A N D R II Y M E S 97 

Here sits my fair claugiiter close up by my side ; 
Some pleasant young fellow gets her for a bride, 
And he can ha\e a lodging here, here ; 
And he can have a lodging here. 

This is a game played at mountain homes where dancing is 
not permitted. A boy and a girl stand at one side of the room. 
Another boy and girl catch hands and skip around them sing- 
ing the first verse. The tirst boy responds with the second. The 
second coujjle sings the third, and the tirst boy sings the fourth. 

At the end he asks, "How about Mr. ?" The chosen boy 

comes up and takes the girl, and the singing dialogue is con- 
tinued until all the girls but one are paired off. Then this last 
girl and the first boy clasp hands and raise them as in 'London 
Bridge." The couples dance through singing: 

Come under, come under, 

My honey, my dove, my turtle dove ; 

Come under, come under. 

My dear, oh dear. 

We'll take you both our prisoners, 
My honey, my love, my turtle dove ; 
We'll take you both our prisoners, 
My dear, oh dear. 

Then hug her tight and kiss her twice, 
My honey, my love, my turtle dove ; 
Then hug her tight and kiss her twice. 
My dear, oh dear. 

The last couple caught proceeds as directed in the last verse, 
and "go ahead." The game goes on until each couple has been 
caught ; then the leaders dance under the clasped hands of all 
the other couples and are captured by the last. Then they, too, 
kiss each other and the game ends. I asked an old man who 
sat watching this game one evening why it was less harmful 
than dancing. He replied : "There hain't no string music about 
hit. String music belongs to the devil. "-^ 

^^ Contributor's note to D : This attitude toward string music and the 
frowning upon dancing while condoning and even encouraging the play- 
ing of kissing-games are often found in mountain communities. .V min- 
ister who learned that 'Skip To My Lou' had been played at a church 
social threatened to turn the players "out'n the church." He added, 
" 'T ain't nothin' but a dancin'-frolic give a harmless name," while 
another good brother said, ".-Xny movin' uv the feet to banjer music is 
the work of the Devil." Another of Mrs. Sutton's informants, an old 
lady in Mitchell county, said proudly, "My gals hain't nary one of 'em 
run a reel, but they goes to play-parties regular." 

"Mrs. Whisnant, a lifelong resident of Rutherford county, told me 


Contributed by Gertrude Allen Vaught, Taylorsville. Collected in Stanly 
county in 1927. Text only. The B text, with slight verbal variations. 

'Pig Drovers.' Contributed by Merle Smith. Collected in Stanly county. 
No date. The B text in two-line stanzas. Omits "John Brown" lines. 

'Hog Drivers.' Contributed by Nancy Maxwell, Hazelwood. No source 
given. Text collected about 1920. Three stanzas. The A text, with 
some verbal variation. 

'Hog Drovers.' Contributed by Ethel Brown, Catawba county. No 
source or date given. Combined with a variant of 'Marriage' similar to 
Newell's second version (p. 60). The C text with slight verbal variations. 


'Hog Drovers.' Contributed by Otis Kuykendall, Asheville. Collected 
in Asheville in 1939. Only the first verse belongs to our game; the 
other four are from a text of 'Old Smoky.' 

Hog drovers, hog drovers, do you come here 
A-courting our daughters so neat and so fair ? 

You can't get lodging here, oh here, 
And you can't get lodging here. 


'Hogdriver's Ballad.' Contributed by Pauline Smathers, Asheville. Col- 
lected 1920. Music only. 

'Hogdriver's Ballad.' From an anonymous contributor. No source or 
date given. Music only. 


Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. Collected in Rutherford 

This game is played much like 'Ranchy Tanchy Teen.' A 
group of children stand in line, and one boy faces them. They 
advance and retreat, singing alternate verses. When one girl 
goes with the boy at the end of the second verse, they parade 
up and down hand in hand while the line sings the last verse. 

that this game used to be very popular at the Shcrrill Place at Hickory 
Nut Gap. For many years this was a sort of inn, kept for travelers 
crossing the Blue Ridge by the old road. Cattle, horse, and hog drivers 
taking their herds to market and camping there doubtless found in the 
game a touch of realism that was pleasing." 


\\'alking up the green grass, 
Raising heavy dust. 
He wants a i)retty girl 
\\ ho walks along with us. 

I'll take this pretty girl ; 
I'll take her by the hand. 

She shall go to London, 
London in the land. 

She shall have a pretty duck ; 
She shall have a drake. 

She shall have a nice young man, 
A-fighting for her sake.-- 


Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. Collected from children 
in Rutherford county. 

In this game the boys first assume the characters of workmen 
rather than of royalty. The girls form a group, and all but one 
pretend to be asleep. Three boys advance, saying [singing?] : 

Here come three bakers three by three 
To court your daughters one, two, three ; 
Can we have a lodgin' 
In this house tonight ? 

The Mother replies : 

Sleep, my daughters, don't you wake ; 

These three bakers shall not take. 

You can't have no lodgin' in this house tonight. 

The boys withdraw some distance and then return, this time 
saying : 

Here come three farmers three by three, &c. 

The Mother repeats the second verse, changing "bakers" to 

The boys assume as many dififerent guises as they care to — 
soldiers, sailors, &c. Then they come as three kings. This 
time the Mother says : 

Here's my daughter all safe and sound ; 
In her pocket's a hundred pound. 
On her finger a heavy gold ring; 
I'm sure she's fit to go with the king. 

-" Cf. Gomme, i, 154 ff. and Newell, p. 50 (a Scottish rhyme quoted 
from Chambers). 

N.C.F., Vol. I, (-8) 


To this the boys reply : 

If she won't have us when we're pore, 
We'll leave your house and court no more. 

Then they run, and the girls pursue them to their "home." 
When the boys touch "home." they turn around and chase the 
girls. This continues until all of one side have been caught.-^ 


See Newell, p. 56 ('A Widow With Daughters to Marry') ; Hud- 
son, p. 299 ('Under the Juniper Tree'); Wolford, p. 80; Owens, 
p. 67; Talley, p. 140; JAFL, xxiv, 305 (Missouri); xxv, 272 
(Nebraska); xxxiii, 107 (Michigan); xxvii, 300; xxviii, 268; 
XLii, 225 (Ozarks) ; XLiv, 13-14; xlix, 248-249 (Indiana) ; lx. 11; 
SFQ, VI, 244; Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin, xi, 5; Beckwith, 
p. 59 ('Old Mother Fibbie') ; Botkin. p. 313 ('Sister Phoebe') ; Mc- 
Dowell, pp. 14-15; Northall, pp. 368, 374; Halliwell, The Nursery 
Rhymes of England, p. 116; Linscott, p. 19 ('I Am a Rich Widow'). 

This game occurs only in sadly corrupted form. The original 
European game was dramatic, and had both a rich and a poor 
mother. For an exhaustive study of the game, which places our 
American forms in their proper relation to the European, see Elsa 
Enajarvi-Haavio, The Game of Rich and Poor (Folklore Fellozvs 
Communications, No. 100). 

'Old Sister Phoebe.' Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, who obtained 
it from Bob Huskins, a banjo picker from Mitchell, c. 1927. 

Old Sister Phoebe, how happy are we 
As we go 'round and 'round the juniper tree ! 
We'll tie our heads up to keep them all warm, 
And two or three kisses won't do us no harm. 
Old Sister Phoebe ! 

Here comes a poor widow a-marching around 
And all of my daughters are married but one, 
So rise up, my daughter, and kiss your true love. 
Old Sister Phoebe ! 

This kissing game is a favorite among young people in the 
remote parts of the Blue Ridge. Bob (the informant) was a 
very picturesque person, and he sang this song to a rollicking, 
jiggy tune.^-* 

""•Cf. Gomme. n, 282 f. ('Three Sailors'). The "Here's my daughter"^ 
verse appears also in several variants of 'Three Knights from Spain' 
(ibid., 263, 265, 267, 272, 273). The couplet which concludes the song 
(or dialogue) is reminiscent of 'A Paper of Pins' and of the ballad 
'Green Beds' ('The Liverpool Landlady'). 

^* Contributor's note : "He told me an old tale of a very religious old 
man who was shouting- at a 'big meeting.' He had become very much 
excited, and called out at the height of his religious enthusiasm, 'I want 



See Hudson, p. 300: Wolford, p. 97; Fuson, p. 166; Lomax, 
America)! Ballads, p. 294; Randolph, The Ozarks, p. 141; Richard- 
son and Spaeth. American Mountain Songs, p. 82; Collins, p. 2y; 
SFO, VI, 233; PTFLS, I, 15; XIII, 309, 331; Tennessee Folklore 
Society Bulletin, vi, 13; JAFL, xxiv, 304 (Missouri); xxv, 270 
(Nebraska); xxxiii, 123 (Michigan); xlii, 203 (Ozarks) ; liv, 
164; XLiv, 305; XLix, 248; V, 118; Botkin, pp. 312-313; Neely, pp. 
201-202; Cambiaire, /:a.s7 Tennessee and Western Virginia Mountain 
Ballads, pp. 131-132; Mcintosh, Sing and Szving, p. 29; Mcintosh, 
Southern Illinois Singing Games and Songs, p. 9. 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. No source given. 

Round the house, skip to my Lou ; 
Round the house, skip to my Lou ; 
Round the house, skip to my Lou ; 
Skip to my Lou my darhn'. 

Steal my pardner and I'll steal again, &c. 

Take her and go, I don't care, &c. 

I can get another as pretty as you, &c. 

Pretty as a red hird and prettier too, &c. 

This is the mountain version of 'Steal Partner.' It is played 
in homes where dancing is not permitted. The young people 
choose partners and leave out one hoy. To the music of this 
song, often accompanied by the banjo and the fiddle, the play- 
ers skip to their stations. The odd player then steals a partner, 
and the game proceeds. 

'Steal My Partner.' Contributed by Florence Holton, Durham. Col- 
lected in Durham county in 1916. 

Stole my partner, so they say ; 
Stole my partner, so they say ; 
Stole my partner, so they say ; 
So they say, my darling. 

I can get another one, so they say, &c. 

A little lietter-looking one. so they say, &:c. 

Sister Barnes to sing "Old Sister Phoebe !" ' At the wave of laughter 
that swept over the church, he recovered himself and said, ' "Weeping 
Mary, Weeping Mary," that's the song I want,' but the solemnity of the 
occasion had been lost." 


All the players are paired off, with one extra boy. This is sung 
while a boy skips across the circle and steals a girl from another. 

'Steal My Partner.' Contributed by Gertrude Allen Vaught, c. 1928 
From Alexander county. 

Steal my partner, so they say ; 
Steal my partner, so they say ; 
Steal my partner, so they say ; 
Step to my Loll, my darling. 

Lost your partner, what'll you do, &c. 

I'll get another, so they say, &c. 

Can't get a redbird, a bluebird'U do, &c. 

Buzzards on a fence rail, so they say, &c. 


No title. Contributed by ]\Iildred Peterson, c. 1923. Reported from 
Bladen county. 

I lost my partner 

And shou, li, lo ; 
I lost my partner 

And shou, li, lo ; 
I lost my partner 

And shou, li, lo ; 
Shou. li, lo, my darling. 

If I can't get a biscuit, 
A tater will do. &c. 

No title. Contributed by Louise Watkins, Goldsboro. Reported from 
Wayne county. No date given. 

Steal my partner, schu-li-lu ; 
Steal my partner, schu-li-lu ; 
Steal my partner, schu-li-lu ; 
Schu-li-lu, my darling. 

Can't get a horse, a mule will do, &c. 


'Steal My Partner.' Contributed by Nina Mclnnis. No source or date 

Steal my partner, shu-li-lo ; 
Steal my partner, shu-li-lo ; 
Steal my partner, shu-li-lo ; 


Shu-li-lo, my darling. 
I'll get another one, &c. 
Rabbit in tbe pea patch, &c. 

'Bounce, Simlin.' Contributed by Mabel Ballentine. Reported from 
Wake county. 

Bounce the simlin, toodle doo ; 

Bounce the simlin, tocxlle doo ; 

Bounce the simlin, toodle doo ; 

Toodle doo, my darling. 

Sweetheart's kicked me, &c. 
I'll get another one, &c. 
Better than the other one, &.c. 

'Steal My Partner.' Contributed by Marguerite Higgs, Greenville. Pitt 

Steal my partner, shing-li-lu ; 

Steal my partner, shing-li-lu ; 

Steal my partner, shing-li-lu ; 

Shing-li-lu, my darling. 

Can't get a biscuit, a tater'll do, &c. 

Can't get a horse, a mule will do, ike. 


'Steal My Partner.' Contributed by Gertrude Allen Vaught, c. 1927. 
Alexander county. 

Pairs of boys and girls stand on opposite sides of the room 
as they sing : 

Steal my partner, steal her back again 
It's not going to rain, not going to snow 
And not going to rain no more. 

Each boy steals a partner from the ojjposite side of the room. 
This continues as long as the youngsters want to play. 

'Steal My Partner.' Contributed l)y Louise Watkins, Wayne county. 
Higgs te.xt, with "Schu-li-lu" fcjr "Shing-li-lu." 


'Steal My Partner' Contributed by Cornelia Evermond Covington. 
Florence county. Higgs text, with "as they say" for "Shing-li-lu." 



For Other versions of this game, see Sharp : Karpeles. p. 375 ; 
Wolford, pp. 102-104: Thomas, The Singin' Gathcrin' , p. 74; 
Thomas, Deznl's Ditties, p. 69 ; Scarborough, On the Trail of Negro 
Folk-Songs, p. 286; Owens, p. 13: Colhns, p. 23; Lomax, American 
Ballads, p. 290; Talley, pp. 81, 84-85; Randolpli, The Ocarks, p. 
147; Botkin, p. 347; Richardson and Spaeth, p. 86; Neely, pp. 200- 
201; Cambiaire, p. 140; Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin, vi, 
14; JAFL, XXIV, 302; XXVII, 290; xxviiii, 278; xxxii, 488; 
XXXIX, 193; XLii, 207 (Ozarks) ; xlix, 246; liv, 163 (Maryland) ; 
PTFLS, I, 17-18; XIII, 315; SFQ, VI, 198; Hofer, p. 38;' Chase, 
p. 45 ; Sandburg, The American Songhag, p. loi ; McDowell, pp. 

'Old Soap Gourd.' Contributed by J. T. C. Wright, Appalachian Train- 
ing School, Boone. Collected in 1922. 

A ring of boys and girls is formed, with either a boy or a 
girl in the center. If a boy is in the center, the pronouns used 
in the song are different from those tised when a girl is there. 
The boys and girls composing the ring begin to dance around 
the one in the center and sing: 

Old Soap Gourd he loves sugar and tea ; 
Old Soap Gourd he loves candy ; 
Old Soap Gourd loves to stand around 
And kiss some pretty girl handy. 

At the conclusion of the song, the player in the center kisses 
someone of the opposite sex in the ring. The person kissed 
takes the place of the player in the center. 


'Weevily Wheat.' Contributed by Lucille Alassey. Collected in Durham 

Charlie is a handsome boy; 

Charlie is a dandy ; 

Charlie is the very boy 

That brings all the neighbors brandy. 

Five times five are twenty-five; 
Five times six are thirty ; 
Five times seven are thirty-five, 
And five times eight are forty. 
Five times nine are forty-five ; 
Five times ten are fifty; 
Five times eleven are fifty-five. 
And five times twelve are sixty. 


This game requires eight couples. The couples walk along 
with arms locked while singing the first stanza. When the 
counting hegins, hoys go one way and girls another. The girls 
skip in and out as if winding a Maypole, swinging one boy 
with the riffht hand and the next with the left. 

No title. Contributed by Mamie Mansfield, Durham. Collocted in Dur- 
ham county about 1925. 

I want some more of your weevily wheat ; 
I want some more of your barley ; 
I want some more of your weevily wheat 
To make a cake for Charley. 

Charley is a handsome man ; 
Charley is a dandy ; 
Charley is the very man 
That drank old Abram's brandy. 

Five times five are twenty-five ; 
Five time six are thirty ; 
Five times seven are thirty-five ; 
Five times eight are forty. 

Five times nine are forty-five; 
Five times ten are fifty ; 
Five times eleven are fifty-five; 
Five times twelve are sixty. 

'Weevily Wheat.' Contributed by Lida Page, Nelson. Collected 
Durham county. Text C, with "He wants a little brandy." 

No title. Contributed by Louise Rand Bascom, Highlands, 1914. 

I don't want none o' your weevily wheat ; 
I don't want none o' your barley ; 
I want some of the good old rye 
To bake a cake for Charlie. 

Charlie he's the fancy man ; 
Charlie he's your dandy ; 
Charlie he's the very lad 
^\'ho drunk up Grover's brandy. 

I don't want none o' your sugar and cheese ; 
I don't want none o' your candy ; 
Just want to wheel and turn around 
And kiss the first one handy. 


'Weevily Wheat.' Contributed by Clara Hearne, 1922-23, Pittsboro. 
From Chatham county. 

Over the river to get the wheat, 
Over the river for barley, 
Over the river to get the wheat 
To bake a cake for Charley. 

And I don't want your weevily wheat. 
And I don't want your barley; 
I'll take the very best of wheat 
To bake a cake for Charley. 

Charley he's a fine young man ; 
Charley he's a dandy; 
Charley likes to kiss the girls 
And feed them lots of candy. 

Charley's here and Charley's there. 
And Charley's over the ocean ; 
Charley won't come back again 
Unless he takes a notion. 

No title. Contributed by Minnie Bryan Farrior, Raleigh. Version col- 
lected in Duplin county. 

Charlie he loves cake and wine; 
Charlie he loves brandy ; 
Charlie loves to turn these girls 
Sweet as sugar candy. 

I won't have none your weavely wheat ; 
I won't have none your barley ; 
I won't have none your weavely wheat 
To make a cake for Charlie. 

"Weevily Wheat.' Contributed by Evelyn Moody. Version from Stanly 
county. Stanza 2 of Farrior text and 

I want none of your weevilly wheat ; 
I want none of your barley ; 
I want some of your good ole corn 
To bake a cake for Charlie. 


No title. Contributed by James B. Turner. No place or date given. 
All around the ring, my sugar lump ; 


All around the ring, my sugar lump ; 
All around the ring, my sugar lump ; 
All around the ring, my darling. 

Charley is a good old man; 
Charley is a dandy ; 
Charley is a good old man ; 
He feeds his girl un candy. 


See Botkin, p. 290; PTFLS, xiii. 327: SFQ, vi. 196: JAFL 
XXIV. 298; XIII. 309, 327; XXVIII, 283: XXXI, 152; XXXIII, 117-118 
XL, 22: XLii, 211; XLiv, 12, 298; Owens, pp. 52-53: Wolford, p. 81 
Pound, p. 2;^j ; Gardner, Folklore from the Schoharie Hills, p. 237. 


Contributed by J. C. Knox, Leland. Reported from Brunswick county 
about 1922. 

The players form a circle, the girl to the right of her partner, 
around an extra man. The object of the game is for the odd 
man to secure a partner when the song reaches "All prom- 
enade." The players join hands, start around the "pig" clock- 
wise, and sing : 

We have a new pig in the parlor ; 
We have a new pig in the parlor ; 
We have a new pig in the ])arlor ; 
And he is Irish too. 

Your right hand to your partner, 
Your left hand to your neighbor, 
And all promenade. 

When "Your right hand to your partner" comes around, the 
boys do as the song directs, the girls continuing the clockwise 
movement. The boys right and left until the song reaches "And 
all promenade," when each boy secures a girl and they prom- 
enade in a counter-clockwise movement. 

Contributed by Gertrude Allen \'aught, Taylorsvillc, c. 1928. Collected 
in Alexander county. 

My father and mother are Irish ; 
My father and mother are Irish ; 
My father and mother are Irish, 
And 1 am Irish too. 


We keep a pig in the parlor, &c. 
We keep a cow in the kitchen, &c. 
We keep a horse in the bedroom, &c. 

THE needle's eye 

See Newell, pp. 91, 241; Wolford, p. 72; Hudson, pp. 291-292; 
Owens, p. 9; PTFLS, i, 23; Gardner, Folklore from the Schoharie 
Hills, p. 234; SFQ, VI, 206; JAFL, xxvii, 297; xxviii, 263; 
XXXIII, 115; XL, 18; XLii. 228; XLiv, 18; xLix, 247; Hudson, p. 
291 ; Gomme, ii, 228, 289 ; McDowell, pp. 62-63 : Linscott, p. 43 ; 
Hofer, p. 17; Shearin and Combs, A Syllabus of Kentucky Folk- 
Songs, p. Z7- 


'Thread the Needle.' Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. 
From Tyrrell county. 

This game is played much like 'London Bridge.' Two chil- 
dren raise their clasped hands, while the others, in a long line, 
pass under the hands and the last couple is caught. 

The needle's eye it does supply 
The thread it runs plum through. 
O many a lass have we let pass 
Because we wanted you. 

Not one so sweet or dressed so neat ; 
We do intend before the end 
To make this couple meet 
And kiss sweet. 

The couple thus caught then kiss each other. The second 
verse was obviously "doctored" by the little girl who gave it to 
me. She could not remember the traditional verse very well. 
Gomme gives 12 variants of the game, and associates it with 
'Raise the Gates.' It was formerly a game to be played on 
Shrove Tuesday.-^ 


'Needle's Eye.' Contributed by J. T. C. Wright, Boone. Collected in 
Boone in 1923. 

A boy and a girl join hands above their heads. The other 
players form a line and march through the arch thus formed, 
.^t the conclusion of the song, the arch falls around the neck 

''' Contributor's note : "Columbia, N. C, is a very old settlement. There 
is a tradition there that it was settled by a boatload of people who came 
from either England or Ireland, sailed up the Albemarle Sound to the 
mouth of the Scuppernong River, and settled there. It is one of the best 
fields in North Carolina for the student of folklore. The songs, games, 
and folk legends arc even less changed there than in the mountains of the 

G A M E S A N I) K II Y M K S lOQ 

of the person beneath it at that time. If the one caught is a 
sj^irl and will permit it. the hoy who helped form the arch kisses 
lier ; if the hoy is caught, then the girl who helped form the 
arch does the kissing if she so desires. The one caught then 
displaces the one of his or her sex in the arch, and the game 
proceeds as before. 

Needle's eye that does apply 
The thread that runs so true ; 
IMany a beau have I let go 
For the sake of kissing you. 

'London Town.' Contributed by Gertrude Allen Vaught, c. 1928. From 
Alexander county. 

Two are chosen leaders. They hold each other's hands clasped 
above their heads, and the others all pass luider their out- 
stretched arms. All sing: 

Needle's eye that does so ply [supply?] 
The thread that runs so truly. 
And many a beau have I let go 
For the sake of kissing you. 

Many a dark and stormy night 
When I went home with you. 
And now you w^ent and broke my heart 
For the sake of kissing you. 

As they say "yo^i/' the two catch a player going under the arch, 
and the caught one kisses one of the girls forming the arch and 
then takes her place.-" 

No title. Contributed by Minnie Stamps Gosney. Fragment obtained 
in Wake county. No date given. 

The needle's eye that does supply 
The thread that runs so truly. 
Many a cold and stormy night 
Have I went home with Julie. 


For additional versions, see Gomme, i, 424 If.; Xewell, pj). (S(), 
236; Douglas, p. 51 (a fragment); Beckwith. p. 49; Haddoii, llic 
Study of Man, p. 313: Gardner, Handbook for Recreation Leaders, 

-" The same contributor also turned in a form of The Needle's Eye' 
closely resembling 'London Bridge.' It has the verse belonging to the 
former, but there is no kissing and the game ends in a tug-of-war. 


p. 23; JAFL, VIII, 253; XXXI, 47-48, 132, 147, 178; Bancroft, pp. 
285-286; FLJ, VII, 224; FLR, III, 170; V, 85; FL, xvii, 221 ; Lins- 
cott, p. 16. 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. Collected from children 
in Chimney Rock. 

"Here we come, gathering nuts in May, 
Nuts in May, nuts in May ; 
Here we come, gathering nuts in May 
So early in the morning." 

"Who will you have for nuts in May ?" &c. 

"I'll take Miss for nuts in ^lay," &c. 

"Who will you have to pull her away ?" &c. 

"I'll take Mr. to pull her away," &c. 

"How do you know you can pull her away ?" &c. 

"This is the way I'll pull her away," &c. 

The children form two lines of equal length facing each other, 
with space between the lines. They walk alternately toward and 
away from each other, singing their own verses. The players 
selected from each line face each other across the line drawn 
in the center, and they try to pull each other over the Hne. The 
one who succeeds has captured a member for his side. The 
game goes on until all of one side have been captured.-'^ 


See, for descriptions and texts, Gomme, 11, 436; Newell, p. 102; 
Hudson, pp. 300-301; Owens, p. 100; Gardner, Folklore from the 
Schoharie Hills, p. 235; Billson, p. 68; Collins, p. 14; Gomme, 
Children's Singing Games, i, 17; 11, 46; Randolph, The Ozarks, p. 
145; Douglas, p. 41; Botkin, p. 248; Neely, p. 197; Cambiaire, p. 
137; McDowell, pp. 20-23; Wolford, pp. 67-70; JAFL, xxiv, 316; 
XXV, 269; xxvii, 293; xxxiii, 15; Liv, 163; xLii, 205 ; PTFLS, i, 
13; XIII, pp. 306, 325; FLJ, I. 385; V, 57; FLR, v, 86; Tennessee 
Folklore Society Bulletin, v, 24; vi, 7; Mcintosh, Sing and Swing, 
pp. 37-38. 

'The Jolly Miller.' Contributed by Clara Hcarne, 1922-23. Version 
from Chatham county. 

^■'Contributor's note: "In one niountain ccmnnunity it was played on 
Sunday afternoon by a group of young people wlio had just begun 
'courtin,' and in this instance as each young man pulled his sweetheart 
over the line, he kissed her soundly. Only one boy was pulled across 
by a strapping young miss, and he was jeered at unmercifully by his 
mates. She told me tearfully later, 'Aus quit me cayse I pulled him 
over the line. He said 't wa'nt no girl's place to be so confounded 
stout.' " 


jolly is the niilU'r who lives by the mill ; 
The wheel goes round with a right good will; 
( )ne hand on the hopper and the other on the sack; 
The right steps forward as the left steps hack. 

Players select partners and form a circle, one couple in front 
of another, thus a double ring. An extra player is in 
the center of the circle. As the players march around and sing 
the last line, the righthand player steps forward and the left 
steps back (just exchange partners). The player in the center 
attempts to get a partner during this change. If he succeeds, 
then the one who is left without a partner has to be "It" and 
take his jilace in the center of the ring. 

'Johnny Miller.' Contributed by J. C. Knox, c. 1922. Reported from 
Brunswick county. 

This game is similar to TMg in the Parlor.' An odd player 
is in it. Each couple joins hands, forming a circle, and the 
odd player also joins hands with the rest. They all sing : 

Little Johnny Miller, he works at the mill ; 
He works all day, no matter what it will. 
A hand in the hopper, the other in a sack, 
The ladies keep going, while the gents turn back. 

This circular motion continties until the last line is reached, 
when the boys do as directed. Then the song is sung over again, 
each boy grabs a girl, and they promenade until the end of it. 


'The Jolly Miller.' Contributed by J. W. Miller. Reported from Lin- 
coln county in 1934. 

The miller is inside a ring composed of boy and girl partners. 
The boys have the outside of the ring. They march around the 
miller while they sing : 

Jolly was the miller who lived by the mill ; 
The mill goes around and gains what it will. 

Corn in the hopper and hands in the sack, 
Ladies step forward and gents step back. 

At this, the miller steps out and tries to get a partner. If he 
succeeds, then there is a fellow left out and he is the next 
miller. The object is to have a partner and never to be a miller. 


'The Jolly Old Miller.' Contributed by Mamie Mansfield, c. 1928. From 
Durham county. A very inadequate description, no mention at all being 
made of the miller. 

Girls form a ring, with boys forming an outer circle. When 
they sing "Gents step forward and ladies step back," the man 
walks by the side of the girl in front. This continues until 
each boy gets back with his original partner. 


'There Was A Little Miller.' Contributed by Minnie Stamps Gosney. 
From Raleigh. No date given. 

There was a little miller who lived by the mill; 
The mill went around with a free good will. 
One hand in the hopper, the other in the sack, 
Ladies step forward and gents step back. 


'Miller Boy.' Contributed by Jessie Hauser, 1923. Version from For- 
syth county. 

One time there was a miller boy lived by himself; 
Turning of the mill was the gaining of his wealth. 
One hand in the hopper and the other in the sack ; 
The mill turns around and the ladies fall back. 


No title. Contributed by Lucille Cheek. Reported from Chatham county 
c. 1924. 

Happy is the miller that lives in the mill ; 
While the mill goes round, he works with a will. 
One hand in the hopper and one in the hay ; 
The mill goes round, and he cries out, "Great !" 


'The Jolly Miller.' Contributed by Mabel Ballentinc. Reported from 
Wake county. 

Oh, jolly is the miller and he lives by the mill ; 
And the mill goes round with a right good will. 
One hand in the hopper and the otlier in the sack. 
The left steps forward and the right steps back. 

'The Jolly Miller.' Contributed by Lida Page. Reported from Durham 

There was an old miller and he lived by himself ; 
He turned the wheel, and he gained no wealth. 

G A M F. S A N D R II ^• M K S 


Hand in the hopper and the other in the sack. 

The gents ste[) forward and the girls |.s-/c| step hack. 

'Miller Boy.' Contributed by Thomas Smith. Zionville, c. 1914. Col- 
lected in Watauga county. 

( )h, the miller hoy that tends to the mill 

He takes the toll with his own free will. 

One hand in the hopper and the other in the sack, 

The ladies step forward and the gents fall hack. 

'The Jolly Miller.' Contributed by Gertrude Allen Vaught, c. 1928. 
From Alexander county. Hearne text, with "happy" for "jolly." 


See Newell, pp. yi,, 246; Wolford, pp. 62-64; Hudson, pp. 289- 
290; Gomme. i, 304; Owens, p. i; Flanders and Brown, pp. 188- 
189; Northall, pp. 2,72-T,y2>'' Gardner, Folklore from the Schoharie 
Hills, p. 244; Botkin, p. 227; Neely, pp. 199-200; McDowell, pp. 
66-67; Collins, p. 20; Lomax, Our Singing Country, pp. 65-66; 
SFQ, VI, 216-220; JAFL, XIV, 299; xxiv, 313; xxvi, 355; xxvii, 
295; XXXI, 50; xxxii, 493-494; xxxiii, 107-109; xLii, 226-227; 
XLiv, lo-ii; XXXIX. 191; XLix, 249-250; Lii, 48; LX, 15; Henry, 
Folk-Songs from the Southern Highlands, p. 406; American An- 
thropologist, O.S., I, 247; Hofer, p. 30; Talley, p. 82; Puckett, Folk 
Beliefs of the Southern Negro, p. 55; Whitney and Bullock, p. 146. 

Nearly fifty texts of this popular game were sent in by con- 
tributors. Many of these were, of course, duplications; others were 
fragmentary or badly corrupted. Lines such as "Wore a star upon 
his breast Twice as big as a hornet's nest" and "Upon his breast 
he wore a star Pointing to the prison bar" occur frequently. There 
is considerable disagreement as to the identity of William's parent, 
the honor being ascribed to King George, King Simon, and King 
James respectively. 

'King William Was King George's Son.' Contributed by Maude Minish 
Sutton, c. 1927. This version was collected in Mitchell county. 

King William was King George's son ; 

Round the royal race he run, 

Wore a star upon his hreast 

First to the East and then to the West. 

Go choose you East, go choose you \\'est ; 
Choose the one that you love hest. 
If she's not here to take your part, 
Choose another with all vour heart. 


Down on this carpet you must kneel 
Sure as the grass grows in the field ; 
As you rise upon your feet. 
Kiss your bride and kiss her sweet. 

The players form a ring, with one in the center. They march 
around singing the first verse. When the one in the center has 
chosen, they stop going around, and he kneels down before the 
girl of his choice. As the last verse is sung, he rises and 
kisses her. 

'King William.' Contributed by Gertrude Allen \'aught, c. 1928. From 
Alexander county. 

King William was King James's son, 
From the royal race was sprung. 
Wore a star upon his breast ; 
Go point to the east, go point to the west. 
Go choose your east, go choose your west ; 
Choose the one that you love best. 
If she's not here to take your part, 
Choose another with all your heart. 
Down on this carpet you must kneel 
Sure as the grass grows on the green ; 
When you rise upon yoin* feet. 
Salute your bride and kiss her sweet. 
Now you're married you must be good ; 
Split the kindling, chop the wood. 
Split it fine and carry it in ; 
Then she'll let you kiss her again. 

We sang these words as we marched around in a circle. One 
boy was in the center of the ring, and he selected a girl from 
the ring as his bride. Then they knelt, and in a minute arose 
and the boy kissed the girl. Then the girl remained in the 
center and selected a boy, while the words were changed in the 
stanza to suit her. 

'King William Was King George's Son.' Contributed by Lucille Bul- 
lard. Reported from Robeson county in 191 6. Text B, witli "Round 
the royal race he run." 

The words are sung while the children march around in a 
ring, with the one who is "It" in the center. He follows the 
directions given in the song. The bride who has been chosen 
then makes her choice in turn as the players again march around 


'King and Queen.' Contributed by Mrs. Norman Herring, Tomahawk. 
No source or date given. Text A, with slight verbal variations. Has 
"King Simon's son." 

'King William Was King James's Son.' Contributed by Grace Tucker. 
Chester, S. C. No source or date given. 

King William was King James's son, 
Around the royal race he run, 
Wore a star upon his breast 
Twice as big as a hornet's nest. 

Go choose you east, go choose you west ; 
Choose the one that you love best. 
If she's not here to take your part, 
Choose another wath all your heart. 

Down upon the carpet you must kneel 
Sure as the grass grows under your heel. 
When you rise upon your feet. 
Hug her tight and kiss her sweet. 

Now you're married you must be good ; 
Have your husband chop your wood. 
Chop it fine, carry it in. 
Now you're married, so kiss her again. 

'King William Was King George's Son.' Contributed by Aura Holton, 
Durham. From Durham county. Collected in 191 6. Te.\t H, with minor 
verbal differences. 

'King William Was King George's Son.' Contributed by Amy Hender- 
son, Worry. Reported from Burke county in 1915. Te.xt A, with some 
minor verbal differences. 

No title. Contributed by Mrs. Laura Timmons, Boone. No source or 
date given. Practically identical with Text A. 

No title. Contributed by Lida Page. Nelson. Reported from Durham 
county. No date given. Text ./. with no stanza division. 

'King William Was King George's Son.' Contributed t)y Martha Wall. 
Wallburg. Reported from Davidson county about 1941. Text B, witii 
"From the royal race he run." 

X.r.F.. \-nI. I, (9) 


No title. Contributed by Mamie Mansfield, Durham. Collected in Dur- 
ham county in 1922. Text B, with "All around the race he run." 

'King William Was King George's Son.' Contributed by Mildred Peter- 
son. Reported from Bladen county in 1923. 

King William was King George's son. 
Upon the royal race he run ; 
Upon his breast he wore a star 
Which was called the star of love. 
Go to the east, go to the west ; 
Go choose the one that you love best. 
If she's not here to take her part, 
Choose the one next your heart. 


'King William Was King George's Son.' Contributed by Alma Irene 
Stone. No source or date indicated. B text, with "Round the royal 
race he run." 


'King William Was King James's Son.' Contributed by Katherine Ber- 
nard Jones, Raleigh. No source or date given. Text B, with minor 

'King William Was King James's Son." Contributed by Minnie Stamps 
Gosney. From Wake county. No date given. 

King William was King James's son, 
Around the royal race he run ; 
On his breast he wore a star 
Pointing to the ocean far. 
Go point to the east, go point to the west ; 
Go point to the one you love best ; 
If she's not here to take her part. 
Choose another with all your heart. 
Down on this carpet you must kneel 
As sure as the grass grows in the held ; 
Salute your bride and kiss her sweet, 
Then you may rise upon your feet. 


No title. Contributed by Laurice Gwin Cluunl)liss. Reported from 
Wilson county. No date given. 

King William was King James's son, 

All the royal race he won ; 

GAME S A N I) R H Y M E S 1 1/ 

Upon his breast he wore a star 
Pointing to the prison bar. 

Go choose you east, go choose yon west ; 
Choose the one that you love the best. 
If she's not here to take her part. 
Go choose another with all your heart. 

Down on this carpet you must kneel 
Sure's the grass grows in the held. 
When you rise upon your feet, 
Salute your bride and kiss her sweet. 

'King William Was King James's Son.' Contributed by Ethel Hicks 
Buffaloe, Oxford. Reported from Granville county. No date given. 

King William was King James's son, 
From the royal race he sprung; 
He wore a star upon his breast 
As big as any hornet's nest. 

Choose the one that you love best. 
If she's not here to take your part, 
Go choose another with all your heart. 
Down on this carpet you must kneel 
Sure's the grass grows in the field. 
When you rise upon your feet. 
Salute your bride ancl kiss her sweet. 

'King William Was King George's Son.' From an anonymous con- 
trilnitor in Chatham county. No date given. 

Down on this carpet you must kneel 
Shore's the grass in the field ; 
And when you rise upon your feet. 
Salute your bride and kiss her sweet. -^ 

" Other versions and fragments were contributed by Louise Bennett 
(Henderson text, omitting "go choose ye East"), Dixie Lamm (Hen- 
derson text, with slight verbal variations), Cozette Coble (Tucker text), 
Lucille Cheek (Page text), Valeria Johnson Howard (Bullard text, omit- 
ting "If she's not here" couplet), Sarah K. Watkins (Bullard text, with 
"point to the East" for "first to the East"), Lois Johnson (Henderson 
text). Flossie Marshbanks (Bullard text). Ruth Morgan (Tucker text), 
Marjorie Rea (Bullard text). Esther Royster (Stone text), Mary Olivia 
Pruette (Bullard text), Merle Smith (Tucker text), Allie .-Xnn Pearce 
(Bullard text), M. A. B. .Andrews (Timmons text, with some slight 
variations). Ethel Brown (Bullard text), .Ada Briggs (Bullard text). 



See Newell, p. 125; Botkin, pp. 351-353: Randolph, The Ozarks, 
pp. 146-147; McDowell, pp. 18-19; Wolford, pp. 65-66; JAFL, v, 
118; XX, 275; XXV, 271; XXVII, 293; XXXII, 491; XLii. 206-207; 
XLiv, 19; Gardner, Folklore from the Schoharie Hills, p. 244; 
SFQ, VI. 255-256. 

'To Old Quebec' Contributed by John Bennett, East Flat Rock. Mr. 
Bennett writes: "Found in newspaper clipping. In the Journal of Ameri- 
can Folklore, Oct. -Dec. 191 9, Carl Van Doren gives this version from 
Vermillion County, Illinois, not as a child's game but as a folksong. I 
have found the verses, substantially as quoted by Mr. Van Doren, as a 
game-song, used among adult and youthful mountain folk within memory 
of the old along the route of the old Howard Gap cattle-drovers' road 
through the Blue Ridge Mountains from Tennessee to North Carolina." 

We're marching down to Old Quebec 

And the drums are loudly beating; 
The American boys have gained the day, 

And the British are retreating. 
The wars are all over, and we'll turn back 

And never more be parted ; 
Open the ring and choose a couple in 

To relieve the broken-hearted. 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. Collected in Bostic. 
"We have been unable to find it all anywhere else, though quite a few 
children knew parts of it." 

We're marching to Old Quebec 
And loud the drums are beating ; 
The Rebels brave have won the fight ; 
The Yankees are retreating. 

The war is over and we've come home 
To the place from where we started ; 
So open the ring and take her in. 
For she is broken-hearted. 

Go choose the one you love the best, 
No one on earth above him ; 
Heart and hand to him you give 
To show him how you love him. 

(or Kiss him, for you love him.) 

Irene Thompson (Bullard text with exception of lines 3-4: "Upon his 
breast he wore a star Pointing to the prison bar"), Caroline Biggers 
(Bullard text), Virginia Bowers (Tucker text, with "snoot your Bright*" 
for "salute your bride"), Ella Parker (Henderson text). 

G A M E S A N D R H Y M E S 119 


For otlier versions, see Goninie, ii, 122 f. ( 'Round and Round tlie 
Vill:if,'e' ) : Maclagan. p. 65; Newell, p. 229; Balfour and Thomas, 
p. 116; Hudson, pp. 287-288; Beckwith. p. 67 ('WalkinR Round the 
N'allev'j ; Owens, p. 3; Collins, p. 15; Notes and Queries, 8th ser., 
I. 249; Hofer, p 16; SFQ, vi, 194; FL, xvii, 99; American An- 
thropologist, O.S., I, 255; Douglas, p. 41; Bancroft, pp. 290-292; 
JAFL, VIII. 253; XV, 194; XXIV, 306-307; XXVI. 138; xxxiii, 120- 
121 ; XL. 26; XLiv. 12-13. 8-19; XLVii. 338; XLix. 243-244: McDowell, 
p. 60; Neely, p. 204; Ford. Traditional Music of America, p. 260. 
Brown and Boyd, p. 29 ; Linscott, p. 9. 

Nineteen versions are given by Gonime. Slit- sees a connection 
between this game and the customs of "beating the bounds" and 
escorting a newly married couple around the town (note the refrain 
"As we have done before"). Newell thinks village a corruption of 
valley, and considers British versions inferior. 


'Go In and Out the Window.' Contributed by Lucille Rullard. Re- 
ported from Robeson county in 191 6. 

Go in and out the window ; 
Go in and out the window ; 
Go in and out the window, 
For yoti have <(ained the day. 

Go forth and face your lover. &C. 

I kneel because I love you, &c. 

I measure my love to show you. &c. 

Just one more kiss before I leave you, &c. 

After the players have formed a circle, they drop hands. The 
one who has been chosen "It" goes in and out the circle by 
going before and behind those in the ring alternately while 
they all sing. He acts out the words of the song, and begins 
singing liimself at the third stanza. 


'Go In and Out the Windows.' Contributed by Aura Holtcjn, Durham. 
Collected in Durham county in 191 6. 

Go in and out the windows ; 
Go in and out the windows ; 
Go in and out the windows, 
For love has gained today. 

Go kneel before your lover, &c. 
Now rise and kiss your lover, &c. 


The person who is "It" goes in and out the windows, formed 
by the joined upHfted hands of the players forming the ring. 
At the second stanza, he chooses his partner, kneels before her, 
and — at the third stanza — kisses her. 


'Go In and Out the Window.' Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton. 
c. 1927. No source given. 

Go in and out the windows ; 
Go in and out the windows ; 
Go in and out the windows, 
For we have gained today. 

Go forth and face your lover, &c. 
I'll measure my love to show you, &c. 
I'll bow before my lover, &c. 

Played by a ring of children, with one in the center. He 
executes each command as the ring sings the verses. Every 
version we found has the same air. 


'Go In and Out the Window.' Contributed by Mary Scarborough, c. 
1923. From Dare county. 

The players form a ring with hands raised. An odd member 
weaves in and out, acting out the songs as these verses are 
sung : 

Go in and out the window ; 

Go in and out the window ; 

Go in and out the window. 

For we have gained the day. 

Go forth and face your lover, &c. 
(The ring stands still while lover is chosen) 
I kneel because I love you, &c. 
It breaks my heart to leave you, &c. 

'We're Marching Around the Love Ring.' Contributed by Ethel Brown, 
Catawba county. No date given. 

We're marching around the love ring ; 
We're marching around the love ring ; 
We're marching around the love ring, 
Since we have gained the day. 


Go forth and face your lover, &c. 
I measure luy love to show you, &c. 
It breaks my heart to leave you, &c. 

"Go In and Out the Window.' Contributed by Fannie Vann, Durham. 
Durham county. Stanzas i, 3, and 4 are Bullard i, 2, 3. 

2. There is a lillie in the valley ; 
There is a lillie in the valley; 
There is a lillie in the valley 
As we go marching by. 

Players march around in a circle singing, while the one in 
the center must go between them. If a girl is in the middle, 
she seeks a boy ; if a boy is in the middle, he seeks a girl. His 
(or her) love is measured with a handkerchief drawn from the 
shoulder to the waistline and then from shoulder to shoulder. 
The one chosen goes into the center of the ring, and the game 
starts over. 

'Marching Around the Love Ring.' Contributed by Gertrude Allen 
\'aught, Taylorsville. Collected in Alexander county in 1927. Text E, 
with additional stanzas "I kneel because I love you" and "Give me a 
sweet kiss before I leave you." 


'Marching Round the Love Ring.' Contributed by Jessie Hauser. Pfaflf- 
town. From Forsyth county. Collected in 1923. Vaught text, with 
"grieves" for "breaks." 

All children clasp hands and march around one who stands 
in the ring. The one in the ring does all the things mentioned 
in the song. Going in and out the window is simply going in 
and out the ring under the clasped hands. The one chosen as 
lover stands in the center for the next game. 

No title. Contributed by Valeria Johnson Howard, Roseboro. Sampson 
county. No date. Text A, with minor verbal differences. 

No title. Contributed by Nina Mclnnis. No place or date given. 
We're marching round the levee ; 
We're marching round the levee ; 
\\'^e're marching round the levee. 
For you have gained the day. 


Go forth and face your lover, &c. 
Go in and out the window, &c. 
I measure my love to show you, &c. 
I kneel because I love you, &c. 

No title. Contributed by Macie Morgan. Reported from Stanly county. 
No date given. Text E, with only slight verbal variations. 

No title. Contributed by Dixie Lamm. Reported from Wilson county. 
No date. Text E. with additional stanzas "I kneel because I love you" 
and "Goodbye, I hope to meet you." 


'We're Walking on the Levy.' Contributed by Mildred Peterson, c. 
1923. From Bladen county. 

I am walking on the levy ; 
I am walking on the levy ; 
I am walking on the levy, 
For you have gained the day. 

I am walking over the levy, &c. 

No title. Contributed by Lida Page. From Durham county, no date. 
A composite text. Text B, with minor verbal variations. 

'We're Marching Round the Love Ring.' Contributed by Martha Wall, 
Wallburg, c. 1941. Text from Davidson county. Text E, with addi- 
tional stanza "I kneel because I love you." 

'Go In and Out the Windows.' From an anonymous contributor. No 
source or date given. Text B, with minor verbal variations."" 

"■' Other texts and fragments were contributed by Louise Watkins 
(composite of Bullard and Bennett texts), Mrs. John Carr ( Bullard 
text), Wilma Foreman (Bullard text, with "bow" for "kneel" and re- 
frain "As we are game today"). Katherine Bernard Jones (Bullard 
text), Marguerite Higgs (Lamm text), Esther Royster (Page text, 
with "love ring" for "lovers"), Marjorie Rea (Bullard text, with "done 
today" for "won the day"), Clara Hearne (Lamm text, with slight verbal 
variations), Ethel Hicks Bufifaloe (Page text, with 2nd stanza omitted 
and "bound" for "hope"), Louise Bennett (Bullard text), Allie Ann 
Pearce (Lamm text, with "go forth" for "stand in"), Caroline Biggers 
(Lamm text, with "go forth" for "stand in"), Lucille Cheek (Royster- 
Page text, minus last two verses), Ella Parker (Bullard text, with re- 
frain "For you have won this day"), Minnie Stamps Gosney (Page text, 
with "it breaks my heart to leave you" for "Goodbye, I hope to meet 
you"), Roberta E. Pridgen, Flossie Marshbanks, Dorothy M. Vann, J. G. 

r, A M K S AND R II Y M E S 123 


See Gomme. i, 215 ('Hiss and Clap'). It is to this game that 
Edgar Lee Masters aUudes in "Lucinda Matlock" : 

"1 went to the dances at Chandlerville, 
And i)layed snap-out at Winchester." 

'Clap In and Clap Out.' Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. 
All the girls g" owt of the room in a group. Each of the 
boys selects a giVl and stations himself behind his chair. Each 
girl, in ttirn. is called into the room. As she enters, she is 
begged by all the boys to sit in their chairs. If she sits in the 
wrong one, she is "clapped out" ; i.e., all the boys clap their 
hands. If she sits in the right one, she is given another seat 
and remains in the room. This is continued until all the players 
are paired off. 

'Clap-in and Clap-out.' Contributed by Clara Hearne, 1922-23. Re- 
ported from Chatham county. 

The boys retire to another room while each of the girls 
selects a partner. One of the boys is then called back into the 
room. He must guess which of the girls has chosen him. He 
indicates this by sitting in a chair by her side. If he chooses 
the right chair, he remains in the room. If he is wrong in his 
guess, he is "clapped-out." This continues until each has a part- 
ner. A better plan is to have the girls stand behind the chairs, 
since then not so many chairs are needed. 


See. for additional versions, Newell, pp. 94-95; Pound, pp. 223- 
224; Linscott, p. 276 ('Tlie Quaker's Wooing'); Belden, p. 265; 
Gardner, Ballads and Songs of Southern Michigan, p. 425; Eddy, 
Ballads and Songs from Ohio, p. 293; JAFL, xxiv, 341-342; xlix, 
247; SFQ, III. 206; Mackenzie, Ballads and Sea Songs from Nova 
Scotiu. pp. 380, 408. 


Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. Text .secured at Hibriton 
Academy in Caldwell county. 

]\Iadam, I come here a-courting. 

Oh. oh. oh: 
I'm in earnest, I'm not s])orting. 

(Jh. oh, oh. 

You sit there and court the fire ; 
Tingaling a tingaling a tingaling a tire ; 


That alone is my desire, 

Tingaling a tingaling a tingaling a tire. 

Here's a ring worth twenty shilling ; 
It's yours if you are willing. 
What care I for rings or money? 
I want a man to call me honey.^*' 

Contributed by Lucille Cheek. Reported from Chatham county about 
1924. One stanza. 

Madam, I am come a-courting ; 

Hum, hum, heigho-hum ! 
'T is for pleasure, not for sporting; 

Hum, hum, heigho-hum ! 


See Owens, p. y^; PTFLS, i, 25; xiii, 321 ; Botkin, p. 203; Wol- 
ford, pp. 49-50. 

Contributed by Jewell Robbins, Pekin. Reported from Montgomery 
county in 192 1. 

Green leaf, oh, green leaf that grows on a vine ; 
Go choose you a partner, the prettiest you can find. 
Honey in the gum so sweet, so sweet, 
Love is bound to be. 

When you get married, jump for joy; 
When you get married, jump for joy; 
When you get married, jump for joy; 
Joy is bound to be. 

Players join hands and form a circle. One stands in the 
center. When the words "Go choose you a partner" are reached, 
the one in the center chooses one of the others. They join hands 
and stand still until the others sing. "W^hen you get married, 
jump for joy." Then, while the remainder is being sung, those 
in the center jump up and down. When the song is finished, 
the one who was in the center at first joins those in the circle, 
while the player who was chosen remains in the center. Then 
a second game begins. 

'" Contributor's note : "A middle-aged man told me it was a 'ring 
game' when he was a boy. He was very vague as to the method of 
playing, but knew it ended with a kiss. He played this rollicking tune 
on his violin, and said he would not play the game now because he had 
'learnt better.' From this I inferred that the game had been a sort of 
dance. " 


'Honey in the Gum.' Contributed by Jennie Belvin, Durliam, c. 1921. 
Durham county. 

Green leaves, green leaves grow on the vine; 
Go choose you one as I have mine. 

Honey in the gum so sweet, so sweet ; 
Honey in the gum so sweet, so sweet ; 
Honey in the gum so sweet, so sweet, 
Joy is bound to be. 

If I had a wife I'd jump for joy, &c. 
Now I've got a wife, I'll jtimp for joy, &c. 

Players form a ring and go round and round, singing. One 
player is in the center of the ring. When the singers reach the 
verse "If I had a wife." the child in the center chooses someone 
in the ring. Then all the players jump up and down, clapping 
their hands and singing the last verse. 

No title. Contributed by Lida Page. Reported irom Durham county. 
No date given. 

Green leaves, green leaves grow on the vine ; 
Go choose your one as I have mine. 

Honey in the gum so sweet, so sweet ; 
Honey in the gum so sweet, so sweet ; 
Honey in the gum so sweet, so sweet. 
For joy there's bound to be. 

When you get married, jump for joy, &c. 

Now I've got a wife, I'll jump for joy, &c. 


"Green Leaves.' From an anonymous contributor. Reix)rtcd from Robe- 
son county. No date given. 

Green leaves, green leaves 
That grows on a vine ; 
Choose you a partner. 
The j)rettiest you can find. 

Honey in the gum so sweet, so sweet ; 
Honey in the gum so sweet, so sweet ; 
Honey in the gum so sweet, so sweet ; 
Joy's bound to be. 

Green leaves, green leaves, &c. 


When you get a wife, jump for joy; 
When you get a wife, jump for joy; 
When you get a wife, jump for joy; 
Joy's bound to be. 

Green leaves, green leaves, &c. 

Hug her neat and kiss her sweet ; 
Hug her neat and kiss her sweet ; 
Hug her neat and kiss her sweet ; 
Joy's bound to be. 

Green leaves, green leaves, &c. 

No title. Contributed by Mamie Mansfield, c. 1928. Collected in Dur- 
ham county. First two stanzas of D, with "Go choose you one And I'll 
choose mine" as third and fourth lines. 


See Newell, pp. 56, 239; JAFL, xxxii, 491; xxxiii, lOO-mi; 

XXXIV, 117; XLIX, 257. 


No title. Contributed by Kathleen Mack. Reported from Davidson 
county. No date given. 

Green grows the willow tree ; 
Green grows the willow tree ; 
Green grows the willow tree ; 
Come, my love, and stand by me. 

(The one in the center chooses his partner) 

On the bank the rushes grow ; 
On the bank the rushes grow ; 
On the bank the rushes grow ; 
Kiss her sweet and let her go. 

(Here the chooser kisses the chosen) 
Throughout the game, the players go round the circle hand 
in hand, singing. 

'Green Grows the Willow Tree.' Contributed by Kate S. Russell. From 
Person county. No date given. 

On the bank the rushes grow ; 

On the bank the rushes grow ; 

On the bank the rushes grow ; 

Kiss her sweet and let her go. 




'Green Grows the Willow Tree.' Contributed by Irene Thompson. From 
Surry county, ^^lack text, with "give her a kiss" for "kiss her sweet." 


See Newell, pp. 84-86; Botkin, pp. 212-213; JAFL, in, 288; 
XXVIII, 270; xxxiii, 103-104; XXXIV, 112; XL, 14; Sharp :Karpeles, 
II, 380 ('Reap, Boys, Reaj)') ; Stoudt, The Folklore of the Penn- 
sylvania Germans, p. 87; Gardner, Folklore from the Schoharie 
Hills, p. 234. 

'It Mists, It Rains.' Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. 
Reported from Tyrrell county. 

It mists, it rains in cold stormy weather ; 
Here comes the farmer, he's drunk all tiie cider. 
You can be the reaper, I'll be the binder. 
Somebody's got my true love, where can I find her ? 

This game is played like 'J^Hy Miller.' Couples form in a 
ring around one boy and skip around the ring to the first three 
lines of the song. On the fourth line, each girl drops her 
partner's arm and takes the arm of the boy in front, and the 
boy in the center tries to steal a partner. 


Botkin, pp. 140-141 ; Gomnie, 11, 204-205; Newell, pp. 224-225; 
Scarborough, p. 138; JAFL, xxiv, 117-119; xxvii, 292-293; 

XXVIII, 269; XXXIII, 126; XXXIV, II7-II9; XL, 39; XLIX, 255-256; 

Gardner, Folklore from the Schoharie Hills, p. 239. Cf. Mcintosh, 
Sing and Swing, pp. 50-51. 

Xo title. Contributed by Elsie Lambert. No place or date given. 

Down sits a fair lady going to sleep, going to sleep; 
Down sits a fair lady going to sleep 
Among those jolly folks all. 

She wants a young gentleman to keep her awake, &c. 
Among those jolly folks all. 

So write his name or tell it to me, or tell it to me, &c. 
Mr. , your name is called. 

A girl sits in a chair and sings this song, then walks around 
the chair. She chooses the boy she wants, and they walk around 
the chair. The girls re])eat this performance until each has a 


Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. Collected in Big Ivy 
(Madison county). Mrs. Sutton writes that she was unable to find it 
anywhere else. Cf. Newell, p. 238. 


There's a flower in the garden for you, young man ; 
There's a flower in the garden for you. 
There's a flower in the garden, pick it if you can; 
Be sure not to choose a false-hearted one. 

The boy in the center of the circle selects a girl, and those in 
the ring sing: 

You got her at a bargain, my young man ; 

You got her at a bargain, I tell you. 

But you promised for to wed her six months ago : 

So we hold you to your bargain, you rascal you. 

The couple kiss and the girl remains in the center. The second 
verse is the same except for a change from man and her to 
maid and him. 


See Botkin, pp. 298-299 ; Source Materials for Physical Education 
in Florida Elementary Schools, pp. 332-334. 

'Rig-a-Jig-Jig.' Contributed by Gertrude Allen Vaught, c. 1928. From 
.Mexander county. 

As I was walking down the street, 

Heighho ! heigho ! heigho ! 
A pretty girl I chanced to meet. 

Heighho ! heigho ! heigho ! 

Chorus: Rig a jig jig and away we go. 
Aw ay we go, away we go ; 
Rig a jig and away we go. 
Heigho ; heigho ! heigho ! 

Say, my little miss, won't you marry me? 
A soldier's wife then you would be. 

Yes, kind sir, I will marry you ; 
A soldier's wife then I will be. 

There are two lines, one of boys and the other of girls. As 
they sing, a boy and a girl join hands ; on the chorus, all dance 
around singing. While singing the verses, they walk instead of 


See Gardner's version of this game collected in Michigan (JAFL, 
XXXIII, 106-107) ; Gardner, Folklore from the Schoharie Hills, p. 
240; Newell, p. 72. 

No title. Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. The contributor 
calls it simply "a kissing game." 


John Smith, so they say, 

Cioes a-coui"tin' iii^ht and day, 

Sword and pistol hy his side, 

Wants Miss — for to he his hride. 

Take her by her hly-white hand ; 
Lead her 'cross the water. 
Here's a kiss and there's a kiss 
For Mr. 's daughter. 

A ring of children singing this song dance around another 
player in the center. 


Contributed by Mabel Balleiitine. Reported from Wake county. No 
place or date given. 

We two will travel on, 

And we two will travel on ; 

We two will travel on 

Till we two, we must part. 

So fare you well ; 

So fare you well, my dear. 

I never expect to see you again 

In five and twenty year. 

I'll weep and I'll moan; 
And I'll holler and I'll cry, 
For my true love is gone away; 
I know that I shall die. 

Oh, yonder she comes. 
And it's "How do you do? 
And how have you been 
Since I parted from you?" 

I'll greet you with a kiss, 
And I hope it will agree ; 
Away down in North Carolina 
And married we will be.''^^ 

ox Tl 

See Botkin. pp. 185-186; Newel 
ford, pp. 43-44; JAFL, xiv, 
Linscott, p. 46. 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. "Collected in the Laurel 
Country, where Cecil Sharp found so many British folksongs, dances, and 

"A variant of 'Marriage.' See Newell, p. 60; Gardner, Folklore from 
the Schoharie Hills, p. 241. 

X.C.F., Vol. I, (10) 


veil, pp. 59-62; 

Owens, p. 64 : Wol- 

^7-298; XXX 11. 

495; xi.i.x. 250-251 


games." This text is nearly identical with Newell, pp. 60-61. "This 
kissing game is played in rural homes where dancing is forbidden. It is 
probably a fragment of an old English May Day dance or ballad." 

On this carpet here we stand ; 
So take your truelove by her hand. 
Oh, find the one that you profess 
Is the one you love the best. . 

Oh, what a pretty choice you made ! 
Don't you wish you'd longer stayed? 
Kiss her once and send her home ; 
Tell her not to further roam. 


For other versions, see Gomme, Children's Singing Games, li, 
20-23; Traditional Games, 11, 149-179, 453-454; Hudson, pp. 290- 
291; Newell, p. 70: Wolford, pp. 86-88; JAFL, viii, 254; xxxi, 
159-160, 55, 147; XXXIII, 122-123; XL, 12-13; III. 147; L-^. 14'. Halli- 
well, Nursery Rhymes, p. 229; Brown and Boyd, p. 42; SFQ, vi, 
253-254; Burne, p. 508; FLR, v, 84-89; American Anthropologist, 
O.S., I, 248; Beckwith, p. 78; Henderson, p. 26. 

'Sally Walker.' Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. Version 
obtained in Burke county. 

Little Sally Walker, sitting in a saucer, 
Crying and sighing for some young man to come. 
Rise, Sally, rise and wipe your weeping eyes ; 
Fly to the East and fly to the West, 
And kiss the one you love the best. 

On the third line, the child in the center rises and chooses 
one of the other players, who goes into the center with her. 
On the fourth line, the two players in the center kiss. In some 
localities the last line is "Choose the one you love best," and 
kissing is omitted. 

A variant, from Beech Grove school children, is as follows: 

Little Sally Water, 

Sitting in a saucer, 

Rise up, Sally, and tinkle the pan ; 

Wish that you may find a man. 

Choose to the East, choose to the West; 

Choose the one you love the best. 

Now you've got him, kiss him sweet. 

In another variant, from a group of Negro children in 
Rutherfordton county, the girl in the center was blindfolded 
and the words were as follows :^- 

"* Contributor's note : "This game is very common in the Southern 
Appalachians, where it is usually played by small children. Gomme has 


Little Sally Flinders, 

Sittin*:^ in the cinders, 

Crying and for some yonng man to come. 

Rise, Sally, rise ; 

Wipe yonr weeping eyes. 

Fly to'the Ivast. fly to the West; 

Choose the one you love the best. 


See Scarborough, On the Trail of Negro Folk-Songs, pp. 132-133. 

Contributed by Jean and Hallie Holeman, Diirbam, c. 1930. Collected in 
Durham county. 

Go round the mountain, two by two ; 
Go round the mountain, two by two ; 
Go round the mountain, two by two ; 
Rise up, sugar, rise. 

Go choose your partner, two by two, &c. 

Let me see you make a motion. &c. 

That's a mighty poor motion, &:c. 

Let me see you make a better motion, &c. 

Players form a large ring, with one child kneeling in the cen- 
ter. Those in the ring march around singing the first stanza. 
When they sing. "Rise up. sugar, rise." the child in the center 
stands up. Then the children forming the ring stand still, and 
the player in the center chooses his partner as the singing 
directs. \i the third stanza, the two in the center make some 
motion, any kind they wish. Those in the circle clap their 
hands, pat their right feet, and continue singing. At the fourth 
stanza, the children forming the ring shake fingers of dis- 
approval at the two in the center as they sing "mighty poor 
motion." The two in the center then try to make a better 
motion, while those forming the circle clap their hands, pat their 
right feet, and sing the final stanza. 

48 variants, and believes it a corruption of the ancient tribal marriage 
ceremony of our ancestors and connected with some form of water wor- 
ship. She considers it (5ne of the oldest folk games of tiic race and a 
relic of pre-Celtic peoples. .\\\ interesting coincidence connected with 
this game is that I was told liy a Waldensian girl from \'aldese, a settle- 
ment of Waldensians in Burke county, that Little Sallie Walker was a 
counterpart of an old game played in her mother's native country." 


Contributed by Daisy Jones Couch. Durham. No place or date given. 
First stanza only of Holeman text. 


Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. Collected in Forest City. 
Both text and tune obtained. 

Oh. bow and bow, and put your arms around me ; 

Say little sissy, won't you marry me ? 

Oh. bow and bow. and put your arms around me, 

All them sassy words you say. 

Oh. bow and bow. and put your arms around me ; 

Say little won't you marry me? 

Cjh. get back girls, don't you come close around me ; 

Say little sissy, won't you marry me? 

Oh. get back girls, don't you come close around me, 

All them sassy words you say. 

Oh. get back girls, don't you come close around me ; 

Say little sissy, won't you marry me? 

"We collected this coquettish game from Negro children. 
They played it as a ring game, with a couple in the center 
performing the pantomime. These two were natural actors. 
The girl rolled her eyes, flounced her short ragged skirts, and 
tossed her head, while the boy entreated in pantomime. Their 
embraces were fervid and doubtless colored by motion pictures. 
If there is a purely Negro game, this is one. The air and 
pantomime were typically Negro in their abandon and wildness. 
One of the two girls from whom we collected this air had a 
wild, plaintive voice. She sang the melodies of all the games 
we collected from Negro children, and sang them very well. 
She danced extremely well, and in some of her dances there 
were many evidences of savage origin." 


See Goninie, 11, 321-322; Newell, p. '/2\ Wolford, p. 97; SFQ, 
VI, 212-213; JAFL, XL, 13. 

'Uncle Johnny Sick of Bed.' Contributed by Minnie Stamps Gosney. 
Raleigh. From Wake county. No date given. Text only. 

Uncle Johnny sick f)f bed. 
What shall we send him? 
Three good wishes, 
Three good kisses. 
And a slice of gingerbread. 


What shall we send it in? 
On a piece of paper. 
Paper is not good enough ; 
On a golden saucer. 

Who shall we send it by ? 
By the Governor's daughter ; 
Take her by the lily-white hand 
And lead her across the water. 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. Version obtained in 
Caldwell county. 

This kissing game, unenciunbered by rhyme or formula, is 
extremely simple. All the players but one are seated. The 
latter carries a pillow and walks about the room, finally kneel- 
ing on the pillow at the feet of one of the players. The person 
thus honored rises, takes the kneeling player's hand, raises him 
to his feet, and kisses him. The second player then gives the 
first his chair, takes the pillow, and continues the game. Beau- 
mont and Fletcher mention a 'Cushion Dance,' from which 
this game may be descended. 



Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. No source indicated for 
this particular version. The contributor writes simply that it was found 
in North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Mississippi. 

Go knock at the door and pick up a pin 
To ask if Miss is in. 

She's not in, she's not out ; 
She's upstairs frisking about. 

Down she comes all dressed in silk, 
Rose in her hand as white as milk. 

On her hand a shiny gold ring. 
She's ready to marry any old thing. 

This song, as 'Mary's Mad.' is used in groups of girls to tease 
someone of their number. One will begin the song and name 
the victim in the second line. Immediately the others take it 
up and sing it with appropriate pantomime. In some versions, 
the first line is "Go knock at the door or jingle the ring," which 
points clearly to a ballad origin. 



Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. Obtained at Fall Creek 
School on Beech Mountain, N. C. 

Oh, dear doctor, don't you cry ; 
You'll find a wifie by and by. 

If you find one dressed in green. 
Don't take her ; she's not fit to be seen. 

If you find one dressed in gray. 
Don't take her ; she'll go away. 

If you find one dressed in black, 
Don't take her ; she'll run right back. 

If you find one dressed in brown. 
Don't take her ; she'll go to town. 

If you find one dressed in red. 

Don't take her ; she'll crack your head. 

If you find one dressed in blue. 
Don't take her; she'll not be true. 

If you find one dressed in white, 
She will lie in your arms all night. 

As each verse is sung, the singers point derisive fingers at those 
of their number who wear the color mentioned in that verse. 
When the girl is chosen, the rhyme is fitted to her dress. For 
instance, if her dress is blue, the last line is changed to "Do 
take her ; she will be true." 


See JAFL, liv, 169; vi, 67; xvii, 143; SFQ, in, 181; Beckwith, 
p. 13; Bolton, The Counting-Ont Rhymes of Children, p. 117; 
PTFLS, VI, 66; Newell, p. 203. See also Counting-Out Rhymes, 
pp. 160 ff. 


'William-a-Tremble-Toe.' Contributed by Amy Henderson, Worry. Col- 
lected in Burke county in 191 5. 

He's a good fisherman ; 
Catches his hens. 
Puts them in pens. 

Some lay eggs. 
Some lay none. 
Wire, brier, limber lock, 
Three geese in a flock. 


Some flew East, some flew West ; 
Some flew over the cuckoo's nest. 
O-U-T spells out; take your dirty dishrag and clear out. 

The one that it comes out on has to go away, and the others 
choose what they will be — vehicles, animals, birds, etc. — and 
then these questions are asked and answered: "What would 
you rather come home on?" (naming what each child has chosen 
and something for the one who is away, too). If the one who 
is away chooses the thing he is named, he is told to "Hop 
home." but if he chooses something that stands for one of the 
other children, the latter has to carry him home. When they 
come up, the leader asks : 

"What you got there?" 
"A bag of nits." 
"Shake it till it spits." 

When this has been done, the leader asks the player who has 
been brought home: "Which would you rather lie on. a feather 
bed or thorn?" If he chooses a feather bed. he is thrown 
down hard ; if he chooses a thorn bed, he is laid down easy. 

'William and Tremble Toe.' Contributed by Mamie Mansfield, Durham, 
c. 1928. From Durham county. 

Players sit in a circle at a table or on the floor ; each places 
two fingers before him. The leader counts out with the 
following : 

William and Tremble Toe ; 

He's a good fisherman. 

He catches his hens 

And puts them in pens. 

Some lay eggs, 

Some lay none. 

Wire, brier, limberlock ; 

Sit and sing till twelve o'clock. 

The clock fell down, 

The mouse ran around ; 

O-U-T spells out 

To your old smoky home away at last. 

Variants: To the little red schoolhouse on the hill 
You old dirty dishrag, you. 

The one who is "It" leaves the room. The other players 
choose names, such as camel, bear, horse, or any other animal 
or bird. "It" is also given a name. Then the leader says, 


"Which would you rather come home on, a camel or a bear, 
&c." calling over the names, including that which has been given 
to "It." If "It" chooses his own name, he must walk home. 
When he is brought back by one of the other players, the leader 
asks, "What have you got there?" The bearer replies, "A 
bag of nits." "Shake him till he spits," says the leader. Then 
the game begins again. 


'William Tremble-Toe.' Contributed by J. C. Knox. Reported from 
Brunswick county. No date given. 

William, William Tremble-toe, 

He's a good fisherman ; 

Catches hens. 

Puts them in pens. 

Some lay eggs, some lay none. 

Wire, brier, limberlock. 

Three geese in a flock ; 

One flew over the goose's nest. 

O-U-T spells out and begone. 

You old dirty dishrag. 

This game is played by placing the fingers, ends together, 
in a circle. One of the players says these words, striking a 
finger for each word. The unfortunate one withdraws from 
hearing distance. The other players each select the name of 
some article, bird, or animal, also naming one for "unlucky." 
Then the following questions are asked him : 

"When are you coming home ?" 

"Tomorrow afternoon." 

"What are you going to bring?" 

"A gold plate, a silver spoon, and a fat raccoon." 

"Which would you rather come home on ?" 

Then the articles or animals are named, and the player 
chooses one. If he selects one representing another player, the 
latter must carry him in on his back. If not. he comes "home" 
on his tiptoes. If he is carried in, the following dialogue takes 
place between the leader and the bearer : 

"What have you got there?" 

"A bag of nits." 

"Shake it till it spits!" 

'William a Trimble Toe.' Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. 
Players spread their hands out in a row, and some one of 
them repeats the rhyme, counting the fingers. At the end of 


the rhyme, the child whose finger the last word comes on goes 
away a short distance, while all the rest consult as to names. 
Each child is named some animal, a name heing assigned to 
the absent player as well. He is then asked "How do you want 
to come home — on a horse, mule. &c. ?" If he selects the name 
of one of the other players, the child who has that name must 
carry him. If he selects his own name, he comes home "on his 



For Other versions, see Gomme i, 333; 11, 441; Newell, pp. 204, 
253; Gardner, Folklore from the Schoharie Hills, p. 233; Flanders 
and Brown, p. 45; Balfour and Thomas, pp. 113-114; Northall, p. 
36; Collins, p. 24; Gomme, Children's Singing Games, 11, 14; Hofer, 
p. 13; PTFLS, I, 20; American Anthropologist, o.s., i, 262; SFQ, 
VI, 231; FL, XXXV, 266; JAFL, xxxiv, 38, 111-112; xxvii, 303; 
XXVI, 356; XXXI, 146; xxxiii, no; xl, 38; xlvii, 339; lx, 24-25; 
Bancroft, pp. 278-280: Brown and Boyd, pp. 12, T,y \ Smith, Games 
and Game Leadership, p. 20; Ford, Traditional Music of America, 
p. 262; Feilberg. "Bro-Brille-Legen," in Szrnska Landsmal, xii, 
No. 4 (1905), 5-98; Linscott, p. 34; Parsons, Folk-Lore frovi the 
Cape Verde Islands, p. 202. 


Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. 

London Bridge is falling down, falling down ; 
London Bridge is falling down, my fair lady. 

Build it up with silver and gold, &c. 
Silver and gold will fade away, &c. 
Build it uj) with iron and steel, &c. 
Iron and steel will bend and break. &c. 
Build it up with sticks and stones, &c. 

Sticks and stones will rot away, &c.^'^ 

" The theory of Gomme and Newell that in this game we have a 
survival of the foundation sacrifice seems to be well founded. It will be 
noted that great emphasis is placed upon the fact that, even though all 
kinds of materials (silver and gold, wood and clay, iron bars, bricks and 
mortar, etc.) are used and all kinds of precaution taken, the bridge will 
break down again. The watchman set to guard it will fall asleep ; the 
dog will find a Ixmc and carry it away; the cock will hv lured away 
from his post by a hen and forget to give warning by iiis crow. The 


Two children hold their clasped hands as high over their 
heads as they can. The others form a line with their arms 
around each other's waists and run under the arch formed by 
the clasped hands, singing this song. The last one in the line 
is caught in the ring made by the lowered arms and asked to 
select one of two previously arranged things. When he chooses, 
he is told to get behind one of the leaders whose "name" is 
the thing selected. This continues until all the players are be- 
hind one or the other of the leaders. A tug-of-war ends the 

Contributed by Wilnia Foreman. Reported from Stanly county. No 
date given. 

London Bridge is broken down, &c. 

London Bridge is broken down by fairy ladies [ !] 

Build it up with silver and gold, &c. 

Silver and gold will be stolen away, &c. 

Two girls clasp hands and hold them up, and a line of girls 
passes under. The two catch one of them and ask her whether 
she would rather be gold or silver. When she chooses, she 
gets behind the girl representing her choice. The game ends 
with a tug-of-war. 


Contributed by Edna Whitley. No place or date given. 

London Bridge is broken down, &c. 

London Bridge is broken down, my fairy lady. 

Build it up with silver and gold, &c. 

Gold and silver will be stolen away, &c. 

spirit of the water is angry at being bridged, and demands sacrifice. It 
is significant that the prisoner who is caught so opportunely is haled oflf 
to prison ("Off to prison you must go") despite the fact that he has 
committed only petty larceny (stolen watch and chain or stolen watch 
and lost the key). Significant, too, is the excessive price which he must 
pay for his freedom, tliree hundred to "ten hundred" pounds. Nothing 
could indicate more clearly that his fate has already been determined 
and that it is through his sacrifice that the river spirit is to be appeased. 
The classic example of the foundation sacrifice in balladry is the Greek 
'The Bridge of Arta' (Rumanian 'Master Manole') ; the same theme 
occurs also in a Bulgarian ballad. The following Biblical passage is 
also pertinent: "In his days did Hicl the Bethelite build Jericho: he 
laid the foundation thereof in Abiram his firstborn, and set up the gates 
thereof in his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the Lord, 
which he spake by Joshua the son of Nun" (/ Kings, 16: 34). 


Get a man to watch all night, &c. 

Suppose tlie man should fall asleep, &c. 

Put a pipe into his mouth, &c. 

Suppose the pipe should fall and hreak, &c. 

Get a dog to hark all night. &c. 

Suppose a dog should meet a bone, &c. 

Get a cock to crow all night. &c. 

_ Two players hold hands and raise them over their heads and 
sing while the rest pass between them under their arms. The 
two holding hands name themselves something. As the others 
pass along, they catch them and compel them to choose between 
the two. The game ends with a tug-of-war between the two 

Contributed by Gertrude Allen Vaught. Taylorsville, c. 1928. Reported 
from Alexander county. Stanza i of A, with "broken down" for "fall- 
ing down." 

Contributed by Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. Reported from Wake- 

London Bridge is burning down, burning down ; 
London Bridge is burning down, burning down ; 
What shall we do to save it ? 

London Bridge is burning down, burning down ; 
What shall we do to save it ? 

Contributed by Lida Page. No title given. Reported from Durliain 
county. First two stanzas of A, with "broken down" for "falling down." 

Contributed by Marjorie Rea. No title. Reported from Craven count}. 
No date given. First two lines of A. 

Contributed by Martha Wall, c. 1940. From Davidson county. A frag- 
ment of A. 


Contributed by Ella Parker, Montgomery county. Vaught te.xt. 



Contributed by Dixie Lamm, Wilson county. Vaught text. 


Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. A variant of 'London 

See the robbers coming through, 
Coming through, coming through ; 
See the robbers coming through, 
My fair lady. 

Here's a prisoner we have caught. 
What'U you take to set her free? 
A hundred pounds we cannot give. 
Then to prison she must go. 
Let her go, we do not care, &c.^'* 

This game is played exactly like 'London Bridge' except that 
the players do not choose which side they will be on. Two 
girls form an arch, with their clasped hands, and the others 
march through it, singing the above verses to the same tune as 
'London Bridge.' The verses are sung alternately by the girls 
who form the arch and those marching. At the end of the first 
verse, a player in the line is caught in the encircling arms of 
the arch ; and her captors sing the second verse, the marchers 
the third, and so on. On the sixth verse, she goes behind one 
or the other of the girls who have formed the arch. Wlien all 
are lined up, there is a tug-of-war. 



'Sun and Moon.' Contributed by Gertrude Allen Vaught, c. 1928. From 
Alexander county. 

Raise the gates as high as the sky, 

And let all the king's horses come marching by. 

Two children clasp hands and raise them to form an arch. 
The others line up and march under, singing. Each player 
caught was allowed to choose either the sun or the moon, which 
were the names of the two holding up their arms. Then the 
one who had chosen got behind either the sun or the moon. 
When all were lined up, a tug-of-war followed. 

'* It will be noted that these lines are an important part of the game 
which has been lost from the 'London Bridge' texts above. 


'Raise the Gates.' Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. 
Raise the gates as high as the sky 
To let King Geofge's troops pass by. 

This is much Hke "London Bridge.' Two children join hands 
and lift them as high as they can ; the others pass under the 
"gates." The last child in line is caught and asked to choose 
wiiich he wants, gold or silver. He chooses, and gets behind 
the child whose name he has selected. The game closes with a 


'Silver and Gold.' Contributed by Mrs. Norman Herring, Tomahawk. 
No place or date given. 

Two leaders face each other, join hands, and hold them high. 
The rest march under while the leaders say : 

Lift up the gates as high as the sky, 
And let King George's army pass by. 
Give him a lamp to light him to bed ; 
Give him a hatchet to chop ofif his head."^^ 

They lower their arms at the word "chop," and catch a player. 
Then then whisper to him, "Which would you rather be, silver 
or gold ?" He makes his choice, and is put behind the leader 
of the group of his preference. Then follows a tug-of-war 
between the two grotips. 

No title given. Contributed by Mary Olivia Pruette. From Mecklen- 
burg county. 

Raise the gates as high as the sky 
And let King George's army go by. 
Give him a light to light him to bed ; 
Give him a knife to cut off his head. 

No title given. Contributed by Lida Page. Nelson. Reported from Dur- 
ham county. 

Hold the gates as high as the sky 
And let King George's army pass by. 
Here's the candle to light him to bed ; 
Here's the hatchet to cut off his head. 
** This second couplet belongs, of course, to 'Oranges and Lemons.' 



No title given. Contributed by Nina Mclnnis. No place or date given. 

Raise the gates as high as the sky ; 
Let King George's army pass by.^® 


See Gomme, i, 100-108; 11, 418; Newell, pp. 90-91; Bancroft, pp. 
263-264; JAFL, XL, 15-16. 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. Version obtained in Cald- 
well county. "I have seen it played also in Avery, Buncombe, Mitchell, 
and Rutherford counties." 

Draw a bucket of water 
For the Lady's daughter ; 
One baboon and a silver spoon. 
And so Miss creep under. 

Variants: A silver ring and a golden pin 

A silver spoon and a dish of gold. 

Four girls cross hands and pull against each other in time 
to the song. On the fourth line, one girl "creeps under" the 
clasped hands of the opposite couple. The game continues until 
all four are encircled by their opponents' arms. Then there is 
an effort to break the clasp, usually ending in a "dogfall." 

No title given. Contributed by Mamie Mansfield, Durham, c. 1928. Re- 
ported from Durham county. 

Draw a bucket of water 

For my lady's daughter ; 

Jennie come around 
"Other texts and fragments were contributed by Martha Wall (Mc- 
lnnis text). Alma Irene Stone (Mclnnis text), Esther Royster (Page 
text), Flossie Marshbanks (Stone text = Mclnnis text), Marjorie Rea 
(Pruette text), E. V. Howell (Mclnnis text, with "h'ist" for "raise"). 
The Bushmen of Africa have a very similar game. In his "Games, 
Plays, and Dances of the khomani Bushmen" (Bantu Studies, x, 463). 
Doke writes : "This game, played more particularly by the girls, though 
small boys also participate, is almost identical with the European game 
of 'Oranges and Lemons.' Two girls face one another and sing as each 
strikes the palms of her hands against those of the other. . . . Mean- 
while the other girls in a long line holding on to one another dance 
round and pass between the two girls and beneath their upraised hands. 
The last on the line is usually caught by the two. who question her. She 
replies either 'I come behind the sun' or 'I come behind the moon,' and 
on her choice she takes her stand behind one or other of the two. This 
goes on until all the players are accounted for, when the usual tug-of-war 
ends the game." 


With a silver spoon 

And draw Miss under, 


'Draw a Bucket of Water.' Coutribiitecl l)y Doris Overton. Reported 
from Durham county in 1920. 

Draw a bucket of water 

For my darling daughter. 

One in the bush, 

Two in the bush ; 

Please let conic under. 


See Newell, p. 90. This is another form of 'Bull in the Ring-,' 
which has no rhyme. The latter is not represented in the present 
collection, though Airs. Sutton mentions it as a very rough game 
played by boys and writes of having collected it in Tyrrell county. 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. 

A group of children form a ring by clenching their fingers 
together. One child in the center throws himself against the 
ring, saying: 

Here I brew and here I bake ; 
Here I make my wedding cake : 
Here I break through. 

If the first attempt is unsuccessful, he tries to break out at 
another point. When he is successful, the player whose hold 
he broke takes his place in the center. 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. 

In this version of 'Here I Bake,' the child in the center 
approaches the ring and says : 

It snows, it blows, it freezes my nose ; 
So please, little girl, let me come in. 
I'll light my pipe and warm my toes. 
And then I'll go home again. 

Then when he has "lighted his pi])e and warmed his toes," he 
tries to get out by throwing himself against the ring. 


For Other versions of this game, see Gomme, 11, 222 ('Sweer 
Tree'); FL, xvii, 218; Maclagan, p. 234 ('Ceapan Togail') ; Kris- 
tensen, No. 3600; Stoylen, No. 133. 


'Pulling Swag.' Contributed by Thomas Smith, Zionville. Reported 
from Watauga county about 191 4. 

Two players sit on the ground, the bottoms of one's feet 
against those of the other. With both hands, they hold to stick 
crosswise between them. Each player tries to pull the other up 
from his seat. 

'Pulling Stick.' Contributed in 1945 by Paul and Elizabeth Green, as 
collected in central and eastern N. C., 1926-28. 

Two boys are seated on the ground, with a stick crosswise 
between them. Each takes hold of the stick with both hands 
and tries to draw the other up. 



For Other versions, see Gomme, i, 145 ; Shearin and Combs, p. 
38; Scarborough, On the Trail of Negro Folk-Songs, p. 130; Bot- 
kin, p. 28; JAFL, LX, Z2. 


'Frog in the Meadow.' Contributed by Gertrude Allen Vaught, c. 1928. 
Alexander county. 

Players form a ring, with one child in the middle. The rest 
march around with their eyes closed, singing: 

Frog in the meadow, 
Can't get out ; 
Take a little stick 
And stir him all about. 

This is sung twice, and during this time the frog hides. When 
the second verse is finished, the players open their eyes and 
exclaim : "Froggie's gone ! Let's go find him." Then they 
hunt for the frog, who tries to catch them. The first one caught 
becomes the frog for the next game. 

'Frog in the Meadow.' Contributed by Cozette Coble. Reported from 
Stanly county. No date given. 

Frog in the meadow can't get out ; 
Take a little stick and stir him all about. 
Hide, froggy, hide; hide, froggy, hide; 
Froggy 's gone ! 


Players form a ring and put one child in the center. All shut 
their eyes and sing while marching slowly around him. The 
frog hides during the singing. When the players reach 
"Froggy 's gone!" they start in search of him. 


'Frog in the Meadow.' Contril)uted by Maude Miiiisli Sutton, c. 1927. 
l*"rog in the meader, 
Can't get out ; 
Take a little stick 
And stir him all aljout. 

The children form in a ring and go around one of their num- 
ber who is squatted in the center. They rej^eat the rhyme 
several times, then suddenly break the ring and run around, 
.saying "Froggie ! Froggie !" The frog tries to catch them, but 
if they squat and begin hopping, he must leave them alone. 
The game continues until all are caught ; the first child caught 
becomes froggie for the fcjllowing game. 

'Frog in the Meadow.' Contributed by Pearl Webb. Pineola. Collected 
in Pineola about 1921. With music. 

Players form a ring, with one member in the center for the 
frog. Those in the ring go around with their eyes closed, 
singing : 

Frog in the meadow, 
Can't get him out ; 
Take a little stick 
And stir him about. 

During the singing, the frog hides. The others then proceed 
to hunt him. When they locate him, he tries to catch them. 
He cannot catch them unless they are standing. 

'Frog in the Meadow.' Contributed by Merle Smith. Reported from 
Stanly county. No date given. 

Frog in the meadow can't get out ; 
Take a little stick and stir him all about. 
Hide, froggie. hide ; hide, froggie. hide. 

The children form a ring around some member of the group. 
All close their eyes, skip around her, and sing. Then they open 
their eyes and say, "Froggie is gone." Then they hunt until 
they find him. When he is discovered, he chases them but 

N.C.F., Vol. T. (11) 


cannot catch them when they stoop. They are permitted to 
stoop three times in a game.^^ 

'Frog in the Middle.' Contributed by Mamie Cheek, Durham. From 
Durham county. 

Frog in the middle, 
And he can't get out ; 
Take a httle stick 
And punch him out. 

The group forms a circle. One in the center is the frog. 
While the ring marches around him singing, the frog runs out 
and hides. 


No title. Contributed by Allie Ann Pearce, Colerain. Reported from 
Bertie county. 

Frog in the middle can't get out ; 
Frog in the middle can't get out ; 
Send for the doctor to punch him out. 
One, two, three, four, he's gone. 


'Frog in the Meadow.' Contributed by Eva Furr. Reported from Stanly 

Frog in the meadow and to get him out, 
Take a little stick and stir all about. 

'Frog in the Meadow.' Contributed by Katherine Bernard Jones, Raleigh. 
Vaught text. 

'Frog in the Meadow.' Contributed by Flossie Marshbanks, Mars Hill. 
Vaught text. 


See, for other texts and descriptions, Gomme, 11, 420 ('Farmer's 
Den'); Chase, p. 35; Newell, p. 129; PTFLS, i, 26; Ford, Tradi- 
tional Music of America, p. 264; Hofer, p. 20; Tennessee Folklore 
Society Bulletin, vi, 3; Bohme, p. 673; American Anthropologist, 
O.S., I, 254 (The Man in the Cell'); SFQ, vi, 186; FL, xvi, 96 
('Farmer's Den') ; Douglas, p. 37 (as a rope-skipping game) ; Ban- 
croft, p. 265; Wolford, pp. 42-43; Botkin, pp. 29, 97, 100; Brown 
and Boyd, p. 16; Gomme, Children's Singing Games, p. 14; JAFL, 

^' Cf. 'Squat Tag,' p. 74. 


II, 310; LX, 23; Fauset, Folk-Lorc from Nova Scotia (MAFLS, 
xxiv), p. 128; Linscott, p. 7. Haddon (Tlic Study of Man, p. 267) 
gives a Swiss version with the "Hurrah Viktoria" refrain. 

'Farmer in the Dell.' Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. 
The farmer in the dell ; 
The farmer in the dell ; 
Hi oh the dairy oh, 
The farmer in the dell. 

Series: wife, child nurser [sic], dog, cat, rat, hone. 

This is a ring game in which one child is chosen to be the 
farmer. The others march around him singing. As each verse 
is sung, one child is chosen. The "bone" becomes the farmer 
for the next game. This game is widespread. We did not 
talk to any child, white or black, who was not familiar with it. 

'Farmer in the Dell.' Contributed by J. T. C. Wright, Appalachian 
Training School, Boone, c. 1922. 

A ring is formed, with one player in the center. Those in 
the ring dance around and sing. As each stanza is sung, the 
one in the center calls in someone from the ring. The one 
last selected becomes the next "farmer." 

The farmer's in the dell, 
The farmer's in the dell; 
Highho ! Victoria ! 
The farmer's in the dell. 
Series : wife, child, nurse, dog, bone. 


'Farmer in the Dell.' Contributed by Cornelia Evermond Covington. 
Florence county. 

Farmer in the dell. 
Farmer in the dell ; 
Heigh-ho Valeria 
The Farmer in the dell. 

Series: w-ife, child, nurse, dog, cat, rat (stands alone). 


'The Farmer in the Dell.' Contributed by Edna Whitley. No place or 
date given. Seven stanzas; 1-5 as in Covington text, with refrain 
"Heigho the dairy-o." 

6. The dog takes the bone, &c. 

7. The bone stands alone, &c. 


The children form a circle, hands joined. The "farmer" is 
in the center. The circle moves around him, and he makes his 
choices as the verses direct. Each child chosen enters the cen- 
ter of the ring. As they sing the last verse, all clap their hands 
and all but the "bone" return to the ring. He is the "farmer" 
for the next game. 


'The Farmer in the Dell.' Contributed by Gertrude Allen Vaught, c. 
1928. Alexander county. 

Children form a ring, with one in the center to be the 
farmer. As they sing the stanzas, different children are 
chosen by the ones inside the ring. When the last stanza is 
reached, all stop marching around and clap their hands at the 
"bone." Then the "bone" becomes the farmer, and the game 

The farmer in his dell, 
The farmer in his dell ; 
Heigho the dairy 
And the farmer in his dell. 

Series: wife, child, dog, bone (alone). 

'Farmer in the Dell.' Contributed by Lucille Bullard. Reported from 
Robeson county in 1916. Covington 1-5 and Whitley 6, with "choose" 
for "takes" and "Heigho, fairy Oh!" for refrain. 

This game is played by the little children's joining hands and 
marching around in a circle as they sing this song. Someone in 
the middle who has been chosen farmer by a counting-out 
rhyme chooses the wife by pointing to her. The choosing con- 
tinues until all persons the game calls for are inside the ring. 




in the Dell.' Contributed by 






The farmer in 
The farmer in 
I have a story 
The farmer in 

the dell, 
the dell ; 
the dell. 

1923. Text 

Series : wife, child, nurse, dog, cat, rat, cheese. 


'The Farmer in the Dell.' Contributed by T. R. Waggoner, Atlanta, Ga. 
Text contributed in 1922; no source given. Five stanzas; 1-5 of Cov- 
ington text, with "Heigho Victoria." 


Couples take hands, form a circle, and march around the 
"farmer" in the center. They skip around, singing the song. 
The farmer chooses the wife; the wife chooses the child. &c. 
When the "dog" is chosen, they all clap their hands in his 


'The Farmer's in His Den.' Contril)iited by Etiiel Hicks Buffaloe. Texi 
from Granville county. 

The farmer's in his den ; the farmer's in his den ; 
O, hail victory ! for the farmer's in his den. 

Series: wife, child, servant, dog, hone (stands alone). 


'The Farmer's in the Dell.' Gmtributed by Mrs. Norman Herring, 
Tomahawk. No date given. 

The children form a ring, with one in the center for farmer. 
Then they join hands and march around him, singing : 

The farmer's in the dell ; the farmer's in the dell ; 
Hooray, Victorious, the farmer's in the dell. 

Series: wife, child, nurse, dog, cat, rat, cheese (alone). 

When all have been drawn into the center of the ring, they 
clap hands and disband. 

No title. Contributed by Marjorie Rea. Reported from Craven county 

The farmer in the dell, 
The farmer in the dell ; 
Heigh ho the dairy O 
The farmer in the dell. 

Series: wife, child, nurse, dog, bone. 

No title. Contributed by Mamie Mansfield, Durham, c. 1928. Reported 
from Durham county. 

The farmer's in the dell. 

The farmer's in the dell ; 


The farmer's in the dell. 

Series: wife, child, nurse, dog, bone. 


'Farmer's in the Dell.' Contributed by Martha Wall, c. 1941. Reported 
from Davidson county. 

Farmer's in the dell, 
Farmer's in the dell ; 
Hi — o — Victoria 
The farmer's in the dell. 

Series : wife, child, nurse, dog. 


See Gomiiie, 11, 108 ff. ('Ring a Ring o' Roses') ; Newell, p. 127; 
Whitney and Bullock, p. 144; Gardner, Folklore from the Schoharie 
Hills, p. 222; SFQ, VI, 205; American Anthropologist, o.s., i, 253; 
JAFL, XXVI, 139; XXXI, 57; xxxiii, 1 19-120; xl, 25; Botkin, p. 
28; Northall, p. 360; JAFL, xxxiv, 38; lx, ^2; Linscott, p. 49. 


'Ring Around a Rosy.' Contributed by Clara Hearne, 1922-23. Reported 
from Chatham county. 

Players form a circle, holding each other's hands, and march 
around a child in the center, singing: 

Ring around a Rosy, 
A pocket full of posy ; 
East, West — stoop ! 

The last one to stoop takes the place of "Rosy," who is in the 
center of the circle. 

'Ring Around the Rosy.' Contributed by Airs. Norman Herring, Toma- 
hawk. No date given. 

All join hands and march around, singing : 

Ring around the rosy. 
Pocket full of posy ; 

^* Other texts and fragments contributed by Louise Bennett (Coving- 
ton text, except "Victorio'' for "victoria," "chooses" for "takes," and 
"the dog stands alone") ; Lois Johnson (Covington text 1-6; Whitley 7; 
"Hi o victoria" refrain); Marguerite Higgs (seven stanzas; "his dale" 
for "the dell" and "Heigh-ho Valeria") ; Louise Watkins (seven stanzas; 
Peterson text, with "Heigh ho Valeria" for "Loamiteria") ; Irene Thomp- 
son (Covington 1-7, with refrain "Hi Oh, Victorio") ; AUie Ann Pearce 
(Covington text, with "The farmer O the fairy O" for "Heigh-ho Vale- 
ria") ; Minnie Stamps Gosney (Wall text, witli "victory" for "victoria" 
and "dog chooses a bone") ; Caroline Biggers (Covington text, with 
"chooses" for "takes" and "the farmer O the fairy O" for "Heigh-ho 
Valeria") ; Mary Olivia Pruette (Covington text, with "High o'er Vic- 
toria" for "Heigh-ho Valeria"); Florence Holton (four stanzas; "High 
O Victoria" refrain); Dorothy McDowell Vann; Antoinette Beasley. 

G A M E S A N D R H Y M E S I5I 

Dewberry, Blackberry, 
Squat ! 

Then all sit clown, and the leader asks each child, "Who do 
you love?" They are not allowed to rise until they answer. 
One little boy's answer was "God." 

No title. Contributed by Ada Briggs. Reported from Nansemond county. 
No date given. 

Ring around the rosies, 

Pocket full of posies ; 

Yeast bread, rise, bread ; 

Squat ! 


No title. Contributed by Marjorie Rea. Reported from Craven county. 
Ring around a Rosy, 
Pockets full of posies ; 
Down goes little Rosy. 

'Ring Around a Rosy.' Contributed by Lois Johnson. Reported from 
Davidson county. 

Ring around the roses, 
Pocket full of posies; 
Hush, hush, hush. 
And we'll all tumble down. 

■Ring Around the Roses.' Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927- 
Identical with Johnson text. 


See Gotnme, ii, 88; Newell, p. 256; Strutt, p. 302; American 
Anthropologist, o.s., i, 277 ; iv, 342 (Teton Dakota); Maclagan, 
p. 211 : Gardner, Folklore from the Schoharie Hills, p. 248. 
'Pussy Wants a Corner.' Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. 

Each child except one gets a corner. This one wanders from 
one to another, saying, "Pussy wants a corner." The answer 
is always "Go to iny next neighbor." As she goes on to the 
next, the last two players change corners, and "Pussy" tries 
to slii) into one of them before the owner returns. If she is 
successful, the child left out becomes "Pussy" for the next 



For additional versions, see Gomme, ii, 311 ('Turn, Cheeses, 
Turn'); Maclagan, p. 78 ('Cheeses'). 

'Making Cheese.' Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. Obtained 
from pupils at Horse Creek School. 

This is a quaint game of little girls. They all sing the rhyme 
in a sort of chant, turning around as fast as they can. At the 
end of the rhyme they stoop quickly, trying to make their 
dresses puff out with the air : 

Cheese, cheese, piece of lace ; 

Big round cheeses in the market place ; 

Costs a penny and a groat ; 

Put a big cheese under your coat. 


See Newell, p. 132. This is a simple form of 'Chop the Poplar,' 
a hand-clapping game played by older children. Hawaiian children 
play a similar game, in which the hand-clapping is accompanied by 
singing (American Anthropologist, n.s., i, 216). 

'Peas Put In Hot.' Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. From 
pupils of Horse Creek School. 

Peas put in hot. 
Peas put in cold. 
Peas put in the pot, 
Nine days old. 

Two children play this little game by alternately striking their 
knees with their hands and clapping their hands together. 


Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927, who gives no source for 
it. This is not a game for the very smallest. 

Two girls take each other's hands, and with arms raised above 
their heads, go under their arms as rapidly as they can, con- 
tinuing until they drop exhausted. 


Contributed in 1945 by Paul and Elizabeth Greene as collected in central 
and eastern N. C, 1926-28. For a more complete description of this game, 
see Newell, pp. 251-252 ('Violet Fights'). 

Children lock the heads of violets and then pull to see which 
of the heads comes off first. 

** When I was a child in southern Indiana, we called this game 



See Newell, pp. 251-252. The name seems to be derived from 

'Pin Shows.' Contributed by Lucille Check. Reported from Chatham 
county. No date given. 

As a child. I delighted in niakino^ what we called pin shows. 
A small hole was dug in the ground, usually in the shade of a 
tree. This was lined with moss and filled with blossoms of 
various kinds. A glass was carefully fitted over the top, and 
then a paper. One paid a pin to see the show, and then the 
paper was lifted. 


Contributed by Gertrude Allen Vaught, Taylorsville, c. 1928. From 
Alexander county. 

A child squats on the ground, hands clasped under the knees. 
Two others take hold of her arms and shake her up and down. 
If she lets loose, she is "a rotten egg." 


See Newell, p. 170. Hunt and Cain (Games the World Around, 
p. 138) give a version from India. 

Contributed by Mrs. John Carr, Durham. Reported from Durham county. 
No date given. 

Two girls clench each others fingers, brace their feet against 
each other, and whirl rapidly around, moving their feet as little 

as possible from the original position. 



This game belongs to the same general type as 'Fruit Basket 
Upset' and 'Musical Chairs.' For a version of the latter, see 
Gomme. 11, 408. 
Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. 

A line of chairs is placed in the middle of the room, half of 
them facing one way and the rest facing another. A line of 
children marches around them to a tune played on some instru- 
ment, patted, or sung. Suddenly the nuisic stops. As it stops, 
each child tries to sit in a chair. There is always one player left 
out. and he has to leave the game. One chair is then removed 
from the line, and the game continues in this way until there 
is only one child left. He is the winner. 


See Acker, p. 142; Boyd, p. 116; Hedges, p. 27. 

Contributed by Grace Barbae. Description of the game obtained in 
Stanly county. 

A dozen or more may play this game. Get half as many 
chairs as there are players, have someone sitting in all the 
chairs except one, and let the others stand behind the chairs. 
The player standing behind the empty chair winks at one of 
the seated players, who then makes a dash for the empty chair. 
The player standing behind the chair in which he is sitting tries 
to prevent his leaving. 


For other versions, see Gomme, i, 29 ff. ; FLJ, v, 58 ; FL, xxxv, 
263; Journal of the Folksong Society, v, 219; JAFL, xxxiii, 93- 
94; XL, 37. 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. Obtained in Stokes county, 
where "it is a sort of dance, not unlike the Virginia Reel." 

There was a farmer had a dog ; 

Bingo was his name, sir. 

B-i-n-g-o go ; 

B-i-n-g-o go ; 

Bingo was his name, sir. 

One child is the farmer. The rest dance around him, sing- 
ing the above verse. As the spelling begins, the farmer points 
his finger at different children, who are expected to call the 
right letter. If one fails, he becomes farmer. 


Contributed by Katherine Mack. Reported from Davidson county. No 
date given. 

Each boy chooses a girl to be his partner. The game begins 
with the couples marching around in a circle and singing : 

Once a farmer had a dog ; 

Bingo was his name, sir ; 

B-i-n, g-o, go ; 

B-i-n, g-o, go ; 

Bingo was his name, sir. 


The first time this is suiifi^, the couples march. At the end of 
the first singing, they all join hands and dance around the 
circle, singing the words again. The third time the song be- 
gins, the lx)ys turn, give the girls on their left their right hands. 
Weaving in and out with a swing, they sing the verse through, 
and the game starts again. 


Contributed by Jessie Hauser. This version ol)taine(l liy her in Forsyth 
county in 1923. 

All the players join hands and march arcjund in a ring, 

Once a farmer had a dog; 
Bingo was his name, sir. 
B-i-n-g-o, go, B-i-n-g-o, go ; 
B-i-n-g-o, go, Bingo was his name, sir. 

They then weave in and out, half going one way and half the 
other, still singing. Then they march around by twos, and 
finally clasp hands and start at the first again. 


Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. Obtained from the play- 
ing of Negro children in Forest City. 

Goin' down de railroad 
Do — do — do 
Sally won't you marry ? 
Do — do — do 

Ole Miss Kujer goin' to twine all around ; 
Ole Miss Kujer goin' to twine all around ; 
Ole Miss Kujer goin' to twine all around ; 
Do — do — do 

Goin' down de railroad 
Do — do — do 
Lady ain't you sorry ? 
Do — do — do 

Ole Miss, &c. 

This purely Negro game is played by couples ijromenading 
on the first two lines, stopping and facing each other on the 
third and fourth lines, then doing an intricate little dance step 
on the chorus as they turn each other "wid de grapevine swing." 
The children from whom we collected this were hardly more 
than pickaninnies ; one little couple was entering into the game 
with great spirit and the pantomime was delightful. The dozens 


of pigtails with white string on the girl's head fairly snapped 
as she shook her head in reply to the "Sally won't you marry?" 


See Gomnie, i, 352 ff. ('Lubin') ; Newell, p. 131 ; Billson, p. 64; 
Chambers, p. 137; FLJ, v, 326; FL, xvi, 459; Collins, p. 12; 
Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin, vi, 6; Douglas, p. 41; Pound, 
pp. 225-226: JAFL, XXVIII, 273-274; XL, 18-19; XLix, 254-255; 
LX, 43; Graves, The Less Familiar Nursery Rhymes, p. 26; North- 
all, p. 361. 

'Looby Lou.' Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. This ver- 
sion from Negro children. 

I put my right foot in ; 

I put my right foot in ; 

I give my right foot a shake, shake, shake, 

And turn my body about. 

Here we dance Looby Lou ; 
Here we dance Looby Light; 
Here we dance Looby Lou 
Every Saturday night. 

I put my left foot in, &c. 

This game, which may be of recent origin, is very popular. 
Children play it in the schoolyards, but they also play it in their 
own yards, on sidewalks, and on vacant lots. It is much more 
popular with girls than with boys, and is particularly popular 
with Negro children. In the late afternoons and early evenings 
after a long day of picking or chopping cotton, they play it, 
giving to its air the minor cadences and peculiar lilt of Negro 
folk music. 

'Looby Lou.' Contributed by Gertrude Allen Vaught, Taylorsville, c. 
1928. Alexander county. 

Here we go. Looby Lou ; 
Here we go, Looby Lou ; 
Here we go, Looby Lou ; 
All on a Saturday night. 

Players march around very fast as they sing the stanza above. 
When it is finished, they stand still and sing the following 
stanzas, suiting their actions to the words : 

I put my right foot in ; 
I put my right foot in ; 


I give my right foot a shake, shake, shake, 
And turn myself about. 

Sequence ; left foot, right hand, left hand, whole self. 
At tlic close, the first stanza is repeated while the players skip 
around in a circle. 

'I Put My Right Foot In.' Contributed by Zilpali Frisbie, 1922-23. From 
McDowell county. 

The players form a circle, and one sings while the rest stand 
still. She performs each action as she sings. 

1 put my right foot in ; 

I put my right foot out ; 

I give my right foot a shake, shake, shake. 

And turn myself about. 

Then she joins hands with the others, and they dance around, 
singing : 

Right feet in, right feet in ; 

Give our right feet a shake, shake, shake. 

And turn ourselves about. 

Sequence: left foot, right hand, left hand, cocoanut 
[head?], whole self. 

Chorus: Roven. Roven. Roven ; 
Roven. Roven. Roven ; 
Roven, Roven. Roven, 
Sweet Saturday night. 

No title. Contributed by Mary Olivia Pruette. Charlotte. Three stanzas 
(right foot, left foot, left hand). Reported from Mecklenburg county. 

'I Put My Right Foot In.' Contributed by Mildred Peterson, c. 1923. 
From Bladen county. Pruette text without refrain and with "big head" 
for "cocoanut." 



The only reference I have been able to find to this game is Folk- 
Lore, XII, 141, in which is given an Arawak version of the game 
from Guiana. 



Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. 

Two boys are matched for this game. They cut long limber 
switches, clasp left hands, get into a ring together, and switch 
each other until one is ready to give up. They often inflict bad 
punishment upon each other. 

Contributed in 1945 by Paul and Elizabeth Green, as collected in central 
and eastern X. C, 1926-28. 

Two boys cut switches, clasp left hands, and switch each 
other until one "calls for the calf rope." 


See Gomme, i, 97; de Cock and Teirlinck, in, 215. 

Contributed by Jean and Hallie Holeman, Durham, c. 1930. Reported 
from Durham county. 

This game can be played by any number of players. They 
stack hands, one on top of another with palms down. The one 
on the bottom each time is pulled out and put on top until 
number eleven is reached. Number eleven is taken off. When 
all the hands except one have been taken off, the person whose 
hand is left is asked, "Which will you have — Yes or No?" 

He makes his selection. Then he is asked three questions, 
to which he must answer "Yes" if he chose "Yes," and "No" 
if he chose "No." 

Contributed by William B. Covington, Norfolk, Va. Version collected 
in 1913. No source given. 

Players place their hands one on top of the other, drawing 
out the bottom hand and placing it on top, and counting until 
eleven have been drawn out. 


(title supplied) 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. Obtained from pupils at 
Roaring Creek School in Avery county. 

Three little girls sat in a row. A fourth with an acorn cup 
full of water held it over the head of each and repeated, "I 
got a pretty bird; what color's yourn?" The first one said 
blue, the next pink, and the third green. She then repeated 
the question to each. The first said gray, the next black, and 

G A M E S A N D R n Y M K S 1 59 

she poured the water on the latter's head. The Httle girl on 
wliose head she poured the water rose, filled the acorn cup 
with water, and the procedure was repeated. This time the 
(juestion was repeated eight times, and pink was the right color. 


Contributed by Paul and Elizabeth Green, as collected in eastern and 
central N. C, 1926-28. - 

One person goes around and tells eacli player where he is; 
another tells him with xvhoui he is ; and a third tells him ivhat 
he is doing. This is all kept secret until each player stands and 
tells all that he has heen told. 

horse shoes 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. "There is no village or 
small town in the South where pitching horseshoes is not a favorite 
diversion of the men and boys." 

A peg is driven into the ground, and the players stand a cer- 
tain distance away and pitch the horseshoe at the peg. The 
object is to "ring" the horseshoe around the peg. Each local- 
ity seems to have its own method of scoring. Credit is given 
for "leaners" as well as for "ringers." 


Contributed by Alaude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. Version obtained from 
Negro children. 

I want some peas and I want some rice, 

Oh Happy Land 
I want some pretty girl to be my wife, 

Oh Happy Land. 

We want a little girl and we want a little boy. 

Oh Happy Land 
We want a little girl and we want a little boy, 

Oh Happy Land. 

One boy in the ring selects a little girl. She in turn selects a 
girl and a boy. This boy is in the ring for the next time. The 
object seems to be to select the players in the ring rapidly, for 
the game does not stop one moment. The ring goes around 
one way just as fast as the children can walk. We collected 
this from a group of Negro children playing in a cabin yard 
after sundown one summer evening. They played for two hours 
and played nineteen singing games, all but five of which we had 
learned from white children. 



For counting-out rhymes in general, see JAFL, i, 31 ff. (Turkish, 
Armenian, Bulgarian, Basque, Swedish, French, German, &c.) ; 11, 
52 (Mexican), 235 (Swedish); iii, 71; v, 120 (North Carolina), 
148 (Kansas) ; vi, 206; viii, 252, 255 (Canadian) ; ix, 297 (Hun- 
garian) ; X, 313 ff. (Bohemian, Bulgarian, &c.) ; xi, 208 (Korean) ; 
XII, 102 (Armenian); xvi, 193 (South Russian Jews); xix ; 113 
(Pennsylvania German), 1196; xxvi, 140; xxxi, 41 ff. (Canadian), 
150, 157, 521 (Michigan) ; xxxiii, 378; FL, xvi, 207-208, 449-450; 
XXV, 359; XL, 379; FLJ, I, 384; V, 48; VII, 258; FLR, iv, 175; 
American Anthropologist, o.s., i, 267; n.s., i, 232; n.s., vi, 46-50; 
Pommersche Volkskundc, iii, 28, 73, 137; iv, 27, 108, 154, 172; 
V, 47, 63; VI, 108; vii, 39; X, 11; Zeitschrift des Vereins fiir 
Volkskunde, v, 67, 282; vi, loi, 196; vii, 299; viii, 69, 402, 413; 
XI, 461; Notes & Queries, ist ser., x, 124, 210, 369; Fauset, p. 
127; Maclagan, pp. 227 ff . ; Northall, p. 341; Culin, pp. 53-54; 
Nicholson, p. 306; Newell, p. 197; Billson, p. 68; Loorits, p. 49; 
Gregor, pp. 169-175; Lewalter and Schlager, p. 57; Bohme, p. 389; 
Ziiricher, Kinderlieder der dcutschen Schwei::, pp. 202-234; de Cock 
and Teirlinck, iii, 221; Rolland, pp. 231-253; Addy. pp. 147- 
148; Stoudt, pp. 45-53; Johnson, Folk Culture on St. Helena Island, 
South Carolina, p. 165. The standard work on the subject is, of 
course, Bolton's The Counting-Out Rhymes of Children. 


See JAFL, xxvi, 141; xxxi, 41, 150, 526 (Michigan) : liv, 169; 
SFQ, I, 43-44 (Nebraska) ; PTFLS, vi, 67; Bolton, pp. 3, 102-103. 
117-118; Newell, p. 203; Johnson, Folk Culture, p. 165. 

For 'William a Trembletoe' as a game see pp. 134-137 above. 


'William Trembletoe.' Contributed by J. C. Knox. Reported from 
Brunswick county. No date given. 

William, W illiam Trembletoe 
He's a good fisherman ; 
Catches hens, puts them in pens; 
Some lay eggs, some lay none. 
Wire, briar, limber lock, 
Three geese in a flock ; 
One flew east, one flew west, 
One flew over the goose's nest. 
O-U-T spells out and begone. 
You old dirty dish rag. 


No title. Contributed by W. B. Covington in 1913. "Reminiscences of 
my early youth spent on tlie border of the sand hills of Scotland county." 

William Tremble Toe 

He's a good fisherman ; 

Catches his fish, 

Puts them in a dish ; 

Catches his hens, 

Puts them in pens. 

Some lay eggs, some lay none. 

Wire, briar, limberlock ; 

The clock fell down, 

The mouse ran around. 

O-U-T spells out. 


'William Trimbletoe.' Contributed by J. T. Poole, Morganton. Re- 
ported from Burke county in 1914. 

William Trimbletoe 

He's a good fowler ; 

Catches his hens. 

Puts them in pens. 

Some lay eggs, some none ; 

Underfoot, Specklefool, trij) out and be gone. 

Wire, briar, limber lock. 

Three geese in a flock ; 

One flew east, one flew west, 

One flew over the cuckoo's nest. 

W^hite, black, O-U-T spells out. 

No title. Contributed by Alma Irene Stone. No place or date given. 
William Trembletoe 
He's a good fisherman ; 
Catches hens, puts them in pens. 
Some lay eggs, some lay none. 
Wire, briar, limberlock, 
Sit and sing till ten o'clock. 
Clock fell down, the mouse ran around; 
O-U-T spells out and gone. 
You old dirty dishrag.- 

^ A list of other contributors who furnished versions and fragments 
of this and following rhymes will be found at the beginning of this 

- This closing line shows great variation : "Begone to the old black 
stump," "Begone to your old black home," "Begone to the old black 
dog's house," "O-U-T spells out, you dirty dish of kraut," "To the 
little red house on the hill." "To your old smoky home at last," &c. 

N.C.F.. Vol. I, (12) 



'See JAFL, i, 33; xxxi, 42, 150, 526 (Michigan); SFQ, iii, 
179; FL, XVI, 450 (Scotland); O'Suilleabhain, p. 681; Bolton, pp. 
46, 104-106. 


Contributed by Maude Alinish Sutton, c. 1927. 
Eeiiy Meeny Miny Mo 
Catch a nigger by his toe ; 
If he hollers, let him go. 
Eeny IMeeny Miny Mo. 

Contributed by Gertrude Allen Vaught, Taylorsville, c. 1928. Reported 
from Alexander county. 

Eeny, meeny, miney, mo, 
Catch a nigger by the toe ; 
If he hollers, let him go. 
Eeny, meeny, miney, mo. 
O-U-T spells out, 
So out you go. 

Contributed by Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro. Reported from Goldsbort 
in 1923. 

Eanie, meanie, miney, moe. 
Crack a feenie, finee, foe. 
Hotcha, potcha, diamond notcha, 
Ring out Fifty-0.3 

Contributed by Zilpah Frisbie. Reported from McDowell county about 

Eeny, meeny, miny, min ; 

Catch a nigger by his chin ; 

If he hollers, make him pay 

Fifty dollars every day. 


Contributed by Lida Page, Nelson. Reported from Durham county. No 
date given. 

Eny, meny, miney, mo ; 

Catch a nigger and bite his toe. 

* The first three lines of this are identical with those of an Indiana 
text. The last line of the latter is "Rick, stick, ban, bo." 

r. A M K S A NO RHYMES 163 

If he hollers, let him go. 
Eny, meny, niiney, mo. 

Contributed liy I.ucillo Masscy, Diirliani county. Reported from Durham 
county. Xo date given. 

luia. mena. miiia. mo; 
Catch a nigger hy the toe ;^ 
If he hollers, make him say 
I'll surrender to the U.S.A.'' 


Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. From Rutlierford county. 
Eeny meeny tipty toe 
Deena Dinah Doma no 
Spells out you go. 


See Bulton, pp. 43-44, 95; O'Suilleabhain, p. 681; SFQ, iii, 179- 


Contributed by Katherine Bernard Jones, Raleigh. No place or date 

Onery, oery, ickery Ann 
Phillison, Phollison, Nicholas John; 
Query, quory, weary, ivory, 
Simkam, Somkoni, Buck. 


Contributed by Nilla Lancaster, 1923. Reported from Wayne county. 
Overy, Ivory, Hickory Ann, 
Fillison. Follison. Nicholas John ; 
Weenie, wonie, (|ueenie, quonie ; 
Inklum, sanklum, huck. 

Contributed by Amy Henderson, Worry. Reported from Burke county 
about 1914-15. 

Onery, twoery. hick'ry ham, 
Frillicks and frollicks, 
Nicholas John ; 

* Negroes themselves say "Catch a lizard by the toe." 
' Children in St. Louis and other cities sang this about the Japanese 
during the war. See JAFL, Lx, 41. 


Sinctum, sanctum, buck. 

Onery, twoery, ickery Ann, 
Hollowbone, crack-a-bone, 
Nicholas John. 
Sinctum, sanctum, buck. 


From an anonymous contributor in Chatham county. No date given. 
Onery, uery, ickery Ann ; 
Hallibone, crackabone, Nicholas John ; 
Queevy, quavy, Irish Mary ; 
Stingalum, stangalum, Buck. 

Contributed by I. T. Poole, Morganton. Reported about 1914 from 
Burke county. 

Onery, oary, ickery Ann ; 
Filus, f olus, Nicholas John ; 
Quevy, quavy, English navy ; 
Stinkum, stankum, Barnev Buck. 

Contributed by Nina Mclnnis. No place or date given. 
Onery hurey hickory ham, 
Phyllis-e, Phollis-e, Nickless John ; 
Kever, kiver, Irish Maid ; 
Skee-dad-lum, Buck. 

The following rhymes are obviously based upon the above. 
For other examples, see end of this section. 

One zall, two zall, zig-zag-zan. 
Bobtailed lizard in the frying pan. 
Harem scarem, virgum varum ; 
Sinctum, sanctum, Washington Buck. 

One-zol, two-zol, three-zol zan; 
Bob-tail dominica, tee-toe-tan. 
Hailum, scailum, words of Baalam. 
Zinctum, Zanctum, Zuck. 

One-erzoll, two-erzoll, zickerzoll zan; 
Bob-tail vinegar, you're the man. 


See JAFL, xxxi, 44, 122, 150 (Canada), 533 (Michigan) ; SFQ, 
I, 56 (Nebraska); iii, 180; Bolton, pp. 112, 116; Gardner, Folk- 
lore from the Schoharie Hills, p. 229; Johnson, What They Say 
in New England, p. 162; Finger, p. 163; Newell, p. 202. 



Contributed by Zilpali Frisliic. Rcpurtcd from McDowell county about 

Monkey, monkey, bottle of beer, 
How many monkeys have we here ? 
One, two, three ; out goes he, 
Down to the bottom of the deep blue sea. 

Contributed by Mamie Mansfield, Durbam, c. 1928. Rcix)rted from Dur- 
ham county. First three lines of ./. 

Contributed by Doris Overton, Greensboro, c. 1922. 
As 1 went up the crazy steeple, 
There I met three crazy people. 

One was black, one was l)lue : 
One was the color of my old shoe. 

What color was that ? 

(The child pointed at supplies the name of a 
color, and the counting out continues.) 

B-1-a-c-k spells black ! 

(The child at whom the counter's finger is 

pointing when the letter k is reached 

must go out.) 

A considerable number of counting-out rhymes begin with 
"One, two, three," &c. Typical of this type are the following : 

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven ; 
All good children go to heaven. 
When they get there, they will shout 
"O-u-t!" And that spells out. 
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven ; 
All good children go to heaven. 
All the bad ones go below 
To keep company with Old Pilack Joe. 


For counting-out rhymes beginning with numerals, see JAFL, i, 
31; VII, 252 (Canada): x, 314. 319: xxvi, 142 (.South); xxxi, 
45-46, 157^ 523-524 (Michigan): xxxviii, 243 (Bermuda); SFQ, 
I, 4.T. 52, 55 (Nebraska) ; Bolton, pp. 44, 52, 94-96- 



Contributed by Zilpah Frisbie. Reported from McDowell county in 

One, two, three, four, 

Mary at the cottage door; 

Five, six, seven, eight, 

Eating cherries off her plate. 

Contributed by E. V. Howell, Chapel Hill. No place or date given. 

One two three four, 
Mary at the closet door, 
Eating grapes from a plate ; 
One two three four. 



Contributed by Martha Wall, Wallburg. Reported from Davidson county 
in 1941. 

One, two, three, 
Mammy caught a flea. 
Flea died, mammy cried ; 
Out goes you !^ 

Contributed by Clara Hearne, Pittsboro. Reported from Chatham county 
in 1923. 

One, two, three, 
Out goes he. 


Contributed by Lida Page, Nelson. Reported from Durham county. 
No date given. 

One, two, star blue ; 
All out 'cept you. 


See JAFL, xxxi, 47, 274 (Massachusetts) ; 533 (Michigan) ; 
XLii, 305 (Massachusetts); xxi, 533 (Michigan); SFQ, i. 55 
(Nebraska); iii, 178, 181; JAFL, xxxi, 534 ("My mother told me 
to take this one") ; Bolton, p. iii (Tennessee). 

' Letters are sometimes used instead of numbers : 

A, B, C, 

Mamma caught a flea. 
Flea died, Mamma cried ; 
A. B. C. 

C. A M E S AND R II Y M E S 167 

Contributed by Mary Olivia Pruettc, Charlotte. Reported from Meck- 
lenburg county. No date given. 

IM y nianinia and your maninia were hanging out clothes ; 

My luainiua hit your mamma right on the nose. 

Did it hurt ? Yes. 

Y-e-s spells yes and out you go. 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, c. 1927. 

My mother and your mother were hanging out clothes ; 
My mother hit your mother on her hig nose. 
\\'hat color was the blood? 
R-e-d spells red and out goes you. 

Others in which the mother is a prominent figure are these 
contributed by Ada Briggs ( Nansemond county) and Minnie 
Stamps Gosney ( \\'ake county) respectively. The one-line text 
was contributed by Marjorie Rea (Craven county). 

My mother went downtown to buy me a new dress : 

What color was it? 

(Someone guesses a color) 

B-l-u-e spells blue and ()-u-t spells out. 

My mother sent me to town to buy her a new dress ; 
What color do you like best? 
(Someone names a color) 
R-e-d. &c. 

IMy mother told me to put you out.'^ 


See Bolton, pp. 93, 117; SFQ, i, 61 (Nebraska); in, 179. 

Contributed by Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. Reported from Wake 
county. No date given. 

Bee, bee. bumblebee. 
Stung a man upon his knee ; 
Stung a pig upon his snout. 
I declare if you ain't out. 


Contributed by Mary Scarborough. Wanchesc. Reported from Dare 
county, c. 1923. 

Cups and saucers, plates and dishes ; 
My old man wears calico breeches. 
'' An Indiana version is "My mother told me to take this one." 


Does your old man do so ? 
Y-e-s spells yes and out you go. 


See JAFL, xxxi, 44, 150, 531 (Michigan) ; SFQ, i, 56 
(Nebraska); iii, 180; Bolton, p. iii. 

Contributed by Carl G. Knox, Leland. Reported from Brunswick county 
in 1925. 

Engine, engine, number nine, 
Running on Chicago Line ; 
When she's polished, she will shine. 
Engine, engine, number nine. 

The same contributor furnished the following counting-out 
rhyme : 

Nigger, nigger, come to dinner, 
Half -past two ; 
Fried potatoes, alligators. 
Out goes you ! 


Contributed by Aura Holton, Durham. Reported from Durham county 
about 1924. 

Red, white, and blue ; 

Your father's a Jew. 

Your mother's a cabbage head. 

And out goes you. 


Contributed by Lucille Massey, Durham. Reported from Durham county. 
No date given. 

Acker, backer, soda cracker, 
Acker, backer, boo. 
If your daddy chews tobacker. 
He's a dirty Jew. 

Typical of the counting-out rhyme composed entirely of non- 
sense words and syllables are the following contributed by 
Clara Hearne (Chatham county. 1923), E. V. Howell (Chapel 
Hill), and Paul and Elizabeth Green (eastern and central 
N. C, 1926-28) : 

Ana, mana. dippery dick, 

Delia, dolia. dominick. 

Hotcha potcha dominotcha, 

Hy, pon, tus. 


Henry, nienry, depree, dee; 
Dealgo, dolgo. dominee. 
Hotelier, potcher, diamont notcher, 
High pon tusk. 

Ibbity, bibbity, zibbity, zab ; 
Ibbity, bibbity. knabe. 



See Gonime, ii, 195 (played with shuttlecock) ; Gregor, p. 20; 
Northall, p. 48; Bolton, p. 14 (Armenian), 16 (Malagasy), 18 
(Italian), 20 (German); Lewalter and Schlager, p. 60; Hyatt, p. 
650; American Anthropologist, o.s., i, 272; JAFL, lvi, 109 (Iowa) ; 
FLJ, VII, 255; FL, XXV, 357; XXVII, 413; SFQ, iii, 178; Douglas, 
P- 34- 

As Miss Leah Yoffie has pointed out in a recent number of the 
Journal of American Folklore (i-X, 30-31), this is a chanted accom- 
paniment to a ball-bouncing game as well as a counting-out rhyme. 
It appears to have served both purposes in North Carolina. 


Contributed by Fawn Watson, Marietta. Reported from Robeson county 
in 1922. 

One, two, buckle my shoe ; 
Three, four, shut the door ; 
Five, six, pick up sticks ; 
Seven, eight, lay 'em straight ; 
Nine. ten. a good fat hen ; 
Eleven, twelve, roast her well ; 
Thirteen, fourteen, girls a-courtin' ; 
Fifteen, sixteen, girls a-fixin' ; 
Seventeen, eighteen, girls a-waitin' ; 
Nineteen, twenty, girls aplenty. 


Contributed by [Merle?] Smith. Reported from Stanly county. No 
date given. 

One twf). buckle my shoe ; 

Three four, shut the door ; 

Five six, pick up sticks ; 

Seven, eight, lay them straight ; 

Nine ten. big fat hen ; 

Eleven twelve, who's in the dell? 

Thirteen fourteen, girls all courtin' ; 


Fifteen sixteen, maids in the kitchen; 
Seventeen eighteen, girls are waitin' ; 
Nineteen twenty, my plate's empty. 


Contributed by Mrs. Norman Herring, Tomahawk. No place or date 

One, two, buckle my shoe ; 
Three, four, close the door; 
Five, six, pick up sticks ; 
Seven, eight, lay them straight. 
Nine, ten, big fat hen ; 
Eleven, twelve, dig and delve ; 
Thirteen, fourteen, gents a-courtin' ; 
Fifteen, sixteen, maids in the kitchen ; 
Seventeen, eighteen, ladies a-waitin' ; 
Nineteen, twenty, goodies aplenty. 


This rhyme is commonly used to start a footrace, and is known 
and used by children all over the country. 


Contributed by Antoinette Beasley, Monroe. No place or date given. 
One for the money, 
Two for the show, 
Three to make ready. 
And four for the go. 

Contributed by Irene Thompson, Mt. Airy. Reported from Surry county. 
No date given. 

One for the money. 
Two for the show ; 
Three makes ready, 
And here I go. 

In this division belong also the rhymes recited by the player 
who is "It" in a hiding-game, e.g., "Bushel of wheat, bushel of 
rye, &c." For examples of these, see the section on games. 


See JAFL, xlii, 305-306 (Massachusetts) ; XL, 41; xli, 5/6-577; 
XLVii, 383 (Pennsylvania); xxxix, 82 (New York); lii, 119 
(Iowa); American Anthropologist, o.s., i, 267; Maclaj^an, p. 227; 
Hyatt, p. 653; JAFL, lviii, 125; lx, 29; Douglas, p. 27. 



For Other texts of tliis rhyme, see JAFL, xi.vii, 385-386 (Penn- 
sylvania) ; SFQ, 1, 49-50 (Nebraska); iii, 173; CI'LQ, 1, 377. 

Contributed by Mrs. John Carr, Durliani. Reported from Durham 
county. No date given. 

Cinderella dressed in yellow, 

Went uptown with a green tnnbrella. 

She walked so slow 

She met her beau ; 

He took her to the picture show. 

How many kisses did he give her? 

(Count until there is a miss.) 


Other texts will be found in JAFL, xlvii, 385 (Pennsylvania) ; 
SFQ, I, 61 ; III, 176, 181 ; Bolton, p. 117. 

Contributed by Mrs. John Carr, Durham. Reported from Durham 
county. No date given. 

Last night and the night before, 

A lemon and a pickle caiue a-knockin' at my door. 

I went downstairs to let them in ; 

They hit me on the head with a rolling pin, 

And they said : 

Lady Moon, Lady Moon, turn around ; 
Lady Moon, Lady Moon, touch the ground; 
Lady Moon, Lady Moon, show your shoe; 
Lady Moon, Lady Moon, how old are you? 
(Count until there is a miss.) 

Contributed by Ada Briggs. Reported from Norfolk county. No date 

Last night and the night before, 

Twenty burglars at my door ; 

I went to the door to let them in. 

And they stabbed me with a golden pin. 


See JAFL, xliv, 434; lviii, 125 (New York); lx, 48; White, 
p. 249; Hyatt, p. 646. 

Contributed by Jessie Hauser, Pfafftown. Reported from I*"orsytb county 
about 1923. 


I asked my mamma for fifty cents 
To see the elephant jump the fence; 
He jumped so high he touched the sky 
And didn't get back till the fourth of July. 

Contributed by Gertrude Allen Vaught, Taylorsville, c. 1928. Reported 
from Alexander county. 

Went to a show and paid five cents 
To see the elephant jump the fence; 
He jumped so high he reached the sky 
And never got back till the Fourth of July. 


See SFQ, iii, 175 (Indiana) ; JAFL, xlvii, 386 (Pennsylvania). 

Contributed by Mrs. John Carr, Durham. Reported from Durham 
county. No date given. 

Charlie Chaplin went to France 
To teach the ladies how to dance; 
First on heel, then on toe. 
Then cross your legs and out you go ! 


Contributed by William C. Daulken, Chapel Hill. Text obtained in 
Chapel Hill in 1915. 

As I went up the silver lake, 
There I met a rattlesnake ; 
It had eaten so much cake 
That it made his tummy ache. 


Contributed by Mrs. John Carr, Durham. Reported from Durham 
county. No date given. 

Salt, pepper, vinegar, mustard. 
Hot peas !^ 


The object of verses of this type is to cause a laugh at the ex- 
pense of one of the players. This is usually accomplislied by trick- 
ing him into saying something which will expose him to ridicule. 


See Newell, p. 141 ; Johnson, What They Say in New Englund, p, 
167; Lewalter and Schlager, pp. 193-194; FLJ, vii, 254; de Cock 
* This is said while the jumper is gradually increasing her speed. 

GAMES A N I) R II Y M E S 173 

and Teiiiinck, iii, i6i. 340; Rolland, Rijiics ct Jcux dc I'Enfancc, 
p. 309. 

Contributed by Gertrude Allen \':uiKlit, Taylorsville, c. 1928. Text from 
Alexander county. 

The first and third lines of this verse are said hy the player 
wishing to cause a laugh, the second and fourth hy the victim. 

I went to the show- 
Just like me 

Saw a little monkey 
Just like me.-' 

I ATE (eight) it 

See Stoudt, pp. 85, 86 ('Ich au') ; Johnson, ]Vhat They Say in 
Nezi' England, p. 170; O'Suilleabhain, pp. 678, 683; FLJ, vii, 253. 

Contributed in 1945 by Paul and Elizabeth Green as collected in eastern 
and central N. C, 1926-28. 

Lines are said alternately, the eighth falling to the player 
who is to be the butt of the joke. 

I saw an old dead sheep ; I one it. 

I two it 

I three it 

I four it 

I five it 

I six it 

I seven it 

I eight (ate) \t}^ 


Contributed by Minnie Stamps Gosney. Reported from Wake county. 
No date given. 

No directions accompanied this rhyme, hut apparently the 
lines are all repeated by the .same person. 

A — apple pie 
B— baked it 
C — cut it 
D — divided it 
E — eat it 
F — fought for it 
G — got it 
H— hit at it 
I — eyed it 

* A version common in the Middlewest has the series "I went upn 
stairs," "Looked in the mirror," "Saw a little monkey." 

"With this might be compared the "Pot i o" (Pot 8 0) and "i 1 
see" (10 I see) rhymes. The latter, however, are not catches. 


J — jumped at it 

K — kicked at it 

L — longed for it 

M — mourned for it 

N — nodded at it 

O — opened it 
At this point, the speaker skips to Q — quartered it, and the other 
innocently asks, "Where is P?" The answer is "Not on me." 
The rhyme then continues : 

R — run for it 
S — stood for it 
T — turned it 
U — earned it 
V — viewed it 
W — wanted it 
XYZ — got in and run off and eat it. 

From an anonymous contributor in Robeson county. No date given. 

The first speaker takes hold of the other's nose and asks, 
"Knife or fork?" If the other's reply is "Fork," the first says, 
"Give it a jerk" and proceeds to do so. If the reply is "Knife," 
the first speaker says, "Pull it all your life" and gives the nose 
a hearty puU.^^ 


Contributed in 1945 by Paul and Elizabeth Green, as collected in eastern 
and central N. C, 1926-28. 

Can you work arithmetic? 

Yes, sir. 

All right, get your paper and pencil. 

All right. 

A man bought some clothes. First, he bought a hat for $2.00. 

Put it down. 
Yes, sir. 

Necktie, 10 cents. 
Yes, sir. 

Collar, 25 cents. Got that down? 
Yes, sir. 
Shirt, $1.00. 
Yes, sir. 

Pants, $3.50. Got his pants down? 
Yes, sir. 

Then kiss his a . 

"Cf. Gardner, Folklore from the Schoharie Hills, p. 250 ("Pull It"). 

(; A M E S A N 1) R H Y M E S 175 



A'?4^/.*"^^'^' '''''''' '^' (Canada); lviii, 126; .S7-(), iii, nSs; 
A ] FLQ, 1, 25 ; JAFL, lx, 36. ~ . . j . 

Contributed in 1945 by Paul and Elizabeth Green, as collected in eastern 
and central N. C, 1920-28. 

johnny's mad and 1 am glad. 

And I know what it'll take to please him— 

A bottle o' wine to treat him fine 

And a pretty little girl to squeeze him.^^ 


See JAFL, xxxi, 60, 89 (Canada) ; xlvi, 9 (Ozarks) ; lviii 2--,jl 
(New York City); SFQ, 1, 51, 52 (Nebraska); iii, i8s (Indi- 
ana); FL. VI 395; Gutch and Peacock, p. 391; Johnson. If hat 
J hey Say in \ ezv England, p. 49; Bergen, p. 7,7,: 'J-hiselton-Dver, 
Folklore of U omen, p. 54 (Warwickshire): Northall. p 200 • 
Fauset p 134; Peacock. A Glossary of Words Used in the Wapen- 
{?*". ^/ i^«"^0' and Corringham, Lincolnshire (Publications of the 
h.nglish Dialect Society, 1887), p. 99; Chambers, p. 343. 


Contributed by Clara Hearne, Pittsboro. Reported from Chatham county 

Black-eye. pick a pie. 
Run home and tell a lie. 
Blue-eyed beauty, 
Do your mamma's duty. 

Grey-eyed greedy-gut, 
Eat all the world up. 

Brown-eyed banty 
Lived in a shanty. 


Contributed by Gertrude Allen Vaugiit. Tavlorsville, c. 1928 Text from 
Alexander county. 

Black eye pick a pie. 
Run home and tell a lie. 
Blue eyes a beauty 
Grey eye greedy gut. 
Open your mouth ; 

" The version with which I am most familiar has five lines, the fourth 
bemg 'A bottle of ink to make him stink." The third line is "A bottle 
of wine to make him shine." Some girl is always named in the last 


Shut your eyes. 

Keep your mouth shut 

And you'll swallow no flies. ^^ 


Cf. JAFL, Lviii, 125; NYFLQ, 1, 26; Bergen, p. 27; Hyatt, 
p. 653- 
From an anonymous contributor in Robeson county. No date given. 

Tattletale tit, 

Your tongue shall be slit, 

And every dog 

Shall have a bit. 

With these versions, cf. NYFLQ, i, 28; JAFL, lviii, 125; lx, 36. 

Contributed by Gertrude Allen Vaught, Taylorsville, c. 1928. From 
Alexander county. 

Cry baby, cry ; 

Stick your finger in your eye ; 
Run home and tell a lie. 
Yi! Yi! Yi! 


From an anonymous contributor. No place or date given. 
Cry, baby, cry ; 
Stick your finger in your eye 
And make the water fly. 


See JAFL, xxxi. 120, 166; SFQ, in, 185; Hyatt, p. 645. 
Contributed by Gertrude Allen Vaught, Taylorsville, c. 1928. From 
Alexander county. 

Giddy, giddy, gout 
Your shirt tail's out ; 
Giddy, giddy, gin 
My shirt tail's in. 


Contributed by Susie Spurgeon Jordan. Reported from Transylvania 
county. No date given. 

^^ This last quatrain is out of place ; it properly belongs with the 
"Smart Aleck" rhymes. 


Cross patch, draw the latch, 
Sit hy the fire and spin ; 
Take a cup and drink it up 
And call your neighbors in. 

let's go to bkd 

See JAFL, xxxi, 59: SFQ, iii, 185; Tennessee Folklore Society 
Bulletin, XI, 7; Hyatt, p. 644. 

Contributed by Roy M. Brown. No place or date given. 

"Let's go to bed," 

Said Sleepy Head ; 
"Oh no," said Slow. 
"Hang on the pot," 

Said Greedy Gut, 
"And let's have supper 

Before we go."^* 


With this, compare the version in NYFLQ, i, 23. See also New- 
ell, p. 99 (The Doctor's Prescription'). 
Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, Forest City, c. 1927. 

Oh, dear doctor, can you tell 

What will make poor well ? 

She is sick and she might die ; 
That would make poor cry. 


See JAFL, lx, 35 (St. Louis) ; LViii, 127 (New York City). 

Contributed by Martha Wall, Wallsburg. Reported from Davidson 
county in 1941. 

Cliicken in the house, rooster on the fence ; 
Johnny get your hair cut, fifteen cents. 


This teasing rhyme, says the collector, is known locally as 
"whistlin' him off."' For a New York version, see NYFFQ, i. 30-31- 
Contributed by Maude .Minish Sutton, Forest City, c. 1927. 

** The version I know runs as follows : 

"Let's go to bed," 

Said Sleepy Head ; 
"Wait a while," 

Said Slow. 
"Put on the pot," 

Said Greedy Gut ; 
"Let's eat before we go." 
N.C.F., Vol. I, (13) 


Bill, Bill, stop stick a still ; 

High ball, low ball, baldheaded Bill. 

Contributed by Antoinette Beasley, Monroe. Reported from Union county. 
No date given. 

Little boy, little boy, who made your britches? 
Ma cut 'em out and Pa sewed the stitches. 

Little boy, little boy, where'd you get your knowledge? 
Some at the free school and some at the college. 

See Northall, pp. 302, 304, 308, 314-315; Newell, p. 97. 


Contributed by Thomas Smith, Zionville. Collected in Watauga county 
about 1914. 

O Lord above, look down in love 
Upon us your little scholars ; 
We hired a fool to teach our school 
And paid him nineteen dollars.^^ 


Contributed by Irene Thompson, Mt. Airy. Reported from Surry county. 
No date given. 

Monkey sitting on a rail. 

Picking his teeth with the end of his tail ; 

Mulberry leaves, calico sleeves, 

Old school teachers are hard to please. 

Contributed by Thomas Smith, Zionville. Reported from Watauga 
county c. 191 4. 

" The General Editor comments : "An analogue of this was current in 
the Statesville Public School when I was there, 1898- 1907, and I quoted 
it often then, though the superintendent, Professor Thompson, was a 
friend of our family, and an admirable man : 

A buzzard flew from East to South 

With D. Matt Thompson in his mouth ; 

But when he found he was a fool. 

He dropped him in the Public School." 

G A M E S A N U R II Y M E S 1 79 

Monkey a-sitting on the end of a rail, 
A-picking its teeth with the end of its tail 
Mulberry leaves and calico sleeves, 
Mr. Teacher is hard to please. 


Contributed in 1945 by Paul and Elizabeth Green, as collected in eastern 
and central N. C, 1926-28. Cf. Chambers, p. 121. 

Mr. , a very good man, 

Teaches scholars now and then; 
When he whips them, makes them dance 
Out of England into France. 


For fragments of a somewhat similar verse, see JAFL, lviii, 125 
(New York City) ; lx, 35 (St. Louis). 

Contributed by Mrs. Pridgen [Durham?]. No place or date given. 

Nigger, nigger, never die. 
Big flat nose and a shiny eye ; 
Mouth as big as a steamboat slip, 
India rubber nose and lip, lip. 
Nigger eat scrap iron, yes he do; 
Nigger he chews glue. 


Contributed by Clara Hearne, Pittsboro. Reported from Chatham county 
about 1922. -^ 

Did you ever. ever, ever 
In your life, life, life 
See a nigger, nigger, nigger 
Kiss his wife, wife, wife? 



For other texts, see JAFL, xxix, 529 (New-Mexican Spanish: 
Pobre, Rico, Mendigo, Ladron, &c.' ) ; FL, xxiv, 81 (plaved with 
seeds); xlix, 153 (Nebraska); MAFLS, xxix, 148; Simrock, p. 


2i8 ('Edelniann, Bettelmann, Doctor, Pastor; Ratsherr, Biirger- 
meister, Schneider, Major'); Bolton, p. 19 (Dutch), 21 (German 
and Swiss); Newell, p. 105; Bohme, pp. 184-185 (counting flower 
petals), 709; Berg-en, p. 42; Johnson, IF hat They Say in New Eng- 
land, p. 50; Bolton, pp. 91 (German), 120; Dennys, p. 11 ('Tinker, 
tailor, soldier, sailor'). 


Contributed by Airs. Norman Herring, Tomahawk. No date given. 

Rich man. poor man, beggar man, thief; 
Doctor, lawyer, merchant, chief. 

Contributed by Lida Page, Nelson. Reported from Durham county. 
No date given. 

Rich man, poor man, peddler, tinker. 


See Johnson, IVIiat They Say in Nezv England, p. 52; MAFLS, 
XXIX, 145; Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin, iii, 29; Hyatt, p. 
333; JAFL, II, 71 ; XXVI, 373; lx, 26. Usually appleseeds or flower 
petals are used in the counting. 

Contributed by Fawn Watson, Marietta. Reported from Robeson county 
about 1922. 

One I love, tw-o I love, 

Three I love, I say ; 

Four I love with all my heart, 

And five I cast aw-ay. 

Six he loves, seven she loves, 

Eight they both love. 

Nine they come and ten they tarry ; 

Eleven they court and twelve they marry. 

Contributed by Mrs. Norman Herring, Tomahawk. No date given. The 
A version, with slight verbal variations. 

Contributed by Susie Spurgeon Jordan. Reported from Transylvania 
county. No date given. 

Bless you, bless you, bonny bee : 


Say when will my wedding be. 

If it be tomorrow day, 

Take your wings and fly away. 



See Northall, p. 119; Chambers, p. 201; Bohine, p. 165: Bert^aMi, 
p. 59; Napier, p. 116; Harland and Wilkinson, p. 70; de Gubernatis, 
pp. 210-21 1 ; Hyatt, pp. 60-61 ; .Simpson, p. 167; Jones and Kroi)!', 
The Folk-Tales of the Magyars, p. xx ; American Anthropologist, 
O.S., I. 270; FL, XLVii, 366; XLix, 31; FLJ, 1, 355 (Magyar). 


Contributed by Jessie Hauser, Pfafftown. Reported from Forsyth county 
in 1923. 

Lady bird, lady bird, fly away home. 

Your house is on fire ; your children will burn. 

Contributed in 1945 by Paul and Elizabeth Green, as collected in eastern 
and central N. C, 1926-28. 

Lady bug, lady bug, fly away home ; 

Bring me good weather whenever you come. 


See my version in FL, xlvii, 366. As Miss M. Macleod Banks 
pomts out (FL, XLViii, 217), a medieval text is quoted in Satan's 
Invisible World (p. 84). 

Contributed by Louise Bennett. .Middlelnirg. Reported fruin \'aiice 
county. No date given. 

Come, butter, come ; 
Come, butter, come. 
Peter's waiting at the gate 
For a little frosted cake. 
Come, butter, come. 


Contributed by Lucille Massey. Reported from Durliani county. No 
date given. 

I see the moon 

And the moon sees me ; 


God bless the moon 
And God bless me. 


Contributed by Elizabeth Janet Black, Garland, c. 1921. Collected in 
Garland county. 

Starlight, starlight, 
First star I've seen tonight. 
I wish I may, I wish I might 
Have the wish I wish tonight. 

Contributed by Mrs. Norman Herring, Tomahawk. No date given. 

New moon, new moon, moon so bright. 
Wish I may and wish I might 
See before tomorrow night 
Someone who would please my sight. 
(Turn three times on the left heel and make three wishes.) 


Contributed in 1945 by Paul and Elizabeth Green, as collected in eastern 
and central N. C, 1926-28. 

Doodlebug, doodlebug. 
Your house is burning up.^^ 


Contributed by Clara Hearne, Pittsboro. Reported from Chatham county 
in 1922. 

Fly away, buzzard ; fly away, crow, 

'VVay down South where the wind don't blow. 

^^ The warning conveyed in this verse is given to the ladybug, not to 
the doodlebug. In my boyhood in Indiana, one bent over the doodlebug's 
home, a conical heap of sand or fine dirt with a depression at the apex, 
and called softly, "Doodlebug, doodlebug, doodle, doodle, doodle." The 
belief was that the doodlebug would show himself in response either to this 
or to the invitation "Doodlebug, doodlebug, come and get your supper." 
Sometimes the doodlebug did actually appear, having emerged probably 
to learn the amount of damage caused by the speaker's breath against 
his house. 



Coiitrihiited by Ella Parker, Mt. Gilead. Reported from Montgomery 
county. No date given. 

Old I>ob White, your peas ripe? 
No, nut quite ; cuine tomorrow night. 



For verses somewhat similar to the following, see Scarhorough, 
0)1 the Trail of Negro Folk-Songs, pp. 145-147. 

Contributed by Jesse Carpenter, Durham. Reported from Durham county 
in 1920. 

Come up, Charlie, let's go to Raleigh 
To see all the pretty little horses. 
The black and the bay and the bob-tail gray 
And all the pretty little horses. 

hush-a-bye, baby 

Contributed by Lucille Massey. Reported from Durham county. No 
date given. 

Hush-a-bye, baby ; 
Daddy is near. 
Mamma is a lady. 
And that's very clear. 

BAA, baa, black SHEEP 

See Scarborough, On the Trail of Negro Folk-Songs, pp. 147- 
149, and note comments on pp. 149, 158, and 160. 

Contributed by Jean and Hallie Holeman, Durham, c. 1930. From Dur- 
ham county. The words and tune of this lullaby have been recorded. 

Baa, baa. black sheep. 
Where yo' little lam"? 
Way down yonder in de valley, 
Buzzards an' de butterflies 

pickin' out its eyes, 
Po' little thing cryin' "Mammy!" 

Contributed by Jesse Carpenter, Durham. Reported from Durham 
county in 1920. The A text, with "Where did you leave your lamb?" 
for second line. 


Contributed by Florence Holton, Durham. Reported from Durham 
county in 1916. The A text, with crow and blackbird for buzzards and 


Contributed by Minnie Stamps Gosney. Wake county. Cf. Scarbor- 
ough, On the Trail of Negro Folk-Songs, p. 154. 

Joe Monroe cut off his toe 
And hung it up to dry ; 
All the girls began to laugh 
And Joe began to cry. 


THE crow's nest 

See Maclagan, pp. 176-177 (The Crab's Nest'); Chambers, p. 
116; FLJ, IV, 143 ('The Corbie's Hole'); FL, xvi, 441; Puckett, 

P- 55- 

Contributed in 1945 by Paul and Elizabeth Green, as collected in eastern 
and central N. C, 1926-28. 

Stick your finger in the crow's nest, 
The crow is not at home ; 
The crow is at the back door, 
Picking at a bone. 
The crow's at home ! 

The last line is said when the child's finger is caught in the 
opening between the fingers of the two hands. Some merely 
say, "Feed the crow ; he won't bite you." 

here's my mother's knives and forks 

See SFQ, i, 55 (Nebraska); iii, 184; FL, xxiv, 78; Gregor, p. 
19; Maclagan, p. 138; Chambers, p. 116. 

Contributed by Amy Henderson, Worry. Reported from Burke county 
c. 1915. 

Here's my mother's knives and forks 
(Interlace fingers with the backs of hands together.) 


Here's my motlier's table 
(Turn fino^ers down, showing smooth level joints on top.) 

Here's my sister's looking-glass 
(liring little lingers up and make a point by joining tips.) 

And here's the baby's cradle. 
(Bring index fingers to a point and njck hands 
from side to side.) 

Contributed in 1945 by Paul and Elizabeth Green, as collected in eastern 
and central X. C, 1926-28. 

That's the lady's forks and knives, 
And that's the lady's table ; 
That's the lady's looking-glass, 
And that's the baby's cradle. 


See JAFL, xxxi, no (Canada); SFQ, iii, 184; Addy, p. 77 
('Peter and Paul') ; Beckwith, pp. 12, 78; Maclagan, p. 224; Halli- 
well, p. no; American Anthropologist, o.s., i, 270. 

Contributed in 1945 by Paul and Elizabeth Green, as collected in eastern 
and central N. C, 1926-28. 

Fly away. Jack ; 
Fly away, Jill. 
Come back. Jack ; 
Come back, Jill. 

(Said with bits of paper on fingers, by which the child is 
made to believe they have really disappeared.)'' 


See JAFL, xxxi, 59, 114 (Canada); xi.vii, 334-335 (Georp:ia) : 
FL, xiiii, 108 (Chinese); xxiv, 78; xliii, 257; FLJ, iv, 140; vii, 
256; CFLQ, I, 293-294; SFQ, III, 182-183; American Anthropol- 

^^ The speaker sticks a piece of black paper on the nail of each index 
finger. At the first line he extends both fingers, backs up. toward the 
child. .-Xs he says the third, he raises one hand quickly and then brings 
it down with the second finger extended and the index finger doubled 
under so that the bit of paper is hidden. At tlic last line he repeats the 
raising and lowering of the hand, this time extending the index finger. 

Missing lines are : 

Two little blackbirds sitting on a limb (hill). 
One named Jack, the other named Jim (JiH)- 


ogist, O.S., I, 2/5; Legey, The Folklore of Morocco, p. 171; 
Gregor, pp. 14-15; IMaclagan, p. 113; Chambers, p. 20; O'Suillea- 
bhain, p. 681; Johnson, What They Say in Nezv England, p. 184; 
JFSS, III, 220 (quoted from Canti Popolari Toscani, Florence, 

Contributed by Caroline Diggers, Monroe. Reported from Union county. 
No date given. 

This little pig went to market ; 

This little pig stayed home ; 

This little pig got roast beef ; 

This little pig got none ; 

This little pig said, "Wee, wee, wee, I want some." 

Contributed by Caroline Diggers, Monroe. Reported from Union county. 
No date given. 

This little pig says, "I'll steal some corn." 
This little pig says. "I'll tell." 
This little pig says. "Where you get it?" 
This little pig says, "Out o' IMarster's barn." 
This little pig says. "Wee, wee, wee. 
Can't get over Marster's barndoor sill." 

Contributed by Mabel Ballentine. Reported from Wake county. No 
date given. 

This little piggy wants some corn. 

This little piggy says, "Where you goin' to get it from?" 

This little piggy says, "Out of the master's barn." 

This little piggy says, "He hasn't got none." 

This little piggy says, "Queek, queek. 

Can't get m the barn door to get a grain of wheat." 


Contributed by Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro. Reported from Wayne 
county in 1923- 

Piggy says, "I'll go in daddy's barn." 

Piggy says, "I'll steal wheat." 

Piggy says, "Let's do daddy no harm." 

Piggy says, "I'll tell." 

Piggy says, "Wee-wee, can't get over the door sill." 


Contributed iiy Sarali K. Watkins. Roixirtcd from Anson county or 
Stanly county. No date given. 

This little pig says he wants some corn. 

This little pig says. "Where you gonna get it?" 

This little pig says, "Out o' Massa's crih." 

This little pig says, "I gonna tell Massa." 

This little pig says, "Quee. ()uee, can't get no corn." 


Contributed by Gertrude .^llen Vaught, Taylorsville, c. 1928. Text from 
Alexander county. 

This little pig says, "I'm going to steal wheat." 
This little pig says. "I'm going to steal meat." 
This little pig says. "I'm going to steal corn." 
This little ])ig says. "I'm going to tell." 
This little pig says, "Queeky, queeky. 
Can't get over the door sill today." 


Contributed by Eleanor Simpson, East Durham. Obtained in Durham 
in 1923. This text sounds suspiciously modern. 

This little pig went to China ; 
To Korea this one ran. 
This one went to India 
And this one to Japan. 


See SFQ, i, 60 (Nebraska); in, 184: Newell, p. 138: Johnson, 
What They Say in Nezv liuglaud, p. 195; American Anthropologist, 
O.S., I, 275. 

Contributed in 1945 by Paul and Elizabeth Green, as collected in eastern 
and central N. C, 1926-28. 

This is the church. 
And this is the steeple ; 
Lift up the roof 
And see the people. 

The first position of the hands is the same as the second in 
'Here's Mother's Knives and Forks.' At the second line, the 
index fingers are pointed upward and joined at the tips. At 
the last two, the hands are turned backs down. 


Contributed by Doris Overton, Greensboro, 1922. 

Stand back, big dog, 
And let the puppy lick. 

Knock first the wrist and then the tips of the fingers on the 
table in a regular cadence. 


See JAFL, xxxii, 2>77 (South Carolina); li, 84 (Spanish); 
SFQ, III, 183; FLJ, IV, 136; VII, 256; FL, xii, 79; xvi, 216 
(Gaelic); Bealoideas, xi, 194; Stoudt, p. 32; Maclagan, pp. 114- 
115; Chambers, p. 20; Northall, p. 10; Rochholz. pp. 99, 544; 
Bohme, p. 49; Loorits, p. 21 ; Kidd, Saivgc Childhood, pp. 101-102; 
Johnson, IVhat They Say in Nezv England, p. 185; Kristensen, pp. 
14, 16, 17; Chamberlain, The Child and Childhood in Folk-Thought, 
P- 43- 

The usual Spanish names for the fingers are "the small and 
pretty child," "the gentleman of the rings," "the foolish and crazy 
one," "the pot licker," and "the lice killer." The Melanesians say 
(Ivens, pp. 400-401) "the shriveled one," "the man alongside," 
"projecting head," "pointer, "i** and "splitter." South Carolina 
names quoted in JAFL, xxxii, 377 are "Tom Thumb," "Billy 
Wilkins," "Long Nancy," "Betsy Botkins," and "Little Whisky." 
With the latter, compare the names in SFQ, iii, 183-184. 

Contributed by Amy Henderson, Worry. Reported from Burke county, 
c. 1914-15. 

Say to the fingers, touching the little one first : 







For other tickling rhymes, see Johnson, llliat They Say in Nezv 
England, p. 129; Hyatt, p. 648; Maclagan, p. 7; JAFL, xxxi, 113, 
166 (Canada) ; FLJ, iv, 136; vii, 256; Gregor, p. 15; SFQ, in, 183. 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, Forest City. c. 1927. 

" Since the coming of the white man, the native name has been 
changed to one meaning "rub the toothpaste." 


Old maid, old maid you're sure to be 

If you laugh or smile when I tickle your knee. 

Tickle, tickle on your knee ; 
If you laugh, you don't love me. 

If you are a lady. 
As I take you to be, 
You won't crack a smile 
When I tickle your knee. 

Bore a hole, bore a hole ; 
Stick a peg, stick a peg. 

Here comes a man 
With an organ [auger] in his hand; 
Bore a hole, bore a hole 
Anywhere you can. 


For 'Chin Cherry' and 'Eye Winker' rhymes in general, see 
JAFL, VI, 21 (with Italian ;uk1 French parallels); xxxi, 113, 165 
(Canada) ; FLJ, iv, 134; v. 211 ; SFQ, i, 53 (Nebraska) ; Gregor, 
p. 14; Chambers, p. 20: SFQ. in, 182-183; Chamberlain, The Child 
and Childhood in Folk-Thought, p. 91 (Sicilian and French). 

Contributed by Gertrude Allen Vaught, Taylorsville, c. 1928. From 
.\lexander county. 

Eye Winker (touching eye) 
Tom Tinker (touching other eye) 
Nose Dropper (touching nose) 
Mouth Eater (touching mouth) 
Chin Chopper (tickling under chin) 


Contributed in 1945 by Paul and Elizabeth Green, as collected in eastern 
and central N. C, 1926-28. 

Brow brinker 
Eye winker 
Nose knocker 
Mouth mocker 
Chin chopper 

Kootchy-kootchy-koo (tickle under chin) 



Contributed in 1945 by Paul and Elizabeth Green, as collected in eastern 
and central N. C, 1926-28. 

Knock at the door (tap on forehead) 

Peek in (look into eyes) 

Lift up the latch (push nose up) 

Walk in (touch mouth) 

Take a chair (tickle under chin) 



Contributed in 1945 by Paul and Elizabeth Green, as collected in eastern 
and central N. C, 1926-28. 

Certain, true, 

Black and blue ; 

Lay me down and cut me in two. 

Really and truly. ^^ 



See JAFL, xliv, 430; White, American Negro Folk-Songs, pp. 
213, 229. 

Contributed by Valeria J. Howard, Roseboro. Version from Sampson 
county. No date given. 

Me and my wife and a stump-tailed dog 
Crossed Cane River on a hickory log. 
The log did break and she fell in ; 
Lost my wife and a bottle of gin. 


See JAFL, xliv, 435; White, pp. 195, 297; Scarborough, On the 
Trail of Negro Folk-Songs, p. 184; Hyatt, p. 647; PTFLS, vi, 189. 

^^ This was the only rhyme of this type submitted. "Sure as the vine 
grows round the stump" might possibly have been included in this sec- 
tion, but it belongs rather in the division of friendship verses. 



Contributed l)y Amy Henderson, Worry. Reported from Burke county, 

c. IIJI 

1 went to the river and couldn't get across; 

I paid five dollars for an old gray horse. 

I took him to the river and he couldn't swim a lick ; 

I took him on the other side and heat him with a stick. 

I went to the river and couldn't get across, 

Paid five dollars for an old gray horse. 

I rode him down to the foot of the hill ; 

And if he hasn't gone away, he's right there still. 

Contributed by Lucille Cheek. Reported from Chatham county, c. 1924. 

I went to the river and couldn't get across, 
Paid five dollars for an old gray horse. 
Horse wouldn't ride, horse wouldn't swim, 
And I'll never see my five dollars again. 

Version sent in by an anonymous contributor. From Chatham county. 
No date given. 

W'ent to the river and couldn't get across ; 

Jumped on a nigger's hack and thought he was a hoss. 


Contributed by Clara Hearne, Pittsboro. Reported from Chatham county 
in 1922. 

Had a little mule, his name was Dandy ; 
Fed him cake and sugar candy. 

Had a little mule, his name was Jack; 

Put him in the stable and he jumped out the crack. 

Had a little dog, his name was Rover ; 
When he died, he died all over. 

Had a little dog, his name was Tough. 
I think my speech is long enough. 


Contributed by Marjorie Rea. Reported from Craven county. No date 

Roses on my shoulders, 
Slippers on my feet, 
I'm my mother's darling; 
Don't you think I'm sweet ? 

Contributed by Jessie Hauser. Reported from Forsyth county. No 
date given. 

I had a little pony, his name was Jack ; 
I rode his tail to save his back. 
His tail was black, his belly was blue ; 
When he ran, he fairly flew. 

Contributed by W. Q. Grigg, Indian Trail. Reported from Cleveland 
county c. 1927. 

Had a little dog, his name was Rover ; 

He licked the butter till I had to mold it over. 

Contributed by Allie Ann Pearce, Colerain. Reported from Bertie county. 
No date given. 

I had a little wife no bigger than my thumb ; 

I put her in a cofifee-pot and beat her for a drum. 

Contributed by Thomas Smith, Zionville. Reported from Watauga 
county c. 191 4. 

Had an old mule, his name was Jack ; 
He died with his head in a fodder stack. 

Contributed by Lucille Cheek. Reported from Chatham county about 

Ladies and gentlemen, I tell you the fact ; 
The old cow died in the fodder stack. 

Ladies and gentlemen, I tell you the fact ; 
Lost my breeches on the railroad track. 

Contributed by Zilpah Frisbie. Reported from McDowell county 1922-23. 

I had a little mule, his name was Jack; 

I rode his tail to save his back. 

His tail broke off ; I fell off, 

And that's what gave me the whooping cough. 


Contributed by Mamie Mansfield, Durham, c. 1928. Text from Durham 

Had a nuile, and his tiaiiie was Jack ; 
I rode his tail to save his back. 
His backl)one l)r()ke, the marrow flew^ ; 
Get up, Jack, and go on through. 

Contributed by Dorothy McDowell, Raleigh. No place or date given. 

I had a little pig, 
And fed him clover ; 
When he died. 
He died all over. 

Contributed by Thomas Smith, Zionville, c. 1914. Text from Watauga 

I had five cents 
And laid it on the fence ; 
And come shower of rain 
And ain't seed it since. 

Contributed by Mrs. Norman Herring, Tomahawk. No place or date 

Here I stand on two little chips ; 
Come and kiss my sweet little lips. 

Contributed by Clara Hearne, Pittsboro, 1922-23. Text from Chatham 

Here I stand both fresh and fair. 
Dark brown eyes and curly hair. 
Rosy cheeks and dimpled chin. 
One little heart that beats within. 

Contributed by Martha Wall, Wallburg. Reported from Davidson county, 
c. 1941. 

Here I stand all fat and chunky. 
Ate a duck and swallowed a monkey. 

Here I stand all black and dirty ; 

If you don't come and kiss me. I'll run like a turkey. 

Contributed by Irene Thompson. Mt. Airy. Reported from Surry county. 
No date given. 

When I was a little boy 
About so high. 
Mama took a little stick 
And made me cry. 

N.C.F., Vol. I, (14) ' 


Now I am a big boy, 
Mama can't do it ; 
Papa takes a big stick 
And tends right to it. 

Contributed by Zilpah Frisbie, 1922-23. Text from McDowell county. 

I know something I ain't gonna tell, 

Two little niggers in the bottom of the well. 

Contributed by Gertrude Allen Vaught, Taylorsville, c. 1928. From 
Alexander county. 

Jerry Hall, he was so small 

A rat could eat him — hat and all. 

Amen, Brother Ben 
Shot a rooster, 
Killed a hen. 

Contributed by Cornelia Evermond Covington. Reported from Florence 

Mother, may I go out to swim ? 
Yes, my darling daughter ; 
Hang your clothes on a hickory limb 
And don't go near the water. 

Contributed by Gertrude Allen Vaught, Taylorsville, c. 1928. From 
Alexander county. 

Rabbit up a gum stump. 
Possum up a hollow. 
Fat gal down at Daddy's house. 
Fat as she can wallow. 

Contributed by Aura Holton, Durham, c. 1923. Reported from Dur- 
ham county. 

Variants of this rhyme occur in the songbooks of the early black- 
face minstrels and in later traditional songs of both whites and 
Negroes. See White, American Negro Folk-Songs, pp. 236-238. 

I know something I won't tell. 
Three little niggers in a peanut shell ; 
One was black and one was blacker ; 
One was the color of a chaw of tobacker. 


Contributed by Amy Henderson, 1914-15. Reported from Burke county. 

Little David took a rock no bigger than a l)titton, 
And killed old Goliath just as dead as any mutton. 

Contributed by Thomas Smith, Zionville. Reported from Watauga 
county, c. 1914. 

We had a i)ie made out of rye, 
And possum was the meat, 
Rough enough and tough enough 
And more than all could eat. 

The raccoon has a ring-ed tail, 
The possum tail is bare; 
The rabbit has no tail at all 
But a little bunch of hair.-" 

Contributed by Eleanor Simpson, East Durham, 1923. 

Police, police, don't get me ; 

Get that nigger behind that tree. 

He stole money, I stole none ; 

Put him in the guardhouse just for fun.-^ 


With this verse, compare the New York City text given in JAFL, 
LViii, 128-129. 

Contributed by EHzabeth Janet Black, Garland, c. 1921. 

John, John, the barber. 
He went to shave his father ; 
The razor slipped and cut his lip ; 
It's John, John, the barber. 


puddin' 'n' tame 

Cf. the version in NVFLO, i, 22, and note the author's conjecture 
as to the origin of the phrase. 

Contributed by Jessie Hauser. Botli texts obtainefi in Fnrsytb county, 
c. 1923. 

"For other texts of this widespread rhyme, see JAFL, xliv, 429; 
White, p. 235; Scarborough, On the Trail of Negro FolkSongs, p. 169; 
Fauset. p. 129; Botkin, p. 241; I-'olh-Say (1930), p. 244. 

-'' See JAFL. lx, 35. The first line is often "Teacher, teacher, don't 
whip me" (Bolton, p. 112; SFQ, hi, 178). 


What's your name? 

Puddin' 'n' tame ; 

Ask me again 

And I'll tell you the same. 

What's your name? 
Puddin' 'n' tame. 
Where do you live? 
In a sieve, 


For other versions, see Hyatt, p. 645 ; Maclagan, p. 253 ; CFLQ, 
II, 161 (Maine). 

Contributed by Gertrude Allen Vaught, Taylorsville, c. 1928. Text 
from Alexander county. 

Goodnight, sleep tight ; 
Don't let the bedbugs bite. 



Contributed by Sadie Smith. No place or date given. 

Ask me no fiuestions and I'll tell you no lies ; 
Keep your mouth closed and you'll eat no flies. 

Contributed by Clara Hearne, Pittsboro, 1922-23. Reported from Chat- 
ham county. 

Ask me no questions and I'll tell you no lies; 
Give me some peaches and I'll make you some pies. 

Contributed by Jessie Hauser, Pfafftown. Reported from Forsyth county 
in 1923. 

Where do you live? 
In a sieve. 
Who's your mother? 
Bread and butter. 

Contributed in 1945 by Paul and Elizabeth Green, as collected in eastern 
and central N. C, 1926-28. 

How old are you? 

As old as my tongue and a little older than my teeth. 


Contributed by Elsie Lampert. No place or date given. 
When you are married and eating fish, 
Don't get greedy and eat the dish. 
When you are married and Hving on tlie hill, 
Step to the mirror and kiss yourself for me. 

Contributed by Ethel Hicks BufFaloe. Reported from Granville county. 
No date given. 

My mamma told me a long time ago, 
"Son, don't you marry no girl you know. 
She'll spend all your money, 
Sell all your clothes ; 
Then what will become of you 
Goodness only knows." 

Contributed by Mary Scarborough, c. 1923. Text from Dare county. 
Oh, when you're up you're up, 
And when you're down you're down ; 
But when you're only halfway up. 
You're neither up nor down.-- 

Contributed in 1945 by Paul and Elizabeth Green, as collected in eastern 
and central N. C, 1926-28. 

If you love me like I love you, 
No knife can cut our love in two. 



Contributed by Jesse Carpenter. Reported from Durham county, c. 1920. 

Bettie Boddie bought some butter, 
But the butter Ikttie bought was bitter ; 
Then she bought some better butter 
To make her bitter butter better. 

*^ This verse brings back memories of my high-school days, in which 
I knew it (in somewhat different form) not as a friendship verse but 
as something quite the opposite, a high-school yell. It ran as follows r 

When you're up, you're up; 

When you're down, you're down. 

When you're up against (name of school), 

You're upside down ! 


When she bought her better butter, 
It made her batter better. 
Tip top tangle tongue ; 
Say this riddle I have sung. 

Contributed by Edna Whitley. No place or date given. 

When a twister a-twisting would twist him a twist, 
For twisting a twist, three twists he will twist ; 
But if one of the twisters twist from the twist, 
The twist untwisting untwists the twist. 



Contributed by Lucille Alassey. Both texts from Durham county. No 
date given. 

Patty-cake, patty-cake, a baker's man ; 
Pat him and prick him as fast as you can. 
Pat him and prick him and mark him with "B" ; 
Bake him in the oven for Billy and me. 

Patty-cake, patty-cake, bake us a man ; 

Roll him up, roll him up, put him in the pan. 

Contributed by Doris Overton, Greensboro, 1922. 

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker's man. 
Sure I will, Master, as fast as I can. 
Pat it and prick it and mark it with T, 
And put it in the oven for Tom and me. 

Contributed by Zilpah Frisbie, Marion. Reported from McDowell county, 
c. 1922. 

Pat a cake, pat a cake, bake us a man ; 

Roll him, roll him up, throw him in the pan. 

Roll him up, cross him with T ; 

Throw him in the oven for Ted and me. 

Contributed by Marjorie Rea. Reported from Craven county. No date 

Patty-cake, patty-cake, baker's man ; 
Beat it and roll it as fast as you can. 
And toss it in the oven for little Sallie Ann. 

Contributed by .Mildred Peterson. Reported from Bladen county, c. 1922 
Peas porridge hot 

Peas porridge cold 


Peas porrids^c in the pot 
Nine days old. 

Some like 'em hot 
Some like 'em cold 
Some like 'em in the pot 
Nine days old. 


See SFQ, iir, i8i ('Obadiah') ; JAFL, xliv, 436; xxvi, 143; 
FL, XX, yy: Addy, p. 147; Coiiiitx Folk-Lorc I (Gloucestershire), 
p. 144: PTFLS, XIII, 251. 

Apparendy this rhyme is intended to test the memory of the 
reciter. I have known of its being used as a rope-skipping rhyme. 

Contributed by Amy Henderson. 1914-15. Botb versions were obtained 
in Burke county. 

Gena Maria fell in the hre ; 

The fire was so hot she fell in the pot ; 

The pot was so little she fell in the kettle ; 

The kettle was so black she fell in the crack ; 

The crack was so high she fell in the sky ; 

The sky was so blue she fell in the canoe ; 

The canoe was so long she fell in the pond ; 

The pond was so deep she fell in the creek ; 

The creek was so shallow she fell in the tallow; 

The tallow was so hard she fell in the lard ; 

The lard w^as so soft she fell in the loft ; 

The loft was so rotten she fell in the cotton ; 

The cotton was so white she stayed there all night. 

Old Obadiah jumped in the fire ; 
Fire was so hot he jumped in the pot; 
Pot was so black he jumped on the rack; 
Rack was so high he jumped in the sky ; 
Sky was so blue he jumped in a canoe; 
Canoe was so shallow he jumped in the tallow ; 
Tallow was so soft he jumped in the loft; 
Loft was so rotten he jumped in the cotton; 
Cotton was so white he jumped out of sight. 


See JAFL, xlvi, 431; White, American Negro Folk-Songs, p. 
241 ; Scarborough, On the Trail of Negro Folk-Songs, p. 194. See 
also White, p. 193, where it appears as the first stanza of the Negro 
jig-song 'Shortnin' Bread.' 


Contributed by Irene Thompson, Mt. Airy. Reported from Surry 
county. No date given. 

Chicken in the bread tray, 
Scratching up dough. 
Granny, will your dog bite? 
No, child, no. 

Contributed by Cornelia Evermond Covington. No place or date given. 

Chicken in the bread tray, 
Picking up dough. 
Come back, chicken, 
And have a little more. 

Contributed by Thomas Smith, Zionville, c. 1914. Reported from 
Watauga county. 

Briar in yer finger and splinter in yer toe ; 
Granny, will yer dawg bite ? No, child, no. 


Contributed by Gertrude Allen Vaught, Taylorsville, c. 1928. Text from 
Alexander county. 

If this book should ever roam. 
Box its ears and send it home. 

Contributed by Jean and Hallie Holeman, Durham, c. 1930. Text from 
Durham county. The rhyme is made from the letters in the word 
Preface, spelled forward and backward. 

Peter Rice eats fishes ; 
Alligators catch eels ; 
Eels catch alligators ; 
Fishes eat raw potatoes. 

The following verse is a parody on the prayer "Matthew, Mark, 
Luke, and John, Bless the bed that I lie on." For another version, 
see Chambers, p. 149. 

Contributed by Gertrude Allen Vaught, Taylorsville, c. 1928. From 
Alexander county. 

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, 
Saddle a cat and Lll be gone. 


Contributed by Irene Thompson. Reported from Surry county. No 
date given. 

Oh, Mr. Flea, 
You have bitten me 
And now you must die. 
So he cracked his bones 
On the cold, cold stones, 
And there he let him lie. 


Contributed by Amy Henderson, Worry. Reported from Burke county 
c. 1914. 

In variant versions this has been in oral tradition as a song 
among whites and Negroes in the South since the early 19th cen- 
tury. See White, American Negro Folk-Songs, p. 246. 

Snake baked a hoecake 

And set the frog to mind it ; 

Frog went to sleep. 

And Lizard come and found it. 


Contributed by Clara Hearne, Pittsboro, 1922-23. Reported from Chat- 
ham county. 

Rabbit skip, rabbit hop. 
Rabbit bit my turnip top. 


Contributed by Mamie Mansfield, Durham. Reported from Durham 
county in 1922. 

More rain, more rest. 

All fair weather's not the best. 


Contributed by Dorothy McDowell Vann, Raleigh. No place or date 

Wake up, Jacob, day's a-breaking ; 
Peas in the pot and hoe-cake baking. 


Contributed by Amy Henderson, Worry. Reported from Burke county 
in 1915- 

Jiggery-bum, cider come, 

Massa give poor nigger some. 

Two potatoes and dram 

Make a nigger gentleman. 


Contributed by Clara Hearne, Pittsboro, 1922-23. Reported from Chat- 
ham county. 

Open your mouth and shut your eyes, 

And I'll give you something to make you wise. 

Shut your eyes and open your mouth, 

And I'll give you something that came from the South. 

Shut your eyes and open your hand, 

And I'll give you something to make you grand. 

Contributed in 1945 by Paul and Elizabeth Green, as collected in eastern 
and central N. C, 1926-28. 

Open your mouth and shut your eyes. 
And I'll give you a pretty little surprise, 
Something to make you wise. 

Contributed by Elsie Doxey, Poplar Branch, c. 1923. Text from Curri- 
tuck county. 

Open your mouth and shut your eyes, 
And I will give you a glad surprise. 


See American Anthropologist, o.s, i, 273; Maclagan, p. 131; 
Nicholson, p. 192 (quoted from Halliwell) ; FL, xx, 78 (as a ball- 
bouncing' rhyme) ; xxiv, 81. 

Contributed by Amy Henderson, Worry. Reported from Burke county, 
c. 1914- 

A man of words and not of deeds, 

Is like a garden full of weeds. 

When the seeds begin to grow, 

Like a garden full of snow. 

\Mien the snow begins to melt, 

Like a garden full of hemp. 

When the hemp begins to peel, 

Like a garden full of steel. 

When the steel begins to rust, 

Like a garden full of dust. 

When the dust begins to fly. 

Like a needle in the sky. 

When the sky begins to roar. 

Like a bull (or lion) behind the door. 

When the door begins to crack, 


Like a hickory on your back. 
When your back begins to smart, 
Like a pain around your heart. 
When your heart begins to bleed, 
You are a dead man indeed. 


For these and otlier examples, see SFO, viii, 301-303; Hoosicr 
Folklore, VI, 73-74. 

Contributed l)y .Mrs. Xornian Herring, Tomahawk. Xo date given. 

H-U huckle 
H-U huckle 
B-U buckle 
B-U buckle 
C-U cuckle Y 
Huckleberry pie. 

Contributed by Saral: K. W'atkins. Reported from both Anson and 
Stanly counties. 

T-U turkey, T-Y tie 
T-U turkey buzzard's eye. 


Contributed by Macie Morgan. Reported from Stanly county. No date 

Little Robin redbreast 

Sat upon a rail. 

Nibble, nabble. went his head; 

Wiggle, waggle, went his tail. 


Contributed by Minnie Stamps Gosney. Text, with music, from Wake 
county. No date given. 

Rain come wet me ; 
Sun come dry me. 
Stand back, white man ; 
Don't come anigh me. 


See JAFL, i.viii, 125 (New York City); White, pp. 168-169; 
Scarborough, On the Trail of Negro Folk-Songs, pp. 24-25. For a 
description of the practice of posting patrols to restrict the move- 
ment of Negroes at night, see White's headnote on p. 168. 



Contributed by Amy Henderson, Worry. Reported from Burke county 
in 1914 or 1915. 

Run, nigger, run ; de patterol'll ketch you ; 
Run, nigger, run ; it's almost day. 
The nigger run. the nigger flew ; 
The nigger tore his shirt in two. 

Contributed by Minnie Bryan Farrior, Raleigh. Reported from Duplin 
county. No date given. 

Run, nigger, run ; 

De pateroler'll ketch you. 

Run, nigger, run ; 

You better be a-runnin'. 


Contributed by Dr. E. V. Howell, Chapel Hill. No place or date given. 
Run, nigger, run ; the paterole will catch you. 


See Chase, p. 3 ; Sharp :Karpeles, 11, 345 ('The Old Grey Goose') ; 
JAFL, Lvi, no (Iowa) ; Scarborough, On the Trail of Negro Folk- 
Songs, p. 195 ('Go Tell Aunt Tabbie'). This is really a song (a 
lullaby, to be specific) rather than a rhyme. 

Contributed by William C. Cumming. Reported from Brunswick county. 
No date given. 

Go tell Aunt Patsy {three times) 
The old gray goose is dead. 

The one she's been savin', &c. 
To make a feather bed. 

She died last Friday ; 
It was a week ago. 

Monday she was buried 
Beneath the old oak tree. 

The little goslins are weeping 
Because their mammy's gone. 

The old gander's a-mournin' 
Because his wife is dead. 



Contributed bj Allie Ann Pcarce, Colerain. Reported from Bertie county. 

Run and tell Aunt Patsy (three times) 
The old gray goose is dead. 

Wonder if she's been saving, &c. 
To make a feather bed. 

Don't weep, old Gander 
Because your wife is dead. 

Don't cry, little goslings, 
Because vour mama is dead. 

Contributed by Amy Henderson, Worry, c. 191 5. Reported from Burke 

Go tell Aunt Nancy {three times) 
The old gray goose is dead. 

The one she was saving, &c. 
To make a feather bed. 

The old gander's mourning 
Because his wife is dead. 

The little goslins are crying 
Because their mother's dead. 

She died with a pain 
In her left great toe. 

Contributed by Gertrude Allen Vaught, Taylorsville, c. 1928. Reported 
from Ale.xander county. 

Go tell Aunt Patsy {three times) 
Her old gray goose is dead. 

The one she'd been saving, &c. 
To make a feather bed. 

The old gander is mourning 
Because his wife is dead. 

The little goslings are crying 
Because their mama's dead. 

The whole family's weeping 
Because the mama's dead. 



Contributed by Louise Bennett, Middleburg. Reported from Vance 

Go tell Aunt Patsy (three times) 
The old gray goose is dead. 

'T is the one she's been saving, &c. 
To make a feather bed. 

The gander he's a-moanin' 
'Cause his po' wife is dead. 

The goslings they are crying 
Because their mamma's dead. 

Oh, ain't you sorry 

The old gray goose is dead? 


See Gomme, Traditional Games of England, Scotland, and Ire- 
land, I, 51. 

Contributed by Maude Minish Sutton, Forest City, c. 1927. No informa- 
tion as to source. 

As I was crossin' the misty moor, 

I saw three cats at an old mill door. 

One was white and one was black; 

One looked like my granny's cat. 

I went to Ireland on my knees, 

Sowing oats and jingling keys, 

Saw an old woman by the fire. 

Cat's in the dairy in milk to her knees ; 

Hen's on the tree limb crowing for day. 

Rooster's in the barn a-flailing corn ; 

Never seen the like since I been born.-^ 

-^ The only other version of this rhyme I have found is that in Gomme. 
Both bear some resemblance to the "lying song," although the similarity 
is confined to the last lines. It is possible that the whole thing is 
allegorical and that the animals and objects referred to are intended to 
represent certain personages of the time of composition. Such allegorical 
verses were many in Jacobean and Elizabethan times. 



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of Scotland zvithin This Century. Paisley, 1879. 
Neely, Charles. Talcs and Songs of Southern Illinois. Menasha, 

Wis.: George Banta Publishing Co., 1938. 
Newell, W. W. Games and Songs of American Children. New 

York, 191 1. 
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Okkola, Toivo. Suomen kansan kilpa- ja kotilleikejd. Helsinki, 

O'SuiLLEABHAiN, Sean. A Handbook of Irish Folklore. Dublin: 

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Parry, N. E. The Lakhers. London. 1932. 
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Pendrill, Charles. London Life in the 14th Century. New 

York, 1925. 
Phillips, Henry Albert. Meet the Japanese. Philadelphia, 1932. 
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PucKETT, Newbell N. Folk Beliefs of the Southern Negro. 
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Randolph, Vance. The Ozarks: An American Survival of Primi- 
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Reyes, Francisca S., and Petrona Ramos. Philippine Folk 
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On the Trail of Negro Folk-Songs. Cambridge, 1925. 

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Showerman, Grant. Ronw and the Romans. New York, 1932. 

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Stayt, Hugh A. The Baz'enda. London, 1931. 

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Trachtenberg, Joshua. Jewish Magic and Superstition. New 
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from Maryland (MAFLS, xviii). New York, 1925. 

Williams, Alfred. Folk Songs of the Upper Thames. London, 

Williams, Thomas, and James Calvert. Fiji and the Fijians. 
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lads. Chicago, 1928. 

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Ballads (University of Nebraska Studies in Language, Literature, 
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tinued as Zeitschrift fiir Volkskunde. Berlin, 1929 . (Re- 
ferred to as ZdVfV.) 

ZiJRiCHER, Gertrud. Kindcrlicd u. KinderspicI im Kanton Bern. 
Ziirich, 1902. 

Kinderlieder der dcutschcn Schiveiz. Basel, 1926. 


All Down to Sleep, 127 
Animal Song, 89 
Anthony Over. 36 
As We Go Round the Mulherrv 
Bush, 85 

Barber. 41 

Barnyard Chorus, 41 
Base,' 72> 
Battle Game. 43 
Bingo, 154 
Blindman's Buff, 61 
Bounce. Simlin — Sec Skip to 
My Lou 

Captain Oh Flag, 43 
Chase the S(iuirrel, 80 
Chickaniv Chickamy Craney 

Crow— ^t^t' Old Witch 
Clap In, Clap Out, 123 
Club Fist, 66 
Co-Sheep, 81 

Dear Doctor. 134 

Do, Do. Pitv My Case, 86 

Dollar— ^'iv' The Wandering 

Draw a Bucket of Water, 142 
Drop the Handkerchief, 81 

Eleven Up. 158 

Farmer in His Den — Sec 
Farmer in the Dell 

Farmer in the Dell, 146 

Farmyard Chorus — See Barn- 
yard Chorus 

Fifty-Oh, 38 

Flower in the Garden. 127 

Fox and Geese, 82 

Fox in the Corner — See Fox in 
the Morning 

Fox in the Morner — Sec Fox in 
the Morning 

Fox in the Morning. 78 

Frog in the Meadow — See Frog 
in the Middle 

Frog in the Middle. 140 

Genteel Lady, 68 

Go in and Out the Window — 

Sec Marching Round the 

Going Down the Railroad. 155 
Going to Paris, 72 
Goosey Goosey Gander — Sec 

Fox in the Morning 
Go Round the Mountain, 131 
Grandmammv Sent Me to Vou — 

See Old Mother Hobble-Gobble 
Green Grass, 98 
Green Gravel, 36 
Green Grows the Willow Tree, 

Green Leaves, 124 
Green Trees Bending, 87 
Grunt. Pig, Grunt, 57 

Hail Over — Sec Anthony Over 

Happy Is the Miller Boy, no 

Happv Land, i 39 

Hat Ball. 36 

Here Comes Three Dukes a-Rid- 

ing — Sec Three Dukes 
Here I Brew and Here I Bake, 

Hide and Hunt — Sec tlide and 

Hide and Seek, 37 
Hog Drivers — Sec Hog Drovers 
Hog Drovers, 94 
Honey in the Gum — See Green 

Hopscotch. 39 
Horns. 63 
Horse Shoes, 159 
How Far Is It to Molly Bright? 

— See How Manv Miles to 

Babylon ? 
How Alanv Fingers ? 38 
How Many Miles to^Babylon? 

How Many Miles to Boston? — 

Sec How Many Miles to 

Babvlon ? 
Hul Gul. 59 


I Got a Pretty Bird, 158 
Introducing to King and Queen, 

I Put My Right Foot In— 5"t't' 

Looby Loo 
Iron Tag, 74 
I Sail My Ship, 69 
I Spy, 38 
It Mists, It Rains — Sec It Rains 

and It Hails 
It Rains and It Hails, 127 
It Snows, It Blows, 143 
I Went to Visit a Friend One 

Day, 86 

Jack in the Bush, 60 

Jacks. 83 

Jacob and Rachel, 58 

Jenny Jones, 44 

Johnnv. Johnny, So Thev Sav. 

Johnny Miller — See Happy Is 

the Miller Boy 
Jolly Miller, The — Sec Happy Is 

the Miller Boy 
Jolly Old Miller, The— 6"rr 

Happy Is the Miller Boy 

Kicking the Can, 39 

King and Queen — Sec King 
William Was King James's 

Kings of Spain, 93 

King William — Sec King Wil- 
liam Was King James's Son 

King William Was King 
George's Son — See King Wil- 
liam was King James's Son 

King William Was King 
James's Son, 113 

Knock at the Door and Pick 
Up a Pin, 133 

Lady in tlie Dining Room, 55 

Lazy Mary, 55 

Leapfrog, 40 

Little Sally Waters, 130 

Little Sissy, 132 

London Bridge, 137 

London Bridge Is Burning 
Down — See London Bridge 

London Bridge Is Falling Down 
— Sec London Bridge 

London Tow n — 5" e e The 
Needle's Eye 

Looby Loo, 156 

Making Cheeses, 152 

Malaga Grapes, 42 

Marching Around the Love 
Ring — See Marching Round 
the Levee 

Marching Round the Levee, 119 

Marching Through Paradise, 42 

Marching to Jerusalem, 153 

Marching to Quebec, 118 

Miller Bov — See Happv Is the 
Miller Boy 

Miss Susanna Jane, 71 

My Father Oh No! 56 

My Love, What Have I Done? 

My Mamma Sent Me to You — 
See Old Mother Hobble- 

Mumble Peg, 83 

Needle's Eye, The, 108 
No Robbers Out Today, 81 
Nuts in May, 109 

Oats and Beans and Barley, 87 
Oats and Beans and Barley 

Grow — See Oats and Beans 

and Barley 
Oats, Peas, Beans and Barley 

Grows — See Oats and Beans 

and Barley 
Old Cronv, 46 
Old Grannv Hibble-Hobble— 5"^f 

Old Witch 
Old Man Hippetv Hop— See Old 

Old Mother Hobble-Gobble, 84 
Old Peas, Beans and Barley 

Grows — See Oats and Beans 

and Barley 
Old Witch, 48 
On the Carpet, 129 
Open the Gates, 140 

Pease I'orridge Hot, 152 

•Peas Put in Hot — Sec Pease 
Porridge Hot 

Pig Drivers — Sec Hog Drovers 

Pig Drovers — Sec Hog Drovers 

Pig in the Parlor, 107 

Pillow, 133 

Poison, 71 

Poison Stick — Sec I'oison 

Poker Game, 41 

Poppy Shows, 153 

I'retty Girls' Station, 61 

Pretty Girls' Town — Sec Pretty 
Girls' Station 

Priest of Paris Lost His Hunt- 
ing Cap, The — Sec The Prince 
of Morocco 

Prince of Morocco, The, 69 

Prisoner's Base, 72 

Pulling Stick — See Pulling 

Pulling Swag. 143 

Punch Board. 58 

Pussy Wants a Corner. 151 

Quaker Courtship, 123 

Raise the Gates — See Open tlie 

Ranchv Tancliv Teen — Sec Three 

Rig-a-Jig, 128 
Ring Around the Roses — See 

Ring Around the Rosy 
Ring Around the Rosv. i so 
Roley Holey— ^'rr Hat Ball 
Rotten Eggs. 153 

Sail the Shi]), i^^ 

Sally Walker— i>>r Little Sally 

Scissors, 41 
See the Farmer — See Oats and 

Beans and Barley 
See the Rohhers, 140 
Silver and Gold — See Open the 

Simon Says, 65 
Sister Phoehe, 100 
Skip to My Lou, loi 

E X 217 

Snake in the Grass — See Jack in 

the Bush 
Spin the Plate, 65 
Squat Tag, 74 
Stealing Sticks, 80 
Steal Mv Partner — Se'e Skip to 

My Lou 

Tag, 7^^ 

Tap Back, 80 

There Was a Little Miller— ^rc 

Happy Is the Miller Boy 
Thimhle, 64 
Thread the Needle — See The 

Needle's Eye 
Three Bakers. 99 
Three Dukes. 89 
Three Ships, 71 
To Old Quebec — Sec Marching 

to Quebec 
Traveling, 129 
Turn Tag, 74 
Twelve Days of Christmas. 70 

Uncle Johnny's Sick Abed. 132 

Uncle Johnny Sick of Bed — Sec 

Uncle Johnny's Sick Abed 

Molet Battles. 1^2 

Wandering Dollar. The. 63 

Weevily Wheat. 104 

We're Marching Around the 

Love Ring — See Marching 

Round the Levee 
We're Walking on the Levy — 

Sec Marching Round the 

What Had ^'ou for Supper? 71 
When I Was a Young Girl. 86 
Where ^'()U Are. Who You're 

With. Wliat You're Doing, 

Whoopy Hide. 39 

Who Stole the Cardinal's Hat? 

William a Trembletoe. 134, 160 
William and Trembletoe — See 

William a Trembletoe 

2l8 I N 

William Tremle-toe — Sec Wil- 
liam a Trembletoe 
Wink, 154 
Witch in the Jar, 80 

Wrap Jacket, 157 
Wring the Dishrag, 152 

Yankee Soldiers, 43 


Acker, Backer, 168 

A Man of Words and Not of 

Deeds, 202 
Apple Pie, 173 
Arithmetic, 174 
As I Was Going O'er Misty 

Moor, 206 
As I Went Up the Crazy Steeple, 


As I Went Up the Silver Lake, 

Ask Me No Questions, 196 
Asked My Mother for Fifty 

Cents, 171 

Baa, Baa, Black Sheep, 183 

Bee, Bee, Bumblebee, 167 

Bettie Boddie, 197 

Bill, Bill, 177 

Black Eye Piggy Pie, 175 

Bless You. Bonny Bee, 180 

Brow Brinker, 189 

Certain, True, 190 

Charlie Chaplin Went to France, 

Cinderella, 171 
Come, Butter, Come, 181 
Come Up, Charlie, Let's Go to 

Raleigh, 183 
Crosspatch, Draw the Latch. 176 
Crow's Nest, The, i84 
Cry, Baby, Cry, 176 
Cups and Saucers, 167 

Doodlebug, Doodlebug, 182 

Eeny, Meeny, Miney Mo. 162 
Engine, Engine, Number Nine, 

Eve Winker, 189 

Finger Names, 188 

Fly Away, Buzzard. 182 

Friendship Verses, 197 

Go Tell Aunt Rhoda, 204 
Goodnight, Sleep Tight. 196 
Goodv Goodv Gout, 176 
Granny, Will Your Dog Bite? 

Hush-a-bye. Baby. 183 

I Ate (Eight) It, 173 
I See the Moon, 181 
Inscriptions. 200 
Is Mad, 175 

Jack and Jim, 185 

Jiggery-bum, 201 

Joe Monroe, 184 

John, John, the Barber, 195 

Johnny Get Your Hair Cut, 177 

Just Like Me, 172 

Knife or Fork, 174 
Knock at the Door, 190 

Ladybug. Ladybug, Fly Away 
Home. 181 

Last Night and the Night Be- 
fore. 171 

Let the Puppy Dog Lick, 188 

Let's Go to Bed, 177 

Little Robin Redbreast, 203 

Mary at the Cottage Door, 165 
Me and My Wife and a Bob- 
tailed Dog, 190 
Miscellaneous, 191-195 
Monkey. Monkey, Bottle of 
Beer, 164 


Monkey Sittinj^r on a Rail, 178 
More Rain, .\lore Rest, joi 

Mr. a \'ery (.iood Man, 

Mv Mother and \'our Mother, 

New Moon, Xeu Moon, 182 
Nigger, Nis^^ger, Never Die, 179 

O Lord Above, Look D<nvn in 

Love, 178 
Oil, Dear Doctor, 177 
Old Bob White, 18^ 
Old Maid, Old Maid. i8c; 
Old Maria, 199 
One I Love, 180 
Onery. Twoery, Ickery Ann, 163 
One, Two, Buckle My Shoe, 169 
One, Two, Three, 166 
Open Your Mouth and Shut 

^'our Eyes, 202 
Overy Ivory Hickory Ann, 163 

Parody, 200 
Patty-cake, 198 
Peas Porridge Hot, 198 
Puddin' 'n' Tame, 195 

Rabbit Skip, 201 
Rain Come Wet Me, 203 
Rich Man, Poor Man, 180 
Run, Nigger, Run, 203 

Salt, Pepper, Vinegar, 172 
Snake Baked a Hoecake, 201 
Speli,ing Rhymes, 203 
Starlight, Star Bright, 182 

Tliis Is the Church. 187 
This Litde Pig, 185 
Tittletattle Tit, 176 

Wake Up. Jacob. 201 
Went to the River, 190 
William a Trimbletoe, 160 


Edited by 

Paul G. Brewster 



IN NO FOLKLORE collection — be it Southern, Northern, West- 
ern, or Eastern — is there likely to be more than a modicum of 
novelty unless it contains a strong admixture of beliefs and prac- 
tices peculiar to foreign groups now resident in this country. What 
is commonly thought of as American folklore, namely that derived 
from English, Scottisli, or Irish sources, is substantially the same 
wherever it be found, and it is only rarely that we encounter in 
one section of the country a belief or a custom that is without 
parallel in others and indeed in many other lands as well. Among 
the very widely distributed customs and practices are, for example, 
the wearing of "something old and something new" by the bride, 
the stopping of all clocks when a death occurs in the family, the 
coloring of eggs at Easter, taboos regarding menstruation and 
pregnancy, the observing of planting "signs," the burial of a corpse 
so that it faces the east,^ the practice of holding charivaris (bell- 
ings, skimmingtons),- the scaring of children by threatening a visit 
from "Raw Head and Bloody Bones, "-^ and the like. 

Frequently, however, a practice takes on what might be termed 
"local color" and thus varies in some of its details, though not 
essentially, from that observed in other localities. It is of tlie in- 
fre(iuent unique bits of folklore and of the somewhat more numerou> 

^ Among some peoples, exactly the reverse is done. Native Fijians and 
Samoans bury their dead facing the west, as did also the old time Winne- 
bago and other Indian tribes. 

According to tradition Sir Walter Raleigh was requested to face 
the east as he stood on the scaffold awaiting execution. His reply to the 
request is said to have been: "So the heart l)e straight it is no matter 
which way the head lieth." 

- In the case of more primitive races particularly, those are often de- 
signed to express public opprotirium, the unchaste bride or tlie worthless 
groom being subjected to ridicule and gross insult. 

^ The "bugaboo" is not always a supernatural being. Centuries ago 
children of Europe and Asia were terrified into being cpiiet by the mere 
mention of .-Xttila and .-Marie. Later the names of Xapoleon and Claver- 
housc ("Bloody Claver'se") were ecjually efficacious in Western Europe 
and the British Isles, .^nd, in more recent times, thousands of European 
children (and their elders as well) shuddered at the mention of Hitler 
and Mussolini. 

Sometimes, too, it is the members of certain trades of whom children 
are naturally, or are taught to be. afraid— the blacksmith, the butcher, etc. 
Readers of Thomas Hardy will recall in this connection the reddk-man in 
The Return of the Xathe. 


widespread customs and beliefs which have been changed slightly 
by their locale that the pages of this introduction will treat. 

The burning of the father's hat following the birth of his first- 
born is undoubtedly one of the least widespread of practices. Al- 
though the informant gives as the reason for the act the explanation 
that it "cleans the baby's road" and brings good luck to the child, 
we are still at a loss to understand why it should be a part of 
the father's apparel, rather than a part of the mother's, which is 
sacrificed. In some other sections of the country, e.g., southern 
Indiana and Illinois, the hat is snatched from the father's head and 
either thrown away or trampled underfoot on his first appearance 
outdoors after the birth of the baby. The latter custom would 
appear to be merely a refinement of the burning, which is certainly 
the more primitive. 

"Jumping the broom" as a form of the marriage ceremony is 
likewise a practice belonging not only to a limited area but also to 
a particular period, that of slavery times. Jocular allusions to it 
are still to be heard even in parts of the Middle West, but there is 
no indication that "jumping the broom" was ever practiced there. 
The "smock marriage," which was in early times fairly common in 
New England, appears to have been an importation into North 
Carolina and not widely known or practiced either in that state or 
in any other section of the South. 

The keeping of Old Christmas, January 6, instead of or in addi- 
tion to the "man-made" Christmas of December 25 may fairly be 
said to be Southern, although isolated instances of its observance 
have been recorded in other areas. It is not, of course, peculiar to 
North Carolina. The shooting of firecrackers and the discharging 
of firearms at Christmastime are customs rarely, if ever, observed 
anywhere north of the Mason and Dixon Line. In other parts of 
the country this form of noise-making, along with the din of bells, 
horns, whistles, and rattles, is reserved rather for New Year's Eve. 
The Southern fondness for the sound of guns and firecrackers at 
Christmas is probably to be accounted for by the influence of early 
French and Spanish settlers. 

The John Kuners are definitely a North Carolina institution, and 
have no counterpart outside the ceremonies of the Bahamas, where 
they are said to have originated. An exhaustive account of the 
Kuners' festivities has been given by Dougald MacMillan.'* The 
peculiar method of dividing fish or game by a blindfolded man's 
pointing to and thus assigning to each member of the party his 
share of the spoil appears likewise to be indigenous. The practice 
of clay-eating, too, is .Southern, though not restricted to North 

The burial of children face downward is reported as a Negro 

* Dougald MacMillan, "John Kuners," Journal of American Folklore, 
XXXIX, 53-57- 


practice. No hint is given as to its prevalence, and it is quite 
possible that only one isolated instance of it was found. The cus- 
tom is found among certain African tribes, some of which extend 
it to all dead, regardless of age, but it definitely is not followed 
very extensively by Southern Negroes.'' The wearing of hats in- 
doors at a funeral service, reported to have been an importation 
from the North, is also little practiced. In the decorating of graves 
with a multitude of miscellaneous objects,*' and particularly in the 
placing of food on or near the grave, however, we have another 
strange custom of the Southern Negro. This sort of thing may 
occasionally be done by the Negro in other sections, but it is much 
more prevalent among Mexicans and South Europeans. 

The pronouncement that every girl of marriageable age should 
have picked at least enough cotton to fill her shoe is an excellent 
example of the influence of "local color" upon a custom or a 
belief. Tests of this type are to be found among many peoples and 
in many different parts of the world. A few of the others fre- 
quently encountered are the spinning of a certain amount of yarn, 
the weaving of a specified quantity of cloth, etc. 

The prohibition against the mixing of April 30 milk with that 
of May I lest the butter be slow in coming appears to be of local 
origin; at least I have found no parallels to it, nor can I even 
hazard a guess as to the reasoning underlying it. It is to be re- 
gretted that the collector of this particular item did not elicit a 
bit more information from his source. 

In the realm of cookery. Southern recipes have a distinctive 
flavor, with emphasis upon cornbread, corn pone, and the virtues of 
pot likker. No editorial comment needed ; read and drool ! 


When the first boy is born in a home, all his father's hats 
must be burned. "It'll fetch him hick," an old woman on 
Smoky Mountain told the Red Cross nurse who tried to keep 
her from burning all the hats a new father had. "My mammy 
before me follered burnin' hats, an' she said the only man who 
ever begredged a hat wuz the daddy of the triflin'est, no- 

'' However, the Geechce Negroes of Georgia believe that if a family is 
having trouble in raising its children the last one to die should be buried 
face downward and then those born afterward will survive. Sec JAFL, 
xix, 76 fF. 

"Among them such articles as guns and knives, pipes, razors, jewelry, 
toys, false teeth, cups and saucers, musical instruments, spectacles, and 

N.C.F., Vol. I, (16) 


'countest, dirt-eatin'est boy this side of the Ridge. This fire 
cleans the baby's road."^ (Maude Minish Sutton) 

Wet the baby's hair and curl it on the ninth day and it will 
have curly hair.- (Kate S. Russell) v 

A baby should be carried upstairs before downstairs so that 
it will rise in life.^ (Lucille Cheek) 

A child's finger nails should not be cut until he is a year old, 
or you will not be able to raise him. Bite the nails off."* (Lucille 

This belief was reported also by Lucille Massey, Durham county. 

^ Cf. Randolph, Ozark Superstitions, p. 205. This custom is also 
Cornish ; see CfLQ, i, 202-203, and Courtney, Cornish Feasts and Folk- 
Lore, p. 131. 

- JAFL, Lii, 115 (Tennessee — spit on baby's hair and curl it with finger 
to make it curly). 

^ FL, XXV, 349; XXXIV, 326; V, Z37; xxxvin, 179; JAFL, xl, 150 
(Louisiana); xxxvi, 18 (New York); lh, 112 (Tennessee); xxxi, 25 
(Ontario) ; v, 115 (Maryland) ; 11, 27 (Pennsylvania German) ; Puckett, 
Folk Beliefs of the Southern Negro, p. 344; Hole, Eiujlish Folklore, p. 6; 
Hyatt, Folk-Lore from Adams County, Illinois, p. 132; Bergen, Current 
Superstitions, pp. 22-23; Macgregor, Highland Superstitions, p. 44 (if 
no stairs, baby should climb upon chair) ; HFB, 11, 37 ; Gregor, The 
Folk-Lore of the North-East of Scotland, p. 6 (mother to go upstairs 
first after birth of child) ; Simpson, Folklore in Loivland Scotland, p. 
203 ; Whitney and Bullock, Folk-Lore from Maryland, p. 97 ; Balfour and 
Thomas, County Folk-Lore IV, 95 ; Stout, Folklore from loica, p. 143 
(to make child high-minded) ; Earle, Customs and Fashions in Old Neza 
England, p. 5; Carmer, Listen for a Lonesome Drum. p. 364 (Seneca — to 
give child high ideals). This custom was reported also by Mary Pritchard 

* JAFL, u, 27 (Pennsylvania German), 148; iv, 322 (Pennsylvania 
German) ; v. 115 (Maryland) ; vn, 113, 305 (Georgia— to cut nails will 
deform child) ; xu, 103 (Armenian) ; xiv, 33 (Kentucky) ; xviii, 298 
(Newfoundland) ; xlviii, 330 (child will have fits if nails are cut before 
one month) ; xxxi, 13 (Ontario — if nails are cut before six months, child 
will be a thief), 91 (Ontario — child will be a thief if its nails are cut 
before one year), 211 (Illinois — child will be a thief if nails are cut be- 
fore one month) ; lii, 113 (Tennessee — cutting the child's nails before he 
is a year old will make him a thief) ; FL, xxxix, 215 (Italian — child's 
nails not to be cut until he is six months old) ; xxiv. 361 (Quebec — if 
child's nails are cut before he is a year old, he will be bad or have a 
poor memory), 227 (Ontario — child will be a thief if his nails are cut 
before a year) ; FLR, i, 11; Bealoideas, vn, 176 (child's nails not to be 
cut until he is a year old) ; HFB, 11, 35 (if child's nails are cut before 
he is a year old, he will be cross-eyed) ; Pickard and Buley, The Mid- 
west Pioneer, p. 76 (a child's nails should not l)e cut until he is nine weeks 
old) ; Bergen, p. 66 (nails not to be cut before one year) ; Hole, p. 9; 
Hyatt, ]). 134; Puckett, pp. 401-402; Gardner, Folklore from the Schoharie 
Flills, pp. 304-305; Fausct, Folk-Lore from No7v Scotia, p. 198; Addy, 
Household Tales, with Other Traditional Reniains, p. 102 (child will be 
thief if nails are cut before he is a year old) ; Gregor, p. 9; Balfour and 
Thomas, p. 58 (bite child's nails off or it will be a thief) ; Gutch and 
Peacock, County Folk-Lore V. 228 (unlucky to cut child's nails before 



Alonclay's child is fair of face ; 
Tuesday's child is full of God's grace ; 
Wednesday's child is merry and glad; 
Thursday's child is sour and sad; 
Friday's child is Godly given ; 
Saturday's child must work for his living; 
Sunday's child never shall want."' 

( Lucille Cheek) 

Often a mother chews food and puts it into the child's mouth.*' 
(Green Collection, made hy I'aul and l'21izaheth (Jreen in eastern 
and central N. C., 1926-28, and given to the Brown Collection 
in 1945) 

A hahy should be weaned when the sign is going down the 
legs through the feet, never when it is in the head or the heart.^ 
(Green Collection) 

In weaning a baby, use a sugar teat — a small white cloth 
folded in the shape of a nipple and containing a mixture of 
sugar and butter. (Green Collection)- 

it is a year old), 230 (cutting nails before he is a year old makes a thief 
of him) ; Gutch, Counfy Folk-Lore VI (child will die if his nails are 
cut before he is a year old) ; Whitney and Bullock, p. 97 (child will be- 
come a thief if his nails are cut before lie is a year old) ; Henderson, 
Xotcs on the Folklore of the Northern Counties of Fngland and the 
Border, p. 16; Alejandro Guichot y Sierra, Supersficioncs Populares 
Andaluzas (Bihlioteca de las Tradiciones Populares Espaiiolas, i), pp. 
265-266; Stout, p. 143 (bad luck to cut child's nails until it is a year 
old) ; Thiselton-Dyer, English Folklore, p. 278 (bite off child's nails until 
it is a year old or it will be a thief) ; Rogers, Early Folk Medical Prac- 
tices in Tennessee, p. 39. 

" This little rhyme on auspicious and inauspicious birthdays is widely 
known. See Northall, English Folk-Rhymes, p. 161 ; Newell, Games and 
Songs of American Children, p. 203; Fauset, p. 200; F L, vi, 394; Addy, 
p. 119; Bergen, p. 21 ; Hole, p. 3; TFLS. xi, 5; Hyatt, p. 123; Henderson, 
p. 9; Johnson, What They Say in New England, p. 51; JAFL, XL, 
189 (Louisiana), xxxi, 91 (Ontario); Whitney and Bullock, p. 107; 
Thiselton-Dyer, p. 238; Randolph, p. 206; Bolton, The Counting-Out 
Rhymes of Children, p. 115. 

"Randolph, p. 210; McKenzie, The Infancy of Medicine, p. 270 
(allusions to the custom in England, Scotland, and France). Bartholo- 
maeus Anglicus (fl. 1250) writes: "The nurse cheweth meat in her 
mouth, and maketh it ready to the toothless child, that it may the easier 
swallow that meat, and so she feedeth the child when that it is an 
hungered." I saw this done in Southern Indiana about 1910. In this 
instance the chewing was done by the grandmother, whose teeth were 
even more badly decayed than the mother's. 

•Randolph, pp. 49, 210; Hl'B. n, 25; Stout, p. 157 (never wean baby 
when the sign is in the head) ; Thiselton-Dyer, p. 41 (Lithuanian— boys 
to be weaned on wa.xing moon, girls on waning moon ) ; Harley, Moon 
Lore (Scottish — if the child is put away from the breast during the 
waning of the moon, it will decline all the time the moon is waning). 


While weaning a baby, put its nightgown on backwards. 
(Green Collection )\ 

Tie a rabbit foot around the baby's neck so that cutting teeth 
will be easy.*^ (Mildred Peterson) 

A good bite of earthworm will cause a child to cut teeth 
without trouble. (Carolyn Kay Root).^ 

Feeding a child a fried rat keeps it from wetting the bed.^ 
(Green Collection) 

** Since the rabbit is not particularly a digging or clawing animal, it 
is hard to see why its foot should be tied around the baby's neck. A 
much more common practice is to tie around the neck either a mole s 
foot or a groundhog's, hi most instances the only connection of the 
rabbit with teething is the rubbing of its brains on the child's gums or, 
as in some of the following references, the use of the skin of its belly 
as an amulet. 

Puckett, p. 345 (mole's foot) ; FLJ, v, 267 (Virginia — same) ; JAFL, 
Liv, 58 (Illinois — mole's foot on black string) ; iv, 168; xlviii, ^^y (Ten- 
nessee — same) ; xlvi, 3 (Ozarks — same) ; Whitney and Bullock, p. 95 
(same) ; Campbell, Folks Do Get Born, p. 35 (same) ; Hyatt, p. 130 
(same) ; SFQ, ni, 39 (same) ; Rogers, p. 38 (same). 

Other objects used as amulets are many and varied: Bergen, p. 70 
(skin of rabbit belly) ; JAFL, v, in (Maryland — same) ; xxxii, 379 
(Georgia — frog tied around neck) ; Carmer, Stars Fell on Alabama, 
p. 282 (same) ; JAFL, xxxii, 393 (North Carolina — front foot of 
groundhog) ; Aubrey, Rcmaines of Gcntilisme and Judaism, p. 114 
(Irish — wolf's tooth) ; Whitney and Bullock, p. 95 (calf's tooth) ; Earle, 
Customs and Fashions . . . , p. 8 (wolf fangs, fawn's teeth) ; Campbell, 
p. 35 (hog tooth, dog tooth) ; Saxon, Tallant, and Dreyer, Gumbo 
Ya-Ya, p. 247 (cow's tooth), 534 (hog's eyetooth, alligator tooth) ; 
FLJ, I, 380 (Swiss — amber necklace) ; Aubrey, p. 114 (coral) ; Ran- 
dolph, p. 144 (elder twigs, silver coin. Job's tears) ; Thomas, Dez'il's 
Ditties, p. II (necklace of orris root) ; FL, xxiv, 120 (English Jews^ 
same) ; Rodd, The Customs and Lore of Modern Greece, p. 108 (thirty- 
two grains of wheat strung around the baby's neck) ; Brendle and 
Unger, Folk Medicine of the Pennsylivnia Germans, p. 120 (mouse tied 
around neck). 

For mention of rabbit brains rubbed on the gums, see Earle, Customs 
and Fashions . . . , p. 8 ; Randolph, p. 145; Brendle and Unger, p. 119; 
Aurand, The "Potu-U'oic" Book, p. 26; Kanner, Folklore of the Teeth, 
PP- 32-34 (rabbit brains, sheep brains, sparrow brains, honey, butter, 
lard, goat's milk, wine, blood, christening water, etc.). For a long list 
of amulets worn as aids to dentition, see the same work, pp. 34-39. 

" See Black, Nebraska Folk Cures, p. 19 (hind legs of rat fried) ; John- 
son, p. 172; Bergen, p. 79 (rat soup); Gumbo Ya-]'a. p. 526 (roasted 
rat) ; JAFL, xvii, 37 (Bahamas — fried mice or rats) ; FL, xxxvn, 367 
(boiled mouse) ; xxxv, 356 (mouse), xlvii, 363 (Indiana — mouse) , 
SFQ, III, 34 (fried mouse) ; Pickard and Buley, p. 77 (fried-mouse 
pie) ; Hole, p. 34 (fried mice) ; Hyatt, p. 208 (mouse) ; Puckett, p. 386; 
Brendle and Unger, p. 188 (fried mouse) ; Black, Folk-Medicine, p. 159; 
Campbell, p. 40 (fried mouse); FL, lii, 118 (Hungarian — mouse fried 
with egg and given child to eat) ; liv, 293 ("In Norfolk, where roasted 
mouse was a common remedy for bed wetting, the animal was sometimes 


Peas placed in the shoes stop a child's growth.'" (Green 
Collection )'- 

Children are told that the sound of thunder is Cod stepping 
or Ciod speaking.' ' (Green Collection) 

Children are told that the lightning is (iod winking. (Green 

When it is snowing, children are told that the old woman is 
shaking her feather bed.'^ (Green Collection) 

Children were told that jail was a place where bad children 

roasted alive. In Hull three roast mice had to be eaten. In Aberdeen- 
shire the mouse was eaten with a spoon made from a horn taken from 
a living animal known as a 'quick horn spoon.' According to Hovorka 
and Kronfeld, the Magyars give it to the child to eat without his know- 
ing what it is, whereas in Western Bohemia the child must cook the 
mouse himself. In Upper Franconia the parents or relatives bite off 
the head of a living mouse and hang it around the child's neck, or the 
animal is cut up with its skin and hair into mincemeat which is sprinkled 
with sugar and cinnamon before it is given to the child to eat.") 

Mice and rats were and still are highly regarded as cures for other 
things, among them whooping cough. See FL, xxxviii, 401 (boiled 
mouse for whooping cough) ; xlix, 229 (roast mouse for whooping 
cough) ; Liv, 291 (roasted mouse for smallpox) ; Addy, p. 91 (fried rat 
for whooping cough) ; JGLS, n.s., hi, 27 (fried mouse for whooping 
cough) ; Gutch and Peacock, p. 115 (same) ; Gregor, p. 127 (same) ; 
Whitney and Bullock, p. 85 (roasted or fried mice for ague and whoop- 
ing cough; Gutch, County Folk-Lorc J'l, 69 (for croup); Macgregor, 
p. 45 (fried mouse for smallpox). 

^° I have found no exact parallel to this. The usual belief is that to 
step over a child stops his growth. References to the latter are numer- 
ous : Gumbo Ya-Ya, p. 553; JAFL, xl. 150 (Louisiana); xxxviii, 387 
(Jewish) ; vni, 252 (South Carolina Negro) ; xn, 263, 267 (Georgia- 
stepping over person brings bad luck to him) ; xxvn, 246 (South Car- 
olina Negro) ; vi, 66 (Isle of Man) ; 11, 27 (Pennsylvania German) ; 
FL, XXXV, 47 (Czechoslovak); Whitney and Bullock, p. 98; Thorpe, 
Northern Mythology, 11, no (Swedish) ; Leather, The Folk-Lore of 
Herefordshire, p. 113; Puckett, pp. 338, 418; Doke, The Lamhas of 
Northern Rhodesia, p. 212 ("Don't step over another's outstretciied legs 
lest the latter's legs should become heavy") ; FLJ, i, 355 (Magyar) ; 
JAFL, XIX, 211 (Filipino— causes bad luck) ; xx, 245 (North Carolina- 
same) ; Brendle and Unger, p. 20. 

Bealoideas, i, 247 (striking a child with an elder branch stunts him) ; 
Bergen, p. loi (Newfoundland— whipping a child with a mountain ash 
stops his growth) ; Thiselton-Dycr, The Folk-Lore of Plants, p. 292 
(whipping with elder twig stops child's growth) ; Brand, in, 284 
(same) ; Maddox, p. 209 (same). 

'^ Gumba Ya-Ya, p. 557 (God rolling stones or the Devil driving his 
chariot) ; Thorpe, in, 183 (German— Peter [or angels] playing bowls) ; 
Legey, The Folklore of Morocco, p. 48 (a dumb angel trying to talk to 
God) ; JAFL, xix, 210 (Filipino — the growling of a large cat) ; Bett, 
Nursery Rhymes and Tales, p. 17 (Ciod having his coal put in) ; 
Enthoven, p. 76 (the voice of Indra). 

^° Simpson, p. 228 (Scottish — witches from Norway shaking feathers) ; 
Thorpe, in, 183 (German— Peter shaking up his bed). 


were hung up by the neck b}' a rope which had two httle 
blades that would glide out and stick in their necks. (Green 

Children were told that unless they did so and so "Old Raw- 
Head and Bloody Bones" would get them.^-^ (Green Collection) • 

Children are told that the moon is made of green cheese. 
(Green Collection) 

Children were taught that an old mother 'coon found babies 
in the woods and took them to people's homes. (Green 

Children were taught that babies were brought by the stork. ^'^ 
(Green Collection) 

Children were taught that babies are found in hollow stumps 
or sugar barrels.^"' (Green Collection) 

Children were told that the doctor keeps babies in his saddle- 
bags. (Green Collection) 

Children were told that babies are found in hollow stumps, 
laid by a buzzard and hatched by the sun. (Green Collection) 

Children were told that there is a pot of gold waiting at the 
end of the rainbow. ^"^ (Green Collection) 

Children are told that the Man in the Moon was put there 
for gathering sticks on Sunday.^" (Green Collection) 

^'' Gutch and Peacock, County Folk-Lore J\ 58; Hardwick, Traditions, 
Superstitions, and Folklore, p. 131. 

'^* JAFL, XL, 150 (Louisiana); Stout, p. 142 (brought by stork or 
found in straw piles) ; Whitney and Bullock, p. 94 (brought by stork 
or found in cabbage) ; Thiselton-Dyer, The Folk-Lorc of Plants, p. 26 
(found in parsley-bed, brought by stork or woodpecker, found in cab- 
bage or hollow tree). 

^■'' Hyatt, p. Ill; JAFL, xl, 150 (found in cabbage patch). 

^"JAFL, XXXI, 8 (Ontario) ; Kidd, The Essential Kafir, p. 113 ("The 
Mashonas say that if anyone manages to run to the spot where the 
rainbow rests on the earth he will find a large brass ornament") ; Werner, 
Myths and Legends of the Bantu, p. 233. 

^' See Abbott, Macedonian Folklore, p. 69; Thiselton-Dyer, p. 48 
(refers to Numbers 15:32 — "And while the children of Israel were in 
the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath 
day") ; Thorpe, i, 143 (Swedish — spots on moon are children carry- 
ing water in bucket) ; Porteous, Forest Folklore. Mythology, and Ro- 
mance, p. 267 (Cain taken to moon for bringing briars as an offering; 
Isaac carrying wood for his own sacrifice ; woman who was placed in 
the moon for churning on Sunday) ; Harley, p. 23 (man carrying cab- 
bages stolen on Christmas Eve ; man who strewed briars on the path 
to the cliurch in order to keep people from attending mass), 53 (a 

n r, I. 1 K F S AND CUSTOMS 23I 

LhiUlrcii l)clic\e that if they address a granddaddy loiiglegs 
with "Daddy Longlegs, wliich way are my cows?" he will indi- 
cate their whereabouts by pointing one of his legs.^** ((jreen 

At Easter the children always select a nest for the rooster 
to lay in, and on Easter morning they visit it to find colored 
eggs. Egg hunts are the usual thing, and at these the children 
"pip" eggs with each other. Each takes an egg and they crack 
the eggs together to see which will not get broken. Various 
games are played. Everyone in the community serves eggs 
prepared in various ways at all the meals on Easter Day.^^ 
(Ciertrude Allen Vaught).,/ 

If the hair of a child is washed in the juice of a grapevine, 
it will be glossy and pretty.-*' (Mildred Peterson) 

When you hear the whippoorwill or when the dogwood 
blooms, it is time to go barefooted.-^ (Elizabeth Janet 

woman in the moon), 60 (a hare in the moon), 69 (a tuad in tlic moon) ; 
Enthoven, p. 50 (spinning woman, with goat near by). 

FL, XXIV, 77 (Oxfordshire) — 

The man in the moon was caught in a trap 
For stealing the thorns out of another man's gap. 
If he had gone by and let the thorns lie, 
He'd never been a man in the moon so high. 

For literary allusions to the lielief, see Tempest, n. 2, and Midsummer 
Night's Dream, i, 3. 

^"JAFL. XXIV, 319 (Kentucky); vii. 306 xl, 89 (Ozarks) ; Bergen, 
PP- 58-59, 1048; Gardner, p. 275; Callaway, The Rclicjious System of the 
Amazidu, p. 339 (boys use the bird called Isi pnngumangati for same 
purpose, the bird pointing the direction with its head ; the praying mantis 
is also used) ; Randolph, p. 48. 

"' Puckett, p. 55; Hardwick, pp. 71-72; JAI'L. xn, 106-107 (Armen- 
ian — coloring and breaking eggs) ; xvi, 138 (Syrian — breaking Easter 
eggs) ; FL, xxviii, 450, 452; xxv, 373 (Jersey) ; Gumbo Va-Va, p. 573; 
Whitney and Bullock, pp. 116-117; Abbott, pp. 35, 37; Gutch, Comity 
Folk-Lore IL 245; Balfour and Thomas, County Folk-Lore IT. 70, 108"; 
British Calendar Customs (England), 1, 89-91 ; British Calendar Cus- 
toms (Scotland), i, 45-46. 

-"Hyatt, p. 143; JAFL, xl. 82 (Ozarks); xlvi, 3 (Ozarks); Follc- 
Say (1930), p. 162 (Ozarks); Randolph, p. 164; Brendle and Ungcr, j). 
loi (makes mustache heavy!). 

-^ Randolph, p. 70 (go baref(X)ted on May i and you may leave your 
shoes off with impunity until snow flies). According to Wilson (Pass- 
ing lustitutiniis. p. 177), one was to begin going barefooted at sheep- 
shearing time. 



Tops. — Tops were made by cutting a spool in half and insert- 
ing a small wooden peg for a spindle.-- (Clara Hearne) 

Dolls. — Dolls were made from hickory nuts, from raisins and 
figs, from May Pop bloom (man), from althea bloom (lady), 
from immature corn, using the silks for hair.-'^ ( Jean and 
Hallie Holeman) — Dolls were made from plants with long roots. 
(Gertrude Allen Vaught) — Dolls and animals were made from 
cloth. (Clara Hearne) — Rag dolls were made of cloth, and 
jumping jacks of wood. (Nilla Lancaster) 

Boats. — Boats were made from pine bark. Sails were made 
by pasting paper on a small reed or broom straw. (Clara 

Popguns. — Popguns were made from alder; cedar balls were 
used as missiles.-^ (Clara Hearne) 

Whistles. — Whistles were made of reeds. (Gertrude Allen 

-- Playing with tops was a very ancient pastime. Whipping the top 
is mentioned by Vergil (Acncid, Bk. vn, line 378), and the sport was 
probably old even at that time. Top-playing was popular in England 
at least as early as the fourteenth century (Gomme, n, 299-303). Both 
Strutt (pp. 304-305) and Maclagan attest to its popularity in England 
and Scotland respectively. Allusions to it appear also in the plays of 
Shakespeare, the poems of Greville and Thomas More, and elsewhere 
in English literature. 

Tops are or were among the favorite toys of Koreans and Japanese 
(Culin, p. 24), of the Maori (Best, p. 86), of the Hawaiians (Bryan, 
p. 51), of the Singhalese (Ludovici, p. 39), of the peoples of India 
(Mills, p. 64;"Hutton, p. 105), and of many American Indian tribes 
(Culin, "Games." p. 733). 

They were made not only of wood but also of stone, shells, and other 
materials. Some were so made as to produce a humming sound ; many 
were decorated with bright-colored bits of shell to make them more 

"'' Although not reported, there were undoubtedly dolls made of corn 
husks as well. Dolls of this kind are still being made in the Southern 
Highlands; see Eaton, p. 188. In the U.S.S.R., favorite materials for 
the making of dolls are straw and grasses. For illustrations, see Kor- 
shunov, lijnishki sa»iodcIki, pp. 72-73. 

"^ The earliest allusion to the popgun, originally called potgun, appears 
in an English comedy, The Kni(jlif of Grainc (1640). There are allusions 
also in Marston's The Malcontent (iv, v) and in the Philasfcr of Beau- 
mont and Fletcher (i, i), where the term elder-gun is used. In Korea 
and Japan the name of papergun was given it because of the fact that 
paper wads were used as ammunition (Culin, p. 29). 

For descriptions and other information, see Strutt (p. 300) and Mac- 
lagan (p. 172). The popgun was known in India, Ceylon, and among 
the Cheyenne, Fox, Omaha, and other American Indian tribes (Culin, 
"Games," p. 758). 

Irish lads make a popgun from the wing-bones of the goose. To make 
this (iunnai Gc, they punch tlie marrow out of the hone, insert a wooden 
plunger whittled to fit the hole, and shoot it in the same way that 
American boys shoot a gun made of alder. Paper wads are used for 
ammunition. See Bealoidcas, .\v (1945), 281-282. 

U 1-; I. I I'. |- S A N 1) t" V S T O M S J33 

Vaught) — Whistles were made from rye stalks. (Cjertrude 
Allen Vaught) — Sourwood sprouts were used to make whistles 
in the spring of the year when the "sap was up." Goose (juills 
made excellent "squealers."-'' (Green Collection) — -Whistles 
were made of s(|uash vines. (Green Collection) 

Windmills. — Windmills were made of wood or cornstalks.-*' 
(Gertrude Allen Vaught) 

IVatcr Mills. — Water mills were made of cornstalks. (Cireen 

Doll Dishes. — Cups were made from acorns. ((Gertrude 
Allen Vaught) — Dishes were molded from clay. Nilla Lan- 

U'ayoHS and Carts. — These were made from cigar hoxes and 
spools. (Clara Hearne) 

Animals. — Horses, dogs, cats, and other animals were made 
from cornstalks. (Clara Hearne) 

Bean Shooters. — Bean shooters were made from a fork of 
the dogwood.-" (Clara Hearne) 

Slings. — No description. (Gertrude Allen Vaught) — No 
description.-*^ (Green Collection) 

Bubble Blotvers. — These were made of spools. (Clara 
Hearne) — Spools were used as bubble blowers. (Green Col- 
lection ) 

Stick Horses. — Tobacco sticks were used for "horses."-^ 
(Green Collection) 

Clothing. — Hats and aprons were made of leaves. (Ger- 
trude Allen Vaught) 

" Boys in Southern Indiana still make whistles from hickory and 
willow just as I did more than thirty years ago. The hickory is also 
used for the making of whips. The bark of a long slender hickory hmb 
is split longitudinally into four or more strands. These are peeled down 
to within about fifteen inches of the butt, and the limb is cut off at this 
point. Then the strands of bark are plaited and a cracker, also of bark, 
is added. 

^'^ See Strutt (p. 307) for a painting, over five hundred years old, of 
a children's windmill. 

"Apparently these were what are now more commnnly called "nigger- 
killers," consisting of a forked stick, two rul)ber bands, and a small bit 
of leather to hold the missile. 

-* Our slings (c. 1910) required the following materials: two strong 
cords about eighteen inches long and a piece of soft leather, preferably 
the tongue of a lady's shoe. The latter was cut in the form of an oval 
about three inches long, and a hole was made in each end for tying the 
cords. A small slit was cut in the center so that the pebble missile 
would not slip out so easily. .\ loop was then made in the free end of 
one of the cords and this \vas slipped over the little finger of the throw- 
ing hand. The free end of the other string was held between thumb and 
forefinger. When the sling had been whirled around the bead two or 
three times, this string was suddenly released and the pebble was on its 
way toward the mark. , 

-* See Strutt (p. 300) and Culin (p. ii) . 


Wooden Guns and Sxvords. — Mentioned but not described. 
(Nilla Lancaster) 

Crosshozvs. — Mentioned but not described. (Green Col- 

Bows and Arrows. — No description. (Green Collection) — 
No description. (Nilla Lancaster) — Bows were made from 
cedar; reeds were used for arrows.-^" (Clara Hearne) 

Blate ( Bleat?) or Hawk-caller. — This consisted of a split stick 
with a leaf tongue. (Green Collection) 

Gigs. — Gigs made from dining forks and umbrella ribs were 
used in catching fish and frogs in ditches and other shallow 
water. (Green Collection) 

5a//j.— Mentioned but not described. (Nilla Lancaster) — 
"Tra-ball" made of yarn or cotton usually ravelled from worn 
stockings. The name is from the ancient game of trap-ball or 
trap-bat. (Green Collection) 

Flippers. — These were made from strong, springy wood like 
hickory or oak. A small limb or the trunk of a small tree was 
used. They were left round on one end for a handle. The 
other end was shaped oft' much like the half of a bow. They 
were held with one hand, while the other hand was used to 
hold a small pebble to shoot out for a distance of forty to fifty 
yards. Small boys used to use them in war games. (Green 

Kites. — Country boys made them out of dried dog-fennel 
stalks.'" (Green Collection) — Mentioned but not described. 
(Clara Hearne) 

Whirligig. — The whirligig is undoubtedly a folk-toy. It is 
somewhat similar to a little device used by the ancients for 

^" The favorite bow of boys in Scotland was one made of a horse's rib 
(Maclagan. pp. 44-45)- 

■" It appears that the kite was invented about 200 B.C. by a Chinese 
general, one Han-Sin, who used it for signaling. From China, kite- 
flying spread to Japan, Siam, Korea, and Turkey. The kite was intro- 
duced into Europe in the seventeenth century, and instructions for mak- 
ing it appeared first in England in John Bate's Mysteries of Nature and 
Art (1634). Mention of it occurs a little later (1664) in Butler's 

Among the Melanesians kites were used as corks by fishermen, who 
tied their lines to them. In England they were sometimes loaded witli 
fireworks and then sent aloft, where the fireworks exploded. Musical 
kites were made by attaching flutes, lyres, hollow bits of bamboo, or 
perforated shells to the frame. 

.A. favorite pastime, particularly in Korea and New Zealand, was kite- 
fighting, i.e., the cutting of one's kite string by that of another. Ground 
glass or coarse sand was rubbed on the strings to make them rough. 
This sport was indulged in even by men, who often wagered large sums 
on their respective kites. 

For additional information on tlie sul)ject, sec Culin, and Laufer, 
"The Prehistory of Aviation." 


boring liolcs. It is whittled out of wood in the shape of an 
arrow about ten inches long. This rod is split at the top and 
a thread is inserted. Then a notch is cut in each end of another 
thin board about four inches long and one inch wide, and a hole 
is bored in the center of it. This is slipped over the top of 
the arrow, and its ends are tied with the threads. Children 
put their tingers on the board, press down, and the arrow re- 
volves.-^- (Zilpah Frisbie)^ 

Stilts. — Mentioned but not described.-" ((ireen Collection) 
Miscellaneous. — Hog bladders blown up and dried, kept to 
make a noise on Christmas Day (Green Collection) ; rolling 
the hoop (Green Collection); making of snow men-'*^ ((ireen 
Collection) ; the making and playing of cornstalk fiddles*''"^ 
(Green Collection) ; the making of saddles from pea hulls and 
of baskets from peach seeds, ((ireen Collection) 


A filmy yellow parasite called the love vine grows densely 
along hedges and creek banks in the South. A handful of it 
is torn from the parent bush by the girl who seeks to know her 
fate, and thrown backward over her left shoulder. If it grows, 
her lover is true.'^*' (Maude Minish Sutton) 
To have good luck, the bride must wear 

Something old and something new 
Something borrowed and something blue.-"*' 

(Jean and Hallie Holeman, Durham county) > 

'' Native craftsmen, particularly those working in metal, in many 
lands use a drill of this kind. A similar device was used in olden times 
for making fires. 

'^ The North Carolina term most commonly used seems to be "Tom 
Walkers" ; in Louisiana the name applied to stilts is "George Walkers" 
(Gumbo ya-]'a, p. 572). For descriptions and illustrations, see Culin 
(p. 8) and Strutt (pp. 66, 303). 

"* The making of snow men is a favorite sport also of Korean children 
(Culin, p. 8). _ 

'''' In Yorkshire, children scraped the stems of a plant known as "fiddle- 
wood" across each other ; see Thiselton-Dyer, The Folklore of Plants. 
P- 235. 

For a photograph of a cornstalk fiddle, see Eaton, p. 271. 

"See Puckett, p. 327: J.-iFL. xl, 80 (Ozarks), 155 (Louisiana); 
XLvni, 333 (Tennessee); II F, vi. 23: Bergen, p. 50; Randolph, p. 172 
(love vine or dodder) ; HFR. 11, 31 ("Live Forever" and yellow 
dodder) ; Carmer, Stars Fell on Alabama, p. 281 ; Barker, p. 252. 

"Gardner, p. 302; HF, vi, 20; HFR, 11, 37; J.-iFL, vi, 103 (New 
England) ; x, 77 (Canada) ; v, 114 (North Carolina) ; xxxi. 28. 97 
(Ontario), 207; xxxvi, 10, 21 (New York); xl, 158 (Louisiana — "and 
a bit of silver in the heel of her shoe") ; Stout, p. 147; Thorpe, 11, 113 
(Swedish — if the bride dances with money in her shoes, no witchcraft 
can harm her) ; Crawley, The Mystic Rose, 11, 05 (in Morocco, the 
bride's brother places a silver coin in one of her slippers, puts them on 
her feet, and then taps her three times with his own slipper). 


An old Southern custom was for the bridesmaids to put the 
bride to bed on her wedding night. •^''* (Mrs. Norman Herring), 

If you laugh while being married, you will die early. (Mrs. 
Norman Herring) '^ 

Alarry in white, choose all right ; 
IMarry in blue, always be true ; 
Marry in green, ashamed to be seen ; 
Marry in brown, live out of town ; 
Marry in black, you'll wish you were back ; 
Marry in pink, your spirit will sink ; 
Marry in yellow, ashamed of your fellow ; 
Marry in tan, you'll get a good man ; 
Marry in red, you'll wish you were dead ; 
Marry in pearl, you'll live in a whirl ; r 

]\Iarry in gray, you'll live far away.^** / 

(Mrs. Norman Herring) 

It is the custom in the South to throw rice and old slippers 
after the married couple. It is thought to bring them good 
luck.^" (Zilpah Frisbie) '^ 

An old slave custom was to "jump the broom" instead of 
having a marriage ceremony. "'^ (Mrs. Norman Herring) */ 

•■'*' Cf. Earle, Customs and fashions .... p. 73 ("In Marblehead the 
bridesmaids and groomsmen put the wedded couple to bed"). 

"^ For other texts and variants of this rhyme, see JAFL, xl, 158 
(Louisiana) ; xxxvi, 10; xxxl 27 (Ontario) ; FL, xlix, 152 (Ne- 
braska) ; xxvni, 452; Randolph, pp. 189-190; Stout, p. 149; MAFLS, 
XXIX, 149; TFLS, HL 29; Hyatt, p. 168; Johnson. What They Say in 
Xczc England, p. 131; (jardner, p. 301; Puckett, p. 330; Thomas and 
Thomas. Kentucky Sut^ersfitions, p. 64; Fogel. Beliefs and Superstitions 
of the Pcnnsyhcvnia Germans, p. 70; Poison, Our Highland Folklore 
Heritage, p. 13; HF, vi, 22. Green, from its association with the fairies 
and with the supernatural in general, is particularly ill-omened. See, on 
this point, Gutch and Peacock, County Folk-Lore l\ 146; Gutch, County 
Folk-Lore H, 290; Gutch, County Folk-Lore I'l, 81, 128; Whitney and 
Bullock, p. 17; FLR, I, 12. 

^''JAFL. XXXVI, 10; Abbott, p. 177; FLR. in, 133 (rice and zn'heat 
thrown at the wedding of Henry VII in i486); Stout, p. 147; Rodd, 
p. 95 (rice and cotton seed thrown) ; Hutchinson. Marriage Customs in 
Many Lands, p. 8 (Hindu). Old shoes were formerly thrown after 
English whalers to bring them luck (Bassett, Legends and Superstitions 
of the Sea. p. 437)- In some parts of England icheat was thrown on 
the head of the bride, a custom which is found also among Hebrews 
and Sicilians ( Dennys, The Folk-Lore of China, p. 15. note). In Russia 
the priest threw hops on the bride's head, at the same time expressing 
the wish that she might be as fruitful as that plant. The throwing of 
wheat at English weddings is mentioned by Herrick. Corn (wheat?) 
was formerly thrown at Italian weddings ; see Thiselton-Dyer, The 
Folk-Lore of Plants, p. 153. 

"See Botkin, Lay My Burden Down, pp. 65. 86, 91. 124. 263; M, 
Eileen Lyster, "Marriage over the Broomstick," JGLS, n.s., v, 198- 
201; II, 343-344; III, 178; O.S., I, 179, 351; FL, xiir, 238; XXIV, 336-337 

1! K 1. I K K S A X U C r S T () M S 237 

Old shoes should he thrown after the hride to hring her 
luck.-*- (Mrs. Norman Herring) y 

Sometimes women wore smocks, so they just stood in the 
closet during the marriage ceremony. -••' ( Rehecca Willis)/ 

(Gypsy); Gumbo Yii-Ya, p. 569; Thomas, Devil's Ditties, p. 8 (as part 
of a play-party song). 

Allusions to the custom occur also in nursery rhymes. For tlie fol- 
lowing example, I am indelned to my mother, Mrs. Nancy E. Brewster, 
who learned it in Southern Indiana some si.xty years ago. 

^ly dollies are going to get married ; 

It's simple as simple can he. 

They hotli jump over the hroomstick, 

•A.nd then they are married, you see. 
In a Missouri German wedding ceremony descrihed in JAI'l. (.xxi, 
63) the hride and groom take their stand on one side of a held, the 
latter holding a hroom. The young single men of the party race toward 
them from the opptosite side of the field. The winner seizes the broom, 
and it is believed that lie will be the next bridegroom. 

Samter {Ccburt, Hoch::cif, iind Tot) thinks that the purpose of 
jumping was to elude evil spirits. He writes: "A person who has fallen 
into such undesirable company (ghosts) has thus a simple and obvious 
method of giving liis companions the slip ; he has only to step over a 
besom. The ghosts, with the usual stupidity of their kind, do not think 
of walking round, and dare not follow." Another suggestion is that 
the broonistick was probably originally a branch of a sacred tree and 
the jumping over it was intended to promote the fertility of the bride. 
It is possible also that the jumping may originally have been a virginity 
or chastity test (cf. the dancing in some of the English and Scottish 
popular ballads). 

Although "marriage over the broomstick" was occasionally practiced 
by the Gypsies, their standard marriage ceremony appears to have con- 
sisted in the breaking of an earthen jar (e.g., in the marriage of 
Esmeralda to Gringoire in The Hunchback of Notre Dame). The 
breaking of crockery at marriage ceremonies was a distinctive feature 
also among the Jews, Greeks, Bohemians, and otiicr peoples (Crawley, 
n, 94, 134; Westermarck. The History of Human Marriat/e, u. 4^9- 
462 ; Leared, Morocco and the Moors, p." 3" ) . 

It is interesting to note that jumping or stepping over a broom is also 
believed to bring one bad luck, cause one not to be married, etc. See, 
for example, JAFL, .\l, 172 (never step over broom), 173 (if one steps 
over a broom, he will never be married) ; HPB, u. 26 (bad luck to step 
over broom) ; Randolph, pp. 74, 182; Stout, p. 145 (if one steps over 
a broom, will be an old maid), 148 (if one steps over a broom, will 
never marry); Barker, p. 247; CTLQ. iv, 431 (don't step over hroom 
if a married man !). 

*" Cf. JATL, XL, 157 (Louisiana); Thiselton-Dyer, p. 203: Gutch 
and Peacock, County J-olk-Lore \\ p. 233. The throwing of a shoe was 
originally a symbol of renunciation of control (cf. Ruth. 4:7-8). The 
throwing of shoes at modern weddings is symbolic of tiie relatives' re- 
linquishment of the bride to her husband. 

*"" Altliough the contributor has not made it i)Iain. i)otli tliis and the 
following custom are connected with the Englisii "debt-evading" mar- 
riage, which was later transplanted into New England social life and 
apparently into that of the South as well, though it appears never to have 
been so prevalent there. In eighteenth-century England the belief pre- 
vailed that if a widow were "married in Her Smock without 'any Clothes 


Women often waited until they got outside to put on their 
wedding dresses so they could cut off the past entirely. 
(Rebecca Willis J - 

Weddings in my community are generally home affairs. 
Usually the couple is married late in the afternoon and drive 
to some of the groom's relatives, where they take supper. All 
his intimate friends are invited and after supper, games are 
played and songs, almost always love songs, are sung. The 
first night in their home they are "belled." A large crowd of 
friends get together and have bells, tin pans, guns — in fact, any- 
thing that will make a noise — and then proceed after dark to 
the house. Quite often the crowd is invited in by the bride 
and groom, and games are played. I have helped with a num- 
ber of "bellings" myself."*^ (Gertrude Allen Vaught)^ 

It was a custom at country weddings for the groom to give 
a reception to the bride and the bridal party after the wedding. 
This was called the infair."*'^ (Elizabeth Janet Cromartie)., 

or Head Gier on," the husband would not be liable for any debts con- 
tracted by his new wife before her marriage to him, and many records of 
such "debt-evading" marriages appear. In New England it was thought 
that if the bride were married in her shift on the king's highway a cred- 
itor was prohibited from following her person any further in pursuit of a 
debt. Mention of these so-called "smock-marriages" occurs frequently 
in the records of that time. Sometimes they took place on the highway, 
sometimes at the home of the bride, and occasionally at the home of the 
groom. Usually, with some regard to the bride's modesty, they were 
held at night, the groom having his bride's wedding dress ready for her 
to don as soon as the ceremony was finished. Later the bride stood 
unclothed in a closet and reached out her hand to her husband through 
a hole cut in the door for that purpose. 

For additional information on this curious custom, see Gutch and 
Peacock, Comity foIk-Lorc /', p. 234; JAFL, vi, 100 (New England) ; 
and Earle, CusfoDts and Fashions . . . , pp. 77-78. There is an allusion 
to it also in PL, xlix, 193. Andrews (Colonial folkivays, p. 89) writes: 
"In one instance the lady stood in a closet and extended her hand 
through the door, and in another, well authenticated, both chemise and 
closet were dispensed with." 

** "Bellings" or charivaris are still popular in this part of the country 
(Indiana) as w-ell, not only in the rural sections but also in fairly good- 
sized towns. They have become rather rough affairs, however, since 
everyone feels free to attend and many of them are there only for the 
beer and liquor that are usually offered. The poor groom is sometimes 
used pretty roughly, occasionally being taken for a ride in a hog crate or 
otherwise humiliated. This horseplay is usually of short duration, how- 
ever, particularly if the groom proves generous in the matter of refresh- 
ments for the crowd. The bride is never molested except for being made 
the victim of some rude but not unkindly banter. 

See JAFL, xxxl 136 (Ontario) ; Southern Literary Messcnucr, vi 
(1944), 281-286 (Ozarks) ; Trachtenberg, Jeivish Magic and Super- 
stition, p. 160; and Holliday, Woman's Life in Colonial Days, p. 272, 
Wuttke, p. 185. 

*■'' For mention of this custom, see Thomas, pp. 1-8. An infair dinner 
is the subject of one of James Whitcomb Riley's poems, "A New Year's 
Time at Willards's." 



A pregnant woman cannot make pickle successfully/" ((ireen 
Collection) ^ 

To sit over a pot of stewed onions will cause a miscarriage.'''^ 
(Carolyn Kay Root) • 

An expectant mother should not have her teeth pulled."*** 
(F.unice Smith) y 


Cows kneel at midnight on the eve of Old Christmas. ■*•' 
(\V. S. Smith) 

*'^FL, XLix, 231 (a pregnant woman is not to help in butchering or 
meat-curing) ; Randolph, p. 195 (a pregnant woman must not help with 
canning) ; Toor, A Treasury of Mcxicau Folkways, pp. iii, 157; Wallis, 
Rcliyion in Primitive Society, p. 95 (Fiji— a pregnant woman must not 
make pottery lest the clay crack); Crawley, i. 199 (Fiji— a pregnant 
woman must not minister to her husband in any way) ; Campbell, p. 37 
(Negro — if a pregnant woman cleans out a spring, it will go dry) ; 
Webster, Taboo, p. 51 (Ba-ila of Northern Rhodesia— the presence of a 
pregnant woman causes the skulls of newborn babies and puppies to 
split, fruit to drop from trees, and eggs under a setting hen to crack), 
p. 52 (Nyasaland — a pregnant woman is to be kept away from growing 
crops, from food being cooked, and from beer that is being brewed) ; 
Dennys, p. 49 ( China — a pregnant woman is possessed of the evil eye ) . 

Much the same prohibitions and taboos apply to the menstruating woman 
or girl. See Hyatt, p. 37 (flowers die when planted by a menstruating 
woman); FL, Lvi, 270 (a menstruating girl spoils the butter); xxxvii, 
97 (Gypsy — a menstruating woman is not to help with the preparing of 
food); XL. 386 (a menstruating girl turns wine sour) ; JAFL, lh, 75; 
xxxvHL 388 (Jewish — a menstruating woman not to touch the ark or 
the scroll of the law), 398 (Jewish — a menstruating woman not to enter 
a cemetery) ; xlh, 235 (a menstruating woman not to can fruit or make 
kraut) ; xl, 83 (Ozarks — not to pickle cucumbers) ; Puckett, pp. 423- 
424; Nassau, F-etichism m West Africa, p. 189 (a menstruating woman 
not to enter a garden) ; Burriss, Taboo. Magic. Spirits, p. 43 (citing 
Pliny, VH, 63) ; Kemp, p. 44 (not allowed to approach hearth). 

*' Hyatt (p. 122) lists this as a means for securing an easy delivery. 
A Jewish woman desirous of bringing about an aburtion nails a slioe 
above the door {Edotli, 1, 126). 

** ". . . it has not been very long since even in the medical and dental 
profession the belief prevailed that the mciuth of a pregnant woman is an 
inviolate Noli-me-tangere for operative procedure and that dental care 
should be deferred until after childbirth. Extraction of teeth during 
pregnancy was dreaded as fatal for the successful conclusion of the 
parturition and harmful to the mother. This is exactly the popular 
opinion as found almost everywhere in the civilized world as well as 
in the uncivilized" ( Kanner, Folklore of the Teeth, p. 29). 

*^JAFL, XL, 93 (Ozarks). 191 (Louisiana); \, 130 (Pennsylvania 
German); xi. 12 (Maryland); \n, 98 (North Carolina); xxxn, 393 
(North Carolina) ; TL, xxv, 368 (Sussex) ; JCLS. n.s., iii, 21: British 
Calendar Customs ( F-nc/land ). 11. 74-75: Cutch, County I-olk-Lore 11, 
114: Whitney and Bullock, p. 128; Thomas, p. 18; R?ndolph, pp. 77 
78; Hole, p. 78. 


Exactly at midnight on the night of Old Christmas, all cattle 
and horses everywhere stand up and then lie down on the other 
side."*^ (Susie Spurgeon Jordan) 

Horses talk at Old Christmas.^^' (W. S. Smith) 

Water turns to blood on midnight of Old Christmas. "^^ 
(W. S. Smith) ■ 

It was believed that at Old Christmas, animals got down on 
their knees and turned to the East.-"^ (Green Collection) 

Hop vines spread out on Old Christmas even if there is snow 
on the ground.''^ (Mabel Ballentine) 

The custom with Negroes around here is that whenever you 
say, "Christmas gift," they say, "Hand it over."-'''' (Elizabeth 
Janet Cromartie) 

Some people shoot firecrackers on the Fourth of July, but 
we shoot them on Christmas.-^" (Elizabeth Janet Cromartie) 

At Christmas time, put mistletoe over the door. Any girls 
standing under it may be kissed. •''' (Elizabeth Janet Cromartie) 

Never keep Christmas decorations up after the twelfth day 
after Christmas."'^ (Robert E. Long) ^,^ 

In Wilmington on Christmas Eve. John Kuners. Negroes, 
went about singing, dressed in tatters with strips of gay colors 
sewn to their garments. All were men. but some dressed as 
women. They wore masks. Some rattled beef ribs ; others 
had cow horns, triangles, Jew's-harps. They collected pennies at 
each house. This custom resembles that reported from the 
Bahamas, and the name is thought to have originated from 
that of a man, John Connu. It is corrupted there to Junk- 
anoes:'^ (Green Collection) 

'''' Thorpe, n, 272 (Danish); ui, 330 (Dutch). 

^'^JAFL, XL, 148 (Louisiana). See also Carmer. Stars Fell on Ala- 
bama, p. 282. 

"Whitney and Bullock, p. 128 (water turns to wine) ; JAFL. xu. 99 
(Armenian — all rivers and springs stop for five minutes at midnight on 
New Year's Eve) ; Randolph, p. yy (water in wells turns to wine at mid- 
night of January 5). 

"'^ See Gutch, County Folk-Lore //. 278: FL. xxiv, 89; Balfour and 
Thomas, Cou)ity Folk-Lore IV, 80. 

'''JAFL, xxxn, 393 (North Carolina — rosemary and poke): Thomas, 
p. 18 (Kentucky — alder); Thorpe, ui, 148 (German — hops become green 
on Christmas night). 

"•"'See Gumbo Va-Ya, pp. 231, 570. 

^'^ Ibid., p. 572; Barker, p. 183. 

•"^^ See Gutch, County Folk-Lore VI, 118; Whitney and IJullock, p. 129; 
Hardwick, p. 67. This custom is, of course, universal. Others con- 
tributing it were Louise Bennett. Lida Page, Zilpah Frisbie, Alma Irene 
Stone, and Gertrude Allen Vaught. 

"Randolph, p. y2>'< British Calendar Customs (, n, 92; JAFL, 
V, 243 (Irish); xxxL 8 (Ontario — take down before end of month); 
Gutch, County Folk-Lore VL 118; Whitney and Bullock, p. 129. 

^'' See Dougald MacMillan's article in JAFL. xxxix, 53. 

R K I. I K F S A X n (• r S T () M S 24I 

In some parts of tliis county it is the custom to observe what 
is known as Old Christmas. Opinion varies as to the (late; 
some think it is the tifth and some the sixth of January. This 
dav is believed l)v the people who keej) it to be the real Christ- 
mas, the birthday of Christ. They say the Christmas we 
regularlv keep is the "man-made" Christmas. Old Christmas 
is kept in much the same way that w^e keep Christmas, the 25th 
of December. (Jennie M. liclvin) 

Old Christmas was celebrated in much the same way as 
Christmas, but the celebration lasted only one night. In some 
places there was a quilting bee. to which all the ladies were in- 
vited. When the (|uilt was finished, they jjopped corn or roasted 
apples. Sometimes they had a dance after the (luilting. (Clara 

The weeJ< in which Christmas falls is a time for having parties 
in my community. The voung folks meet and play games and 
sing.' The night before' Christmas all the children hang up 
their stockings, but Christmas trees in homes are rarely seen. 
More often there is a tree at the church for everyl)ody. On 
New Year's night we meet somewhere, usually at the school- 
house, where we plav games and sing until midnight, when w^e 
make all the noise possible. This is called Watch Xight. ( Ger- 
trude Allen Vaught) 

At Christmas time lots of folks used to make eggnog and 
syllabub, and always decorated with holly and mistletoe. 
(Elizabeth Janet Cromartie) 

Christmas licjuor. eggnog. and other drinks were served to 
all who dropped in. (CJreen Collection) 

Bonfires were made of barrels of tar;' guns and firecrackers 
w^ere discharged; and j^eople did as little work as possible be- 
tween Christmas and New Year's. ( h^lsie Doxey) 

The New^ Year's Shoot 

Collected from Mr. A. Sidney Beam, of Cherryville. in January, 
1948, bv Professor Arthur Palmer Hudson. The custom of wel- 
comin^'in the New Year with gunfire appears to have been carried 
into North Carolina by German-speaking immigrants, whose de- 
scendants perpetuate it to this day, at least in Caston county. The 
first written record of the North Carolina ".Shoot" hears the date 
1774, but the custom may have been observed there even earlier. 
Mr. Beam states that he has been saying the "New Year's Speech" 
for 59 years, and believes the custom to be well cn-er 150 years old. 

The shootins; besjins promptly at midnitrht of New Year's Eve 
and continues until sunrise the following; morning. The celebrants 
make a tour of the homes in the vicinity, stopping at each to dis- 
charge their pieces after the recital of the following chant. What- 
ever' its original purpose (to drive away evil spirits, to promote 


fertility, etc.). the custom is now apparently only a way of showing 
the crowd's good wishes to the people whose homes are visited. 

Since Professor Hudson is later to publish elsewhere a full 
account of this interesting custom, I present here only the tradi- 
tional speech or chant as supplied him by Mr. Beam. 

Good morning to you, Sir, 

We wish you a happy New Year, 

Great health, long life. 

Which God may bestow 

So long as you stay here below. 

May he bestow the house you are in 

Where you go out and you go in. 

Time by moments steals away 

First the hour and then the day. 

Small the lost days may appear 

But yet the[y] soon amount up to a year. 

This another year is gone 

And now it is no more of our own, 

But if it brings our promises good 

As the year before the flood. 

Btit let none of us forget 

It has left us much in debt. 

A favor from the Lord received 

Since which our spirits hath been grieved. 

Marked by the unerring hand 

Thus in his book our record stands. 

Who can tell the vast amount 

Placed to each of otir accounts ? 

But while you owe the debt is large 

You may pleade a full discharge. 

But poor and selfish sinners, say 

What can you to justice pay? 

Trembling last for life is past 

And into prison you may be cast. 

Happy is the believing soul. 

Christ for you has paid the whole. 

We have this New Years morning call[ed] you by your name 

And disturbed you from your rest. 

But we hope no harm by the same. 

As we ask come tell us your desire 

And if it be your desire our guns and pistols they shall fire. 

Since we hear of no defiance 

You shall hear the art of science. 

When we pull triggers and powder burns 

You shall hear the roaringj^ of guns. 

Oh, daughters of righteous [ness], we will rise 

U K I. 1 K K S A N D l' U S T O M S 243 

And warm our eyes and bless our licarts, 

J'^or the old year's gone and the New Year's come 

And for good luck we'll fire our guns. 

Ouilting bees are ([uite common yet. The ladies and girls of 
the community are invited to a home for the day, and quilts 
are sewed or tacked together. Here they remain for dinner 
and have a good "gossipy" time."" ((jertrude Allen Vaught)V 

Apple peelings are quite common social affairs in our section. 
A crowd of both old and young folks often gather together and 
l)eel and cut ai)ples at night for a while. The young folks (juit 
working not later than nine o'clock, and play games. While 
they are working, they (|uite often sing all kinds of love songs. 
Sometimes, instead of apple peelings, we have bean stringings, 
bean shellings, or pea shellings. (Gertrude Allen Vaught) 

Years ago when this country was a dense forest,, the people 
in the community would invite the men for a day for "log- 
rolling." The women were invited, too. While the men were 
out in the woods, the women would quilt and |)re])are a big 
feast. After supper they would have a dance, then a midnight 
supper before going home.*''^ (Kate S. Russell)V 

People do not have log-rollings now as they did some fifty 
or a hundred years ago. However, there are a few log houses 
still being built in the mountain section of North Carolina. I 
remember hearing of a log-rolling in 1920. I did not go. but 
others did, and they indicated that it was similar to the log- 
rollings of our grandfathers' generation. ( Zil]:)ah Frisbie)*^ 

Log-rollings are still quite ccjmmon in my section, and usually 
last at least one day. However, there are seldom any festivities 
connected with them, ((jertrude Allen Vaught) V 

The oldtime log-rollings and quiltings in our coimty are but 
a memory. The log-rolling and quilting were generally held at 
the same time. The men rolled the logs in the "new ground'' 
into heaps, while the women stitched quilts, gossiped, and 
cooked dinner for the hands at the farmer's house. Sometimes 
a jug of whiskey or brandy would be brought out to the "new 
ground" by the owner of the farm and ])assed around to the 
workers. This was supposed to aid the men in doing a great 
amount of work in a short time. The men worked in squads of 
from two to a half-dozen. Each s(iuad strove to perform the 
greatest deeds of strength and skill. Loud yelling announced 

"" For admirable descriptions of the oldtime quilting bee, see Webster, 
Quilts, Their Story and How to Make Them, p. 152; Finlcy. Old Patch- 
work Quilts and the Women IVho Made 'Them, pj). 33-34; and Bowles. 
Homespun Handicrafts, pp. 157-158. 

""For a good description of log-rollings, sec I'olk-Say, i (1929), 79- 
85, and Wilson, Passing Institutions, p. 46. 


the successful rolling of a log into a heap. Warning cries kept 
the careless workers from heing caught by the big logs which 
would roll swiftly down the hillside. At the sound of the 
dinner horn coming from the house the workers would lay aside 
their hand spikes, don their coats if they had been prudent 
enough to bring them, and march for the house, where dinner 
awaited them. The dinner would be all that any man could 
desire. Almost every kind of meat and vegetable to be found in 
the mountains and these well cooked were to be found on the 
table. After the dinner the men would "rest a spell" and then 
repair to the "new grcmnd" to hnish their work. (Thomas 

House raisings were a common thing in the early days of 
our county. The older log houses which still stand were erected 
by means of these oldtime house raisings. The neighbors of 
men who wished to build a dwelling would "bunch in" and aid 
him. Sometimes there were enough men on hand to complete 
the house in one day. When the house was completed, the 
owner would invite his friends and their "women folks" to a 
bountiful supper, after which the young people would enjoy 
themselves by dancing until late in the night. The dance music 
would be furnished by some tiddler or banjo picker, who would 
play "Tucker's Barn," "Devil's Dream," "Old Jimmy Sutton." 
"Johnson Boys." "Turkey Buzzard," and other oldtime tunes. 
(Thomas Smith) 

"I ricollect a log rollin' we had 'way back yonder nearly fifty 
years ago. W^e'd cleared that field on the hill back 'o the old 
barn the winter before and had the logs all chopped and a-layin' 
there ready to be rolled. So we axed nearly all the men for 
miles around to help us roll them logs. ^lost o' the hands got 
to the field early, tho' there was a few that come from over on 
the river that was ten miles from our house ; they didn't git 
there till way up towards twelve. 

"We divided up into squads of four (I think one or two 
squads had six because they didn't have quite as stout hands 
as the rest). 

"I£ach squad commencin' at the bottom o' the hill tuck a 
'trough' up the hill a-racin' agin each other to see which could 
roll the logs in their trough into heaps and git to the top o' the 
hill first. The squad that got to the top first alius done a lot 
o' hollerin' because they'd beat the others. 

"Along up in the day the water carrier and the jug carrier 
come out to the field. Uncle Joe Grey was the jug carrier, 
and he got around purty lively for an old man. The only 
trouble was he liked licker a little too well and we hadn't tuck 
more'n three or fcnir drinks apiece till I'ncle Joe got drunk 

B K I. I K F S A X D C U S T O M S ^4r« 

and left the jug a-settin' in the middle o' the field. He crawled 
oil under a tree and laid down and didn't ,^it up till way in the 

"That didn't hother us much. We jist helped ourselves to the 
licker and went on rollin' logs harder'n ever. 

"list hefore twelve, wc rested a spell and when they hollered 
for us to come to dinner, we stacked our handspikes and w^ent 
to the house in a hurry, for we was a-gittin' good and hungry 
hy this time. 

' "There was several women and gals at the house. They had 
a (luiltin' that day as they used to nearly always have when 
there was a log rollin'. I 'ricoUect that some o' the gals waited 
on the tahle and it kep' 'em husy a-waitin' on us too, I'll tell 
you. for there was over thirty of us men and all of us hungry 
as dogs. 

"Well, we eat our dinners and went hack to the held to finish 
rollin' them logs. After we'd tuck another snort or two at the 
jug, we went to work agin and we shore done some log rollin' 
that evenin' for hy an hour o' the sun we had all the logs rolled 
in that field and there was ten acres in it if there was one. 

"After we'd got through we all give a yell and started for 
the house. Some o' the men that lived nearest went home, but 
luost of 'em stayed. Supper wasn't ready yit, so we killed time 
a-playin' leap frog and 'puUin swag' out in the yard. You see, 
men was a sight stouter hack then than they are now, and w^e'd 
just drunk enough to make us feel lively. 

"]^lost o' the women and gals that was at the ciuiltin' had 
stayed and after we'd eat supper we went into the 'big house' 
and started up a dance. Old Sam Stone was there with his 
fiddle, and he shore could play sich tunes as Turkey Buzzard,' 
"The Miller Across the Ridge? and 'Cioin' to the Weddin.' He 
shore couldn't he beat on them tunes. Several o' the gals could 
dance like forty. I don't think there was many young men that 
could dance much tho' ; se\'eral of 'em tried to and some of 'em 
got lafifed at for bein' so awkward. There was two or three 
old men tuck a big hand in the dancin' ; they beat the young 
fellers all to pieces a-dancin' sich dances as the eight-handed 
reel. One o' the old men I ricollect was old Uncle Joe. He'd 
got over his drunk long before night, and it was a sight to see 
him a-hoofin' around over the floor with the young gals. 

"Ever'body got along peaceable that night. There wasn't 
no fussin' or drinkin' like there used to be at some dances and 
'wav up towards day we quit dancin' and ever'body went home 
except a few that come from a distance." (Thomas Smith. 
Communicated to him l)y Bennett Smith in 1915. F"ictitious 
names are used throughout.) 


Something green should be worn on St. Patrick's Day. 
(Green Collection) 

At Easter, people appear in new clothes if possible.^- (Elsie 

Two cocks were made to fight until they became exhausted. 
Then a man would go up with a spur in his hand (a piece of 
iron made to represent a spur) and pretend to be separating 
them, and stick this spur through the head of one of them so 
that he could say which won.^^ (Kate S. Russell) . 

A gander was caught and all the feathers picked from his 
neck. Then he was hung up at just the right height for a 
man on horseback to ride by and grab him. The man had to 
ride his horse at high speed and pull the neck in two as he 
rode.*^-* (Kate S. Russell) ^ 

It was the custom for the big farmers when hogs have been 
killed to have a big chitterling sui)per and invite all their friends. 
( Robert E. Long) 

In earlier days it was the custom to give a "pound party" 
for the new preacher or the new teacher. At these parties, 
each person attending brought a pound of something as a gift. 
(Green Collection) 

In the fall of the year, the corn was gathered and piled near 
the house. The neighbors for miles around were invited to the 
shucking. All came, men and women. They told stories, sang 
songs, and served drinks while shucking. \Vlienever a red ear 
of corn was found, the finder could kiss any girl he liked.^''^ 
(Kate S. Russell) 

Corn shuckings are still held in some parts of the country. 
The men and women, girls and boys, from the neighboring 
farms are invited to the home of the person giving the shuck- 
ing. At least one meal is served, and the wives of the visiting 
farmers often help prepare the meal. Often the corn is piled 
into two large piles. Sides are chosen and the two teams race 
to see which can finish first. Any man finding a red ear of 
corn is entitled to kiss the girl of his choice, or in some places 
he is allowed a drink of whiskey. If a girl finds a red ear and 
does not hide it quickly enough, the first boy reaching her side 
is entitled to a kiss. During the husking hours, songs are sung, 
stories told, jokes told, and riddles asked. Often, after the 

"-JAFL, XL. 123 (Louisiana): Gutch, County Folk-Lore II. 246: 
Balfour and Thomas, County Por.-Lorc IT, 70 (if no new appart-l is 
worn, the person will be spattered by birds flying overhead). 

"^ Gutch, County I-olk-I.ore I'l. p. 141 ; Aul)rcy. p. 35 (citing Aelianus, 
I'aria Historia, lib. il cap. 28). 

"' See Cuniho i'a-)'a. p. 571, and Earic, Child Life in Colonial Days, 
p. 352 (Dutch — "riding for the goose"). 

"■• Whitney and Bullock, p. 122. 


task is done, the floor is cleared, the fiddlers hring out their 
fiddles, and a regular barn dance is held. (Lucille Massey) ' 

When the corn has been hauled in from the fields, the farmer 
invites his neighbors to help him shuck it. The housewife in- 
vites other housewives of the neighborhood to assist her in 
preparing a supper for all who come to the "shucking." The 
supper consists of many fried chickens, a ham. or sometimes 
a mutton or a beef, potatoes, pies, cakes, butter, preserves, 
pickles, buttermilk, cofifee, and cider. If the shucking isn't 
finished by dark, they have supper and finish afterwards. Dur- 
ing the shucking there is much fun and merriment. Jokes are 
told, yarns are swapped; and many join in singing folksongs of 
various types. Quite often the housewives and daughters join 
them after supper. The man who is lucky enough to find a red 
ear is entitled to a drink of wine, cider, or eggnog. If a girl 
finds a red ear. she is to be kissed by all the unmarried men 
present. (Clara Hearne) , 


Always sweep dirt into the fire, never outdoors.^" (Elsie 
Doxey) . 

There is no harm in sewing on Sunday if you do not use a 
thimble.*'" (Clara Hearne) - 

*"' Puckett, p. 396 (Missouri Negro) ; Jones and Kropf, folk-Tales of 
the Magyars, p. Ixvii ; JAFL, ni. loi (North Carolina): xii, 132 
(South) ; Whitney and Bullock, p. 69 (to burn sweepings brings luck). 
18 (don't throw crumbs outside, but burn them). Randolph (p. 70) 
says, oddly enough, that sweepings are not to be burned. 

A more common belief regarding sweeping is that it is unlucky to 
sweep after dark. References to this arc numerous: Gardner, p. 290: 
JAFL, XL. 173 (Louisiana): iv, 123 (don't sweep dirt out on Friday 
evening) : x, 9 (Maryland) : xxxl 100 (Ontario — sweep dirt out, sweep 
luck away); Abbott, p. loi (sweeping after dark sweeps away the 
family's prosperity) ; Addy, p. 98; Newcomb, Navajo Tokens and 
Taboos, p. 41; HTB, n, 2~, 37: Fogel. p. 109: Gutch and Peacock, p. 
160 (same); Gutch, County Tolk-Lore II, 277 (unlucky to sweep dirt 
out on Christmas Day or New Year's) ; (hi)nbo ]'a-]'a, pp. 538, 552 
(bad luck to sweep after sundown) ; British Caloidar Customs (Eng- 
land), \\, 45, 47, 48 (don't sweep dirt out on New Year's Day) ; HP, 
\\, 19 (Iiad luck to sweep after dark) ; Stout, p. 197 (sweeping after 
dark brings sorrow to the heart) : Westermarck, Ritual and Belief in 
Morocco, L 593 (sweeping after dark sweeps away luck); PL. xxx, 
184 (Japan — sweeping at night taboo) ; Randolph, pp. 70, 303. 

""Cf. Hyatt, p. 174; JAPL. u, 98 (North Carolina). The usual be- 
lief, however, is that sewing on Sunday is a sin for which nothing can 
atone: JAPL, x, 9 (Maryland — sewing on Sunday pierces the Savior's 
side, and the Devil will make the sewer pick out the stitches with his 
nose) ; xxxvl 3; Gregor, p. 31 (if you sew on Sunday, the Devil will 
take out the stitches at night); Whitney and Bullock, p. 108; Stout, 
p. 191 ; Carmer, Stars Pell on Alabama, p. 282. 


If the tail of a man's shirt is starched and ironed, it will cause 
the owner to be harsh. ^''* (Green Collection) 

Wash on Monday, you'll have all week to dry ; 
Wash on Tuesday, not so much awry ; 
Wash on Wednesday, not so much to blame ; 
Wash on Thursday, wash for shame ; 
Wash on Friday, wash for need ; 
Wash on Saturday, you're a big goose indeed.^^ 
(Minnie Stamps Gosney) 

Thunder causes milk to sour.''^ (Green Collection},, 

Walnut leaves scattered over floors will drive away fleas. '^ 
(Green Collection) 

Never mix April 30th milk with that of May 1st or the but- 
ter will be slow in coming. (Green Collection) . 

The old women must make the sauerkraut. If the young 
ones make it, it will spoil. (Emmy Lou Morton) 

If you will let your head get wet in the first rain of May, you 
will not have a headache all year."- (Katherine Bernard Jones) 

If you wash your face in dew the first morning in May, you 
will be pretty.'^^ (Mildred Peterson) .. 

"^ JAFL, XL, 174 (Louisiana) ; Whitney and Bullock, p. 42 (don't iron 
the backs of clothes; to do so makes the back weak and brings bad 

"'■'Thompson, Body, Boots, and Britches, p. 487; Gregor. p. 177, 
Thiselton-Dyer, p. 246. 

'"' JAFL, XL, 188 (Louisiana); xxxi, 8 (Ontario); Randolph, p. 73; 
Stout, p. 167; Aubrey, p. 104 (thunder sours beer unless an iron bar 
is laid across the barrel). 

'^ I have found no exact parallel for this, though Bergen (p. 120) 
says that walnut leaves are effective in driving away flies. There are 
several other ways of ridding a house of fleas: Puckett, p. 317 (china- 
berry leaves) ; JAFL, xu, 271 (Georgia — strip bark oft pine pole, and 
fleas will alight on pole and stick to the resin) ; Randolph, p. 68 (keep 
sheep in cabin), 44 (splinters from a lightning-struck tree), 68 (May 
snow melted in fireplace, walnut or butternut leaves ) ; Pickard and 
Buley, p. 71 (rue, wormwood, and gall) ; Thiselton-Dyer, llir Folk-Lorc 
of Plants, p. 221 (Bohemian — a leaf of the palm); Donaldson, p. 172 
(oleander ). 

''- I have found no exact parallel to this belief. Cf. JAFL, vi, 261 
(Irish — bathe in May dew and let the sun dry you, and the sun will 
never burn you nor will flies bother you); Aubrey, p. 250 (May dew 
good for gout). 

'"'JAFL, XL, 167 (Louisiana); xlvi, 167 (Ozarks) ; vii, 108 (Alle- 
ghenies) ; x, 79 (Pennsylvania German); I-'LJ, 11, 191; Bcaloidcas, vn, 
177; Sf'Q, ni, 36; Puckett, p. 328; Earle, Customs and Fashions . . . , 
p. 308; Hazlitt, Dictionary of Faiths and Folklore, u, 400 (May dew 
used by Catherine of Aragon in 151 5) ; Gardner, p. 264 (May rain water 
cures blemishes) ; Thomas and Thomas, p. 104 (May dew or rain water 
for freckles) ; Bergen, p. 143; Brand, Observations . . . , i, 218; Fogel, 
p. 308; Northall, p. 162; Lean, Collectanea. 11, 396; Wright, Rustic 
Speech and Folklore, p. 239; Hyatt, p. 181, 183; Brendle and Unger, 

n V. I. I K F S A N D C V S T () M S 249 

Wash Ndur hair in water made from March snow if you want 
pretty ha'ir.'' ( EiVnU Walker) 

To produce a luxuriant growth of hair, clij) the ends when 
the moon is increasing.'"' (Gertrude Allen Vaught) 

Sneeze on Monday, sneeze for health ; 

Sneeze on Tuesday, sneeze for wealth ; 

Sneeze on Wednesday, the best of all ; 

Sneeze on Thursday, sneeze for losses ; 

Sneeze on Friday, sneeze for crosses ; 

Sneeze on Saturday, no luck at all ; 

Sneeze on Sunday, the had man will he with you all next 
week.'« (Edna Whitley) 

Stir soap with a stick of pine or sassafras.'^ (Elsie Doxey) 

If one will get on a feather bed during a thunderstorm, light- 
ning will not strike him.''' (Mary Olivia Pruette) . 

p. 62; Hardwick, p. 94; Gutch, County I'olk-Lorc I' I. 69; Whitney and 
Bullock, p. 120; Balfour and Thomas, County folk-Lore //', j^; Old- 
meadow, The Folklore of Herbs, p. 9. 

hi his entry for .March 8, 1664, Pepys tells us that at the suggestion 
of his Aunt Wight, his wife had used some "puppy-dog water" for her 
complexion, an act which irritated him extremely. On May 28. 1667, 
he writes that his wife is to gatiier May dew the next morning, as 
Mrs. Turner has told her that it is the best thing in the world for her 
complexion. He adds that he is content. 

~* FL, II, 100 ( Szekely — water drawn from a well on March i l)eforc 
sunrise cures all diseases); JAFL, xiv, 32 (Kentucky — March snow 
good for sore eyes) ; Stout, p. 157 (German — wash hair in beer every 
night to make it pretty!); Brendle and Unger, p. 122 (March snow- 
water good for eyes ) . 

"'J.iFL, LVHi, 123; IV, 120 (Pennsylvania German — cut on first Fri- 
day after new moon); xl, 82 (Ozarks), 189 (Louisiana); xxxi, 6 
(Ontario), 93; xxxvi, 19; FL, xx, 342; xxxiv, 220 (Ontario), 326; 
XXV, 247 (Jersey) ; Hyatt, p. 142; Folk-Say (1930), p. 163 (Ozarks); 
Bergen, p. 122; Randolph, p. 164; Johnson, li'liat They Say . . . , p. 145; 
Whitney and Bullock, p. J2. 

This item was contributed also by Lucille Alassey, Clara Hearne, 
Louise F.ennett, Rel)ecca Willis. Lois Johnson, Jessie Hauser, and Minnie 
Stamps Gosney. 

'"J.IFL, XL, 164 (Louisiana); xi.iii, 325 (Alabama — sneeze on Sun- 
day, devil will have you all week or you will be sick before the next 
Sunday) ; xxxi. 14, 89 (Ontario) ; FLJ, vi. 92 (Washington, D. C.) ; 
Johnson, What They Say .... p. 65 ; Puckett, p. 453: Xorthall, p. 176; 
Hyatt, p. 157; CFLQ, iv, 290; Bergen, p. 145; Randolph, p. 55; TFLS, 
lu, 34; XI, 6; ALAFLS, xxix, 193; Thiselton-Dyer, p. 239; Gregor, 
p. 27; Whitney and Bullock, p. 107; Stout, p. 193; Rogers, p. 34. 

'''JAFL, III, loi (North Carolina — sassafras or pine); xiv, 33 (Ken- 
tucky — sassafras) ; Bergen, p. loi (Maine — white ash), 102 (elder- 
berry); Randolph, p. 64 (sassafras). It is very bad luck to burn 
sassafras (JAFL, in, loi ; v, 124); Whitney and Bullock, p. 9; HFB, 
II, 27; JAFL. XXIV, 321; Carmer, Stars Fell on Alabama, p. 289). Cf. 
Kemp, p. 44 (don't burn or cut a cherry tree). 

""Stout, p. 167; Carmer, Stars Fell on .llabama, p. 282. 


Make soap on the full of the moon or else it won't "set.""'* 
(Madge Colclough) ■ 

If you make soap on the increase of the moon, it will thicken 
better.^** (Josie Foy) 

Soap should be made in the light of the moon.''^ (Minnie 
Stamps Gosney) 

Soap should be made in the dark of the moon.^- (Gertrude 
Allen Vaught) 

If a woman is making soap and a man stirs it, all will be 
well; if another woman stirs it, it will be siioiled."^-^' ( h^lsie 

If soap is to be firm, only one must stir it.''^^ (Green Col- 

Soap should always be stirred the same way, to the right. ^'^ 
(Josie Foy) . 

In stirring batter, sauce, syrup, etc., the motion must always 
be sunwise. Reversing the direction will spoil the result or 
invite bad luck. (Mary L. Walker) 

Always bake cake while the sun is going up.^*"' ( Kate S. 

Don't throw away the eggshells tintil after the cake is baked. ''^" 
(Green Collection) ' 

Don't try to bake cake while menstruating.'*^ (Gertrude 
Allen Vaught) > 

'•'JAFL, vn, 305 (Georgia); Bergen, p. 122. Also, hogs should be 
killed in the full of the moon (Hyatt, p. 98). 

Contributed also by Rebecca Willis. Wilma Freeman, Valeria Johnson 
Howard, Clara Hearne, and Dixie Lamm. 

^'^JAFL, XL, 185 (Louisiana). Contributed also by the Misses 

" HFB, II, 25. 

^" HF, VI, 18. The same item contributed by Mamie Mansfield, Allie 
Ann Pearce. 

^' JAFL, XXXI, 16 (Ontario) ; Whitney and Bullock, p. 58 (soap should 
be stirred by man ; if woman comes into room first, bad luck ) . Cf. the 
following : It is bad luck for a woman to call on you while you are 
making soap (Green Collection) ; To insure success, soap should be 
stirred by a boy (ibid.) ; If a man calls on you while you are making 
soap, get him to stir it {ibid.). 

^* Randolph, p. 62. This was contributed also by Gertrude Allen 

"•"'Bergen, p. 123; NVFLQ, i, 213; Johnson, What They Say . . . , 
p. 69; Puckett, p. 408; JAFL, xl, 180 (Louisiana) ; xxvii,"246; iii, 231 
(North Carolina) ; vii, 305 (Georgia) ; xxxi, loi (Ontario) ; Gregor, 
p. 30. 

'*'* NVFLQ, I, 213. Cf. Hyatt, p. 47 (to have sweet turnips, sow the 
seed before 11 o'clock). 

*' Eggshells should lie put on top of the stove while the cake is baking 
(Mabel Ballentine). 

'*'* A girl or woman in this condition should never attempt any cooking, 
as it is sure to turn out ill. For other menstrual taboos, see above, 
p. 239, note 46. 


Stop the clock while the cake is haking. ((lertrude Allen 
X'aught ) 

Don't walk across the floor while the cake is haking.^" (Ger- 
trude Allen \'aught) 

Put a pan of water just ahove the cake while it is haking. 
(Mabel Ballentine) 

When cooking onions, ]:)lace a pan of water over them and 
there will he no odor/'" (Eleanor Simpson) . 

To keep onion juice from getting into the eyes, htjld the 
points of two needles between the teeth.'" ( W. H. Smith) i- 

When peeling onions, stick a potato on the end of the paring 
knife and the juice will not get into the eyes. (W. H. Smith) 

Hold a raw potato in the mouth while peeling onions, and 
the juice will not get into the eyes. (W. H. Smith). 

To keep juice from getting into the eyes while peeling onions, 
hold a match between the teeth. (W. H. Smith) 

Holding a bit of bread in the mouth while peeling onions 
will prevent the juice from getting into the eyes. (W. H. 

If one leaves the faucet open and lets the water run while 
peeling onions, the juice will not get into the eyes. (W. H. 
Smith) V 

Boil a biscuit with cabbage and there will be no odor. 
(Eleanor Simpson) y' 

If you are going to wash dishes and you boil yoiu' water to 
wash them, the old saying is that the witches will ride you. 
(Green Collection) 

Use pine wood when boiling molasses and it will not be 
strong (ir smoky. ( lulith Walker) ' 

Put pennies in a])i)le liutter to keep it from sticking. (Green 
Collection) . 

Get the ugliest person you know to look in the cream jar and 
it will turn so you can churn it. (Edith Walker )V 

If a jug of molasses begins to "work" and is about to run 
over, drop a wire nail into the jug and the molasses will stop 
working immediately. (Carl G. Knox) 

To make butter come (|uicklv when nn'lk is cold, add enough 
hot water to make it warm. Also, during churning, call the 

*" Any heavy walking or any other movement that sliakcs the floor 
Wfill cause the cake to "fall." Contributed also by Mary Scarborough 
Nilla Lancaster, and G. B. Caldwell. 

""Bergen, p. 99; JAFL, xiv. 33 (Kentucky). 

"^ Cf. Whitney and Bullock, p. 58 (hold a pin in the mouth) ; HF, vi, 
112 (safety pin). 


butter by the repetition of "Come, butter, come!"^- (Green 

Put salt in the churn or in the fire and butter will come more 
easily and more quickly. (Green Collection) '^ 

Kraut should never be made on the decrease of the moon, 
for the water will not rise on it and it will spoil. (Zilpah 

Feathers picked on the increase of the moon will be plentiful. 
(Mrs. Norman Herring)--. 


It is difficult to remove fruit stains. But if you wait until 
the peach or the blackberry season is over, the stain will come 
out easily. (Green Collection )~ 

Butter comes easily if the cows are salted regularly. (Green 
Collection) ^ 

Sometimes milk would not sour or turn to whey. To preserve 
the butter, a beef reed taken from a cow was put in it. (Green 
Collection)- , 

If all wash-goods are washed before being cut, they will 
last longer. (AUie Ann Pearce) 

For a good furniture paste, scrape two ounces of beeswax 
into a pot or basin, then add as much spirits of turpentine as 
will moisten it through. At the same time add to it when dis- 
solved to the consistency of paste an eighth of an ounce of 
rosin. Then stir in as much Indian red as necessary to make 
it a deep mahogany color and it is ready for use. (Contrib- 
utor's name not given.) r- 


It is bad luck to thank anyone for plants or seeds. '^•'' (Zilpah 
Frisbie ) 

Sage must not be gathered during the dog davs.''^ (Lucille 
Cheek) - 

"■ /'"L, xLvii, 366; XLvui, 217. A version of the rhyme appears also 
in Sinclair, Satuii's hiTi'sihlr World Discovered. See Charms, pp. 181- 
183, above. 

'"^JAf'L, XLVUI. 333 (Tennessee); v, 115 (North Carolina); vn, 305 
(Georgia — don't thank for combing) ; xi, 11 (Marjland — don't thank 
for flowers); xxxL 9; xlh, 236; xl, 191 (Louisiana); xx, 246 (North 
Carolina); HI-'B, u. 35; Gumbo Ya-Va, p. 536 (don't thank giver of 
remedy) ; Pnckett, p. 400 (don't thank for combing) ; Whitney and 
Bullock, p. 21 (same) ; Thorpe, n, no (Swedish — don't thank for 
remedy), iii (Swedish — don't thank for pins) ; Stout, p. 168, 203 (don't 
thank for picture) ; Nassau, p. 191. 

"* Cf. Gardner, p. 298 (don't pick catnip during or after dog days). 


'J\) make livdrangeas blue, place indigo at tlieir roots. (Kate 
S. Russell) 

Gather cucumbers in the morning with the short stems on 
them. (Lucille Cheek) 

To make a hen keep her nest, whip her under the wings with 
a holly bush switch. ( Ziljjah hVisbie) 

If you set eggs when the wind is eastward, the chickens will 
"holler" themselves to death."'' (Ralph Chesson)- 

Hens should be set three weeks before the full of the moon. 
(Gertrude Allen Vaught) 

If there are thunderstorms while eggs are "setting," the eggs 
will not hatch. ( Zilpah Frisbie) 

To break a hen from setting, put an alarm clock in the nest 
and let it go off. (Zilpah Frisbie) 

To break a hen from setting, put a pan of water in the nest 
when she leaves and let her get in it when she comes back.^'' 
(Lucille Massey) ^ 

Do not set eggs so that they will hatch during dog days. 
(Gertrude Allen Vaught) 

Always set a hen on thirteen eggs."" ((iertrude Allen 

Little turkeys thrive better with a hen than with a turkey. 
(Lucille Cheek) 

If it rains on Valentine Day, }Our chickens will stop laying. 
(Gertrude Allen Vaught) 

To ensure good luck with chickens, let a woman carry them 
from the nest to the coop."^ (Gertrude Allen Vaught) 

Grease little chickens' lieads with lard and kerosene when you 
take them from the nest and lice will not bother them. ( Clara 

Feed red pei)per to little chickens. (Clara Hearne) 

Feed little turkeys black ]:)epper stirred into dough made of' 
meal. (Clara Hearne) 

Sprinkle ashes on animals and fowls on Ash W'ednesdav and 
they will not be bothered with lice. (Clara Hearne) 

Put Epsom salts in the chicken's water (one tablespoonful to 
a gallon) and it will make them healthy. (Clara Hearne) , 

"•'Stout, p. I/O (if hen is set on Monday morning when the wind is 
from the east, all the chicks will be pullets) ; HFB, n, 25 (north wind) ; 
Randolph, p. 42 (never set a hen when the wind is from the .south). 

"" Randolph, p. 42 (corn shucks fastened to hens' tails). 

"'JAPL, xu, 49 (Canadian); iv, 122; xxxi. 86; /"A, lx, 290; 
XXV. 247 (Jersey); HI-, vi, 14; HPV, n, 36 (uneven number); 1-LR, 
IV, 105 (Irish— uneven number) ; Hyatt, p. 76; Gutch and Peacock, p. 
165; Dennys, p. 35 (uneven number); Bergen, p. 85 (Maine). Pliny 
(Xatuml History, x, c. 75) advocates tlie using of an uneven number. 

"" Randolph, pp. 42-43 (eggs carried in a woman's bonnet invariably 
hatch pullets; eggs carried in a man's hat always hatch out roosters). 


Boil smartweed and scald out the chicken house to kill any 
kind of insect. (Mamie Mansfield)^' 

Cover newly hatched chicks with a sieve and place them in 
the sunshine a little while, and they will live. (Zilpah Frisbie) 

Pick off the little skin from chickens' bills when you take 
them from the nest and they will live. ( Lucille Cheek) > 

When you have killed a chicken, make a cross on the ground 
with your finger, lay the chicken on its back on this cross, and 
it will not flop. (Anonymous) V 

To keep a chicken from flopping when killed, tuck the head 
under the wing, swing the chicken around in a circle several 
times, and then lay its head on a block and chop it off. (Zilpah 
Frisbie) ;, 

If you count chickens, turkeys, etc., they will die.^** (Wil- 
liam B. Covington) 


The "setting up" or wake watch was observed not only 
through respect but also to keep away cats, which always try 
to get to the body.^^*'* (Green Collection) 

'"'' Whitney and Bullock, p. 57 (don't count young chickens or their 
number will decrease). This counting prohibition extends to other ani- 
mals and objects as well. See, for example, JAI-L, xlviii, 329 (Ten- 
nessee — don't count graves or stars) ; xlvi. 14 (Ozarks — beekeeper never 
gives exact number of bee gums); il 14 (Maryland — don't count cars 
in funeral procession) ; v, 112 (don't count people at funeral) ; xxxi, 202 
(Illinois — don't count carriages in funeral procession); xxxvi, 4; Ln, 
114 (Tennessee — don't count baby's teeth or they will decay) ; xl, 86 
(Ozarks — don't count cars in funeral procession) ; 159 (Louisiana — 
same) ; xxxviii, 379 (Jewish — boys playing games count "Not one, 
not two, &c.) ; Nassau, p. 214 (don't count children) ; Macgregor, pp. 
43, 45 (don't count fish or you will catch no more) ; Puckett, p. 398 
(don't count teeth in comb) ; 434 (don't count stars), 88 (don't count 
cars in funeral procession) ; Fogel, p. 129 (same) ; Gutch and Peacock, 
County Folk-Lorc V, 160 (unlucky to count anything too closely) ; 
Whitney and Bullock, p. g- (to count child's teeth will cause its death), 
103 (don't count carriages at funeral), 59 (don't count fish until home 
with them). 18 (bad luck to count edibles to be cooked for dinner); 
FL, xn, 179; Black. County Folk-Lorc III, 162 (don't count sheep, 
cattle, horses, fish) ; Stout, p. 151 (if you count vehicles in a funeral 
procession, you'll die within the year) ; Randolph, p. 44; Bassett, p. 436 
(don't count fish) ; Barker, p. 251 (don't count wagons in funeral pro- 
cession) ; Hanauer, p. 233 (boils result from trying to count stars) : 
CFLQ, IV, 428 (don't count rigs in funeral procession). 

^""JAFL, V. 181 (cats mutilate corpse); xxxviir. 396-397 (Jewish — 
dead must not be left alone) ; xl, 86 (Ozarks). 196 (Louisiana — cats 
eat dead people); xxxu. 383; v. 181 (Pennsylvania — cats mutilate 
corpses) ; Gumbo Va-Va, p. 569 (cats eat corpses) ; FL,, 327 
(German) ; lx, 290 (cats would eat eyes out of corpse) ; Gutch. County 
Folk-Lore VI, 135 (corpse must be watched constantly) ; County Folk- 


It is believed that a person will die easier if his head is toward 
the east.^"^ (S. M. Uixon) . 

In laying out a dead person, always place the feet to the east 
and the head to the west. I have known beds to be moved so 
as to be in the right position.^"- (Green Collection) . 

Graves should be dug east and west so that the dead wdl be 
facing the east toward Gabriel when he blows his horn.^"^ 
(Helen Fraser Smith) 

Lore II. 302-303 (niglit watch) ; III'B, 11, 34 ( ^^-ats mutilate corpse) ; 
fhiselton-Dyer, p. 107; Gregor, p. 123; Loan, Collectanea, u, 113; 
Trachtenberg, p. 174 (dying persons not to be left alone) ; Christiansen, 
The Dead ami the Living, pp. 28, 30-31 (Norwegian); Hole, P- 50; 
Puckett pp. 86. 470; Dennys, p. 24; Balfour and Thomas, County Folk- 
Lore /r, 100; Toor, A Treasury of Mexican Folk-ways, p. 161 ; Paton, 
Spiritism and the Cult of the Dead in Antiquity, p. 120; Kittredge, p. 

^fhe night watch occurs in the following ballads: "Willie's Lyke- 
Wake," "Fair Mary of Wallington," "Prince Robert," "Young Benjie, 
"Lord Thomas and Fair Annet." On its appearance in balladry, see 
Wimberly, Death and Burial Lore in the English and Scottish Popular 

Ballads, pp. 92-99- .. , , , • • . , 

Among some peoples it was believed that a cats jumpmg over a dead 
person would cause the latter to become a vampire. See, for example, 
JCLS, N.S., n, 363 (body to be watched from death to burial lest sorne- 
thing jumping "over it make it a vampire) ; Ralston, Songs of the Russian 
People (cat jumping over corpse causes it to become a vampire) ; Rus- 
sian Folk-Tales, p. 323 (same) ; Pennant. A Tour in Scotland (same) ; 
Henderson, p. 43; Tozer, Researches in the Highlands of Turkey, u, 84; 
Macgregor', p. 50; Abbott, p. 219 (night watch over corpse to prevent 
cats or dogs jumping over it) ; Gregor, p. 207 (shut up cats at funeral; 
if one jumps over corpse, the first person meeting it will go blind) ; 
Dennys, p. 120 (if a pregnant animal jumps over a corpse, the latter 
comes to life and gives chase to the nearest person, strangling him if 
it catches him); Black, County Folk-Lore HI, 216 (cats to be locked 
up whenever a death occurs) ; Simpson, p. 206 (domestic animals to be 
put out of house at funeral). , , , , r , 

Another belief held even today is that cats suck the breath of sleepers, 
particularly of children. For examples, see Thiselton-Dyer, p. 107; 
JAFL ni, 98 (North Carolina) ; v. 181 ( Penn.sylvania) ; xn, 268 (Ken- 
tucky)'; XXXI, 12 (Ontario) ; Whitney and Bullock, p. 98; FLR, u, 205 
(cat born in May will suck sleeper's breath). See also Carmer, Stars 
Fell on Alabama, p. 282; Brendle and Unger. p. 21; Hole, p. 79: 
Kittredge, p. 178. , , . , , , 

^" Puckett, p. 81 (deathbed should be placed east and west, with head 
toward the west). ^ ^^ . , , , 

^"-JAI-'L, V. 114 (North Carolina) : xxxi. 26 (Ontario — i)oth the 
laying out and the burial) ; Abbott, p. I94- . ., . . ^ 

'■'"'J4FL XXXVIII, 397 (lewish); xi-, 86 (Ozarks). 160 (Louisiana); 
XLVI, 16 (Ozarks); Puckett, p. 94: Hole. p. 55 (? a survival of sun- 
worship) • Aubrev, p. 166; Whitney and Bullock, p. 104; Gumbo \ a-\ a, 
p 309 (if buried facing west, will go to Hell); Gutch, County Folk- 
Lore II, 309; Brown, The Andaman Islanders, p. 107 (if corpse is not 
buried facing the east, the sun will not rise) ; .\bbott, p. 99 (one should 
not lie with head toward the west, as that is the position of a corpse) ; 
Parsons Mitla: Ton-n of the Souls, p. 143 ("Burial is with the head to 
the west. It is therefore bad to sleep thus orientated") ; Rogers, p. 68. 

William Burke, of the infamous firm of Burke and Hare, was buried 

N.C.F., Vol. I. (18) 


If the pictures and mirrors are not turned toward the wall 
after a death, the dead man will haunt all those in the family. 
His reflection is supposed to get in the mirrors and pictures.^'''* 
(Constance Patten) 

At the death of one of the family, the clock is usually 
stopped.^"'' (Jethro Harris) 

Negroes tie black on everything that comes into the house 
between a death and a burial. ^"^^ (Helen Fraser Smith) \ 

Southern Negroes believe implicitly in burying children with 
the face down.^*^^ (Helen Fraser Smith) 

Bees will leave unless told of death. ^^^'^ (Green Collection )\// 

in a grave dug north and south (Summers, The J'ai)ipire, p. 76). Sui- 
cides were also formerly buried in a north-south position. 

This was contributed also by Louise W. Sloan, who writes, "People 
are buried with their feet to the east so that they can place them on the 
rising sun and mount to heaven." 

East is a good direction. As the little verse has it. 

Shut the North window. 

And quickly close the window to the South, 
And shut the window facing West — 
Evil never came from the East. 

(Simpson, p. loi) 

^"' JAPL. II, 12, 30; IV, 144; v. 242 (Massachusetts) ; vii, 253 (Massa- 
chusetts) ; XI, 12 (Maryland) ; xxxviii, 398 (Jewish) ; xl, 85 (Ozarks), 
159, 184 (Louisiana) ; xxxi, 26 (Ontario) ; xxxii, 392 (Georgia) ; 
xxxvi, 20; McPherson, Primitive Beliefs .... p. 124; Puckett, p. 81; 
Hole, p. 49 ; Gardner, p. 295 ; Grimm, Deutsche Mythologie, in, 492 ; 
Rappoport, The Polklore of the Jezvs, p. 102; HP, vi, 26; HPB, 11, 36; 
Liebrecht, Zur J'olkskunde, p. 350; Black, County Polk-Lore III, p. 
216; Gutch, County Polk-Lore II, 301; Gregor, p. 207; Whitney and 
Bullock, p. 102; Balfour and Thomas, County Polk-Lore IV, 99; Stout, 
p. 151 ; Earle, Customs and Pashions . . . , p. iJi- 

^"^ JAPL, II, 12; V, 242 (Massachusetts); xl, 85 (Ozarks — failure to 
do so would mean another death within year) ; 159 (Louisiana) ; vii, 154 
(Virginia) ; x, 12, 161 (Toronto) ; xxxi, 26, 100 (Ontario) ; xxxii, 
392 (North Carolina) ; PL, xlix, 224 (clocks stop themselves at the 
moment of death — grandfather clocks only ! ) ; HPB, u, 36 ; Gregor, p. 
207; Whitney and Bullock, p. 102; Puckett, p. 82; Gardner, p. 295; 
Lean, Collectanea, 11, 590; Christiansen, p. 18; Lcgey, p. 231; Stout, 
p. 150; Gumbo Ya-Va, p. 307. 

'^"'^JAPL, X, 161 (Kansas — crape tied to family cat); xxxi, 26 
(Ontario — crape on bee hives) ; PLR, i, 59 (same) ; Gutch, County Polk- 
Lore VI, 33 (same) ; Simpson, p. 204 (black coverings on furniture) ; 
Earle, Customs and Pashions . . . (crape on family portraits). 

"' Puckett, p. 107 (not children — purpose to keep spirit from return- 
ing). This is the custom also among certain tribes of hidia (Crooke, 
Popular Religion and Polk-Lore of Northern India, 11. 58-60). It is not 
confined to children, however. See JAPL, 11, 190 (Omaha — burial face 
downward of man struck by lightning). There is a reference also in 
Lay My Burden Dozen (p. 86), but there is nothing to suggest a general 

^'' - /'V,, III, 138; XXXIV, 325; XXXV, 349; XXXVII, 77 ■ XL, 123: XLIII, 

252; XXIV, 223, 240 (kni)ck on liive with door key and tell bees); 

B E L I E F S AND C U S T C) M S 257 

Tell the I'ruii trees when the owner ches or the trees will die. 
Some say that eaeh tree should be told sei)arately."''* (Cireeii 

The tools used in digging a grave should be left by the grave 
for several days.^'" (Constance Patten) , 

When my grandmother died, my mother saved a lock of hair, ^ 
and she says it has always been a custom.'" ( Mabel liallentine)-,^'''^ 

There prevailed in some sections of North Carolina the cus- 
tom of draping the furniture and the walls of the room in 
which the deceased lay, with sheets."- (Green Collection) , 

It is a custom among Negroes for the relatives and mourners 
to wear their hats in church. The custom is said to have been 
brought from the North."'* (Green Collection) . 

\\ hen there is a funeral in the country and a hearse cannot 
be afforded, whatever the body is carried in must be black."'* 
(Constance Patten) 

Place money on a dead man's eyes to prevent their open- 
jj-jgii5 (Constance Patten) 

JAPL, XLvi, 14 (Ozarks); vni, 25 (Irish); vi, 107 (New England); 
x.xxi, 26 (Ontario); Hole, p. 51; Henderson, p. 309; Puckett, p. 82; 
Hyatt, p. 364; Legey, p. 231; Addy, p. 65; Thomas and Thomas, 
p. 271; McPherson, p. 124; Gomme, Ethnology in Folklore, p. 127; 
Macgregor. p. 44; Gutch, County Folk-Lore 11, pp. 65-66 (bees told 
of death and given food from the funeral feast and pipes and tobacco, 
all of which they used) ; Whitney and Bullock, p. 56; Gutch and Pea- 
cock, County Folk-Lore ]', 28, 239, 241 (told of death and given food) ; 
Gutch, County Folk-Lorc \'I, 33 (same) ; FLR, i, 59; ui, 136 (bees 
to be wakened and told if person dies after sunset) ; Balfour and 
Thomas, p. 12 (tap on each hive three times and tell bees of death) ; 
Thorpe, ui, 161 (German) ; Tliiselton-Dyer, pp. 126, 130 (bees also 
given part of funeral food); French Folklore, v, 13 (Normandy — knock 
on hive three times, tell bees of death, and hang black crape on the 
hive) ; Oldmeadow, pp. 68-169. 

^""Thorpe, in, 161. This was contributed also by Clara Hearne. 

^^"JAFL, xxxvui, 397 (Jewish — spade placed near grave so that 
deceased can dig through to Jerusalem on Resurrection) ; Newcomb, p. 
76 (spade or shovel used in digging grave never to be used again — often 
iiroken and left near the grave) ; Webster, Taboo, p. 190 (New 
Caledonia — iiravcdigycrs nuist remain near grave for four or five days 
after a burial ) ; Randolph, p. 327. 

"'Whitney and P.ullock, p. 105 (about 1875, customary to mount hair 
of deceased in jewelry) ; Earle, Customs and Fashions . . . , p. 376 (lock 
of the deceased's hair mounted in ring) ; JAT'L, vn, 221 (New England — 

^^-JJFL. v. 114 (North Carolina) ; Earle, Customs and Fashions .... 
P- 373 (black liangings) ; W'ebster, Quilts, Their Story and llozv to 
Make Them. p. 49. 

"'Whitney and lUillock, ]>. 104 (a custom in the mountains of Western 
Maryland); JAFL, xxi, 2,bs (Boston Negro). 

"'I know of no exact parallel to this idea. .According to Gutch and 
Peacock {Count\ F oik-Lore V, p. 236), the horses used must always be 

"'Puckett, p. 84; Gregor, p. 207; Whitney and Bullock, p. 102; 


It is the custom to open the coffin so that all may pay their 
last respects to the departed."" (Cireen Collection) 

Nearly always after funerals, drinks were served to those 
present or to the pallhearers at least."' (Rebecca Willis) 

"When a nigger'd die. they'd sing all along de road to de 
graveyard. You could heah 'em way off yonder." (Green 

Last year a Negro died on our place, and they would not let 
my father have one thing to do about buying the coffin nor 
would they use any of our teams to go to town after it. They 
borrowed a team from one of our neighbors to go for the coffin 
and also to haul it to the cemetery. They said that if they 
used our teams some awful accident would come to us both. 
(J. C. Paisley) .^ 

A corpse should always be taken from the house feet first. ^^* 
(Constance Patten) 

The first person who leaves the grave after a funeral will 
be the next to die. "** (Green Collection) , 

The corpse is stretched on a board. On it is placed a platter 
of salt and earth, unmixed. The salt is an emblem of the im- 
mortal spirit, the earth of the flesh. ^-■* (Green Collection) ' 

Haltrich, Zar Volkskmidc dcr Siebcnhi'irycn Sachsen, p. 308; JAFL, u, 
15 (Massachusetts — if the eyes of the corpse are allowed to remain open, 
the last person looked at will die soon) ; Paton, p. 118 (weights on 
eyes to keep them closed — 'The probable reason was the desire to keep 
the spirit which still hannted its body from casting an evil eye upon the 
living") ; Randolph, p. 313; Rogers, p. 66. 

^^'' Earle, Customs and Fasliions in Old Nczv England, p. 371. This 
custom is still observed also in the rural sections and small towns of 
Indiana. In cases where the body is mutilated or wasted away from a 
long illness, the coffin is kept closed. 

"■^ Earle, Customs and Fashions . . . , p. 371; JAFL, vn, 219 (New 

'^^^ JAFL, XXXI, 26 (Ontario) ; Gutch and Peacock, County Folk-Lore 
V, 243; Aubrey, p. 167; Whitney and Bullock, p. 103; Gumbo Ya-Ya, 
p. 310; JGLS, N.S.. V, 43 (the body of Isaac Heron carried out feet 
first) ; Cambridge, Anthropological Expedition to Torres Straits, v, 248 
(among the Melanesians, the corpse is carried out feet foremost, other- 
wise the ghost would find its way back and trouble the survivors) ; 
Paton, p. 122 ("In Rome the dead man was carried out of the house 
feet first in order that he might not see which way he was going and 
be able to find his way back"). 

^'^^JAFL, XL, 87 (Ozarks — mourners not to leave cemetery until the 
last clod is thrown on the grave) ; Randolph^ p. 319. 

'-" Puckett, p. 83; Gregor, p. 207; Henderson, pp. 39-40; Simpson, 
p. 206; Whitney and Bullock, p. loi (pan of salt on breast); Balfour 
and Thomas, County Folk-Lore IV, 99, loi, 102; Hardwick, p. 181 
("It is customarv yet in some parts of the North of England to place 
a plate filled with salt on the stomach of a corpse soon after death") ; 
Randolph, p. 313; Trachtenberg, p. 175; Rogers, p. 66; Brendle and 
Una;er, p. 27. 

Douce says that this is to keep air from getting into the bowels and 
swelling the body, but suggests also that salt is an emblem of eternity 
and immortality and consciiuently shunned by the Devil. 

K K I I K I" S AND C V S TOMS 259 

I heard of a woman whose dead hushand had been very fond 
of chocolate cake. luich Sunday morning slie i)laced one at the 
head of his grave and his spirit devoured it. ( LilHan Cheek) 
In Yadkin county there is a family who visit the grave of a 
brother and put meat and bread and much-liked foods on it, 
thinking that he can come back to get it. They claimed that for 
months after his death he would come back to the kitchen door 
at night and beg for food. He died in an intoxicated condition. 
The l^raveyard in which he was buried has always been con- 
sidered •"banted." Once in broad open daylight a girl was pass- 
ing that wav and became frightened at the sight of a headless 
man who she said went into one of the graves.^-^ (Green 
Collection) - 

Leave cup and saucer, medicine bottles, and bits of pottery 
on the grave so the spirit may use them in another life. (Helen 
Fraser Smith) 

I have seen a number of graves carefully outlined with large 
white flints, bottles all of one kind with the necks sticking in 
the ground, and. farther east, shells.^-- (Lillian Cheek) 

The Negroes of Roanoke Island decorate the graves of the 
dead with sea shells. This custom is also practiced by the 
whites to a great extent. (Mary Scarborough) , 

I have noticed that not only the Negroes in our section put 
bits of broken dishes, etc., on the graves, but also the whites 
quite often. On one grave of a white person in a graveyard 
near my home I noticed last summer pretty bits of china, a 
broken lamp, broken vases, and a cracked cup or two. Many 
of the graves in this same graveyard are profusely decorated 
with all sizes and kinds of stones also. ((iertrude Allen 

Burv with the corpse the left-over medicine. A Negro grave 
in Chapel Hill was found surrounded by bottles, some half full 
of medicine used by the deceased.^-'* (Green Collection) ^ 

^"Randolph (p. 237) quotes one of his older informants as saying, 
"One of my neighbors thinks a man who has been dead four years comes 
and steals cream out of his springhouse every night." 

As recently as 1928 in England, court action was necessary to put an 
end to Miss' Hoskyns-Abrahall's depositing of bread, fruit, wine, and 
other foods on the grave of her father. For a complete account, see 
Summers, The I'ampirc in Europe, pp. 60-62. 

'-- Here as in the contribution which follows it, tlie custom appears 
to have arisen simply from a desire to beautify the grave and perhaps 
also to define its limits clearly and thus safeguard tlie occupant against 
encroachment. ■• , 

^" The words bury idth of the first sentence seem to be contradicted 
bv the second, which indicates that the bottles were around the grave. 
For burial of objects with the deceased, see Newcomb, p. 75 (a flash- 
light buried with a Navajo); Hardwick, p. 62 (Yorkshire— man buried 
with candle pcnnv, and a bottle of wine) ; JGLS, n.s., vi, 297 (towel 


Leave a lamp on the grave and it will lead the deceased to 
glory. (Helen Fraser Smith) \ 

Very frequently in old country graveyards you will find 
broken vases and plates on graves. The reason for placing 
broken bits on the grave is that the people know that some- 
thing useless will not be stolen from the grave, otherwise it 
might be. People often place sea shells on the grave. I have 
seen many graves covered with sea shells, but 1 cannot give 
any reason for it.^-"' (Zilpah Frisbie) 

Cup, knife and fork are often placed on the grave. ^-•' (Con- 
.stance Patten) 

Never bury a person with his mouth open, for the spirit 
might return.^-'"' (Rebecca Willis) 

and soap in Gypsy woman's coffin) ; Gypsy Smith, His Life and Work, 
p. 7 (uncle's fiddle, cup and saucer, plate, and knife buried in his 
coffin) ; Hole, p. 53 (in Sweden, when a girl died unmarried, a mirror 
was placed in lier coffin so that she might see to arrange her hair on 
the Resurrection morning) ; Randolph, p. 315 (burial with loaded and 
cocked rifle and revolver). The custom appears in the following ballads; 
"The Two Brothers" (bow and arrows, sword and buckler, Bible, 
chaunter) ; "Robin Hood's Death" (sword, bow and arrows, met-yard) ; 
"Sir Hugh" (Bible, Testament, pen and ink). 

^■* The reason assigned for the placing of broken objects on the 
grave, while an excellent bit of rationalization, is hardly the correct one. 
The true explanation is that it is the spirits of the objects and not the 
objects themselves that are to serve the owner in the next world. The 
breaking is merely the means of liberating the object spirit. What we 
have here is, of course, a survival of an animistic belief, whether or 
not the persons practicing the custom are conscious of the fact. In all 
probability they are not conscious of it, and continue the custom simply 
because their forebears observed it. 

Sea shells were believed by primitive man to have magic powers, 
chief among which were those of averting death and of giving to the 
dead the power of rising again. On this point, see Fielding, Strange 
Superstitions and Magical Practices, pp. 226-227. 

^-^JAFL, xxvn, 248 (South Carolina Negro — crockery, lamps, and 
toys) ; PTFLS, xiu, 130-131 (cups, saucers, jugs, knives, pitchers, 
spoons), 132 (medicine bottles and light bulbs), 133 (oil lamps), 133- 
134 (shells), 135 (comb, women's wearing apparel, jewelry, marbles, 
razor, brush, watch, etc.), 136 (spectacles and false teeth) ; FL, xv, 453 
(Jamaica — knives, pipe and tobacco, etc.) ; Puckett, pp. 104-105; Abbott, 
p. 197 (playthings, books, jewelry) ; JGLS, N.s., 11, 360; v, 45 (broken 
teapot placed on child's grave "lest he should be thirsty"), 46 (fiddle, 
pipe, and knife, fork, and plate) ; Gumbo Ya-Ya, p. 319; Webster, p. 
180; Read, Man and His Superstitions, p. 91. See also H. C. Bolton, 
"Decoration of Graves of Negroes in South Carolina," JAFL, iv, 214; 
E. higersoll, "Decoration of Negro Graves," ibid., v, 68-69; Mary A. 
Waring, "Mortuary Customs and Beliefs of South Carolina Negroes," 
ibid., VH, 318-319; Barker, p. 251 (child's playthings). 

*-" Just as primitive man associated his shadow with his spirit, so did 
he associate his breath with the latter, hideed, .so closely were the two 
identified in his mind that he used the same word for both. When the 
breath finally stopped, the spirit left the body. To prevent its return or, 
worse still, the entrance of a demon into the body, the mouth was closed 

H }■: 1. I K K S A N n C U S T O M S 26 1 

In some localities, graves are protected by lattice huts. 
(Cireen Collection) - 

Do not trot the horses across a bridge going to a funeral. 
(IMr. Fairley) 

After the death the windows are opened, and after the burial 
everything about the deathbed is burned or aired. Rooms are 
usually reiminted. These customs do not refer to contagious 
diseases.'-' (Cireen Collection) , 


In Eastern North Carolina the fishermen have a peculiar way 
of dividing the fish after they have finished pulling the seines. 
Generallv there are a number of men among whom the fish are 
to be divided. One of them divides the fish into as many, and 
as nearly as possible equal, divisions as there are men present. 
Then someone not to receive any fish turns his back and closes 
his eyes while another either touches one of the shares with a 
twig or tosses on some sand and asks, "Whose is this?" The 
one with his back turned calls, "^Ir. A's" and so on and on 
until all the divisions have been distributed. Then after this, 
maybe one man will have a shad, wdiereas he would prefer two 
or three fish of another sort, so they exchange among them- 
selves. (Green Collection) •, 

In the days when folks rode horseback, the first crowd would 
go ahead for the first mile or two, tie their horses, and w-alk on. 
The next crowd would come along and get the horses and over- 
take the others. This was called "Ride and Tie."'^-* (Eliza- 
beth Janet Cromartie) 

Before the time of the cotton gin, every girl in Montgomery 
countv was required to pick enough cotton from the seed to fill 

and the nostrils plugged. It was owing to this lichef ni the identity 
of the breath and the spirit that the act of sneezing was regarded so 
seriously. The violent expulsion of breath in the sneeze meant that the 
soul was. for an instant at least, free of the body. The Jews even be- 
lieved that its return was possible only through direct divine intercession. 
Our "Gesundheit," "God bless you," and similar ejaculations when one 
sneezes are expressions of solicitude for the person temp<3rarily deprived 
of his soul and evidences of the speaker's desire for its safe and speedy 
return to him. 

'-• This purification of the premises on which a death has occurred 
is found the world over. Different methods are employed: washing with 
water, burning of certain aromatic plants, and (among the Romans) 
sweeping with a certain kind of broom. The reason was the same in 
every case, the prevention of the dead man's return. For a wealth of 
information on the subject, see Bendann (chapters viii and ix). 

'-* Botkin, p. 134; Karlc, Customs and Fashinus . . . , p. 191. 


her shoe. She was not considered industrious unless she did 
this.i-» (Ella Smith) 

Though disproved by Blackstone and the contrary asserted 
by every lawyer in the land, the idea persists that a will is 
void unless it mentions each child's name and bequeaths some- 
thing to him.''"' (Thurston T. Hicks) 

A current opinion has long prevailed that the youngest son 
is entitled to the home place in the division of the ancestor's 
lands.^i (Thurston T. Hicks) ^ 

Wake a person gently so that the soul will have time to come 
back from the dream-world. When the soul leaves the body, 
the person is in a trance. ^^- (Helen Fraser Smith) 

Place a rattlesnake rattle in a violin to improve its tone.^^^ 
(Ella Smith) ^ 

^^^ Cf. Earle, Customs and Fashions • . . , p. 37 (Eastham, Massachu- 
setts, 1695 — "Every unmarried man in the township shall kill six black- 
birds or three crows while he remains single ; as a penalty for not doing 
it, shall not be married until he obey this order"). Cf. also the New 
England tradition that a young lady was not fit to be married until she 
could make an Indian pudding that could be thrown up the chimney 
and hit the ground outside without breaking (Webster, Quilts, Their 
Story and Hozv to Make Them, p. 162). 

^'"' There is a whole body of similar folk misconceptions of the law 
and legal processes. Cf. the widespread belief that the conveying of a 
corpse across a field makes a public thoroughfare of the route taken. 

"^ Cf. Aubrey, p. 107. He does not give this particular belief, how- 
ever, but says that disinheriting of the eldest son was held unlucky and 
cites Exodus, 13:2 ("Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever 
openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of 
beast ; it is mine"). 

In early times, it was the youngest and not the eldest son who in- 
herited the family property, primogeniture belonging to a later and 
more settled state of society. The eldest went out in search of adven- 
ture, leaving the youngest at home to care for the father and mother 
and eventually to inherit the household goods. It was the latter's duty 
to support the parents as long as they lived ; when they died, he con- 
tinued to live on the "home place." The custom was known not only 
in England ("Borough English") but also in France and Germany, 
and was doubtless almost universal at one time. In Kent the youngest 
son (or daughter) was allotted the hearth place and as far as forty 
feet around it. For additional information on this subject, see Elton, 
Origins of Englisli History, p. 186. 

^''-JAFL, IV, 113 (Burmese) ; xix, 211 (Filipino). Cf. the Gaelic 
"Na duisg e gun ghairm air ainm" (Do not waken him without calling 
him by name). Paton, p. 3 ("It is dangerous to waken one suddenly, 
for the absent spirit may not have time to get back to the body") ; 
Westermarck, Ritual and Belief in Moroceo, p. 273 ("It is bad to wake a 
sleeping person too suddenly ; it should be done slowly and gently, by 
touching his little finger or touching him with the palm of one's hand 
and with the phrase subhan dllah ("God be praised"), since otherwise 
he may be frightened and become mes' ot.") ; Randolph, p. 332 (to 
wake a sleepwalker may cause his death); AlcKenzic, The Jiifaney of 
Medicine, p. 223. 

'■•" Hyatt, p. 73- 


A ccjrd is tied around the field to keep crows away from 
watermelons. (Clara Hearne) , 

To keep harmful hirds away, nail a dead crow or hawk on 
the harn.^^^ (Clara Hearne) 

Negroes in the country sleep with windows and doors tightly 
closed even in summer so as to keep the spirits out. Negroes 
in town leave the door cracked. ^■^■'* (Constance Patten) ^ 

People have been known to frequent unusually clayey ditch 
banks or newly dug clay holes to eat and carry off the pure 
clay.'''" ((ireen Collection) ^ 


The following names for quilt and coverlet patterns were re- 
ported : Alabama Beauty^'" (contributor's name not given) ; Bas- 
ket^'*** (Clara Hearne) ; Basket of Broachee ( ?) ; Bear's Paw^-*'' 
(Nilla Lancaster) ; Bird of Paradise"" (F. C. Brown) ; Broken*- 
Chain {?): Brunswick Star"^ (Kate S. Russell); Buzzard's 

"* JAFL, I, 131 (Pennsylvania German); Brendle and Unger, p. 95, 

^•"'Randolph, p. 157 (night air thought poisonous). Night is the time 
of spirits. These are particularly dangerous to man when he sleeps, 
for then the soul is temporarily absent from the body and both are 
particularly vuhierable because of relaxed vigilance. 

According to ancient Jewish belief, one should not bar the spirits' 
paths of ingress and egress by shutting doors and windows, for this 
invites their displeasure. It is better to make a small hole in door or 
window. See Trachtenberg, p. 32. 

^■'"' The practice of clay-eating appears to have been ])articularly com- 
mon in North Carolina and Georgia. The clay eaten was a special kind 
composed of silex, oxide of iron, alumina, magnesia, and water, and 
was found in the greatest abundance in Richmcnid County, Georgia. No 
clay of this type is found north of the Potomac. Children addicted to 
the habit of clay-eat^ing could be cured of it by eating roasted bat. 

See Laufer, "Geophagy," p. 176. The standard work on the subject 
is C. G. Ehrenberg, Das Erdcn u. Fclsoi scliaffctide U'irkni dcs 
unsichtbar klcincn Lcbcns auf dcr Erde, 2 vols., Leipzig, 1854. 

"" See Webster, Quilts, Their Story and Hozv to Make Them, p. 126 

'■''*' Webster, p. 127: Hall and Kretsinger, The Romance of the Patch- 
work Quilt in America, p. 196 (design). Cf. Hall and Kretsinger, 
p. 126, no. 6 (Bread Basket). 

^■■"'Webster, p. 125; Hall and Kretsinger, p. 79; Finley, Old Fatch- 
zi'ork Quilts and the ll'omcn Who Made Them, pp. 97, 98, 99, 191; 
Eaton, Handicrafts of the Southern Highlands, p. 130. This pattern was 
called by the Philadelphia Quakers the Hand-of-Friendship ; it was known 
also as Duck's-Foot-in-the-Mud. 

'"'Finley, pp. 122-123; Hall, .-/ Book of Hand-U'o7'cn Coverlets, p. 
180 (design) ; Hall and Kretsinger, p. 72 (design). An "all-over" pattern. 

'''Hall and Kretsinger, ]>. 54 (design) ; Webster, p. 119; Finley, p. 93 
(design). This pattern is sometimes known as Rolling Star or Chained 


Roost (F. C. Brown); Capital T"- (Clara Hearne) ; Catch 
j\Ie If You Can^^^ (contributor's name not given) ; Cherokee 
Rose (F. C. Brown) ; Cross^"'-* H Nilla Lancaster) ; Diamond^-'^ 
(contributor's name not given) ; Fan"** (Kate S. Russell) ; 
Flying Batlsji-'' (Kate S. Russell) ; Forbidden Fruiti-*'^ (F. C. 
Brown); Four Hands Around"** (Clara Hearne); Friendship 
Basket (Kate S. Russell) ; Georgia Fan (contributor's name 
not given) ; Golden Stairs (Kate S. Russell) ; Hen and Chick- 
ens^-^" (F. C. Brown); Hidden Flower (Kate S. Russell); 
Irish Chain^-^^ (Clara Hearne) ; Jacob's Ladder^-"*- (Elsie 
Doxey) ; Log Cabin^^-' (F. C. Brown) ; Lady Finger^"^ (Jessie 
Hauser) ; Lazy Girl (contributor's name not given) ; Love 
Knot^"'"' (Kate S. Russell and Clara Hearne) ; Lover's 'Knot^^^ 
(Nilla Lancaster, Kate S. Russell, and F. C. Brown) ; Memorial 
^'■' Hall and Kretsinger, p. 86 (design). Cf. Webster, p. 127 (Capital 

I)- . 

^" Hall, p. 74; Hall and Kretsinger, p. 94. Known also as Heart's 
Seal, Mound Builders, The Pure Symbol of Right Doctrine, Favorite 
of the Peruvians, The Battle Ax of Thor, Wind-Power of the Osages, 
Chinese 10,000 Perfections (Hall and Kretsinger, p. 95). The Fly Foot 
or Devil's Puzzle is the reversed swastika (for designs, see Finley, p. 74, 
and Hall and Kretsinger, p. 94). The former name is a corruption of 
fylfot, another name by which the swastika is known. 

^'' Hall, p. no (design) ; Hall and Kretsinger, p. 64 (design). 

^*''' Webster, p. 121 (mentioned); Finley, p. 23 (Diamond Chain). 

^"' Webster, p. 127. 

"'Finley, p. 113; Webster, p. 125; Hall and Kretsinger, p. 82 

^^^^ Webster, p. 119 (Forbidden Fruit Tree); Hall and Kretsinger, 
p. 102 (Forbidden Fruit Tree — design). 

^''•' This is also called Hands-all- Around (Hall and Kretsinger, p. 94, 
no. 18) ; cf. Webster, p. 125 (Eight Hands Around). The name is that 
of a square dance figure. 

^'"Finley, pp. 83, 171; Webster, p. 124; Hall and Kretsinger, pp. 72 
(design), 78 (design). Other names for the pattern are Duck and 
Ducklings and Corn and Beans (Hall, p. ys). 

^-''Finley, pp. 15, 23, 52, 82; Hall and Kretsinger, p. 236 (design); 
there is also a Double Irish Chain and a Triple Irish Chain. The pat- 
tern of one of the two Irish Chains in this collection is exactly that of 
the Chained Five-Patch (see Finley, p. 167). 

^■'- Finley, pp. 70-71 ; Hall and Kretsinger, p. 64, nos. 20 and 22. An 
"all-over" pattern. With different arrangement of colors, it was known 
also as Stepping Stones, Trail of the Covered Wagon, Wagon Tracks, 
Underground Railroad, and The Tail of Benjamin's Kite. 

^•''■' Hall and Kretsinger, pp. 181 (design), 197 (design) ; Eaton, p. 130: 
Finley, pp. 28, 68; Webster, p. 127; Hall, p. 60. The name may derive 
from the "Log Cabin and Hard Cider" publicity of the 1840 presidential 

^'' Hall and Kretsinger, p. 108, no. i (Lady-Fingers and Sunflowers). 

^'■'' Hall and Kretsinger, p. 94 (design). 

^•'■•" Hall, pp. 67, 82 (design), 172 (design), 208 (design); Hall and 
Kretsinger, p. 70 (design) ; Rabb, Indiana Coverlets and Coverlet Weav- 
ers, p. 407. This pattern is sometimes known as the Necktie. 

K K I. I K. F S AND C I' S T M S 265 

Leaf (a)nti-iI)utor"s iianic not given); Missouri Trouhk^^-'" 
(contributor's name not given) ; Monkey Wrench^''** (Elsie 
Doxey and Clara Hearne) ; Morning Star^''" (Kate S. Russell) ; 
Odds and Ends^"" (V. C. Brown); Old-b^ashioned Garland 
(Kate S. Russell); Old-l-'ashioned Nosegay^'"'^ (Kate S. Rus- 
sell) ; Old Woman's Puzzle^"- (contributor's name not given) • 
Palmi''^* (Kate S. Russell) ; Patience^"^ (F. C. Brown) ; Rising 
Sun^'"-'* (Nilla Lancaster); Road to Oklahoma^ ''^'^^ (Clara 
Hearne) ; Rolling Stone^"' (contributor's name not given) ; 
Rose of Sharon^''^*' (contributor's name not given); Rose Sta*" 
One Patcb (Kate S. Russell); Saw Tootb^"" (Elsie Doxey); 
Snake TraiP"" (Kate S. Russell) ; SnowbalP'^ (Kate S. Rus- 
^'•' Other names are Tennessee Trouble, Spectacles, and Mountain 
Flower. For a photograph of the design, see Hall, p. 73- 

^^^'^Hall p. 84 (design). There is also a Double Monkey Wrench, 
known too as Love Knot, Hole-in-the-Barn-Door, Puss-ui-the-Corner 
Shoo-Fly, Lincohi's Platform, and Sherman's March. For a picture oi 
the latter design, see Hall and Kretsinger, p. 94- 

'■■"Webster, p. 120; Hall and Kretsinger, p. 60 (design). 
'"" Webster, p. 130. 

"'"^Hall and Kretsinger, p. 106 (design). .,,,,,,• 

"-Webster, pp. 127 (Old Maid's Puzzle), 128 (Old liachelor s 
Puzzle)- Hail and Kretsinger, p. 70 (Old Maid's Puzzle). The North 
Carolina specimen is identical with that pictured in Hall and Kretsinger 
p. 54, no. 5 ( Pieced Star ) . The pattern was designed to make use of 
small scraps of cloth. . . 

'"•■'Finley, p. 108; Hall and Kretsinger, p. 102. Ihis pattern is known 
also as Hosanna. , ^, . 

'"' Finley, p. 89 (Patience Corners); Hall and Kretsinger, p. 54 
(Patience Corners— design). . 

'"■'Webster p. 119; Finlev, pp. 116, 117. 122; Hall. p. 20 (mentioned) ; 
Rabb, p. 402: Hall and Kretsinger, pp. 78 (design), 174 (design), 
Bowles, Homespun Handicrafts, p. 163. This is a very intricate pat- 
tern and one attempted by only the most expert quilt-makcrs. The 
difficulty of execution helps to explain the comparative rarity of Rising 
Sun quilts today. . ,, , , 

'""Hall and Kretsinger, p. 76 (design). This is sometimes called the 
New Four- Patch. The Hearne pattern is identical with the Jact)b's 
Ladder. . , ■ , . 

'"•Hall and Kretsinger. p. 76 (design); binley, p. 115 (mentioned); 
Hall, p. T9 (mentioned). Johnnie-round-the-Corner is another name 
sometimes given it. The former name may have been derived from the 

'"" Finley, pp. 126-127 and plate 65: Hall and Kretsinger, pp. no. 112 
and plates xxix and xxx ; Webster, p. 122 (mentioned). This is a very 
old applique pattern. The name comes from the Song of Solomon, and 
a quilt made from this pattern was almost invariably intended for a 

'""Hall and Kretsinger, pp. 56 (design), 94 (design) ; Finlcy, pp. 112, 
132 See also Hall and Kretsinger, pp. 144. IS3 (designs). 

'■"Hall, p. 60 (Snail Trail); Webster, p. 125 (Snail's Trail); Hall 
and Kretsinger. p. 84 (Snail's Trail) ; Eaton, p. 120 (Snail's Trail). 

'•'Webster, p. 128; Hall and Kretsinger, p. 78 (design); Bowles, p. 
163. In New England this is called Dog Tracks or Catspaw. 


sell); Spider Web^'- (Kate S. Russell); Star ;i'=* Star of 
Bethlehem^'^ (Clara Hearne) ; Star of the East^'^ (F. C. 
Brown) ; Strangers (F. C. Brown) ; Sunflower^^^ (Kate S. 
Russell) ; Sweet Gum Leaf (contributor's name not given) ; 
Tree of Paradise^'^ (Nilla Lancaster) ; Tulip^"*** (Kate S. Rus- 
sell) ; Tulip Block^^'-* (Clara Hearne) ; Washington Pave- 
j^^gjij-iso (Kate S. Russell); Wheel of Fortune^^^ (Kate S. 
Russell) ; W^idow's Trouble (F. C. Brown) ; Wild Goose 
Chase^^- (F. C. Brown); Wild Rose^**^ (Clara Hearne); 
World's Fair^^-* (Kate S. Russell). 

Two designs (6-92.14 and 6-92.25), both of the same pat- 
tern, are not identified by the contributor. They are, however, 
clearly examples of the Courthouse Square (see Hall and Kret- 
singer, p. 90, no. 17). 

The following were contributed as names of blanket pat- 
terns : Christian Ring, Chariot Ball, Leaf and Shell, Mt. 
Cucumber, and Snowball Reed. 


A good dye for quilt linings may be made by boiling the 
material in a mixture of pure red clay and water. After the 
water has been colored sufficiently with the clay, it may stand 

^^- Hall, p. 19 (mentioned) ; Hall and Kretsinger, p. 78 (design). 

^" The Star design of the North Carolina quilt is the famous eight- 
diamond Star of LeMoyne, the design upon which all subsequent star 
and tulip designs are based. See Finley, pp. 23, 30, 57, 89, 132; Hall 
and Kretsinger, p. 64, no. i. The name was corrupted to Lemon Star 
in some sections. 

^"Finley, pp. 25, 26, 58, 106, 122; Webster, p. 119; Hall and Kret- 
singer, pp. 54 (design), 56 (design). 

"''Hall, p. 65; Webster, p. 95; Hall and Kretsinger, pp. 58 (design), 
84 (design) ; Eaton, p. 112. 

""Hall and Kretsinger, p. 96 (design) ; Eaton, p. 130; Finley, pp. 39, 
93; Hall, pp. 20, 55; Webster, p. 123. This pattern is known also as 
Blazing Star or Blazing Sun. 

"'Hall and Kretsinger, p. 102 (design). 

"^Webster, pp. 49 (design), 119; Hall and Kretsinger, p. 102 

""Finley, p. 124; Bowles, p. 163; Hall and Kretsinger, pp. 175 (de- 
sign), 199, 214 (design). 

180 Webster, p. 126 (Washington's Sidewalk). 

^■^^ Hall, p. 68; Webster, p. 122; Hall and Kretsinger, p. 227 (de- 
sign) ; Finley, pp. 62 (design), 82. The pattern was known as Wheel 
of Fortune prior to 1850 ; after that date it was known in Ohio as The 
Road to California (Finley, p. 82). It is sometimes called the Buggy 
Wheel. Its original name appears to have been Burgoyne Surrounded 
(see Hall and Kretsinger, p. 99). 

"^Webster, p. 128; Finley, p. 194 (design); Hall and Kretsinger, 
p. 96 (design). This is one of the popular triangle patterns. 

"3 Webster, p. 122; Hall and Kretsinger, pp. 114 (design), 116 

18* Webster, p. 119; Hall and Kretsinger, p. 84 (design). 


till the greater part of the clay settles. Then the water is 
jKHued off and hoiled. This clay is plentiful in sections of 
LCastern North Carolina. I have known people who tried this 
and found that it produced a fast color.^^'^' (Zilpah Frishie) 
For a red dye, use one ounce of cochineal, two ounces of 
tin. one-half ounce of cream of tartar, to one pound of deep 
and one of pale, l^^irst run the cochineal to a powder, and 
]nit it in as much water as will do. Let it hoil until it dissolves, 
and then put in the cream of tartar and the tin. Stir it well 
and put in the yarn. Let it boil a few minutes.'"*'' (Con- 
tributor's name not given.) 

A herb she called madder was used by my grandmother to 
make a pretty crimson. The roots of this were used.^**^ (Ger- 
trude Allen Vaught) ' 

Red oak bark was used for tanning leather. It gave a deep 
red color. The white oak bark gave a light tan color.iss 
(Mamie Mansfield) 

For a red dye, use poke berries and set with alum. (Nilla 

For a red dye, boil sumac berries in water for a few hours, 
adding a little salt. '■''•' (Kathleen Mack) 

The water in which hickory bark is boiled makes a pretty 
vellow dye. (Jessie Hauser) - 

Buckhorn and sumac are used for different kinds of yellow. 
(F. C. Brown) Y 

IMarigold flowers boiled in water make a beautiful yellow/^'^ 
(Kate S. Russell) 

^"^ In the early part of the eighteenth century, merchants carried pipe- 
clay on their shelves and advertised it as one of the dyes they had in 
stock. . 

''" Cochineal and tin were two of the very few imported dye materials. 
The former was brought from Central .America and Mexico and the 
latter from the mines of Cornwall. The tin was dissolved in aqua fortis. 
"' Madder is one of the oldest of dyes. It appears to liavc been used 
first by the Egyptians, and later by the Moors in Spain. From Spam 
it made its wav to Holland, whence it was brought to America by Dutch 
settlers. Sec 'Eaton, Handicrafts of the Southern Highlands, p. 138. 
Incidentallv, madder is the dye used for dyeing the red stripes in the 
.American flag (Hall. .-/ Booh of Hand-Worm Coverlets, p. 153). 

Rabb (Indiana Coverlets and Coverlet Makers, p. 401 ) mentions a 
red dve made of bran, water, and madder. 

^■"^ .\mong other ingredients for a tan dye were butternut and hemlock 

bark and sumac leaves and twigs (Bowles, Homespun Handicrafts, 

p. 188). ^, ^ ^ 

^"' .\ red dye could also be made from willow bark and bloodweed 

sap (PTFLS,'\ui. 161). 

"° Other plants utilized in the making of yellow dye were goldenrod, 
Cottonwood bark, pecan bark, cedar bark (PTFLS, xni. 161); peach 
leaves or smartwecd. alder, birch, walnut, hickory, yellow oak, Lombardy 
poplar, sumac stalks (Hall, A Book of Hand-Woven Coverlets, p. 134) ; 
laurel leaves (Webster, Quilts, Their Story and How to Make Them, p. 
75) ; smart weed (Rabb, Indiana Coverlets and Coverlet Makers, p. 401). 
For a more complete list, see Eaton, ot>. cit., pp. 341-342. 

Hall (p. 133) lists also fustic, tumeric, and anotta as being used in 
the making of a yellow dye. 


Easter eggs may be dyed yellow with hickory bark. (Zilpah 
Frisbie) ^ 

J\Iy grandmother used to make a dye of a pretty yellow color 
from maple or walnut bark. (Gertrude Allen Vaught) 

Red oak bark is used to make dye. Boil the bark and strain 
it, and put some capus [copperas?] in it to set it to keep it 
from fading. The dye is a deep yellow. (Mamie Mansfield) - 
For a yellow dye, boil hickory bark for two or three hours. 
Add a little coffee, and boil again. Then put in the cloth, 
(Kathleen Mack)' 

Boil plum root in water for a yellow dye. Set with cop- 
peras. ^'^^ (Nilla Lancaster) 

My grandmother made a pretty yellow dye with broom straw. 
She broke the straw into small pieces, poured boiling water 
over it, then strained off the water. (Eleanor Simpson) V 

For a brown dye, use walnut bark. Set it with salt. (Nilla 

For a brown dye, boil onion peelings in water for a long time. 
Then remove them and the liquid is ready for the cloth.^^- 
(Kathleen Mack) ■. 

Take bark or old walnut hulls and boil in water. Then strain 
off the water and you have a brown dye. My grandmother used 
to make this dye for dyeing yarn. She also used it for coloring 
Easter eggs. (Eleanor Simpson) 

Roots of the walnut tree boiled with copperas will make a 
brown dye. (Clara Hearne) 

The bark from the root of walnut boiled in water makes a 
beautiful brown. The shade can be varied bv the amount of 
bark used.i''^^ (Kate S. Russell) ^■ 

Boil for one-half hour one pound of sumac and two of green 
walnut shells, then enter your yarn. Handle well and boil for 
one hour. Finish in another liquor with three pounds of red 
oak bark and an ounce of bluestone. ( Contril)utor's name not 

Take pine bark and red oak bark, red maple and sweet gum, 
and boil together for a brown dye. Boil the yarn in the dye, 
then dij) in or boil in strong lye. (Contributor's name not 

Red root makes a pinkish brown dye. (F. C. Brown) ^ 
Leaves of the pigweed were used to make a green dye. 
(Nilla Lancaster) 

^"^ Copperas was one of the most often used mordants. Others were 
alum, blue vitriol, verdigris, and cream of tartar. Salt and chamlier lye 
were also used. 

^"' A combination of butternut and maple l)ark was sometimes used in 
the making of brown dye. Eaton {op. cit., p. 340) lists also pecan hulls, 
bark of the spruce pine, bark of the chestnut oak. 

^"^ For references to the use of onion skins in dye, see JAFL, i, 128- 
129 (Pennsylvania German) ; li, 64. They seem to have been used more 
often for yellow. 

H K I, I K F S AND C U S T M S 269 

Easter egys may he dyed green with young wheat.''" 
(Lucille Massey) 

Sumac hoiled with e()])i)eias will ])r()<luce a hlack dye. (Clara 
Hearne ) 

Mv grandmother d\ed things a beautiful hlack with the seeds 
of the sumac, ((iertrude Allen X'aught^ 

Sumac and walmu hulls hoiled togeth<?'r make a hlack dye. 
'Idiis is for yarn. (Kate S. Russell) • 

Queen's Delight is used to make a hlack dye. (V. C. I»rown) '. 

Dye the yarn copi)eras. then boil it in a strong dye of milky 
puss'ly [purslane] and he sumac, and set with copperas. Dye 
in August. (Contributor's name not given.) , 

To dye one pound of cotton black, boil one ounce of blue- 
.stone. one quart of lye, and one pint of limewater for two 
hours. Then change to a fresh liquor, adding one pound of 
sumac and half an ounce of extract of logwood or half a pound 
of chips. Finish with two ounces of copperas. ( Contributor's 
name not given.) 

To dye one pound of wool black, boil in a mixture of one 
quart of good lye and half an ounce of bluestone for two hours. 
Then change liquor and add one half an ounce of extract of 
logwood. Boil gently two hours ; rinse well. Then put into 
a fresh dye with one ounce of extract of logwood and one 
ounce of bluestone. and boil gently for two hours.'*'"' (Con- 
tributor's name not given.) T 

For a purple dye. use red oak, sweet gum. and copperas. 
(Nilla Lancaster) 

Take the bark from maple, sweet gum, or red oak trees and 
boil them in water to make a beautiful rich purj)le.'''*^ (Kate 
S. Russell) . 

To dye silk material blue, use a dye made by boiling in 
water the flow-ers of the elder. This makes a navy blue. (Kate 
S. Russell) \ 

To dye a blue color, use indigo and set with salt or soda."*' 
(Nilla Lancaster) . 

^"^ Recipes for the making of a solid green dye are few; Eaton's long 
list of colors derived from plants (op. cit., pp. 340-342) includes only 
two, one from hickory bark and the other from leaves of the lily-of- 
the-valley. Frequently a dyeing of yellow was followed by one of blue 
to produce the desired result. Kabb (p. 401) lists peacii leaves. 

^"•■' Other plants used in the making of a black dye were bark of the 
scrul) oak (Webster, p. 75), willow bark, butternut bark, oak bark, red 
maple bark (Eaton, j). 340). i he latter is mentioned also by Hal! (p. 
148) as an ingredient in a Kentucky recipe. The contributor adds tliat 
after a short time the dye is purple but that the longer the boiling 
continues the darker the dye will be. 

^"'' Other purples were made from the flower of the red poppy (Eaton, 
p. 341). A brownish red with indigo blue also produces a purple color. 

'"' The indigo plant appears to have been native to the Southern 
Appalachians and to have been cultivated in South Carolina and Loui- 
siana (Eaton, pp. 136-137). Both flower and plant were placed in a 


To dye cotton blue, boil for two hours in one ounce of blue- 
stone, a quart of lye, and one pint of limewater. Then in a 
fresh liquor, adding one pound of sumac and an ounce and a 
half of extract of logwood. In a fresh liquor boil two and a 
half ounces of extract of logwood. You must be careful to 
keep the yarn well open while in the preparation. (Con- 
tributor's name not given.) 

To dye wool blue, boil in one quart of good lye, half an 
ounce of bluestone for two hours, then in a fresh liquor with 
half an ounce of extract of logwood. Boil gently for two hours ; 
rinse well. (Contributor's name not given.) 

To make lilac color, take the flowers from a juniper tree, 
boil them in water, and add copperas to set.^"^ (Kate S. 

For an orange color, use a dye made from sassafras. ^^^ 
(F. C. Brown) 

Sweet gum bark and red oak bark boiled with copperas will 
produce a gray dye.-*^" (Clara Hearne) 


Ashcake. — Sift one pint of cornmeal, add a pinch of salt, 
stir the mixture into a kind of paste, and pat out into a cake. 
Pull the coals back from the fireplace and put the ashcake there 
to dry off the top. Then cover the cake with ashes and put a 
few coals on top. Bake for twenty minutes, and then serve with 
butter.201 (Mabel Ballentine) 

barrel and covered with a layer of straw. This was covered with a 
layer of sumac, and then water was poured into the barrel and the whole 
was allowed to stand until it decomposed. Experiments carried on at 
the Pine Mountain Settlement School at Harlan, Kentucky, over the pe- 
riod 1922-25 proved that in view of the cheapness of commercial indigo 
dye the growing of the plant would not be practical (Eaton, pp. 343 fF.). 

^"^ For other recipes for blue dye, see Rabb, p. 401 (indigo, rainwater, 
and bran) and Hall, p. 133 (woad and indigo). The use of indigo as 
a dye goes back to remote antiquity. Traces of it have been found in 
mummy wrappings dating from almost a thousand years before Christ. 
Woad, particularly as a stain for the skin, is also very old. 

Eaton (p. 340) lists juniper berries as having been used in the making 
of a khaki dye. 

^'"' For orange, Eaton lists (p. 341) root of the bloodroot, madder, and 
onion skins. 

^""Willow bark was also used (Hall, p. 159). Eaton (p. 341) has 
leaves of the mountain laurel, pecan hulls, sumac berries, and leaves of 
the rhododendron. 

^"^ See Bullock, The Williamsburg Art of Cookery, or, .Iccomplished 
Gcntlcivo man's Companion, p. 97. For recipes for making hoecakes, see 
p. 99 of the same work and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Cross Creek 
Cookery, p. 23. Both hoecakes and ashcakes were made by Indian 
women long before the time of the Pilgrims; see Earle, Customs . . . , 
p. 148. 

B E I. I K F S A N D C I ' S T O M S 27 1 

Make as fur cornbread, but be sure to make it good and 

short. Then rake a place out in the coals, cover the cake with 
ashes, and bake until it is done. ( Cjertrude Allen Vaught ) v 

Put together the ingredients of cornbrcad and roll out 

on big oak or collard leaves, one on each side of the l)atter. 
Turn the cake over in the ashes a number of times while it is 
baking, liat with pot licker. (Green Collection) 

Corn Pone. — Mix at least a (|uart of meal with a tablespoon- 
ful of salt and enough water to make a thin dough. Let the 
mixture "set" until it ferments. Then stir it up again, and 
jnit it in an iron pan. Bake for an hour and a half in a 
moderately hot oven.-"- (Zilpah Frisbie) ,, 

Take two cups of sifted meal, a pinch of salt, and water. 

Mix into a stiff dough. Wrap the cakes in green oak leaves 
and bake them slowly in the ashes. ( Nilla Lancaster) 

This recipe recjuires one quart of corn meal, one-third 

teaspoonful of soda, one-half teaspoonful of salt, and two cups 
of buttermilk. Add a little water, mix thoroughly, and make 
into pones. Bake in a hot oven — preferably an old-fashioned 
oven which can be placed on the fire and then covered with a 
lid on which coals may be placed. It is called "skillet and lid" 
at home. (Gertrude Allen Vaught) 

Fait\ Bread. — Put on a pan of grease to heat. Mix a cup 
of meal and a pinch of salt, add water, form the dough into 
a cake and fry it in hot grease. (Nilla Lancaster) ' 

Milk-Yeast Bread. — On a hot, sunny day, boil a cup of water 
and a cup of milk, take ofif, and stir until nearly milkwarm. 
Then add a teaspoonful of salt and enough flour to thicken the 
hot milk. Cover this with a thin lid, and set in the siuishine. 
Let it rise to twice the size. This is the yeast. When the 
veast has risen, prepare a quart of flour, one tablespoonful of 
sugar, a little more salt, and a piece of lard the size of a goose 
tgg. Pour in the yeast and knead until it blisters and pops. 
Now grease the iron oven, put in the bread, cover with the iron 
lid, and put it out into the sunshine again. Prepare a bed of 
coals to cook it with when it rises. Be careful to start to bak- 
ing before the bread rises to the top. Bake until thoroughly 
done. (Nilla Lancaster) 

Salt-Rising Bread. — Take warm, fresh sweet milk and add a 
little flour, meal, and salt. Make this into a thin batter and 
leave it in a warm place overnight. Next morning, stir in 
more flour and put it in a warm place to rise. When it has 
risen, put as much flour as you want in a pan, add shortening, 
and then pour in the yeast mixture. Finish making the dough 
with warm water, place it in a pan, grease the well-kneaded 

''"^ See Rawlings, Cross Creek Cookery, p. 24. 

N.C.F., Vol. 1, (19) 


cakes with butter, and then bake.-"-^ (Gertrude Allen Vaught) V 

Hominy. — Take the water boiled off boiled ashes, put shelled 
corn in it, and cook for a few hours. Take the grains out and 
wash them several times. Cook them again, and then let them 
stand in water for several da^'s. (Kathleen Mack) 

Run down lye in the ash hopper, then boil corn in this 

lye. Soak it in cold water for three days and it is then ready 
to cook. (Gertrude Allen Vaught) 

Succotash. — Boil snap beans with bacon until almost done. 
Then pour in roasting ear corn, and cook all until done. Some- 
times butter beans or blackeyed peas are used instead of snap 
beans. (Green Collection) 

Persimmon Pudding. — One quart of persimmons, a quart of 
sweet milk, a pint of flour, two eggs, one cup of sugar, a tea- 
spoonful of soda, and a piece of butter the size of a walnut. 
Flavor with nutmeg.-"^ (Gertrude Allen Vaught) , 

One quart of seeded persimmons, two well-beaten eggs, 

one teacup of sugar, a pint of cornmeal, two tablespoonfuls of 
butter, and a pinch of salt. Mix together well. (Mabel 
Ballentine) '- 

Kraut. — Cut cabbage very fine, then place a layer in a stone 
jar. Next, put in a layer of salt, and continue thus, stopping 
now and then to punch the cabbage down with a stick. When 
you have the jar full, place a rag over the jar top, then boards 
(oak), and on top of that some large rocks to hold it down. 
Look at it once in a while, and if the brine doesn't cover the 
cabbage, apply water with a little salt in it. (Gertrude Allen 

Cabbage was chopped up very fine and put in kegs or 

stone jars. Salt was mixed with it in sufficient quantity to 
produce a brine that would cover the cabbage. Sometimes, in- 
stead of being chopped fine, the cabbage was cut into quarters 
and packed in the jars or kegs. (Clara Hearne)^ 

Pickled Beans. — Cook for a short while as many string beans 
as you like, then place in earthen jars, with a layer of salt, 
then a layer of beans, etc. We pickle cucumbers in the same 
way, only we do not cook them. Corn on the cob can l)e kept 
in the same way. (Gertrude Allen Vaught) 

String beans, or snaps, are frequently pickled in brine. 

(Green Collection)'^ 

Sulphur Fruit. — Peel and slice your fruit, then place it in a 
large wooden tub or other receptacle. Leave a space in the cen- 
ter for a pan of live coals. On this sprinkle some sulphur, then 
cover the tub with a thick cloth which fits down over it tightly. 

-"■' Ott, Plantation Cookery of Old Louisiana, p. 26. 
-"* During the past winter I noticed persimmon pudding listed among 
the desserts on several Southern Indiana hotel menus. 

K KIT K r S A N I) (■ I' S T () M S 2.~}, 

Keep replenishing llic sulphur and coals until the t ruit_ is done. 
Our old colored mammy made this in large quantities, then 
wrapped it in paper or a thick cloth and it kept all winter, 
(Cjertrude Allen Vaught)^ 

Grape Pickle— Take sugar from the hottoni of a molasses 
harrel and pick the grapes from the stem. l?ut into a jar one 
laver of grapes and next a layer of sugar until the jar is full. 
Seal a piece of paper over the mouth of the jar. and set it aside 
for iMes during the winter. (Kate S. Russell) ' 

Put together in layers green grapes, grape leaves, and 

salt. Let this ferment, and add cucumhcrs. Let stand until 
pickled. ( Kathleen Mack) 

Poke Salad.— The old colored mammy who lived in our home 
for many years used to make this every spring. She gathered 
the young tender leaves and washed them well. Then .she hoiled 
or parboiled these in salt and a generous amount of water. 
Next, she poured all this water off and put the leaves in fresh 
water and seasoned them with salt and bacon. She then cooked 
the salad until it was very tender. (Gertrude Allen Vaught)'- 

Suits and diuiipliuc/s.—Th\s dish is composed of^ dried fruit 
cooked with a ham bone, with dum])lings added. -*'■' (Green 

Toasted Potato Pituipkiji.—SVice one pumpkin into halves and 
seed these. Have a bed of coals on an old-fashioned fireplace 
and put the pumpkin on the coals, watching it closely all the 
time. Cut after twenty-five minutes, and take up and serve 
with butter while hot. (Mabel Ballentine) 

Watennelon Syrup.— Tzke all the juice of six ripe nielons, 
and put it into a pot and boil until it turns to .syrup. This was 
done w^hen sugar was scarce. (Nilla Lancaster >- 

Cream Pie. — Take nearly a cup of cream or milk for each 
pie, sweeten slightly, add a little butter, and thicken with a 
scant tablespoonful'of flour. Place in pie crust and make a 
lattice work across with strips of dough. Any flavor— or fruit- 
can be added. (Gertrude Allen Vaught) 

Green Huckleberry P/V.— Made by preparing any amount of 
green huckleberries you want. This takes more sugar than for 
ripe ones, about half a cuj) to a pie. Put in a large piece of 
butter, and then put in pie crust and bake. (Gertrude Allen 

Family Potato-Pie. — Line an iron spider with a rich crust, 
fill with alternate layers of potatoes, sugar, and pastry. Re- 
'"'^ "Snit" is, of course, the German Schnitt, meaning steak or chop. 
This dish is a special favorite among Pennsylvania Germans. 


peat twice, then add spices, cream, and a little water. Put on 
a top crust and bake.-"^' (Nilla Lancaster) 

Vinegar Pic. — -Take half a cup of medium strong vinegar 
and add half a cup of sugar, a piece of butter the size of a 
walnut, and half a cup of water slightly thickened with flour. 
Then place in pie crust and bake. (Gertrude Allen Vaught) 

Preserves. — Use one pound of sugar to one pound of fruit, 
and cook until the juice forms a thick syrup. Strawberries and 
figs should boil only a few minutes. Put out into the hot sun- 
shine daily for ten days, then jar it and the fruit will keep solid. 
(Nilla Lancaster) 

Jellies. — Use one cup of juice to one cup of sugar. When 
sugar is scarce, syrup does as well. (Nilla Lancaster) ^ 


IVJiiskey. — Take corn meal, cover it with water, and let it 
stand for four days. Then work off. (Kate S. Russell) 

Blackberry Wine. — Mash up blackberries, add water, and let 
stand for three days. Strain through a yarn cloth and allow 
to ferment again. Put up in airtight containers. (Kate S. 

Locust Beer. — Take locust, persimmons, and a little corn 
meal, put it in a barrel, cover with water, and let it remain a 
few days. To this may be added dried apple peelings and cores. 
(Kate S. Russell) 

Persimmon Beer. — Put persimmons in a barrel, pour warm 
water over them, and let them set until they ferment.^'^^ (Kate 
S. Russell) 

Sassafras Tea. — Tea was formerly made from sassafras wood 
or from holly balls. -''^ (Green Collection) 

Rhubarb Tea. — Crush rhubarb stems and leaves, steep them 
in boiling water, and drink. (Kate S. Russell) 

Tansy Tea. — Bruise tansy leaves, steep them in either hot 
or cold water, and drink. -*^^ (Kate S. Russell) 

""'' See Ott, p. 76. The latter recipe lists among the necessary in- 
gredients four wineglasses of brandy. 

""^ See Lay My Burden Down, p. 66. 

-"* Sassafras tea was highly regarded not only as a pleasant-tasting 
beverage but also as a medicine. It was in great favor as a means of 
"thinning the blood" in hot weather, and was believed to be a blood 
purifier as well. Sassafras is mentioned in herbals of as early date as 
1596, where it is recommended, among other things, for "making women 
with childe" (The Mid-^vest Pioneer, p. 39). 

-"" Juice from tansy leaves, together with buttermilk, was also one of 
the early aids to feminine beauty. The buttermilk was applied to make 
the complexion whiter; the tansy juice acted as an astringent. 


Coffee. — I'urn coffeo (hx\i,fs for good-fiavort-d cofft-t-. ( Susit- 
Si)iir54C(-)n Jordan) 

Distilling. — Put apple cider in a big kettle with a sjwut or 
tube running out into another vessel so that no air can escape 
except through that tube. Build a steady fire under the kettle 
with the cider in it. When it begins to boil fiercely, the steam 
pushes through the pipe into the cold kettle, condensing into 
l>randy. (Nilla Lancaster)', 

W'iue. — Mash the berries and let them sour, then strain them 
and add half as much sugar as the amount of the li(|uid. ( h^dna 
Whitlev ) 



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Edited by 
Archer Taylor 



RIDDLES ARE among the oldest of all mental diversions. Al- 
tliough most types of riddles may be traced far l)ack in cultural 
history, thev have' never yet been adecjuately described historically 
and stvlisticallv ; such a study of riddles is still only in its early 


One of the oldest known riddles is No. 5 in this collection : "What 
is it that walks on four legs in the morning, two at noon, and three 
at night?" This riddle, still common in oral tradition, puzzled the 
Greeks two thousand years ago. Oedipus is supposed to have de- 
feated the Sphinx by answering it. Although we have a Babylonian 
clay tablet containing a few riddles that were used as texts in learn- 
ing to read, we know very little about what riddles children asked 
and answered on the road to school long ago. In this connection, 
however, the Biblical riddles in the Frank C. Brown Collection are 
especiallv interesting. They are the last descendants of the classical 
method of instruction by question and answer. Commentators on 
Homer instructed their hearers by catechetical questions, and Bib- 
lical scholars in early times followed their procedure. Since the 
procedure was very well known, it was quickly parodied. Even in 
classical times men asked such whimsical questions as "What songs 
did the sirens sing?" and "Was Hecuba older than Helen?" These 
North Carolina riddles have lost the serious (|uality of Biblical 
exegesis and are characteristically puns demanding a knowledge of 
Biblical historv. The long verse riddle about the whale that swal- 
lowed Tonah (No. 124) is representative of another line of descent 
from okler times and fashions. In the Middle Ages and the Renais- 
sance, men often amused themselves by versifying questions that 
required a knowledge of Biblical history to answer them. 

The problems in the study of riddles are concerned primarily with 
the arrangement of texts and the collection of parallels. When these 
tasks have been completed, we can undertake more fundamental in- 
vestigations. The arrangement of texts has offered serious diffi- 
culties. An arrangement according to answers wrenches apart 
closely related riddles and pays no regard to the types of puzzles. 
An arrangement according to initial words is equally bad. A satis- 
factory arrangement should separate true riddles, that is to say. 
questions that suggest an object foreign to the answer and confound 
the hearer by giving a solution that is both obviously correct and 


entirely unexpected, from questions that require the possession of a 
special bit of information. The arrangement of the latter type of 
questions must proceed according to both matter (Biblical, arith- 
metical, genealogical) and form (What . . . ? Why . . . ?, etc.). 
Such an arrangement has been attempted in the following collection. 

Although thousands of riddles have been printed, one cannot 
easily assemble the parallels to a particular text. Such parallels, 
which are readily available for ballads or tales, can be brought 
together only by reading hundreds of widely scattered collections. 
The notes to this collection will give some idea of how parallels 
can be assembled. 

When we have collections of riddles with adequate comparative 
notes, we can attack fundamental problems. We should like to know 
the history and dissemination of particular texts. Something has 
been said regarding the currency of the riddle of the Sphinx and 
many another riddle, but our information is, on the whole, both 
scanty and incomplete. We should like to know more than we do 
regarding the technique of riddles. What riddles, for example, 
begin with the formula "As I was going across London Bridge" ? 
We should like to reach some conclusions regarding the choice of 
themes. Why are dogs and cats so rarely the subjects of riddles? 
Information of this sort is necessary to an understanding of the 
place of riddles in culture. 

This collection of North Carolina riddles is representative of 
the variety of types of puzzle circulating orally. Only in recent 
times have we come to recognize that several very different types 
of puzzle are loosely called riddles. 

The most important distinction to be made is the separation of 
what I shall call the true riddle from other types of puzzle. A 
true riddle is a description of an object in terms intended to confuse 
the hearer. It consists of a vague general description and a specific 
detail that seems to conflict with what has gone before. Humpty 
Dumpty is, for example, a man of whom we are told that he cannot 
be put together again after he has fallen. This conflict between 
what is suggested in general terms and what is specifically asserted 
arouses our curiosity, and the answer "egg" resolves the conflict. 
Riddles of this sort can be solved if we remember that the first 
idea suggested to us is only metaphorically true and the contradic- 
tory assertion is literally true. In the Humpty Dumpty riddle we 
are told that the answer is something living (the idea of a man is 
only metaphorically true) and also something that cannot be put 
together when it is broken by a fall (this is literally true). 

This collection contains other varieties of puzzles. One of these 
I shall call neck-riddles because, like the neck-verse that a medieval 
criminal once read, if he was a learned man, to save his life, they 
contain the assertion that the speaker by setting an insoluble puzzle 


gets his freedom or saves his life. Tlie le^-al l)ackgroun(l of tliis 
procedure is (juite obscure ; its legality seems to i)e assumed in ver- 
sions current in the Low Countries, (iermany, Scandinavia, and 
England. Although this element of the neck-riddle is unknown in 
countries where a Romance or a Slavic language is spoken and on 
the shores of the Mediterranean, parallels to the questions are found 
in these regions. In the fourteenth chapter of Judges, Samson 
described a scene known only to himself, and the wedding guests 
were of course unable to guess what he had in mind. 

The remaining texts are, with a few exceptions, serious or whim- 
sical questions intended to elicit a particular bit of information. 
The asker may expect his hearer to know a particular arithmetical 
procedure, to solve a family relationship stated in confusing terms, 
or the like. The whimsical (luestions usually turn on a pun. In any 
case, the hearer cannot answer the question without having at his 
command a particular bit of information. Finally, there are (jues- 
tions partaking of the nature of a rebus and a charade. 

The places from which the following riddles were reported were 
generally stated on the manuscripts. Some missing places were 
supplied' by the General Editor from other manuscripts of the same 
contributors, and from other data. Dates are almost uniformly 
missing from the manuscripts, but it has been possible for the 
General Editor to supply nearly all dates with approximate accuracy 
through a compilation of data about the contributors obtained from 
the alumni records of Duke University, the Duke University Sum- 
mer School records, the correspondence of Dr. Brown, and personal 
interviews with two or three contributors. 

From these dates it appears that Dr. Brown's interest in collecting 
riddles was most active in 1922-23 and that most of his collection 
was made through a small group of students in his folklore classes 
offered in the Summer School during those years. The riddles col- 
lected by Paul and Elizabeth Green in 1926-28 were given to the 
collection in 1945. after Dr. Brown's death. 

The manuscript collection contains about 290 items (including 
variants) from 69 contributors. 

X.r.F., Vol. 1, (20) 




I. Form 

a. A Member Present But Part of It Lacking 

(The arrangement proceeds downwards from the head.) 

1. jVIany eyes and never a nose, one tongue and about it 
goes. — Shoe. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county, 1922-23. Not hitherto reported. In 
this unusual variety of the type, both the "eyes," which are the eyelets 
of the shoe, and the "tongue" are used in a double sense. Only one of 
the words used for a member of the supposed creature is ordinarily so 
understood. The formula "many eyes and never a nose" is usually 
found in riddles for a sifter or a potato. 

2. East. West, North, South, 

Ten thotisand teeth with never a mouth. 

— Answer lacking. 
Clara Hearne, Chatham county, 1922-23. The answer is probably "card- 
ing comb" for flax, wool, or cotton; see Redfield, Tennessee, p. 39, No. 
31 ; Knortz, p. 209, No. 31 (distorted) ; Boggs, North Carolina, p. 322, 
No. 9 ; Randolph and Spradley, Ozarks, p. 88. The answer "saw" for 
cutting stone occurs in the West Indies ; see Parsons, Bermuda, p. 256, 
No. 74. 

3. What is it that has feet and legs but nothing else? — Stock- 

Grace Tucker, Stanly county, 1935-38. Farr, Tennessee, p. 319, No. 21. 

b. Ab)ior>nulify in Form 

4. What stands on one foot and has its heart in its head? — 

Kate S. Russell, Person county, c. 1923. The distribution of the 
parallels suggests their origin in Europe, but no English parallel has 
been reported. For kindred riddles with the answers "lettuce" or "cab- 
bage," see Parsons, Bermuda, p. 265, No. 161 ; "cabbage," see Green- 
leaf, Newfoundland, p. 11, No. 22; and Farr, Tennessee, p. 319, No. 21; 
and "peach," see Knortz, p. 231, No. 37. There are parallels in Flemish, 
German, and Danish. 

5. What is it that walks on four legs in the morning, two at 
noon, and three at night ? — Man. 

Mrs. G. A. Vaught, Alexander county, 1928. Parallels to this riddle 
of the Sphinx are too numerous to note. 

6. Three legs up and six legs down. 
And Old Black Jo riding to town. 

— Old Black Jo with a three-legged pot on his head and 
riding a horse to town. 

R I I) I) I, K S 289 

Zilpah I'>isbie. McDowell Cdunly. i«>22-23. Altliduj^li this riddle is 
widely known in the United States, tiie figure of Old lilack }o docs 
not occur in the parallels. This version seems to be a ciirruptitm in 
which some of the elements have not been treated enigmatically. For 
parallels to the usual form, "Black upon black come through th' town, 
three legs up an' six legs down" ( Randolph and Spradley. Ozarks, p. 
88), see Fauset, Nova Scotia, p. 160, No. 83; Brewster, Indiana, 39; 
Bacon and Parsons. Virginia, p. 327, No. 11; Redfield, Tennessee, p. 38, 
No. 22 ; Farr, Tennessee, p. 325. No. 95 ; Boggs, North Carolina, p. 324. 
No. 19. 

;-a. Long legs aiul sliort thiglis, 

Bald head and no eyes. 

— Tongs. 

Clara Hearne, Chatham county, 1922-23. Parallels are reported only 
in Irish; see O Dalaigh ("Long legs, crooked knees, a dead head with- 
out eyes"), 200 ("A long thigh, a crooked hip, taking care, but no eyes 
in its head"). 

7I). Long legs, no thighs, 

Bald head, and no eyes. 

— Tongs. 

Jessie Hauser, Forsyth county, 1923. In this corrupt version "m:) thighs" 
is an error suggested by the parallelism with "no eyes." 

yc. Long legged, no thighs, hald headed, and no eyes. — Tongs. 
Lucille Cheek, Chatham county, 1923. 


8. What goes aronnd llu- house and makes one track? — W'heel- 

Paul and Elizabeth (ireen, eastern and central N. C, 1926-28. Slight 
variants reported by Mamie Mansfield, Durham, 1922, and Lucille Cheek, 
Chatham county, 1923. Widely current in American tradition; see 
Fauset, Southern Xegro, p. 282, No. 62; Parsons, Sea Islands, S. C, 
p. 156, No. 26; and many other versions. There are analogous Frisian, 
Flemish, German, and Icelandic versions. Compare also the Filipino 
sled riddle, "I went to Dagupan, but I left only two footprints" (Starr, 
389). The Nova Scotian answer "snake" appears to be unique; see 
Fauset, p. 173, No. 195. 

9a. (iocs to everybody's house and does not go in. — Path. 

Lucille Cheek, Chatham county, 1923. The lack of an interrogative 
word in 9a is not a defect. In English, the riddler is confronted with the 
choice between Who . . . ?, which signifies a person much more defi- 
nitely than an interrogative in a language having grammatical gender, 
and What ... ?, which turns the hearer's attention away from the 
idea of a personification. Many riddles in this collection are similarly 


9b. What is it that goes over the hill through the valley and up 
to the house but doesn't come in? — Path. 
W. Q. Grigg, Cleveland county, 1927. 

go. Runs all over the yard ; comes to the door ; never comes 

in. — Path. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county, 1922-23. 

9d. What goes all round the house and never goes in? — Path. 
Jessie Hauser, Forsyth county, 1923. 

9. Current in the southern United States ; see Parsons, Sea Islands, S. C, 
p. 155, No. 5; Parsons, Aiken, S. C, p. 26, No. 9; and many other 
versions. There are Welsh, Welsh Gypsy, Danish, French, Serbian, 
and Hungarian parallels. 

10. Goes all around the house and throws white gloves in the 
window. — Snow. 

Clara Hearne, Chatham county, 1922-23. See a seventeenth-century 
parallel in Tupper, Holme Riddles, 43. For later English parallels, see 
Gutch and Peacock, Lincolnshire, p. 398, No. 7 ; Burne, Shropshire, 
p. 574, No. 10. For parallels from North America, see Waugh, Canada, 
p. 70, No. 802; Fauset, Nova Scotia, p. 161, No. 93; Randolph and 
Spradley, Ozarks, p. 82; Gardner, Schoharie Hills, N. Y., p. 256, No. 
28; Newell, Jourmil of American Folklore iv (1891), 158; Parsons, 
Guilford Co., N. C, p. 206, No. 54. Except for parallels in Welsh 
(Hull and Taylor, 17-19), I have found nothing very similar elsewhere. 

11. What goes through the fence and leaves its tail behind 
it ? — Needle. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county, 1922-23. 

12. What jumps over the fence and leaves his tail behind him? 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county, 1923. 

II, 12. This is a better form than the more familiar comparison to a 
person who loses a bit of his tail (see Nos. 36, 37 below), but it is 
much less popular. For parallels, see Parsons, Aiken, S. C, p. 37, No. 
88; Parsons, Sea Islands, S. C, p. 157, No. 35; Leather, Hereford, p. 
230 ("Through the hedge and through the hedge and takes a long tail 
behind it"). 

3. Form and Function 

0. Normal Form; Abnormal Function 

13. What walks with its head downward? — Shoe tack. 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county, 1923. The parallels are usually more 
elaborate. See Fauset, Southern Negro, p. 283, No. 72; Farr, Ten- 
nessee, p. 323, No. 71; Rcdfield, Tennessee, p. 39. No. 39; Fauset, Nova 
Scotia, p. 173. No. 193- 


14. What is that goes down to the branch with its head down 
but doesn't drink? — ilorseshoes. 

W. Q. Grigg, Cleveland county, 1927. The answer should be "horseshoe 
nail"; see Book of Mccry Riddles (1629), No. 30 = Brandl, p. 13; 
Farr, Tennessee, p. 323, No. 78. There are parallels in Flemish, Ger- 
man, Danish, and Swedish. See also No. 17 below. 

iv What has a face and can't see, can run but can't walk? — 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham, 1922. Compare "What has a face but can- 
not see?" (Bacon and Parsons, Virginia, p. 315, No. 31) and No. 20 

16. Wanders often over the meadow, with a nice little tongue 
but cannot speak, goes to water but cannot drink. — Cowbell. 

Mrs. N. Lancaster, Wayne county, 1923. Compare "Down the hill and 
across the hollow, it has a mouth and can't swallow" (Farr, Tennessee, 
p. 324, No. 90). 

17. What goes to the water but doesn't drink? — Cowbell. 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county, 1923. Compare "What goes to the 
branch and don't drink?" (Fauset, Southern Negro, p. 283, No. 80). 
See also No. 14 above. 

18. Over water, under water, got a tongue, never drinks a 
drop. — Wagon. 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county, 1923. Parsons, Guilford Co., N. C, 
p. 203, No. 20. The formula "Over water, under water" is probably 
borrowed from a riddle for a girl carrying a bucket of water over a 

19. It can run and can't walk, 

It has a tongue and can't talk. 

— Wagon. 

Clara Hearne, Chatham county, 1923 ; anon., n.p., n.d. Parsons, Guil 
ford Co.. N. C, p. 203, No. 21 ; Farr. Tennessee, p. 319, No. 12 (cor- 
rupt) ; Brewster, hidiana, 22; Randolph and Spradley, Ozarks, p. 82. 

20. Legs and don't walk, 
Face and don't talk. 


Mildred Peterson, Bladen county, 1923. Parsons, Guilford Co., N. C, 
p. 204, No. 24. There are Spanish and Chilean parallels. 

b. Abnornial Form; Abnormal Function 

21. What has four eyes and can't see? — Mississippi. 

Zilpah Frisbie, Mcl3owell county, 1922-23. Fauset, Southern Negro, 
p. 280, No. 45; Redfield, Tennessee, p. 39, No. 40 and p. 41, No. 62; 
Brewster, Indiana, 42. 


22. What has four legs and can't walk a step? — Two pairs of 

Anon, n.p., n.d. Halpert, New Jersey, p. 202, No. 16. 


I. Comparisons to an Animal 

23a. Hippity hoppity upstairs, 

Hippity hoppity downstairs, 
If you don't mind, Hippity hoppity bite you. 


Mrs. N. Lancaster, Wayne county, 1923. 

23b. Hitty ditty upstairs, 

Hitty ditty downstairs, 
If you bother Hitty ditty, 
Hitty ditty will bite you. 


Mamie Mansfield, Durham, 1922. Parsons, Robeson Co., N. C, p. 389, 
No. II ; Fauset, Southern Negro, p. 288, No. 128 and many other Southern 
parallels. Compare French : Parsons, Antilles, in, 368, Trinidad, 65 
and 2>73, Grenada, 78. Bakongo : Denis, 53. The English and Scottish 
parallels have the answer "nettle" ; see Tupper, Holme Riddles, 32. 

24. Hippy tippy upstairs, 
Hippy tippy downstairs. 

If you go near Hippy tippy, 
He'll bite you. 

■ — Hornet. 
Clara Hearne, Chatham county, 1922-23. 

25. A dog in the woods can't bark. — Dogwood tree. 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county, 1923. Parsons, Aiken, S. C, p. 36, 

No. 82. 

26. What is it that goes over the hills and valleys in the day- 
time and sits by the tire at night? — Milk. 

W. Q. Grigg, Cleveland county, 1926. Farr, Tennessee, p. 320, No. 35. 

27. Goes over the field in the day and sits on the table at 
night.— Milk. 

Lucille Cheek, Chatliani county, 1923. Fauset, Nova Scotia, p. 161, 
No. 94- 


28. What is it that runs all over tlu- pasture in the daytime 
and sits in the cui)l)oard at night? — Milk. 

Paul and Elizabeth Green, eastern and central N. C, 1926-28. Fauset, 
Siuithern Xe.yrn, ]>. 282, Nos. 6(), 70; Brewster, Indiana, 54. 

j(). tides all the davtime, comes in at night, sits in the corner 
with its tongue hanging out. — Shoe. 

Zilpah I'risi)ie, McDtnvell county, 1922-23. Redfield, Tennessee, p. 39, 
^•o. 35 ; Fauset, Southern Negro, p. 282, No. 67 ; Parsons, Aiken, S. C, 
p. 30, No. 40. 

30. (iocs ail day. sits in the corner at night. — Shoe. 
Lucille Massey, Durham county, n.d. (1922-30?). 

31. What runs around all day and sits in the corner with its 
tongue out ? — Wagon. 

.Anonymous student. Trinity College, n.d. Parsons, Robeson county, 
N. C, p. 389, No. 8; Parsons, Guilford county, p. 203, No. 22. 

2. Comparisons to Several Animals 

32. Two-legs sat upon Three-legs with One-leg in his lap. In 
came Four-legs, grabhed up (_)ne-leg, and ran out the door. Up 
jumped Two-legs, grabbed up Three-legs, made Four-legs 
l)ring One-leg back. — A man sat upon a three-legged stool with 
a ham in his lap. A dog came in. got the ham. and went out. 
The man picked up the stool and made the dog bring the ham 

Mrs. G. A. Vaught, Alexander county, 1928. Parallels in almost every 
collection of riddles. 

33. Thirty white horses on a red hill, 
Now they clamp, now they stamp. 
Now thev stand still. 


Jessie Hauser, Forsyth county, 1923. .\lthough clamp is intelligible in 
reference to teeth, it does not accord well with the scene of horses and 
is probably intended for champ. For other examples of the use of 
clamp in this riddle see Hyatt, .-\dams Co., 111., p. 688, No. 10922; Farr, 
Tennessee, p. 324. No. 89. For the usual form of the riddle, see, among 
many examples, Fauset, Nova Scotia, p. 157, No. 69; Parsons. I'ermuda, 
p. 244. No. 2; Bacon and Parsons. Virginia, p. 325, No. 113. 


'^ • 



34. Niddy, niddy, noddy, two arms and one body. — Wheel- 

Clara Hearne. Chatham county. 1922-23. The Canadian variant, "Niddy, 
Noddy, two heads and one body" (Waugh, p. 70, No. 804), which is 
not completely intelligible, is the only parallel that I can cite. In Indi- 
ana, this form of the riddle describes a rolling pin (Brewster, 16), and 
in North Carolina, a barrel (Boggs, p. 320, No. 2). This last use is 
widely known. 

35a. What goes all over the world and has but one eye? — ■ 


Zilpah Frisbie, McDowell county, 1922-23 ; anon., n.p., n.d. 

35b. What goes all over the world and has but one eye? — 


Mildred Peterson, Bladen county, 1923. Parsons, Bahamas, p. 475, 

No. 35- 

36. Old Mother Twitchet has but one eye 
And a very long tail which she lets fly ; 
Every time she goes through the garden gap 
She leaves a bit of her tail in the trap. 

— Needle and thread. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county, 1922-23. Halliwell-Phillips, Nursery 
Rhymes, p. 125; Redfield, Tennessee, p. J,7, No. 13; Parsons, Antilles, 
ni, 433, Saba, 13. 

37. There is an old woman that has but one eye. Every time 
she goes through the gap she leaves a piece of her tail in the 
gap. — Needle. 

Louise Lucas, Bladen county. 1923. A second line, "And a long tail 
which she lets fly," is vouched for by the rhyme and the parallels, 
but is lacking here. See Spenny, Raleigh, N. C, p. no. No. 3 ("old 

38. Mary Mack all dressed in black. 
Silver buttons down her back. 


Paul and Elizabeth Green, east and central N. C., 1926-28. Not hitherto 
reported. The pertinency of the answer "coffin" is obscure. Tlie riddle 
is related in some way to a very obscure children's game called "Alli- 
goshee" ; see Alice Bertha Gomme, The Traditional Gawes of England. 
Scotland, and Ireland (London, 1894), i, 7- 


39. Little Nancy Mtticoat 
In a white petticoat 
And a red nose ; 

The longer she stands, 
The shorter she grows. 

— Candle. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county, n.d. (1922-30?). "Little Miss Netti- 
coat," Jessie Hauser, Forsyth county, 1923. 

40. Little Nancy Etticoat 
In her short petticoat ; 
The longer she stands, 
The shorter she grows. 

— Candle. 

Mrs. G. A. Vaught. Alexander county, 1928. Parsons, Antilles, ni. 424, 
.\ntigua, 6 ; Parsons, Aiken, S. C, p. 24, No. i ; Brewster, Indiana, 26. 
Found in virtually every English collection. 

41. IJttle red ridin' coat ; 

The longer she lives, the shorter she grows. 

— Candlestick. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county, n.d. (1922-30?). Parsons, Guilford 
Co., N. C., p. 202, No. 19. With "red" omitted, Mildred Peterson. 
Bladen county, 1923. 

42. From house to house he goes 
A messenger small and slight. 
And whether it rains or snows, 
He sleeps outside at night. 


Mrs. N. Lancaster. Wayne county, 1922-23. Perkins, New Orleans, p. 
107, X(i. 14. See also Irish: Hyde, p. 171. 

43a. What is it that goes all over the house during the day and 
stands in the corner at night ? — Broom. 
Mamie Mansfield, Durham, 1922. 

43I). Coes all over the floor and stands up in the corner at 
night.^ — Broom. 

Lucille Cheek, Chatham county, 1923. 

43c. What is it that goes all around the house in the morning 
and sits in the corner in the evening? — Broom. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county, n.d. (1922-30?). Brewster, Indiana. 
17; Fauset, Southern Negro, p. 282, No. 65; Parsons, Sea Islands, S. C, 
p. 168, No. 105; Parsons. Aiken, S. C;» p. 30, No. 39; Parsons, Robeson 
Co., N. C, p. 390, No. 23. 


44. I have a grandmother who walked all day and when she 
got home took up no more space than could be covered by a 
penny. — Cane. 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county, 1923. Not hitherto reported in Eng- 
lish. The notion is widely current among riddlers. See the exact 
parallel in the Bhil "After having run through the whole forest, he is 
sitting on a place not bigger than a pice" (Hedberg, p. 875, No. 63). 
A pice is a small Indian coin. 

45. Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall, 
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. 

All the king's horses and all the king's men 
Can't put Humpty Dumpty together again. 


Mrs. G. A. Vaught, Alexander county, 1928; 'Dumpty Dumpty.' Paul 
and Elizabeth Green, eastern and central N. C. 1926-28. Found in 
virtually all English collections. There are parallels in all the Germanic 

46a. ^-tjng tall, black fellow. 

Pull him back and hear him bellow. 

— Gun. 

.Mildred Peterson, Bladen county, 1923. 

46b. Long, slick, black fellow. 

Pull his tail, and hear him holler. 

— Shotgun. 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county, 1923. Perkins, New Orleans, p. 107, 
No. 16; Parsons, Aiken, S. C., p. i7, No. 80; Parsons, Guilford Co., 
N. C., p. 202, No. 18; Redfield, Tennessee, p. 39. No. 44: Farr. Ten- 
nessee, p. 322, No. 64 and p. 325, No. 106; Halpert, New Jersey, p. 201, 
No. 6. 

47. What is that which is brought by a man, is full of nuts, has 
no tongue, and yet speaks like a man ? — Letter. 
Mildred Peterson, Bladen county, 1923. Not hitherto reported. 

48a. As I was crossing London Bridge, 

I met Sister Annie, 

I pulled ofif her head and sucked her blood 
And left her body standing. 

— Jug of whiskey. 

Mary Scarborough, Dare county, 1923. 

48b. As I was going over London Bridge, I met a man, cut off 
his head, drank his blood, and left a man standing still.— Jtig 
of cider. 

.Mrs. N. Lancaster, Wayne county, 1923. Gregor, Northeast Scotland, 
pp. 76, -jj ; Parsons, Bermuda, p. 245, No. 3 ; Parsons. Sea Islands, S. C, 
1). 160, No. 46; and many others. 

K 1 1) U L E S 297 



49. W'hitey saw Wliitey in W'hitey and sent W'hitey to run 
Whitey out of Whitey. — A white man sent a white dog to run 
a white cow out of a white cotton patch. 

Mrs. G. A. Vaught, Alexander county, 1928. Parsons, Aiken, S. C, 
p. 34, No. 66 ; Farr, Tennessee, p. 320, No. 27 ; Bacon and Parsons, 
Virginia, p. 312, Wj. i ; I-^auset, Southern Negro, p. 283, No. 84. 

Soa. W'hitey went ui)stairs, W'hitey came downstairs, W'hitey 
left W'hitey upstairs on W'hitey. — .A white hen went upstairs 
and laid a white egg on a white bed. 
Mamie Mansfield, Durham, 1922. 

50b. W'hitie went upstairs and came down and left W'hitie up- 
stairs. — A hen went upstairs, laid an egg, and came down. 

Jessie Hauser, Forsyth county, 1923. Parsons, Aiken, S. C, p. 25, No. 
5; Bacon and Parsons, Virginia, p. 323, No. 104; Parsons, Robeson 
Co., N. C, p. 388, No. I ; Fauset, Southern Negro, p. 284, No. 88. 

51. There's a garden that I ken, 

F'uU of gentle little men. 
Little caps of blue they wear 
And green ribbons verv fair. 
^— Flax. 

Mrs. N. Lancaster, Wayne county, 1923. There are several versions in 
verse, but none precisely the same. See Tupper, Holme Riddles, 37: 
Gardner, Schoharie Hills, N. Y., p. 255, No. 14. 


52. It is a long tree, but it has no shade. — River. 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county, 1923. Not hitherto reported. The 
te.xt may be defective, for one expects a reference to "branches." 



S3. What is it that has eighty-eight keys, yet none will open 

any door? — Piano. 

Grace Tucker, Stanly county, 1932. Not hitherto reported. 


54. I am a small house and my name yellow. — Egg. 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county, 1923. Not hitherto reported. The 
text is not fully intelligible and seems to be corrupt. 

55. Walls of marble, lined with silk, has neither windows nor 
doors, yet thieves break in and steal all the gold. — Egg. 

Mrs. N. Lancaster. Wayne county, 1923. This is a corrupt version of 
a widely circulated text that is better represented by a Canadian version 
(Waugh, p. 69, No. 793) : 

In marble walls as white as silk, 

Lined with a skin as soft as silk, 

Within a crystal fountain clear, 

A golden apple doth appear. 

No doors there are to this stronghold. 

Yet thieves break in and steal the gold. 

For other versions, see Halliwell-Phillips, Nursery Rhymes, p. 125; 
Hyatt, Adams Co., 111., p. 660, No. 10861 ; Randolph and Taylor, Ozarks, 
16; Farr, Tennessee, p. 319, No. 15; Perkins, New Orleans, p. 107, No. 
18. See also such corruptions as Fauset, Nova Scotia, p. 167, No. 30; 
Parsons, Bermuda, p. 251, No. 41. 

56a. On yonder hill is a little green house, 

In the little green house is a little white house, 
In the little white house is a little red house, 
In the little red house white and black children are lying. 

— W^atermelon. 

Mrs. N. Lancaster, Wayne county, 1923. 

56b. Down in the meadow stands a green house, 

In the green house is a white house, 
In the white house is a little red house. 
And the red house is full of little Negroes. 

- — Watermelon. 

Clara Hearne, Chatham county, 1922-23. Bacon and Parson^ Virginia, 
p. 322, No. 95; Randolph and Spradley, Ozarks, 18; Brewster, Indiana, 
32. A walnut is described in a similar way ; see Halliwell-Phillips, 
Popular Rhymes, p. 142; Knortz, p. 223, No. 51; Hyatt. Adams Co., 
111., p. 670, No. 10934. See also No. 89 below. 

57. On a little hill there is a little house. 

In that little house there is a little shelf, 
On that little shelf there is a little cup, 
In that little cup there is a little sup, 
And no one can get that little sup 
Without breaking that little cup. 

Eleanor Simpson, East Durham, 1923. Perkins, New Orleans, p. no, 
No. 47; Chappell, p. 230, No. 7: Hyatt, Adams Co., 111., p. 660, No. 
10860; Tapper, Holme Riddles, 33. 

R 1 1) D L F. S 299 

2. Thing 

58. What arc those little white thin<;.s in vour head that hite? 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county, 1922-23. Not hitherto reported. The 
statement of the true function of the answer is unusual in riddling. 

59. .As I was going over London Bridge, 

I picked up something neither flesh nor hlood, 
But it had four fuigers and one thunih. 

— (ilove. 

Eleanor Simpson, East Durham, 1923. Compare the more paradoxical 
".\s I was going over London Bridge, I met a cartful of fingers and 
thumbs"; see Halliwell-Phillips, Nursery Rhymes, p. 121; Knortz, p. 
223, No. 53; Parsons, Bermuda, p. 260, No. 114; Fauset. Nova Scotia, 
p. 151, No. 44. 

3. Food 

60a. As I walked throtigh the field. I found something which 
was neither flesh nor hone, but in three weeks it walked alone. 

Mary Scarborough, Dare county, 1923. 

60b. When I was going over a field of wheat, 

I picked up something good to eat, 
Whether fish, flesh, fowl, or bone, 
I kept it till it ran alone. 


Paul and Elizabeth Green, eastern and central N. C, 1926-28. 

61. As I was going through the wheat, 

I found something good to eat. 
'Twas neither blood nor flesh nor bone, 
I picked it up and carried it home. 


Zilpah Frisbie, McDowell county. 1922-23. 

60. 61. In English tradition there are many parallels, from which 1 
select Waugh, Canada, p. 68, No. 783; Fauset, Nova Scotia, p. 150, No. 
41 ; Farr, Tennessee, p. 322, No. 65. 


62. W^hat is it that is high as a house, low as a mouse, green 
as grass, black as ink, bitter as gall, yet sweet after all? — 

Mrs. G. A. Vaught, .-Mexander county, 1928. The parallels are both 
old and widely divergent. See Book of Meery Riddles (1629), No. 24 = 


Brandl, p. 12; Prctfic Riddles (1631), No. 48 =: Brandl. p. 59; Farr, 
Tennessee, p. 324, No. 83; Hyatt, Adams Co., 111., p. 669, No. 10932; 
Carter, Mountain White, p. 78; Perkins, New Orleans, p. 106, No. 5. 

63. Higher than a house, higher than a tree. 
O, whatever can that he? 


Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. 1922-23. Halliwell-Phillips, Nursery 
Rhymes, p. 129; Bacon and Parsons, Virginia, p. 323, No. 103; Par- 
sons, Barbados, p. 286, No. 60; Parsons, Sea Islands, S. C, p. 159, No. 
42 ; Redfield, Tennessee, p. 36, No. 6. 

64. Crooked as a rainbow, 
Teeth Hke a cat. 
Guess all your lifetime 
And you can't guess that. 

— Briar. 

Clara Hearne, Chatham county, 1922-23. Fauset, Southern Negro, p. 
285, No. 97; Perkins, New Orleans, p. 106, No. 11; Farr. Tennessee, 
p. 321, No. 42; Knortz, p. 231. No. 86; Bacon and Parsons, Virginia, 
p. 318, No. 50; Parsons, Sea Islands, S. C, p. 165, No. 72. 

65. Crooked as a rainbow, 
Teeth like a cat. 
Guess your lifetime. 
You never guess that. 

— Saw. 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county, 1923. Parsons, Guilford Co., N. C 
p. 204, No. 32; Brewster, Indiana, 52. 

66. Crooked as a rainbow, 
Slick as a plate. 

Ten thousand horses 
Can't pull it up. 

■ — River. 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county, 1923. Parsons, Aiken, S. C, p. 36, 
No. 76; Parsons, Sea Islands, S. C, p. 165, No. 71. In this and the 
two preceding riddles the word crooked is pronounced as two syllables 
and signifies bent rather than zviiiding or tivistcd. 

67. Round as an apple, 
Busy as a bee. 
The prettiest thing 
That you ever did see. 


Louise Lucas, Bladen county. 1923. Thurston, Massachusetts, p. 182, 
No. 2 ; Bacon and Parsons. Virginia, p. 320. No. 67 ; Parsons, Bahamas, 
p. 471, No. 2 (clock) ; Fauset, Nova Scotia, p. 58, No. 73: Parsons, Sea 
Islands, S. C, p. 164, No. 53. 


68. Routid as an ajjple, 
Deep as a cui). 

All the king's horses 
Can't pull it u\). 


Jessie Hansen, Forsyth county, 1923; Mildred Peterson, Bladen county, 
1923. HalliwcU-Phillips, Nursery Rhymes, p. 132; Fauset, Nova Scotiu, 
p. is8. No. 74; Parsons, Bermuda, p. 259, No. 112; Parsons, Barbados, 
p. 278, No. 17. 

69. Round as a hiscuit, 
Busy as a hee. 
Something in the middle 
Goes tick ! tick ! tee ! 


Mildred Peterson, Bladen county, 1923; Parsons, Aiken, S. C, p. 27, 
No. 15. 

Round as a hiscuit, 
Btisy as a bee. 
The prettiest little thinj^- 
You ever did see. 


Lucille Cheek, Durham county, 1923. With "As busy," Mamie Mans- 
field, Durham, 1922. Witii "As busy," but "The" omitted, Mrs. N. 
Herring, Tomahawk, n.d. With "The" omitted, .Aura Holton, Durham, 
1924. Parsons, Guilford Co., N. C, p. 201, No. 2; Perkins, New Or- 
leans, p. 106, No. 2; Halpert, New Jersey, p. 200, No. 18; Parsons, 
Robeson Co., N. C, p. 389, No. 17. 

71. Round as a biscuit, 
Deep as a cup. 

All the king's horses 
Can't oull it up. 

.Mamie Mansfield, Durham, 1922; .Xura Holton, Durham, 1924. With 
"The" omitted, Lucille Cheek, Ciiatham county, 1923. Parsons, Guilford 
Co., N. C, p. 201, No. i; Perkins, New Orleans, p. 106, No. 7; Ran- 
dolph and Spradley, Ozarks, p. 83 ; Brewster, Indiana, 9. 

72. Round as a diddle, steep as a cup. 
And all the king's horses can't put it up. 


Mrs. N. Herring, Tomahawk, n.d. Not hitherto reported. The meaning 
of diddle is obscure ; stccf> is a corruption of clccf>. Comi)are 

Round as a riddle, deep as a cup, 

And all the king's horses can't pull it up. 

as cited in Boggs, North Carolina, p. 325, No. 23, in which riddle may 
signify sifter. 


73. Round as a saucer, 
Deep as a cup, 

All the king's horses 
Can't pull it up. 


Mrs. G. A. Vaught, Alexander county, 1928. Parsons, Robeson Co., 
N. C. p. 389, No. 16; Parsons, Sea Islands, S. C, p. 156, No. 28; 
Parsons, Aiken, S. C, p. 2"], No. 13. 

74. Black as a coal, sleek as a mole. 
Great long tail, and a thundering hole. 

— Gun. 

Mrs. N. Herring, Tomahawk, n.d. The answer "gun" has not been 
previously reported. Compare 

Black as a coal, 
Slick as a mole. 
Had a long tail, 
And busted hole. 

—Frying pan. 

m Bacon and Parsons, Virginia, p. 323, No. loi and the parallels in 
Parson, Barbados, p. 287, No. 69, and Redfield, Tennessee, p. 36, No. 3 
(thundering hole). 

75. What is that is as white as snow. 

Green as grass, red as fire, and black as a crow ? 

— Blackberry. 
W. Q. Grigg, Cleveland county, 1927. See note to No. 76. 

76. Green as grass and grass it's not. 
White as snow and snow it's not, 
Red as blood and blood it's not, 
Black as ink and ink it's not. 

— Blackberry. 

Clara Hearne, Chatham county, 1922-23. 

75, 76. The comparisons found in the parallels vary somewhat, and 
the second version, which contains antitheses, is more frequent. See 
Perkins, New Orleans, p. in, No. 52; Parsons, Bermuda, p. 255, No. 61 ; 
Parsons, Guilford Co., N. C, p. 202, No. 11 ; Fauset, Southern Negro, p. 
276, No. 10; Parsons, Aiken, S. C, p. 32, No. 48; Fauset, Nova Scotia, 
p. 159, No. 78. 

']'j. Opens like a barn door, 

Shuts up like a trap. 
Guess all your life, 
You'll never guess that. 

— Scissors. 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county, 1923. Parsons, Aiken, S. C, p. 35, 
No. 75. 

K I 1) 1) r. E s 303 

78. Opens like a hariuloor, 
Wings like a hat. 
Spread out your arms, 
And jump in that. 

— Man's vest. 

Mrs. N. Lancaster, Wayne county. 1923. Fauset, Nova Scotia, p. 155, 
No. 56 (also: corset); Fauset, Southern Negro, p. 285, No. 99 (over- 
coat) ; Perkins, New Orleans, p. 106, No. 6 (corset). 


79. What is it that is half Indian and lialf huffalo? — Nickel. 
Grace Tucker, Stanly county, 1935. Not hitherto reported. 

80. What is round at both ends and high in the middle? — Ohio. 

W. Q. Grigg, Cleveland county, 1927. Randolph and Spradley, Ozarks, 
p. 84; Brewfster, Indiana, 33; Redfield, Tennessee, p. 41, No. 71. 

81 a. Dead in the middle and live at both ends. — Man and horse 

Clara Hearne, Chatham county, 1922-23. Parsons, Guilford Co., N. C, 
p. 201, No. 6; Parsons, Sea Islands, S. C, p. 155, No. 17; Bacon and 
Parsons, Virginia, p. 317, No. 44. 

81 b. Alive at both ends. — Man and horse plowing. 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county, 1923. Not previously reported. The 
expected contrast with the dead middle is lacking. 

82a. Big at the bottom, 

Little at the top, 
Something the middle 
Goes flippity-flop. 

— Churn. 

Jessie Hauser, Forsyth county, 1923. "Something in the middle goes 
flip, flip, flop — Stone churn.'" Anon., n.p., n.d. Fauset, Southern Negro, 
p. 277, No. 13; Brewster, Indiana, 15; Farr, Tennessee, p. 321, No. 43; 
Chappell, p. 232, No. 19; Parsons, Robeson Co., N. C, p. 390, No. 21: 
Parsons, Guilford Co., N. C, p. 202. No. 16. 

82b. Shut in the middle. 

Open at the top. 
Something in the middle 
Goes flippity-flop. 

— Churn. 

Paul and Elizabeth Green, eastern and central N. C, 1926-28. This 
version, which is a corruption of the preceding, has not been previously 

N.C.K., Vol. I. (21) 


83a. Four downhangers, four stiffstanders, two lookers, two 
crookers, and a whiskabout. — Cow. 

Paul and Elizabeth Green, eastern and central N. C, 1926-28. 

83b. Four stiffstanders, four downhangers, a hooker, a crooker, 
and a switchabout. — Cow. 

Lucille Cheek, Chatham county, 1923. 

83c. Four stiffstanders, four hangers, two hookers, one switch- 
about. — Cow. 

Mrs. N. Lancaster, Wayne county, 1923. An enormous number of 
versions have been reported in almost every European language. I cite 
only a few parallels in English: Parsons, Guilford Co., N. C, p. 201, 
No. 7 ; Redfield, Tennessee, p. 37, No. 20 ; Perkins, New Orleans, p. 
Ill, No. 54; Fauset, Nova Scotia, p. 155, No. 58. 

84a. Two lookers, two hookers, four standers, one crooker. — 

Paul and Elizabeth Green, eastern and central N. C, 1926-28. 

84b. Two lookers, two crookers, four standers, and a switch- 
about. — Cow. 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county, 'Sirs. G. A. Vaught, Alexander county, 
1928. Versions beginning with "two lookers" are as numerous as ver- 
sions like the preceding text. 1 conjecture that they are, however, a 
secondary development in the history of the riddle. See Randolph and 
Spradley, Ozarks, p. 87; Fauset, Southern Negro, p. 277, No. 14; Par- 
sons, Sea Islands, S. C., p. 154, No. 15; Redfield, Tennessee, pp. 36-37, 
Nos. 18, 19. 


85. What is black and white and red all over? — Newspaper. 

Jessie Hauser, Forsyth county, 1923. "What is it that is . . ." Mrs. 
G. A. Vaught, Alexander county, 1928. Parallels are very numerous 
but are naturally limited to English. See Boggs, North Carolina, p. 
325, No. 20; Parsons, Guilford Co., N. C, p. 201, No. 8; Bacon and 
Parsons, Virginia, p. 325, No. 119; Parsons, Aiken, S. C, p. 31, No. 44; 
Brewster, Indiana, 40. 

86. What is that of which the outside is silver and the inside 
is of gold? — Egg. 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county, 1923. I have not noted an exact 
parallel to this formulation of an idea that is otherwise frequently used. 
See the Bahaman "Me riddle me riddle me randy oh. Here's a t'ing. 
White outside an' yaller inside'' (Parsons, Andros Island, Bahamas, p. 

275. No. 3). 

R 1 I) I) I. K S 305 

87. (irecn without, red within. 
And full (jf little hlack men. 

— Watermelon. 

Elsie Doxcy, Currituck county, 1922-23. Usually stated even more 
exi)Iicitly in terms of a house as in "A lot of little hlack children live 
in a red house" (Bacon and Parsons, Virginia, p. 322. No. 95, var. 2). 
See furtiier Fauset, Southern Negro, p. 276, Nos. 2, 5 ; Parsons. Roheson 
Co., N. C, p. 388, No. 2: Parsons, Herniuda, p. 258, No. 13; Fauset, 
Philadelphia, p. 554, No. 11 ; Perkins, New Orleans, p. 106, No. 3. For 
expansion into the notion of a house within a house within a house, 
see No. 56 above. A few versions avoid the notion of a house and rely 
upon the contrast of green and red as in the South Carolinian "What 
green outside an" red inside ?" ( Parsons, Aiken, S. C, p. 29, No. 27 ; 
Parsons, Bahamas, p. 478, No. 65; Parsons, Sea Islands, S. C, p. 166, 
No. 79). 

88. Black within and red without, 
Four corners round ahout. 

— Chimney. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county, 1922-23. With "and" omitted, Lucille 
Massey, Durham county, n.d. Many parallels. See Perkins, New Or- 
leans, p. ]o6, No. 4; Parsons, Guilford Co., p. 206, No. 52; F"ausct, 
Philadelphia, p. 555, No. 23; Gutch and Peacock, Lincolnshire, p. 398, 
No. II. 

8g. Black within ; red without ; 

Four corners round about. 
— Fireplace. 
Clara Hearne, Chatham county, 1922-23. See note to No. 88 above. 

90. Is up green and come down red. — \\ atermelon. 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county, 1923. Parsons, Aiken, S. C, p. 34, No. 
65; Parsons, Sea Islands, S. C, p. 166, No. 79. 

91. What is it that is fn'st white, second green, then red, and 
then black ? — Blackberry. 

Mrs. G. A. Vaught. Alexander county, 1928. Par.sons. .Sea Islands, 
S. C, p. 166, No. 84; Parsons, Robeson Co., N. C, p. 388, No. 5; 
Parsons, Aiken, S. C, p. 32. No. 49. 


92. To her lover a lady .said, "Give me. I pray. 

What you have not, nor can have, but might give away !" 

Let each hereafter his dullness repent. 

The fool did not know 'twas a kiss that she meant. 

— Kiss. 

Boylan's North Carolina Almanac (Raleigh), 181 1. .X literary riddle. 
The folk-parallels have the answer "husband" as in "What is it a man 


can give to a lady and can't give to another man?" (Perkins, New 
Orleans, p. 113, No. 72). See Tupper, Holme Riddles, 91; Parsons, 
Barbados, p. 290, No. 100. 

93. I ain't got it, I don't want it, 

If I had it, I wouldn't take the world for it. 

— Bald head. 

Aura Holton, Durham, 1924; Clara Hearne, Chatham county, 1922-23. 
Parsons, Guilford Co., N. C, p. 204. No. 34; Parsons, Aiken, S. C, 
p. 36. No. 84; Farr, Tennessee, p. 318, No. 4; Fauset, Southern Negro, 
p. 288, No. 129; Beckwith, Jamaica, p. 216, No. 256; etc. 

94a. What goes up a smoke pipe down but won't go up a 

smoke pipe up? — Answer lacking. 

Jessie Hauser, Forsyth county, 1923. See 94b and note. 

94b. What is it that you can put up a stove pipe down, but 
can't put up a stove pipe up ? — Umbrella. 

Kilgo Hunt, n.p., n.d. Fauset, Nova Scotia, p. 173, No. 186; Hyatt, 
Adams Co., 111., p. 669, No. 10931 ; Randolph and Spradley, Ozarks, p. 
83 ; Farr, Tennessee, p. 320, No. 32. 

95. What goes up when the rain comes down ? — Umbrella. 

Kate S. Russell, Person county, 1923. Wintemberg, Canada, p. 133, No. 
71; Greenleaf, Newfoundland, p. 20, No. 5; Parsons, Barbados, p. 291, 
No. 116. 

96a. A house full, and a yard full, and you can't get a spoonful. 
— Smoke. 

Jessie Hauser, Forsyth county, 1923 ; Lucille Cheek, Chatham county, 
1923 (minor variations). 

96b. Hands full, house full, yet can't catch a spoon full. — 

Mrs. G. A. Vaught, Alexander county, 1928. Parsons, Guilford Co., 
N. C, p. 201, No. 3; Redfield, Tennessee, p. 38, No. 23; Farr, Ten- 
nessee, p. 318, No. 3; Hyatt, Adams Co., 111., p. 666, No. 10908; Bacon 
and Parsons, Virginia, p. 313, No. i. 

97. A hill full, a hole full. 
You can't catch a bowlful. 

— ^list. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county, 1922-23. Bacon and Parsons, Virginia, 
p. 313. No. 11; Parsons, Bermuda, p. 245, No. 4. 

98. What is it that one man can put on a wall, but when it has 
fallen, forty kings can't put it back? — Egg. 

W. Q. Grigg, Cleveland county, 1927. Allied to the Humpty Dumpty 
riddle (see No. 45 above), but not previously reported in this form. 
The conception is akin to the Russian notion that everything but an 
egg can be hung on a nail. 

R 1 n n I. E s 


99. The more you take away, tlu- larger it i;ro\vs.— 1 lolc. 
Clara Hcarne, Chatham county, 1922-23. Fauset. Nova Scotia, p. I75. 
No. 209: Waugh. Canada, p. 68, No. 775; Parsons, Bermuda, p. 256, 
No. -J-; Brewster, Indiana. 59- 

100. It is long and slender, a man cutting at both ends, yet it 
grows longer. — Ditch. 

Mrs. N. Lancaster, Wayne cunty. 1923. The ^-''^f e^. ^I'l'^'^;;^ .^^^ 
have no parallels. For the fundamental concept see Fauset, Nova Sco la 
p 175, No. 209: Parsons. Bermuda, p. 256. No. 78; Parsons. Robeson 
Co.. N. C, p. 389, No. 13. 

1 01. The old woman pidded it and padded it ; the old man took 
off his britches and jumped at it.— Feather bed. 

Mary Scarborough, Dare county, 1923. Parsons, Guilford Co. N. C 
p. 205. No. 39; Randolph and Spradley. Ozarks, p. 84; Parsons, Robeson 
Co.. N. C, p. 389. No. 10. 

102. What is it: divided it stands, united it falls?— Stepladder. 
M. Walker, n.p., n.d. Not previously reported. 

103. What is that which breaks by even naming it?— Silence. 
Eleanor Simpson. East Durham. 1923. Perkins, New Orleans, p. 113. 
No. 80. 


For discussion of this type, which consists of a scene 
known only to the speaker, see F. J. Norton. -Prisoner 
Who Saved His Neck with a Riddle." Folk-Lorc, 
Liii (1942), 27-57. 

104. Eove I sit. Love I stand. 

Love I hold in my right hand. 

Love I see in yonder tree, 

I see Love, but he don't see me. 
— \ man had a dog named Love. He killed the dog, sat (»n 
some of it. stood on some of it. had blood on his hand, and a 
piece of it was in the tree. 

Zilpah Frisbie. McDowell county, 1922-23. Elsewhere the name of the 
dog is often Ilo or Milo, but the names .^mor in Italian versions and 
Laska (love) in Czech versions suggest that this North Carolina text 
preserves the original form. Parallels are very numerous, and I cite 
onlv those in English and give references to discussions wliere tho e 
in other languages may he found. See Tvipper, Holnie Riddles 34 . 
Fitzgerald, p i8s: Chambers. Scotland, p. io8;_Gregor, Northeast Sot- 
land p 82; Greenleaf. Newfoundland, p. 19. No. 4: Parsons. Bermiula, 
p 252 No 47; Parsons, Barbados, p. 281. No. 29; Perkins. New Or- 


leans, p. in, No. 62; Parsons, Sea Islands, S. C, p. 157, No. 37; 
Parsons. Guilford Co., N. C, p. 203, No. 23 ; Fauset, Nova Scotia, 
p. 142, No. 4; Redfield, Tennessee, p. 47, Nos. 133-139; Fauset, Southern 
Negro, p. 280, No. 40; Boggs. North Carolina, p. 48, No. 12; Randolph 
and Spradley, Ozarks, p. 82 ; Carter, Mountain White, p. "]"] ; Bacon and 
Parsons, Virginia, p. 327, No. 135; Parsons, Aiken, S. C, p. 26, No. 11. 
For a list of the discussions of this riddle see Taylor, Bibliography, 
p. 153; Schultz, Rdtsel ans dem hellenischen Kulturkreise, 11, 81-85. 

105a. Riddle me, riddle me right, 

Guess where I went last Friday night. 
The bough did bend, my heart did quake, 
When I saw a hole the fox did make. 
— Answer lacking. 
Clara Hearne, Chatham county, 1922-23. 

105b. Riddle-em, riddle-em right, 

Guess where I sat last Friday night. 
I sat high, and de wind did blow, 
I saw Cheek standing chewing his bridle, 
I saw a man working idle. 

— Man diggin' his sweetheart's grave. Cheek was the horse he 
rode to the spot he had asked her to meet him. She got there 
first and climbed a tree. 

Kate S. Russell, Person county, 1923. 

105c. Riddle me, riddle me right: 

You can't guess where I was last Saturday night. 

The wind did blow, 

The cock did crow. 

My heart did ache, 

The earth did quake. 

To see what a hole the fox did scrape. 

— A man had threatened to kill his wife. One day when she 
happened to be talking to some men about him (these men were 
the men hired to kill her by her husband), they told her that 
they would save her if she gave them a riddle to guess that 
they did not know. Then she gave the riddle about her husband 
who was digging a hole the Saturday night before to bury her 
in. The men of course did not know that she knew about it 
and did not guess the riddle. So they had to save her life. 
Mabel Ballentine, Wake county, n.d. 

I05d. Riddle ma, riddle ma riah, 

Guess where T stayed last Friday night. 
The wind did blow, my heart did ache, 
To see what a hold that fox did make. 

K 1 I) I) I. E S 309 

—Once a trirl was persuaded l)v her lover to meet hmi at a 
certain tree to run away to be married. She arrived there sooner 
than the man. who was a thief, expected her to arrive bhe 
cHmbed the tree and while she was hidden amon^ the leaves, 
the man with his friend came and be^an to dig a j^rave. i he 
girl heard them talking about robbing and then killing her and 
burving her in this grave. . , r •.• 1 

She staved in the tree until the men got tired of waiting and 
left Then she came down and went home. On the next day 
the 'man came demanding a reason for her failing to meet him. 
She answered with this riddle and he was never seen again. 
Mamie Mansfield. Durham, 1928. Boggs, North Carolina p 323. No 
U Hvatt Adams Co.. 111., V- 661, No. 10869; Knortz, p. 216, No. 28, 
R^andoph and Spradley, Ozarks. p. 84; Redfield. Tennessee P; 49. Nos. 
ijo-i^v Fauset Nova Scotia, pp. 141-142, No. 2; Greenleaf Newfound- 
and p' 19 No 3; Chappell, p. 228, No. 2; Fauset Southern Negro, 
p 284 No 92; Parker, Oxfordshire, p. 330 ; T. Q. C Notes audQucncs, 
2d set V (?858), 315 Perkins, New Orleans, p 112. No. 64; Brewster, 
Indiana. 71; Hyatt. Adams Co., 111., p. 661, No. 10870; Johnson, St. 
Helena I.. S. C, p. I59, No. 35- . ^ ^ „ , , 

This often occurs as a tale rather than a riddle. See J. Bolte and 

1913), 371; F. Kidson, Journal of the Folk-Song Society, u (190&). 


106. An old woman was sent to the penitentiary. She was told 

that if she could stand up and say a riddle that they had never 

heard before, she would be turned loose. She said : 

Once I was a child, now I am a mother, 

And the child that I suckled 

Was daddy to my brother. 

— Answer lacking. 

Paul and Elizaheth Green, eastern and central N. C, 1926-28. Parallels 
are very abundant. I cite only English instances: I eather. Hereford 
p. 179; Fitzgerald, p. 185; Fauset. Nova Scotia p 169, ^o. 141 . Par 
Li. Rarhados o 283 No. 44; Parsons, Sea Islands, S. C, p. 168, No 
,06 For dSussion'-see Taylor, "The Riddle of Morning Spring," 
Southern Folklore Quarterly, viii (i944). 23-25- 

107. Six set. seven sprung, from the dead the living come.— A 
bird and her nest with five young in a dead tree. 
Paul and Elizabeth Green, eastern and central N. C 1926-28 The text 
k a verv corrupt and a reconstruction is possible only m the hght 
of snrh a version as this from Maryland: "Once there was a master 
wh^said to hTcTlor^d man, 'If you ask me a riddle that I camiot answer. 
I will set you free.' The servant proposed this riddle : 

'I came out and in again ; 

The living from the dead came; 

There are six. seven there will be ;_ _^ 

Answer tliis riddle, or set me free.' 


A bird's nest in a horse's skull. There were six young birds in the 
nest, and when the mother came home, there were seven. The master 
could not answer, and the servant went free (Whitney and Bullock, p. 
175, No. 2688). Parallels are very numerous, and I cite only those in 
English: Fauset, Nova Scotia, p. 140, No. i; Leather, Hereford, p. 179; 
Hyatt, Adams Co., 111., p. 657. No. 10837; Chappell, p. 233, Nos. 22-24; 
Gutch and Peacock, Lincolnshire, p. 400, No. 27; Carter, Mountain 
White, p. 78; Notes and Queries, 8th ser.. iv (1893), 208; Randolph 
and Spradley, Ozarks, p. 87 ; Parsons, Barbados, p. 286, No. 57 ; etc. 
The versions current in the Southern United States often rest on the 
contrast of "Six set and seven sprung" : see Fauset, Southern Negro, 
p. 285, Nos. 93-95; Perkins, New Orleans, p. iii, No. 61; Boggs, North 
Carolina, p. 324, No. 22; Parsons, Robeson Co., N. C, p. 390, No. 19; 
Redfield. Tennessee, p. 40, No. 54; Parsons, Aiken, S. C, p. 30, No. 38. 
See also such curiously corrupt versions as Beckwith, Jamaica, p. 202, 
No. 182; Parsons, Bahamas, p. 479, No. 79. 

108. A man in prison was told if he cotild set an unanswerable 
riddle, he would go free. He said : 

Brothers and sisters have I none, 
But this man's father was my father's son. 
— This man was son of the speaker. 

Paul and Elizabeth Green, eastern and central N. C, 1926-28. Fauset, 
Nova Scotia, p. 143, No. 7. Any difficult and confusing question may 
occur in a neck-riddle. This genealogical query occurs separately in 
No. 109 below. 


For discussion of riddles setting- problems of this sort, 
see Archer Taylor, "Riddles Dealing with Family Re- 
lationships," Journal of American Folklore, li (1938), 

109. It wasn't my sister, nor my brother, 

But still was the child of my father and mother. 
Who was it ? 


Clara Hearne, Chatham county, 1922-23. Prettie Riddles (1631), No. 
63 = Brandl, p. 60. 

1 10. There was a blind beggar who had a brother and this 
brother died. What relation was the blind beggar to the brother 
who died ? — His sister. 

Kate S. Russell, Person county, 1923. I have this in an oral version 
from Ohio. 

111. Pjrothers and sisters have I none. 

Yet this child's father was my mother's son. 
Relation ? — I am her father. 


Jessie Hauser, Forsyth county. 1923. Waugh, Canada, p. 64, No. 696; 
Whitney and Bullock. Maryland, p. 1/3. No. 2674; Chappell. p. 234, 
No. 28; Perkins, New Orleans, p. 109, No. 29; Parsons, Bermuda, p. 
255. No. 63. For discussion, see Taylor, Relationships, p. 33 "• 5- 

XIII. .\rithmi-:tical puzzles 

These may be divided into seriou.s questions that can 
be answered by ordinary mathematics and wliimsical 
questions that involve some unusual knowledge, ordi- 
narily a pun. 

I. Serious Questions 

112. If an egg and a half cost a cent and a lialf, how much will 
twelve eggs cost? — Twelve cents. 

Zilpah Frisbie, McDowell county, 1922-23. Known to me in oral tradi- 
tion in Pennsylvania. 

113. If a herring and a half cost a cent and a half, what would 
three herring cost? — Three cents. 

Kate S. Russell, Person county, 1923. "What will twelve herrings and 
a half cost?— Twelve and a half cents," Lucille Massey, Durham county, 
n.d. "How much will eleven herrings cost?— Eleven cents," Anon., n.p., 
n.d. Spenney, Raleigh. N. C, p. no. No. 5; Parsons, Aiken, S. C. p. 30. 
No. 33 (eighteen); Parsons, Bermuda, p. 258, No. 106 (six). The 
allusion to twelve and one half cents in the North Carolina variant has 
survived from a time when this sum was familiarly used. 

114. Two ducks in front of a duck, two ducks behind a duck, 
and one duck in the middle. How many ducks in all ?— Three. 
Paul and Elizabeth Green, eastern and central N. C, 1926-28. 

115. A duck before two ducks, a duck behind two ducks, a 
duck between two ducks. How many ducks? — Three ducks. 
Aura Holton. Durham, N. C. 1924; "How many were there?" Mrs. 
G. A. \'aught. Alexander county, 1928. 

114, 115. Knortz. p. 253, No. loi ; Fauset, Philadelphia, p. 556. No. 31; 
Parsons. Bermuda, p. 256. Nn. 71 ; Parsons, Sea Islands. S. C. p. 170, 
No 115; Spennev, Raleigh. N. C. p. no. No. 6; Hyatt, Adams Co., 111., 
p. 660, No. 10858; Beckwith. Jamaica, p. 206, No. 217. There are 
parallels in Welsh, German, Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish. 

2. WiiiMsicwL Questions 

it6. Two men met a beggar and gave him 12J/2 cents. What 
time of day was it ?— Quarter to two. 
Kate S. Russell, Person county. 1923. 


117. If a new wagon comes to one hundred dollars, what does 
a cord of wood come to ? — Ashes. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county, 1922-23. The form of the question varies 
somewhat. See Parsons, Barbados, p. 290, No. 108 ("If a stick of 
tobacco cost six cents and a half, how much would a pipe load come 
to?''); Parsons, Sea Islands, S. C, p. 173, No. 156; Spenney, Raleigh, 
N. C, p. no. No. 7. 

118. How many sides has a pitcher? — Two: the inside and the 

Mrs. G. A. Vaught, Alexander county, 1928. Waugh, Canada, p. •]2, 
No. 826. 

119. If a man had twenty sick sheep, and one died, how many 
would he have left ? — Nineteen. 

i\Irs. G. A. Vaught, Alexander county, 1928. With slight variation, 
Mildred Peterson, Bladen county, 1923. Fauset, Southern Negro, p. 
292, No. 183; Parsons, Sea Islands, S. C, p. 175, No. 187; Parsons, 
Aiken, S. C, p. 36, No. 35; Fauset, Philadelphia, p. 553, No. 4; Fauset, 
Nova Scotia, p. 164, No. in. 

120. Twelve pears hanging high. 
Twelve men came passing by, 
Each took a pear, 

And left eleven hanging there. 

— Man named "Each." 

Jessie Hauser, Forsyth county. 1923; with "high" for "there," Zilpah 
Frisbie, McDowell county, 1922-23; with "pears were hanging high" and 
"went" for "came" (answer lacking), Paul and Elizabeth Green, east- 
ern and central N. C, 1926-28. Knights: Halliwell-Phillips, Nursery 
Rhymes, p. 12; T. W. C, Notes and Queries, 7th ser., iv (1887), 448; 
Parsons, Aiken, S. C, p. 33, No. 55, var. i. Kings: Delevingne, Notes 
and Queries, 7th ser., iv (1887), 511. Lords: Whitney and Bullock, 
Maryland, p. 174, No. 2680. Brothers: Johnson, Antigua, p. 86, No. 39. 
Men: Chappell, p. 231, No. 12; Parsons, Aiken, S. C, p. 33< No. 55, 
var. 2; Fauset, Philadelphia, p. 553, No. 2; Fauset, Southern Negro, 
p. 280. No. 39; Beckwith, Jamaica, p. 207, No. 214. 

121. As I was going over London Bridge. 

I saw a tree with twelve pears hanging. 
Twelve men came riding by, 
Each took a pear and left eleven hanging 
— Man named "Each." 

Mrs. N. Lancaster, Wayne county, 1923. With the introductory scene 
of London Bridge, not previously reported. 

122. Eleven pears were hanging high, 
Eleven men went riding by, 
Each man was taking a pear, 
And left eleven hanging there. 

— "Each Man" was the man's name. 


Mildred Peterson, Bladen county, 1923. (Eleven actors.) Parsons, 
Aiken, S. C, p. 32, No. 55; Parsons, Guilford Co., N. C, p. 202, No. 
13; Parsons, Barbados, p. 279, No. 21. 

123. As I went down to St. Isles, 

I met a man with seven wives. 
Each wife had seven socks, 
Each sock had seven cats, 
Each cat had seven kittens. 
Kits, cats, socks, wives, and all, 
How many were going to St. Isles? 
— Only one, me. 

Edna Whitley, n.p., n.d. Also with slight verlial variations from Mrs. 
G. A. N'aught, Alexander county, 1928; and Paul and Elizabeth Green, 
eastern and central N. C., 1926-28. P^ound in virtually every English 
collection. See Boggs, North Carolina, p. 324, No. 21 ; Fauset, Southern 
Negro, p. 286, No. 112. 


124. Where did Noah strike the first nail? — On the head. 

Kate S. Russell, Person county, 1923. Gregor, Northeast Scotland, p. 
82; Waugh, Canada, p. 72, No. 828. Also without Noah's name: Bacon 
and Parsons, Virginia, p. 321, No. 80. 

125. When did Noah sleep four in a bed? — When he slept with 
his forefathers. 

Eleanor Simpson, East Durham, 1923. Not previously reported. 

126. When did we first hear of paper ctirrency? — When the 
dove brought the green back into the ark. 

Grace Tucker, Stanly county, 1935-38. Not previously reported. 

127. There was a thing in days of old 
( )f which I make a wonder, 

It had in it a living soul. 

Which after God did hunger. 

It never sinned in all its life 

It was so well behaved ; 

It never had one spark of grace, 

Yet how could it be saved? 

This thing obeyed God, 

Tho' it was no professor. 

It was given as a rod 

To punish a transgressor. 

— The whale that swallowed Jonah. 


Miss A. Henderson, Burke county, 1914-15. This riddle was learned 
from an old lacemaker about 1872. Not previously reported. 

128. Who was the first man that was nearly ruined l:)y watered 

stock? — Laban's nephew Jacob, who scared the stock while at 


Norman L. Stack, Pasquotank county, 1922-23. Not previously reported. 


129. Constantinople — spell it in two letters. — It. 

Paul and Elizabeth Green, eastern and central N. C, 1926-28. Parsons, 
Sea Islands, S. C, p. 173, No. 163; Johnson, St. Helena I., S. C, p. 
160, No. 41 ; Parsons, Bermuda, p. 262, No. 131. 

130. Mississippi is a hard word. I bet you can't spell it. — It. 
Lucille Massey, Durham county, n.d. Not previously reported. 

131. Nebuchadnezzar, King of the Jews. Spell it in two let- 
ters.— It. 

Paul and Elizabeth Green, eastern and central N. C., 1926-28. Not 
previously reported. 

132a. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Jews, 

Sat down on the floor to put on his shoes. 
How do you spell that with four letters ? 


Anon., n.p., n.d.; with "to tie up his shoes," the Misses Holeman, Dur- 
ham county, 1922-36. 

132b. Nebuchadnezzar, King of Jews, 

Stepped in a hot pudding without his shoes. 
How do you spell that with four letters ? 


Anon., n.p., n.d. 

132c. Nebuchadnezzar, King of the Jews. 

Slipped off his slippers and slipped on his shoes. 
How do you spell that with four letters ? 


Anon., n.p., n.d. This elaboration which contains a rhyme with shoes, 
is the usual form of the riddle. For parallels, which often differ in de- 
tails, see Fauset, Southern Negro, p. 290, No. 164; Rcdfield, Tennessee, 
p. 43, No. 98; Parsons, Sea Islands, S. C., p. I73. No. 162. 


133. Railroad Crossing, Look Out for the Cars. 
Can vou spell it without anv R's ? 


William D. Trader, n.p., n.d. (Clearwater, S. C. c. 1936?). Redfield, 
Tennessee, p. 43, No. 97 ; Hyatt. Adams Co., 111., p. 656, No. 10828. 
.\n investigation into tlic history of the warnings posted at railroad 
crossings might throw some light on tlie history of this riddle. 

134. Tadionias Tatanius took two T's 
To tie two knots in two tall trees, 
ilow many T's in that? 

— Two T's in that. 

Eleanor Simpson, East Durham, 1923. With 'Thomas Tattamus," Lucille 
Massey, Durham, n.d. Thomas Tattamus is probably a corruption of 
Thomas Didymus, but otherwise the history and meaning of this riddle 
are obscure. For parallels, see Knortz, p. 219, No. 33; Waugh, Canada, 
pp. 71-72, No. 820; Parsons, Barbados, p. 281, No. 31; Parsons, Ber- 
muda, p. 262, No. 129. 

135. Two M's, two I's, and a C. — IMimic. 

Zilpah Frisbie, McDowell county, 1922-23. Not previously reported. 
The choice of letters perhaps has some connection with the Roman 
numerals MCMII, which might indicate the date of invention. 

136. What were the tour letters in the alphahet that scared the 
wolf?— O 1 C U. 

Grace Barbee, Stanly county, n.d. Sentences composed of letters that 
are read as words are not unknown, but this combination has not been 
previously reported. 

137. Spell hard water with three letters. — Ice. 

Mrs. G. A. \'aught, Alexander county, 1928. Johnson, Antigua, p. 86, 
No. 33; Fauset, Nova Scotia, p. 171, No. 172; Parsons, Sea Islands, 
S. C. p. 161, No. 55; Fauset. Southern Negro, p. 290, No. 165; Par- 
sons, Bermuda, p. 263, No. 145; Redfield, Tennessee, p. 45, No. 46; 
Chappell, p. 238, No. 46; Gardner, Schoharie Hills, N. Y., p. 261, No. 
99. There are Dutcii, German, and Danish parallels. 

138. What word of three syllables contains twenty-six letters? 
— Alphahet. 

Grace Tucker, Stanly county, c. 1935. 

139. What word of eight letters leaves ten when you subtract 
five ? — Tendency. 

Grace Tucker, Stanly county, c. 1935. Riddles of this type are not un- 
known, but these examples do not seem to have parallels in oral tradition. 

140a. Lazarus had it before; Paul had it behind; girls have it 
once; boys not at all; old Mrs. Gilligan had it twice at one 
time. — The letter L. 
Mrs. Norman Herring, Tomahawk, n.d, 


140b. Luke had it first; Paul had it last; Mrs. Miller had it 
twice right in the same place until she got married the second 
time, then she didn't have it at all. — The letter L. 
Jessie Hauser, Forsyth county, 1923. 

140C. Luke had it before ; Paul had it behind ; Miss Sally had 
it twice in the same place ; girls all have it ; but boys can't 
have it at all. — The letter L. 

Mrs. G. A. Vaught, Alexander county, 1928. Parallels are very numer- 
ous and differ somewhat in details. See Fauset, Nova Scotia, p. 167, 
No. 129; Fauset, Philadelphia, p. 555, No. 26; Parsons, Guilford Co., 
N. C, p. 205, No. 44; Farr, Tennessee, p. 321, No. 46; Redfield, Ten- 
nessee, p. 43, Nos. 99-101. 

141. What is once in a minute, twice in a moment, yet not 
once in a thousand years? — The letter J\L 

Mrs. G. A. Vaught, Alexander county, 1928. Bacon and Parsons, Vir- 
ginia, p. 321, No. 7T, Fauset, Nova Scotia, p. 167, No. 128; Gardner, 
Schoharie Hills, N. Y., p. 257, No. 34 ; Johnson, Antigua, p. 83, No. 2 ; 
Beckwith, Jamaica, p. 215, No. 254. 

142. It's in the church but not the steeple, 
It's in the person but not the people. 

—The letter R. 

Mrs. G. A. Vaught, Alexander county, 1928. Johnson, Antigua, p. 83, 
No. 4. 


143. W^hat is the best way to make a slow horse fast? — Tie 

him to a post. 

Jessie Hauser, Forsyth county, 1923. Redfield, Tennessee, p. 42, No. 7. 


a. The following are arranged alphabetically according- 
to the noun following What ? The phrase kind of is 

144. What is an awl? — Shoemaker's tool. 

Grace Tucker, Stanly county, c. 1935. The meaning of the riddle is 

145. What bridge has never been crossed by anybody? — 
Bridge of the nose. 

Grace Barbee, Stanly county, n.d. 

K I I) U I. E S 317 

146. What military drill do we engage in once every year? — 
March month. 

Mrs. N. Herring, Tomahawk, n.d. 

147. What kind of flowers is hetwccn the nose and chin? — 

Grace Barbee, Stanly county, c. 1935. Parsons, Sea Islands, S. C, p. 
174, No. 176. 

148. What kind of hushand would you advise a young lady to 
get? — .A single man. 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county, 1923. Parsons, Aiken, S. C, p. 37, 
No. 90; Bacon and Parsons, Virginia, p. 317, No. 45. 

149. \\'hat is blacker than a crow? — Feathers. 

Kate S. Russell, Person county, 1923. With answer "His feathers," 
Louise Lucas, Bladen county, 1923. Redfield, Tennessee, p. 46, No. 125; 
Fauset, Southern Negro, p. 287, No. 118. 

150. Which of the Apostles wore the largest hat? — The one 
with the largest head. 

Clara Hearne. Chatham county, 1922-23. Perkins, New Orleans, p. 114, 
No. 95; Fauset, Philadelphia, p. 555, No. 27. 

151. What gives more light than a lamp? — Two lamps. 

Kate S. Russell, Person county, 1923. Compare the more usual form 
in No. 153 below. 

152. What is kneaded most? — Bread. 

Mrs. G. A. Vaught, Alexander county, 1928. Waugh, Canada, p. 66, 

No. 755- 

153. What makes more noise than a sc|uealing pig? — Two pigs. 

Elsie Do-xey, Currituck county, 1922-23. Fauset, Nova Scotia, p. 170, 
No. 157; Waugh, Canada, p. "jz. No. 830; Brewster, Indiana, 65. 

154. What is older than its mother? — Vinegar. 

Kate S. Russell, Person county, 1923. Gardner, Schoharie Hills, N. Y.. 
p. 258, No. 53. 

155. What is the oldest table in the world? — Multiplication 

Eleanor Simpson, East Durham, 1923. 

156. What is worse than finding a worm in an apple? — Finding 
half a worm. 

Crockette Williams, n.p., 1932. 


b. What is tlie difference between a. . . . Arranged 
alphabetically according to the tirst noun in the com- 

157. Wliat is the difference between an apple and an old 
maid? — Yoti have to sqtieeze an apple to get cider, while you 
have to get side her to squeeze her. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county, n.d. ; Eleanor Simpson, East Durham, 

158. What is the difference between a doctor and a butcher? — 
A doctor cuts to cure and a butcher cuts to kill. 

Grace Tucker, Stanly county, 1935-38. 

159. What is the diff'erence between a fountain and a queen? — - 
One is heir to the throne, the other is thrown to the air. 
Eleanor Simpson, East Durham, 1923. 

160. W^hat is the difference between a hen and a fiddler? — One 
lays at leisure, the other plays at pleasure. 

Edna Whitley, n.p.. n.d. 

161. What is the difference between a hill and a pill? — One 
goes up, the other down. 

Eleanor Simpson, East Durham, 1923. 

162. What is the difference between a lover and an old maid? 
— One kisses the misses ; the other misses the kisses. 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county, 1923. Waugh, Canada, p. 66, No. 751. 

163. What is the difference between an old penny and a new 
dime? — Nine cents. 

Eleanor Simpson, East Durham, 1923. 

a. Arranged alphabetically according to the first noun. 

164. When is a dog like a boy doing arithmetic? — When he puts 
down three feet and carries one. 

Clara Hearne, Chatham county, 1922-23. Waugh, Canada, p. 66, No. 750. 

165. Wiien is a door a jar? — When it is ajar. 

Clara Hearne, Chatham county, 1922-23. Fauset, Nova Scotia, p. 170. 
No. 153; Waugh, Canada, p. 64, No. 704; Parsons, Bermuda, p. 258, 
No. 99. 


b. If you wako up in tlu- uij^^lil Anantj^ed alplia- 

betically accordiuj,^ to tlie essential word (usually a 

166. If you wished a dinner at night? — Take a spread. 

Clara Hearne, Chatham county, 1922-23. Riddles 166-172 have the 
sound of the vaudeville stage. Parallels may be found in printed books 
of riddles. 

167. What would you do in case of fire? — Get to the window 
and see the fire escape. 

Clara Hearne, Chatham county, 1922-23. See note to No. 166. 

1 68. If hungry in the night, what would you do? — Take a roll. 
Clara Hearne, Chatiiam county, 1922-23. See note to No. 166. 

169. If you wished to write a letter at night? — Take a sheet. 
Clara Hearne, Chatham county, 1922-23. See note to No. 166. 

170. What would you do for a light at night? — Take a feather 
from the pillow — that's light enough. 

Clara Hearne, Chatham county, 1922-23. See note to No. 166. 

171. If you were sad, what would you do? — Take a comforter. 
Clara Hearne, Chatham county, 1922-23. See note to No. 166. 

172. If you wake up in the night thirsty, what would you do? 
— Look under the hed and find the spring. 

Clara Hearne, Chatham county, 1922-23. See note to No. 166. 


173. Where was gunpowder invented? — China. 
Grace Tucker, Stanly county, 1935-38. 

174. On which side does a sheep have most w(X)l ? — On the 

Eleanor Simpson, East Durham, 1923. 


175. Who was the first whistler? — The wind. 

Grace Tucker, Stanly county. 1935-38. Perkins, New Orleans, p. 113. 
No. 76 ("Who was the first whistler, and what tune did he whistle? — 
The wind. He whistled 'Over the Hills and Far Away'"). 

N.C.F.. Vol. I, (22) 



I. A Punning Answer 
Arranged alphabetically according to the chief word. 

176. Why don't angels have moustaches? — Because they have 
a close shave getting in. 

Jessie Hauser, Forsyth county, 1923. 

177. Why is it easy to break into an old man's house? — Because 
his gait is broken and his locks are few. 

Eleanor Simpson, East Durham, 1923. 

178. W'hy is a lady who faints in a public place like a good 
intention? — Because she must be carried out. 

Eleanor Simpson, East Durham, 1923. 

179. Why is a lighten-bug the most ridiculous creature? — Be- 
cause he shows his tail and holds a light to see it by. 

Kate S. Russell, Person county, 1923. 

180. Why is the nose in the middle of the face? — Because it 
is in the center. 

Clara Hearne, Chatham county, 1922-23. Perkins, New Orleans, p. 115, 
No. 119; Farr, Tennessee, p. 321, No. 49. 

181. Why is the novelist a strange creature? — Because his tail 
comes out of his head. 

Kate S. Russell, Person county, 1923. 

182. W^hy is the schoolyard always longer at recess? — Because 
there are more feet in it. 

Grace Tucker, Stanly county, 1935-38. 

183. Why are washerwomen great flirts? — Because they wring 
men's bosoms. 

Jessie Hauser, Forsyth county, 1923. 

2. Catches 

184. Why does the chimney smoke? — Because it can't chew. 

Clara Hearne, Chatham county, 1922-23; Louise Lucas, Bladen county, 
1923. Fauset, Nova Scotia, p. 172, No. 175; Greenleaf, Newfoundland, 
p. 19, No. 2; Parsons, Sea Islands, S. C, p. 174. No. 167; Farr, Ten- 
nessee, p. 325, No. 102. 


185. \\'hy do we buy shoes? — Because they don't give them to 

Jessie Hauser, Forsyth county, 1923. 

186. Why does a hen cross the road in muddy weather?— To 
get on the other side. 

Jessie Hauser, Forsyth county, 1923- "I" muddy weather" omitted, 
Mrs. G. A. Vaught, Alexander county, 1928. The details vary slightly. 
Fauset. Philadelphia, p. 557, No. 41 ; Fauset. Nova Scotia, p. 170, No. 
158- Waugh, Canada, p. 72, No. 835; Brewster, Indiana. 60; Bacon and 
I'arsons. \'irginia, p. 325, No. 118; Redfield, Tennessee, p. 45. No. 122. 

187. Why build pigpens on the north side of the barn ?— To 
keep pigs in. 

Jessie Hauser, Forsyth county, 1923- Redfield, Tennessee, p. 43, No. 119. 
1 88a. Why doesn't George Washington command any more 
armies? — Because he is dead. 
Edna Whitley, n.p., n.d. 

1 88b. Why doesn't George Washington lead any more wars?— 

Because he is dead. 

Grace Barhee, Stanly county, n.d. 

3. Why Is . . . Like . . . ? 
Arranged alpliabetically according: to the first noun. 

189. Why is the coachman like the clouds ?— Because he holds 
the reins. 

Jesse Hauser, Forsyth county. 1923; Frederick Jenkins, New Brunswick 
county, 1923. 

190. Why is the letter F bke a cow's tail ?— Because it is the 
end of bccj. 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county, 1923- Waugh, Canada, p. 66, No. 761. 

191. What most resembles the half of a cheese?— The other 

Jessie Hauser, Forsyth county, 1923. Waugh, Canada, p. 72. No. 829. 

192. Why is a man's bald head like heaven ?— Because there is 
no parting there. 

Jessie Hauser, Forsyth county, 1923- Waugh. Canada, p. 65, No. 732. 

193. Why is the letter K and a pig's tail alike?— Both arc the 
last of pork. 

Lucille Cheek, Chatham county, 1923. Fauset, Nova Scotia, p. 172, 
No. 182. 


194. Why is a newspaper like a wife? — Beause a man should 
have one of his own. 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county, 1923. Waugh, Canada, p. 66, No. 744. 

195. Why are the sun and a loaf of bread alike? — Because both 
of them rise. 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county, 1923. Compare "Why is the sun and 
a French loaf of bread so much alike? — Because one rise in the east, 
and one rise with yeast" (Parsons, Barbados, p. 289, No. 84). 


A few widely known riddles that involve a pun are 
listed below under separate captions. The first two 
puns below do not seem to have been reported else- 
where as riddles. 

196. Is it a sin to feed chickens on Sunday? — I feed mine on 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county, 1923. 

197. Did you know that they were not going to make matches 
any longer? — Long enough. 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county, 1923. 

198. Down in a valley I met a brave knight. 

All saddled, all bridled, all ready for fight, 
All booted, all spurred, all ready to go. 
I have told you his name and vou do not know. 


Zilpah Frisbie, McDowell county, 1922-23. Fauset, Nova Scotia, p. 147, 
No. 24; Randolph and Spradley, Ozarks, p. 82; Brewster. Indiana, 48. 

199. There's a family, Mr. and ]\Irs. Bigger, and their little 
daughter; of these three, which is the bigger? — The daughter 
is a little bigger. 

Kate S. Russell, Person county, 1923. Beckwith, Jamaica, p. 217, No. 

200. The father while at work one day had an accident. He 
had the misfortune to cut off one foot. He was very, very 
sick. Now, which is the bigger?— The father is One-foot 

Kate S. Russell, Person county, 1923. 

201. His accident resulted in death. Then, which is bigger? 
— The father is still bigger. 

Kate S. Russell, Person county, 1923. 


202. As 1 was going over London Bridge, 

I met a man. and I'll be to blame 
If I tell his name. 
For I have told it five times. 

— Man named 1. 

Mrs. N. Lancaster, Wayne county, 1923. Redfield, Tennessee, p. 43, 
No. 94; Hyatt, Adams Co., 111., p. 662, No. 10879; Brewster, Indiana, 25. 

203a. Between heaven and earth, and not on tree, 

I've told you, now you tell me. 

— Knot on tree. 

Kate S. Russell, Person county, 1923; "I told you," Jessie Hauser, For- 
syth county, 1923. 

203b. 'Twixt heaven and earth and not on a tree. — Knot. 

W. Q. Grigg. Qeveland county, 1927. Chappell, p. 238, No. 50; Brew- 
ster, Indiana. 29; Randolph and Spradley, Ozarks, p. 84; Fauset, 
Southern Negro, p. 290. No. 159; Bacon and Parsons, Virginia, p. 317, 
No. 43 and p. 326, No. 126; Parsons, Guilford Co., N. C, p. 205, No. 
40; Parsons, Aiken, S. C, p. 33, No. 58. 

204. There were four men, they all had the same father and 
the same mother and vet they were Knot Bros. — Knot Bros. 

Kate S. Russell, Person county, 1923. 

205. A man went away on Sunday, stayed a week, and came 
back on the same Sunday. How is that? — His horse's name 
was Sunday. 

Eleanor Simpson, East Durham, 1923. Also with slight variation, Lucille 
Massey, Durham county, n.d. Parsons, Bermuda, p. 253, No. 53 ; Red- 
field, Tennessee, p. 43, No. 96 ; Fauset, Southern Negro, p. 280, No. 38. 
Compare Fauset, Southern Negro, p. 280, No. 37, and Parsons, Aiken. 
S. C, p. 26, No. 7, with the answer "Monday." 

206a. A man rode over a bridge and yet walked. How was 
that? — Yet was his dog. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county, n.d. Also, with slight variation, from 
Zilpah Frisbie, McDowell county, 1922-23, and Eleanor Simpson, East 
Durham, 1923. 

206b. A man rode over London P.ridge, and yet walked. — Yet 

is a dog. 

Aura Holton, Durham, 1924. 

206c. Man had a little dog; his name was Get. Get rid, but 

yet he walked. — Answer lacking. 

Paul and Elizabeth Green, eastern and central N. C, 1926-28. 


2o6d. As I was going across London Bridge, I met a man 
riding, and yet he was walking. — Little dog named Yettie. 

Anon., n.p., n.d. 

2o6e. Man — Get — Dog — Yet. — Answer lacking. 

Paul and Elizabeth Green, eastern and central N. C, 1926-28. Parallels 
are very numerous. See, among others, Parsons, Bahamas, p. 476, No. 
48; Parsons, Aiken, S. C, p. 25, No. 6; Parsons, Bermuda, p. 249, No. 
23; Parsons, Sea Islands. S. C, p. 167, No. 90; Fauset, Philadelphia, 
P- 553, No. 8; Bacon and Parsons, Virginia, p. 320, No. 72; Fauset, 
Nova Scotia, p. 147, No. 27; Parsons, Guilford Co., N. C., p. 202, No. 
17; Redfield, Tennessee, p. 43, No. 95; Brewster, Indiana, 70; Randolph 
and Spradley, Ozarks, p. 84. 


207. Adam and Eve and Pinch-Me Tight 
Went to the river to have a fight. 

Adam and Eve fell in. Who was left out? 
— When someone answers Pinch-Me Tight, 
the questioner does so. 

Paul and Elizabeth Green, eastern and central N. C., 1926-28. Fauset, 
Nova Scotia, p. 146, No. 22; Randolph and Spradley, Ozarks, p. 85. 

208. If 2 in I is stove polish and 3 in i is oil, what is 4 and i ? 
— Five. 

Anon., n.p., n.d. 

209. Jackass on one side river, hay on other. — Give up? — Just 
as the other jackass did. 

Paul and Elizabeth Green, eastern and central N. C., 1926-28. 

210. Difference between mule and elephant. — You'd be a fine 
one to send after an elephant. 

Paul and Elizabetli Green, eastern and central N. C., 1926-28. 

211. The preacher was preaching about the horror of war; the 
roaring of the guns, firing of the cannon, etc. A soldier was 
asleep at church, dreaming of the war. Just as the preacher 
said, "The cannon boomed forth," the soldier died. How do 
you know that he died at this point? — You don't know. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county, n.d. Waugh, Canada, p. 72, No. 836; 
Randolph and Spradley, Ozarks, p. 89. 



212. Bed. — A little dark E in bed with nothing over him. 
The Misses Holeman, Durham county, 1921-36. 

213. Three- fourths of a cross and a circle complete, 

A perpendicular line on which two half-circles meet, 
An acute-angled triangle standing on feet, 
Two half-circles, and a circle complete. 


Anon., n.p., n.d. Fauset, Nova Scotia, p. 166, No. 125; Boggs, North 
Carolina, p. 325, No. 25; Parsons, Bahamas, p. 471,^ No. 4; Parsons, 
Barbados, p. 289, No. 93 ; Parsons, Bermuda, p. 246, No. 5. 

214. The word is in the plural number. 

It is an enemy to sleep or human slumber. 

To make the singular add an S 

And this completes the metamorphosis. 

— S-pain. 

F. C. Brown, Durham, n.d. 

215. There are enough bones in a pig's foot to go in the door 
of everyman's house in the county. — Courthouse. 

Jane Christenbury, Huntersville, N. C, 1923- Two parallels to this 
obscure riddle elucidate it somewhat; sec "Take one hawg-fo(it [hog- 
foot] bone and lav it at the door, an' it'll be all men's door.— Court- 
house door" (Bacon and Parsons. Virginia, p. 316, No. 39) and "Dere's 
enough bone in a pig foot to put one over ev'ry man do' in South 
Carolina. — Put one over de courthouse do'" (Parsons, Aiken, S. C, 
p. 30, No. 36). 



Bacon, A. M., and E. C. Parsons. "Folklore from Elizabeth City 
County," Journal of American Folklore, xxxv (1922), 312-327. 

Beckwith, Martha W. Jamaica Anansi Stories. Memoirs of the 
American Folklore Society, xvii. New York, 1924. 

BoGGS, R. S. "North Carolina White Folktales and Riddles," 
Journal of American Folklore, xlvii (1934), 320-335. 

Book of Meery Riddles, The. London, 1629. Reprinted in Brandl, 
pp. 7-22. Cited as Mccry Riddles. 

Book of Merrie Riddles, A. London, 1631. Reprinted in Brandl, 
pp. 53-63. Cited from its running head as Prcttie Riddles. 

Brandl, Alois. "Shakespeare's 'Book of Merry Riddles' und die 
anderen Ratselbiicher seiner Zeit," Jahrbuch der Deutschen 
Shakespeare-Gesellsclmft, xlii (1906), 1-64. 

Brewster, Paul G. "Riddles from Southern Indiana," Southern 
Folklore Quarterly, iii (1939), 93-105. 

Carter, Isabel G. "Mountain White Riddles," Journal of Ameri- 
can Folklore, xlvii (1934), 76-80. 

Chappell, J. W. "Riddle Me, Riddle Me, Ree," Folk-Say, 11 
(1930), 227-238. 

Farr, T. J. "Riddles and Superstitions of Middle Tennessee," 
Journal of American Folklore, xlviii (1935), 318-326. 

Fauset, a. H. Folklore from Noza Scotia. Memoirs of the Ameri- 
can Folklore Society, xxiv. New York, 193 1. 

"Negro Folk-Tales from the South," Journal of American 

Folklore, xl (1927), 276-292. 

'Tales and Riddles Collected in Philadelphia," Journal of 

American Folklore, xli (1928), 552-557. 

Fitzgerald, David. "Of Riddles," Gentleman's Magazine, ccli 
(1881). 177-192. 

Gardner, E. E. Folklore from the Schoharie Hills. Ann Arbor, 

Greenleaf, Elisabeth B. "Riddles of Newfoundland," Marshall 
Rez'iezv, i. No. 3 (Huntington, W. Va., 1938), 5-20. 

Gregor, Walter. "Notes on the Folk-Lore of the North-East of 
Scotland." Publications of the Folk-Lorc Societv, vii. Lon- 
don, 1881. 

Gutch, Eliza, and ^Iabel Peacock. Fxamples of Printed Folk- 
Lore concerning Lincolnshire. Publications of the Folk-Lore 
Society, lxviii. London, 1908. 

Halliwell-Phillips, J. O. Nurserx Rhymes of Fngland. Lon- 
don, 1886. 


Popular Rhymes and Nursery Talcs. London, 1849. 

Halpert, Herbert. "Ncj^ro Riddles Collected in New Jersey," 

Journal of American Folklore, lvi (1943), 200-202. 
Hedberg, E. "Proverbs and Riddles Current among the Bhils oi 

Kandesh," Journal of the Anthropological Society of Bombay, 

XIII (1928), 854-892. 
Hudson, A. P. "Sonic Folk Riddles from the South," South At- 
lantic Quarterly, xlii (1943), 78-93- 
Hyatt, H. M. Folklore from Adams County. Illinois. Memoirs 

of the Anna Egan Hyatt Foundation. New York, 1935. 
Hyde, Douglas. Beside the Fire. London, 1890. 
Johnson, Guy B. Folk-Culture on St. Helena Island. Chapel 

Hill, N. C, 1930. 
Johnson, John H. "Folklore from Antigua, British West Indies," 

Journal of American Folklore, xxxiv (1921), 83-88. 
Knortz, Karl. Strcifaiige auf dem Gebietc amerikanischer 

Volkskunde. Leipzig, 1902. 
Leather, Ella M. The Folk-Lore of Herefordshire. London, 

O Dalaigh, Sean. "Tomhaiseanna o Dhuchaoin," Bcaloidcas, 

xiii (1943), 80-101. 
Parker, A. "Oxfordshire Village Folk-Lore, IL" Folk-Lore, 

XXXIV (1923), 330-331- 
Parsons. Elsie Clews. "Barbados Folklore," Journal of Ameri- 
can Folklore, xxxviii (1925), 276-292. 
"Bermuda Folklore," Journal of American Folklore, xxxviii 

(1925 ), 244-265. 

Folklore from Aiken, South Carolina." Journal of Amcri- 

:an Folklore, xxxiv (1921), 24-37. 

Folklore of the Antilles, French and English, III. Memoirs 

)f the American Folklore Society, xxvi, iii. New York, 1943. 
"Folklore of the Cherokee of Robeson County, North Caro- 

lina." Journal of American Folklore, xxxii (1919), 388-390. 

Folklore of the Sea Islands, South Carolina. Memoirs of 

the American Folklore Society, xvi. New York, 1923. 

"Notes on the Folklore of Guilford County, North Carolina," 

Journal of American Folklore, xxx (1917), 201-207. 

■Riddles from Andros Island, Bahamas," Journal of Ameri- 

can Folklore, xxx (1917), 275-277. 

"Spirituals and Other Folklore from the Bahamas," Journal 

of American Folklore, XLi (1928), 471-485. 

Perkins, A. E. "Riddles from Negro School-Children in New 
Orleans." Journal of American Folklore, xxxv (1922), 105-115. 

Randolph, Vance, and Isabel Spradley. "Ozark Mountain Rid- 
dles," Journal of American Folklore, XLvn (1934), 81-89. 


AND Archer Taylor. "Riddles in the Ozarks," Southern 

Folklore Quarterly, vii (1944), i-io. 
Redfield, W. a. "A Collection of Middle Tennessee Riddles," 

Southern Folklore Quarterly, 1, No. 3 (1937), pp. 35-50. 
Spenney, Susan D. "Riddles and Ring-Games from Raleigh, 

North Carolina," Journal of American Folklore, xxxiv (1921), 


Starr, Frederick. A Little Book of Filipino Riddles. Yonkers, 

Taylor, Archer. A Bibliography of Riddles. Helsinki, 1939. 

FF Communications, No. 126. 
Thurston, Helen S. "Riddles from Massachusetts." Journal of 

American Folklore, xviii (1905), 182. 
TuppER, Frederic J. "The Holme Riddles (MS. Harl. i960)," 

Publications of the Modern Language Association, xviii (1903), 

Waugh, F. W. "Canadian Folklore from Ontario," Journal of 

American Folklore, xxxi (1918), 63-72. 
Whitney, A. W., and C. C. Bullock. Folklore of Maryland. 

Memoirs of the American Folklore Society, xviii. New York, 

Wintemberg, W. J. "Folklore Collected in Toronto and Vicinity," 

Journal of American Folklore, xxxi (1918), 133. 


Edited by 
B. J. Whiting 




'"P^O OFFER a brief yet workable definition of a proverb, espe- 
-^ cially with the proverbial phrase included, is well nigh impos- 
sible. Indeed, one of our wisest and most learned students of 
proverbial lore wrote, "The definition of a proverb is too difficult 
to repay the undertaking; and should we fortunately combine in a 
single definition all the essential elements and give each the proper 
emphasis, wc should not even then have a touchstone. An incom- 
municable quality tells us this sentence is proverbial and that one 
is not. Hence no definition w^ill enable us to identify positively a 
sentence as proverbial. . . . Let us be content with recognizing 
that a proverb is a saying current among the folk. At least so 
much of a definition is indisputable. . . ."^ The man, probably 
Lord John Russell, who said that "a proverb is the wisdom of 
many and the wit of one," produced a very pretty epigram, but 
scarcely a definition of a proverb. ^ Happily, no definition is really 
necessary, since all of us know what a proverb is. With a few 
curious exceptions, all nations have had their proverbs and have 
incorporated them in their literature, including their most sacred 
books. Of course, the reverse has also been true, and gnomic utter- 
ances have passed from manuscript or printed pages to the currency 
of popular speech. Proverbs in literature have had their ups and 
downs ; at times they have been acceptable to the prevailing taste, 
at others they have been considered low. At all times, however, 
they have been part and parcel of human nature's verbal daily 
bread. They spring readily to our lips, and we recognize their 
validity. It is not the "folk" alone who appreciate proverbs; even 
the most solemn scholar, against his intellectual will, perhaps, or 
caught off guard, responds to a bit of verbal reality snatched from 
life, who can say when, and applied to the more or less mysterious 
behavior of human kind. The proverbs presented in this section 
will be familiar in aggregate to almost every reader, although it 
is the editor's hope that the introduction and the individual refer- 
ences to other occurrences may add body to the common recognition. 
In general it would be difficult to demonstrate that proverbs 

^Archer Taylor, The Proverb (Cambridge, Massachusetts). 1931, p. 3. 

- For a number of definitions of various ages and merits, see Whiting. 
"The Nature of the Proverb," Harvard Studies and Notes in Philology 
and Literature, xiv C1932), 273-307. 


illustrate national peculiarities, and that the study of a people's 
proverbs will reveal those traits and emotions which may be held 
to differentiate that people from all others. Proverbs appear to 
reveal human nature, which is spontaneous and, on the whole, uni- 
versal, rather than national nature, which is likely to be artificial 
and often imposed by economic, social, and political circumstances. 
Collections of "racial" or "national" proverbs have been made, and 
are often imposing, and, indeed, present a specious appearance of 
picturing the Russian, the Bantu, the Irishman, and the Tagalog 
as they really are. The fallacy of the method is that it is selective 
and that a different selection would give an entirely different 
"national" or "racial" picture. The same themes, often expressed 
in identical or almost identical fashion, will appear in the proverbs 
of many widely separated and culturally aloof nations.^ 

A caveat against the improper use of proverbial material to 
write the philosophical or spiritual life of a people does not deny 
that individual proverbs are peculiar to a nation or national group. 
Often, indeed, a proverbial formula will be found to be particularly 
characteristic of some one country. The material objects used in 
proverbs will naturally vary from one region of the earth to an- 
other, and differences in linguistic structure will be reflected in 
proverbs, even after the proverbs have been translated from their 
original tongue. Thus it is that foreign proverbs appearing in, 
say, English or German can often be identified as such and traced 
to their original homes. On this principle any reasonably extensive 
collection of proverbs made in the United States ought to reveal 
sayings plainly attributable to the various nationalities and groups 
which produced our ancestors. The present collection affords inter- 
esting, though not unexpected, evidence of the mixed origins of 
our proverbial lore. 

The preponderant racial stock in North Carolina has from the 
first been English. In 1790 the English contributed 83.1 per cent; 
Scottish, Lowlanders, Highlanders, and Scotch-Irish, 11.2: German, 
2.8; Irish, 2.3; French, .3; Dutch, .2; and all others, .1. Negroes, 
slave and free, made up one quarter of the total population.-* To- 
day these proportions have been little altered. There has been no 
significant population influx since 1790. In the generation follow- 
ing the Civil War a number of whites moved to the West and 
Middle West, and a somewhat larger number of whites moved into 
the state from the North. Similarly in the two inflation and de- 
pression periods of the twentieth century a number of Negroes 
moved to the North. These changes, however, made only slight 

" For a recent and conclusive discussion of this problem, see F. N. 
Robinson, "Irish Proverbs and Irish National Character," Modern Phi- 
lology, XLIII (1945), I-IO. 

* Guion G. Johnson, Ante-bellum North Carolina (Chapel Hill, 1937). 
pp. 9-11. 


local inii)ressions, and North Carolina today has a white population 
predominantly An^jlo-Saxon in descent.'' 

That, like the population, a majority of the North C'arolina 
proverhs are of Enjjlish origin hardly requires demonstration to 
any English-speakings person. An easy test is to observe the prov- 
erhs in our collection whicli occur, or are somehow paralleled, 
in the two standard English dictionaries of proverbs, Apperson and 
Oxford, where we find that approximately 560 are found in both, 
260 in Apperson alone, and no in Oxford alone." The total of 
930 out of 2600 is made even more impressive than it appears 
when we consider that the sayings found in Apperson and Oxford 
are mainly proverbs and miscellaneous proverbial phrases, rather 
than similes, a large number of which are clearly of American 

Since proverbs current in Scotland often ditYer from those of 
England only in slight dialectal peculiarities inevitably ironed out 
in America, we are justified in labeling Scottish only those prov- 
erbs w^hich were originally" or only to be found in Scottish col- 
lections.** Among these are :■• A blind man needs no looking glass ;^"' 
A lazy boy makes a smart man;^i Save for the sore-foot day;^~ 
Ready with his hat but slow with his money ;^^ Live in hopes if you 

'" I am indebted to Professor White for the statements about present- 
day North Carolina. 

" For a check of Hardie against Apperson, see Richard Jente, "The 
American Proverb," American Speech, vii (1931-32), 342-348- Pro- 
fessor Jente concludes that few proverbs in Hardie can be justly called 

' Both Apperson and Oxford draw, though not exhaustively, on earlier 
Scottish collections. 

* Under Horse (3) below we find that one informant calls the com- 
mon English proverb "A short horse is soon curried" Scotch. No doubt 
he had heard it from someone of Scottish descent, but the characteristic 
Scottish form is in the compound proverb, "A bonny bride is soon buskit, 
and a short horse is soon wispit (whisked)." In North Carolina the 
English form was substituted but the Scottish remembered. 

" The italicized words in all proverbs quoted in this introduction are 
those under which the proverbs are alphal^etized in the collection. 

^" This saying raises a problem of which there are other examples, 
namely, the appearance of a proverb in two of the special groups. The 
proverb appears in a well-known Scottish collection and also in one 
made among the Negroes of Jamaica. If we ignore the possibility of 
independent origins, and we are safe in doing so in this instance, we are 
surely justified in feeling tliat the proverb came from Scotland in the 
first place. It is not easy to determine, however, whether the proverb 
owes its appearance in North Carolina to Scots or Negroes. 

" Since this saying is found in Gaelic as well as Scots, it could have 
been brought by either Highlanders or Lowlanders. See Whiting, "Low- 
land Scots and Celtic Proverbs in North Carolina," Journal of Celtic 
Studies, I (1949), 1 16-127. 

^^ In Irish and Scottish Gaelic as well as Lowland Scots. 

^' The American version suggests a reproof, whereas the Scottish 
original, perhaps characteristically, advises the use of politeness to save 
money, and the Jamaica Negroes preserved the original sense. In North 
Carolina the ooint of view has changed. 


die in despair (variants: Live in hope and die in despair; Live in 
hopes, if you die upstairs) ;i^ He looks for the horse he rides on;i^ 
Mad on a horse sho's proud on a pony;!** True love is the weft of 
life:^" A hairy man's rich. A hairy wife's a witch ;i^ When all 
men speak, no one hears; A falling master makes a standing man; 
An early master makes a long servant; It's a bare moor without 
a tuft of heather ;i^ He has need of a clean pow (head) who calls 
his neighbor nitty-now ; Preach in your own pulpit ; Many bring 
rakes but few shovels ; He finds his sin in his punishment ; A 
wrinkled skin conceals the scars ; All Stuarts are not kinsmen of 
the king.-*^ 

There are only three sayings which can be ascribed without 
reservation to the Highland Scots. These are : As old as the folks 
in Jura,-^ He that owns Rome must feed Rome,-- A sigh goes 
further than a shout. A few other proverbs may have been brought 
by Gaelic-speaking Scots : What isn't worth asking for isn't worth 
having;--^ Beauty never made kettle boil ;-^ Coivs off yonder have 
long horns ;-'' Foreign cozvs wear long horns ;-•' The heaviest ear 
of corn hangs its head the lowest.-" 

^* The sense of the original, "Better live in hope than die in despair," 
has been altered for the worse in America, and the last example is an 
admirable instance of how something can be remembered as a proverb 
even after any sense has been reduced nearly to nonsense. 

^■"' Certainly altered from a Scottish original, as even the Oxford quo- 
tation is Scots, and yet the North Carolina version is almost exactly 
identical with the translation of a Russian proverb. 

^^ The meaning of the North Carolina saying is hardly clear until we 
see the original : "He'll gang mad on a horse wha's proud on a pownie." 
The American inversion has destroyed the sense. Observe the Montene- 
grin version. 

^' The Scottish conclusion of the proverb has been lost : "but it whiles 
comes through a sorrowfu' shuttle." 

^^ The Scottish form reads "A hairy man's a geary man, but a hairy 
wife's a witch." The elimination of the dialectal "geary" added rime of 
sorts to the saying. 

^^ The Scottish form is more striking and more significant : "It's a 
bare more that ye gang throgh an' no get a heather cow (a heather 
cow is a tuft of heather)." A more obvious version is that which Ox- 
ford quotes from a Scottish collection : "It's a bare more that he goes 
over and gets not a cow." No hint of the reivers survived in North 

""See also Button (i), Corn (3), Crazy, Night (12), Nose (i). 

^^ Although this simile is not found elsewhere, it can hardly have 
originated far from the island of Jura in the inner Hebrides. 

^^ This saying is not very Gaelic in appearance, but found only in 

°" Nicolson has "It's a poor thing that's not worth asking," but there 
is a similar German proverb from Pennsylvania. 

"* Also found in Ireland, and note the Genoese version. 

"■^ Also found in Ireland. 

-" Described as "an old Scottish saying," this is doubtless an American 
variant of the preceding proverb. 

" Also found in Ireland. 


Because of the evident kinsliip of Irisli i)roverl)> with those of 
GaeHc-spcaking Scotland, we may well take u]> the i)roverhs of 
apparent Irish origin here; He lent his brccclns ])ut cut off the 
bottoms;-^ Any clothes will tit a naked man; The dogs follow the 
man with the bone ; A hungry eye sees far ;-" Better be in search 
of food than appetite; Don't burn your fingers when you have 
tongs; Do your lioiiselceef^ing in the mouth of the bag, not at the 
bottom ; Every man should be sheriff on his own hearth ; Run 
like yer s/;/V/ /(/// is on fire;-*" Be bare with the soil and the soil 
will be bare witli you; Put the stranger Near the danger; The 
three feasts due to every man — the feast of baptism, the feast of 
marriage, the feast of death ; The three merriest things under the 
sun : a cat's kitten, a goat's kid, and a young widow ; Three with- 
out rule — a mule, a pig, a woman ; Cold zcalls make unhappy wives ; 
It's a lonesome washing that has not a man's shirt in it; A wedge 
of elm to split an elm ;'^i A good word never yet broke a tooth. 

One proverb seems to be from Wales: I'd rather my neck felt 
the yoke than the axe; and another saying. He jumped on it like 
a hazvk on a chicken, may well be, although the number of Ameri- 
can variants suggests that we may here be faced with coincidence 
rather than provenience. 

The German elements in North Carolina were in part Moravians 
straight from the continent and in part Moravians and others who 
came down from Pennsylvania. For a time they retained their 
native speech.-*- and it is natural that a certain number of German 
proverbs should have found their way common usage. Among 
them are the following : Gray beard and red lip cannot be friends ; 
Riglit beginning makes a right ending; The higher the bell the 
further it sounds; All birds of prey are silent (var. Whoever heard 
of a singing bird of prey?); The bite is larger than the mouth; 
Don't blow what won't burn ;^^ Compliments cost nothing;-*"* The 
costly is the cheapest in the long run ;3-''' It's a poor dog that can't 
wag its own tail ;-^'* An old fox is hard to catch ;•"*" Friendship is a 

"* The Irish versions read buttons for bottoms. 

-" From Antrim and Down, and therefore, perhaps Scotch-Irish, as tlie 
citations in Tilley suggest to be the case. 

•^" The Irish reads: "Do it as if there were fire on your skin." 

■''^ The Scottish Gaelic version is "A wedge of itself splits the oak." 

^' See W. H. Gehrke, "The Transition from the German to the Eng- 
lish Language in North Carolina," North Carolina Historical Rcx-icw, xii 
(1935). 1-18. 

"^ Reported from Pennsylvania. 

■"" The German version, as given by Christy, adds ''yet many pay dear 
for them." It sliould be noted that there are analogues in Creole French 
and Scottish. 

^'" Reported from Pennsylvania ; the analogues, two from Jamaica, take 
another tack, namely, that the cheapest is the dearest. 

'"' Reported as from an old German who came to America about 1850; 
the English analogue refers to a horse. 

" Reported from Pennsylvania. 

X.C.K.. Vol. I, {23) 


plant that needs watering; Two Jieads are better than one, even if 
one is a cabbage head; What you lack in your head you make up 
in your heels; Like holding a ladder for a thief; He steps like he 
is walking on pins; So thin she can't make a shadow f^ An old 
ivoman's dance is soon over ;^^ Between a woman's yes and a 
woman's no There's not enough room for a pin to go.'**' 

There is one proverb clearly French in origin. One must be 
either hammer or anvil, sometimes ascribed to Voltaire, and an- 
other, He never warmed his hand but he burnt it, which may come 
from the French "Tel croit se chauffer qui se brule."'*^ Only one 
proverb may properly be referred to Holland, The w'orse the car- 
penter the more the chips, and even this has an English analogue. 
Three proverbs are Italian in origin : The anvil lasts longer than 
the hammer; A living ass is better than a dead doctor; The ass's 
hide is used to the stick; a fourth. It's not the things you have 
but what they mean to you, is closer to an Italian proverb than 
to anything else brought to light. Denmark seems to have con- 
tributed at least one proverb, It's a lazy bird that won't build her 
own nest, and possibly a second, Act in the z'alley for those on 
the hill.-*- There is also one of apparent Norwegian origin: First 
bread and then the bride. 

That American citizens of African descent should have a dis- 
tinctive body of proverbs is suggested both by the prevalence of 
proverbs among the native tribes of Africa,-*^ and by the circum- 
stances, hardly requiring documentation, which have kept American 
Negroes in a community of somewhat isolated social and intellectual 
interests. Certain difficulties, however, trouble the investigator, 
especially if he is not an inhabitant of one of the Southern states, 
who attempts to draw a line between Negro and non-Negro prov- 
erbs. The Negroes often borrow and slightly transform the 
proverbs of their white associates, the grammatical usages of the 
uneducated Negro and the uneducated white are so closely akin 
as to be often indistinguishable, and, most annoying of all, there 
is no good assemblage of American Negro proverbs. So deficient 
are we in this last respect that it is often necessary to rely on 
collections made in the West Indies, from both French- and English- 

"* Reported from Pennsylvania ; an analogue was found in Maine 
where, for what it may be worth, there was a German colony at 

•'"' Reported from Pennsylvania ; the version from Texas is close, 
though more elaborate. 

■"• But note the Spanish and Russian occurrences. For other simi- 
larities to German proverbs, see Apple (2) and Asking. 

" The Bahaman "Some men bu'n dem hand when they only mean to 
warm dem" possibly represents an intermediary form. 

*- A third, "Honor the old," is perhaps too obvious to refer to the 
Danish "Den Gamle skal man aere, den Unge skal man la;re." 

" See, for examples. Whiting, "The Origin of the Proverb," Harvard 
Studies and Notes in Philology and Literature, xiii (1931), 62 fi. 


speakint;' ijroups, tor purposes of identification, a procedure which 
has obvious disadvantages and dangers. 

Among the Negro proverbs are some of the most striking and 
picturesque in the collection: The bait worth more than the fish; 
Barking saves biting i"*^ He hung his basket higher than he could 
reach :^"' If it's hot enough to set your neighbor's bcaril afire, you'd 
better get water and wet ycmrs ;■"'' He who kills his own body works 
for the worms;"*" Scraping on the bottom of the meal bin is mighty 
poor music; A new broom sweeps clean, but an old brush knows 
the corners :"''^ Like a bug arguing with a chicken;"*" When bugs 
give a party tliey never ask the chickens ;"'*' Get the candles lighted 
before you blow out the match ;"'^ Like a crab — all stomach and no 
head ;"'- Slie cares no more for him than a crozv cares for Sun- 
day ;'••* The dinner bell's always in tune for a hungry man; A bull 
dog in troul)le welcomes a puppy's breeches ;■''"* Any dog knows bet- 
ter than to chew a razor ;•'*•'' Don't-care keeps a big house v^^ Two 
ears don't mean you hear twice ;^''' Every shet eye ain't sleep ;^* 
When six eyes meet the story is over ;^'^ The eyebrozv is older than 
the beard ;*^'^ Faith dares, Love bears ;"i Fine feathers are lifted 

** Reported from Jamaica. 

'■"'Jamaica and Bahamas. 

'"Jamaica, Haiti, and found in Africa. 

'■ Mauritius only, but doubtless used in the French-speaking West 
Indies. Of course this, as well as other sayings found outside North 
Carolina only in Creole Frencli, may not have been transmitted by 
Negroes, but so many Creole proverbs are duplicated among tlie Jamaica 
Negroes that a general rule is at least plausible. 

*" Jamaica, with broom for brush in all three examples, hut see the 
other parallels. 

'" This appears to be a reworking of a saying found in Jamaica, 
Surinam, Haiti, and, according to Hearn, in all the Creole dialects. The 
Jamaican form is, "Cockroach neber in de right befo' fowl." There 
is an .African version. 

'*" Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad and Granada. The Jamaica form is "Cock- 
roach nick dance him no axe fowl" ; Trinidad, "When cockroach give 
party he no ax fowl." This proverb and the preceding one were prob- 
ably brought from .\frica. 

" Jamaica. 

•'■" Perhaps a reworking of the Jamaican "De reason crab no hab' head 
a because him hab too good a 'toniach." 

^^ Jamaica, where both examples read John Croze. 

^* Antilles. 

■"'^ Jamaica. 

^" Jamaica. 

"^^ Surinam. 

^^ Clearly in circulation among Negroes, but the German occurrence 
must be noted. 

'^^ Jamaica and Haiti ; the Haitian version seems to be a perversion. 
through lack of understanding, of a saying which is cryptic at best. 

"'^ Jamaica, Haiti, and Bahamas. 

*^ Jamaica. This saying is more abstract than most in the group. 


when the wind blows ;"- One finger won't catch fleas ;^^ You can 
hide the fire, but what about the smoke ? Better make friends when 
you don't need them i^"* A bull frog knows more about rain than 
the Almanac; Gap in the axe shows in the chip; Run from a ghost, 
you meet a coffin ;^''* Good-bye is not gone; A person who never 
stole anything has a lock of hair growing in the palm of his hand ;^^ 
A hog runs for his life, a dog for his character;*'" Idleness wears 
away the frog's ass ;^^ A dainty lady takes a pin to eat a pea ;^^ 
You never know the length of a snake until he is dead •J'^ Dead 
limbs show up when the leaves (buds) come out; Old "Manage- 
good" is better than Mr. "Big-wage";'^ Before marriage keep both 
eyes open; after shut one;"- A mule's gallop is soon over ;''^^ Penny 
makes trouble a dollar can't cure;'''"* Set a cracked plate down 
softly ;"•'' An empty pot never boils ;'''•' Never bet on 'taters (pota- 
toes) 'fore grabbling time; Prayer's not long when faith is 
strong;"" Quagmires don't hang out no signs; The rain doesn't 
know broadcloth from jeans ; A noisy riz'er never drowned nobody -/^ 
A robin's song is not pretty to the worm; A good rooster crows 
in any hen-house;'''^ A good run is better than a bad stand ;^'^ Give 
me today's meat, yesterday's bread, and last year's wine and the 
doctor can go ;^i Teeth don't show mourning ■,^~ Looking for work 
and praying not to find it.^^ 

The evidence^"* presented here certainly points to a well-defined 
and notable group of specifically Negro sayings in North Carolina, 
and further suggests that the Negroes of the Caribbean and of the 
mainland of North America shared a common store of proverbs. 

"^ Haiti, Trinidad, vvitli parallels in Jamaica. There are African 

""* Jamaica, Haiti, Martinique, and Granada. There are African 

"* Jamaica. '" West Indian. 

*"' This saying is one of those taken verbatim from B. W. Green, but 
the Jamaican form, "Man dat no tell lie, hair grow in him han' middle," 
is closer than any other analogue. 

"^ Jamaica, Antilles. 

"* Louisiana. "" Jamaica. 

'"' Probably a reworking of the Jamaican version. 

''^ Jamaica. 

''" Jamaica. Possibly the forms from Jamaica and North Carolina 
represent a reworking of Franklin. 

"■'' Jamaica. "' Jamaica, Trinidad. 

'•'' Jamaica. '" Jamaica, Granada. 

'''' Jamaica. '"* Jamaica, Granada. 

''" Martinique. There is a Mexican version. 

*° The Irish analogues must be noted. 

*^ Jamaica, but certainly a borrowing. 

*^ Haiti, Trinidad, and St. Croix. 

'" Trinidad. 

^* See also Apple (2), Blind (i), Bnol,^ (i), Buggy zdiip. Carrion, 
Duck (5), Free-of-Chargc, Grapevine, Hand (3), Lick (2), Liz'e (4), 
Negro (11), Neighbor, and Raindrop. 


The section editor I)elieves this to be a fair estimate of the situation, 
but he cannot forbear pointing out that a few Ne^n-o informants 
of West Indian birth could have been responsible for many of 
the proverbs quoted in the preceding paragraph. 

Whatever may be our verdict as to the proverbs which seem to 
be of Negro circulation, sufficient facts have certainly been adduced 
to show that in North Carolina, as is surely the case throughout 
the United States, the various ethnic elements wliich are respon- 
sible for our common nation are amply, and almost proportionately, 
represented in our proverbial sayings. We must consider one other 
source, or, perhaps better, popularizing influence, for our pro- 
verbial wisdom, and that is in the evident popularity of the man 
who easily deserves the title of the Sage of English-speaking North 
America. Benjamin Franklin. In Poor Richard and in its virtual 
epitome, the Way to If'ealth, Franklin came very close to compil- 
ing a complete set of proverbs for a nation on the make. Frank- 
lin's sayings are of three kinds: some are inherited English 
proverbs put down without change, some are reworkings of familiar 
proverbs, and others are maxims which owe their origin to Frank- 
lin's acute and fertile mind. Since the proverbs which appear in 
Poor Richard and the IVay to Wealth are not all under anything 
which can be termed Franklin's copyright, no one would argue 
that any proverb found in the North Carolina collection and also 
in Franklin's writings was necessarily due to Franklin's influence. 
Our collection, however, contains too many proverbs given wide 
currency by the popularity of Franklin's publications for us to 
ignore them here. Indeed, if the fact that one connnunication sent 
in to Professor Brown contained four proverbs, and only four, all 
found in both Poor Richard and the Jl'av to Wealth, means any- 
thing beyond the most remarkable coincidence, then the present 
collection is, to that degree, based directly on Franklin.**'' 

An inevitable question, but more easy to ask than to answer, is 
How many of the sayings are native to North Carolina? The 
question is not only difficult to answer, it is also dangerous, for 
after an investigator has persuaded himself that a proverb orig- 
inated in a particular locality and goes on record to that efYect, 
there is a distinct possibility that someone else will demonstrate 

*^ For the proverbs found in Franklin's writings, see Bag (3), Bed 
(i). Blacksmith, *Boats, Borroimng, Carcass, Cat (23). *Coztf (14), 
Dropping, Egg (3), *Expcricncc, *Fox (9), God (9), Kitchen, Leak, 
*Mcal barrel, Money (3), *Moves, Nose (5), Pleasure (i). Plow, sb. 
(2). *Floii; vb.. Rise, vb.. Sack (2), Shop, *Slecpiiig, *Strokes, Time 
(10), Water (14), Word (8). An asterisk indicates a proverb which, 
at least in its distinctive form, has not been recorded before Franklin. 
It might be added that among the languages into which the ll'ay to 
Wealth was translated was Gaelic, where it was printed in Donald 
Macintosh's A Collection of Gaelic Proverbs and Familiar Phrases 
(Edinburgh, 1785). 


that it had been current for centuries in Belorussia or Zambesi. The 
most polyglottic paroemiologist would hesitate to be unduly dog- 
matic, even though he could fall back, if pressed, on "independent 
origins." Some sayings, not so often proverbs as proverbial 
phrases, betray their origin distinctly by turns of idiom or mate- 
rial references. In the present collection there are a number of 
sayings which, if not native to North Carolina, are fairly certain 
to have been coined in one or another of the Southern states. Such 
are, for examples, As big as a bale of cotton; As ugly as a mud 
barn ; As pore as a bear that's wintered up in the balsams ; As red 
as a bear's ass in pokeberry time ; As hollow as a bee-gum ; There 
is something dead up the branch ; As ragged as a buzzard, and the 
other buzzard sayings; As white as cotton; A cotton stalk too close 
to the weed Will find the hoe gives it no heed; As po' as an empty 
creek bottom ; As soft as cush ; As drunk as a doodle ; As touchous 
as your eye; As snug as a flea under a nigger's collar; Poor folks 
have poor ways, rich folks hateful ones ; God can't rope a mule- 
headed cow by the horns ; As green as a gourd, and the other 
gourd sayings ; As wild as a hayit ; As ill as a hornet ; Hop like old 
jim crow; Not worth a june-bug with a cat bird after her; As 
sound as a lightwood knot; As straight as a martin to his gourd; 
She saves the lasses (molasses) skimmins ; Shines like new money; 
As slow as a pokey moonshine; As ugly as a mud fence daubed 
with misery or with terrapins or trimmed with tar ; Gray 7mdes 
never die, they turn into Baptist preachers ; A dead nigger in the 
woodpile, and the other Negro-nigger sayings; Smelled like a nest 
of granddaddies ; As gray as an opossum; He is too lazy to work on 
a pie train, an' him runnin' the taster ; As red as a polkberry ; Put 
the big pot in the little one and fry the skillet ; Never bet on 'taters 
(potatoes) 'fore grabbling time; As small as a redbug; Fattened 
up like a piny-ridge rooter in chestnut time ; He kin weed his own 
rozv and keep it clean too ; Sap-risin time is lovin' time and a lone- 
some heart ain't good to bear; Rattles like shots in a gourd; She'll 
put a spider in your biscuit ; He's as crazy about licker as a steer 
is pond water; As fat as a Christmas turkey; As good as old ivheat 
in the mill; As poor as a whippoorzvill; We go [at] it like a whirl- 
zvind of woodpeckers; Arms a-going like zvinding blades; Bad as 
de zvinter of de big snow in '57 when de nails popped on de roofs; 
I'd be a good zvork hand myself ef I could do hit with my tongue. 
These sayings, and any reader can easily increase the list, bear 
the appearance of Southern origin, but it is impossible to demon- 
strate that any of them are surely peculiar to North Carolina. In 
a few cases it is possible to make an interesting, though not con- 
clusive comparison. H. E. Taliaferro's Fisher's River ( North 
Carolina) Scenes and Character s,^^' a volume not unlike, and prob- 
«" New York, 1859. 


ably inspired by, A. B. Longstreet's Georgia Scenes, is unusually 
rich in proverbial expressions,"^" many of which were still current 
in North C^arolina when the materials for the present collections 
were brought together. Of these the following are found only in 
Taliaferro, sometimes with a slight difference, and here: As snug 
as a flea under a nigger's collar; Shines like new money; He kin 
weed his own row and keep it clean too; He's as crazy about licker 
as a steer is pond water; As good as old zvlicat in the mill; We go 
at [it] like a wlnrhvind o' woodpeckers.**^ That these sayings 
should he current in North Carolina over a period of fifty to 
seventy-five years, ^^ and not have been recorded elsewhere, suggests 
at the very least a strong localization. 

Place names and, to a lesser degree, personal names often make 
it possible to locate the origins of sayings very exactly indeed. 
Unfortunately few of the sayings in the present collection contain 
such guides. We do find the names of a few Southern states in 
such sayings as. As slow as a train through Arkansas; Passed like 
a bat out of Georgia;^*' Kicks like a Kentucky vinle; As high as a 
Georgia pine; As rare as Republicans in South Carolina. There is 
no mention of North Carolina as a state, and only one saying which 
contains local place names, but that is a striking example of the 
individualism of the mountain people. Laurel Top, in the Great 
Smokies, is some 5500 feet high and must look down across ten 
miles of other peaks at Smokemont, a mere 3000 feet above sea- 
level. It was a proud resident on exclusive Laurel who coined the 
sentence, Fd rather be a knot in a log on Laurel than to live down 
at Smokemont. Asheville and Charlotte, to say nothing of Durham 
and Winston-Salem, may take notice ! 

Personal names are even less helpful than place names. Around 
Vilas, in Watauga county, As smart as Beard's fiste was a com- 
mon expression, but who Beard was and how his "fiste" earned 
notoriety we do not know. Equally obscure are As hot as Bray's 
love; Dick and the wheel in a tight place; Upon the honor of Joe 
Dyer the Dutchman ; As hot as Kit's glove ; Take off like Snyder's 
pup ; As crazy as Tom Tyler's old bitch. '^^ On two occasions the 
informants gave the story behind a saying. As many as Carter had 
oats is particularly interesting, though we once are told that Carter 
was an inhabitant of Georgia. Thought like Jack Robinson springs 

'^ See Southern Folklore Quarterly, xi (1947). 173-185, for the 
proverbs in Fisher's River and some account of the author. 

** Taliaferro, who uses the comparison twice, has zvhirlygust for 

*" Really longer, as Taliaferro says that "The scenes and stories found 
in the work were enacted and told between the years 1820 and 1829" 
(p. 13). 

"" Georgia has been substituted, appropriately or not, for the more 
ordinary hell. 

"^ Tom Tyler's name was semiproverbial in England in the sixteenth 
century, as witnessed by the play that bears it. 


from an incident alleged to occur on the Neuse River, although the 
outline of the story suggests an ancient fabliau plot. 

Among the proverbs which have not been found elsewhere in 
even approximate parallels are many so good and so evidently 
popular that one is surprised, almost chagrined, at the apparent ab- 
sence of other examples : Some specimens, most of which have the 
true touch, deserve quotation: Well armed is half the battle; The 
back pays for what the mouth eats ; A dirty bread tray tells of a 
wasteful wife; Compliment another man's wife and endanger your 
life; He and the dez'il drink out of the same jug; Evil disposi- 
tions are early shown; Even bad dogs shouldn't bite at Christmas; 
Never driz'c in where you can't turn around ; Don't neglect your 
own field to plant your neighbor's ; Better to die on your feet 
than live on your knees; Never complain to the feet when the 
soul is heavy ; God can't cook breakfast with a snowball ; Don't 
wait for your Granjiy's side saddle ; Like cutting from the leg to 
add to the arm; Good liquor needs no water; An angry man opens 
his mouth and shuts his eyes ; One-legged man better dance away 
from the fire; Limber necks live longer'n stiff 'uns ; A^eed lends 
speed ; The old make laws, the young die for them ; Plans on Sun- 
day fail on Monday; Poverty is a hard bedfellow; Out of reach 
is out of harm; You won't travel no good road ef you cross a 
crooked style to git into it; Better save a man from dying than 
salve him when he is dead ; The sea cannot be measured in a quart 
pot; Sun is the poor man's clock; Thriftiness is the same thing as 
stinginess; If you associate with trash, you'll flounder with trash; 
Four zvalls do not make a home ; Wcddin' without courtin' is like 
vittles without salt ; Don't wait to dig a ivcll to drown the cat in. 

No doubt a more exhaustive search of printed collections, espe- 
cially perhaps in foreign tongues, would have furnished other in- 
stances of many of these, but even if that be true they bear striking 
witness to the wealth of our proverbial lore and to the need for 
more diligent and systematic investigation. The extensive gather- 
ing of proverbs now being undertaken throughout the states by the 
American Dialect Society should do much to remedy our present 

To make a thoroughgoing analysis of the content of the proverbs 
in our collection in an attempt to depict the ideals, ideas, and mate- 
rial surroundings of the human beings who use them would be be- 
yond the scope of this introduction. Some specific comments and 
a few generalizations, however, may not be without interest. A 
convenient, if obvious, w-ay to arrive at the material background of 
the proverbs is to observe the relative number of occurrences of 
the things on which the imagery of the sayings is based. For that 
purpose we may list the objects, and also the abstract concepts, 
which appear four or more times as key words of the various say- 


ings.''- Thus doy'-^'-'' leads the list with 54 occurrences; it is fol- 
lowed by the devil with .v'^ ; uian with .^5:'" <('' \vith 25 ;^"' bird 
and hcn^*^ with 24 each; horse with 23 ;'••' hell with 21; rfaji with 
17; fOii',-''* (7(7(/, and Tt'('»(/ with 16 each; hog with 15 ;'■♦'■' bear, pig, 
and »i»/r with 14 each; death, stwke, and water with 13 each; baby 
(and 6a6t'). A't'^/ro (and nigger), night, and /f»u^ with 12 each; /zr^, 
ro^r, and ivoman with 11 each; and fish, goose, and /!r«(/ with 10 
each. Below 10 the number of objects increases rapidly. There are 
9 references to bee, fox, penny, and shoe; 8 to child, dove, eye, kit- 
ten, money, pin. rat. and stone; 7 to chicken, cricket, crozv, dirt, 
dollar, duck, eagle, feather, fozcl, frog. lo7'e. 07el. stick, sun. trouble, 
and zvord; 6 to bell, blind (man), briad. brick, egg. finger, foot, 
gold, hand. horn, hound, leaf, lightning, nose, pot, rain, .yco,^'^** snow, 
and zveather: 5 to bat. beginning, best, bug, bull, clothes, colt, ele- 
phant, flea, friend, hair, heart. Job, life, lion, mouse, mud, needle, 
ox, pie, potato, rock, sin, star, steel, thing, tree, turkey, ivhistle, and 
zvork; 4 to Adam, air, arroiv, bark (of a dog), basket, bean-pole, 
beauty, blood, bone. boy. breeches, butter, button, buzzard, calf, 
candle, coal, dead, dust. ear. end. floiver. fly. ghost, glass, goat, 
grave, hawk, house, ice. (the) itcli. king. lark, louse, master, mon- 
key, mountain, nothing, ocean, rabbit, rainboze. rake, rooster, sheep, 
silk. sky. string, tick. zvax. wedge, well (of water), wolf, wool, 
and year. 

Clearly enough the imagery of proverbs^''^ springs from the com- 
mon objects of everyday experience at its simplest level: men, 
women, and children, the parts of the body, day and night, animals, 
birds, and insects,'"- the weather, money, plants and trees, food, 
almost everything is ordinary and commonplace. In the world of 
proverbs there has been no industrial revolution, no "improvements," 
no modern science. We are still in a predominantly agricultural 
community where work is done by hand and horse, and day-long 

"- The procedure is, of course, rough and ready, since it ignores all 
but the words used for alphabetization, hut the results are nevertheless 
indicative, and that is all that is claimed for them. 

"■■' If we add hound, pup. and puppy to dog. the total is increased to 66. 

"* The number of proverbs listed under man has little or no meaning 
because of the general nature of a majority of the references. 

"■■' If we add kitten we get a total of 33. 

"" If we add chicken, rooster, and bantam we get a total of 37. 

"'If we add colt we get a total of 28. 

"* If we add bull, calf, and ox we get a total of 25. 

*" If we add pig and sow we get a total of 32. 

^°°If we add ocean we get a total of lo. 

^"^ The lists just given account for almost e.xactly half of our say- 
ings ; to have drawn from all would have served only to increase the 
proportion of abstractions, but not their relative importance. 

i»2 Very nearly a third of the objects listed are animals, birds, or in- 
sects, and only three of these, the monkey, the lion, and the elephant, 
are in anv wav uncommon. 


hours of labor are a necessary virtue and. in proverbs at least, the 
way to wealth. We might think to find all this a particular reflec- 
tion of North Carolina, a state, despite its recent industrialization 
and big- business, factory cities and resort towns, still characterized 
by isolated mountain cabins, small farms, and medium-sized com- 
munities. It is. of course, a reflection of such a state, but the 
same general picture may be drawn from any collection of prov- 
erbs from almost any country or region. Proverbial lore may 
some day assimilate itself to mechanized modern civilization, but 
it has not done so yet. 

Abstractions are understandably few in the four-and-more cate- 
gories. We find beauty, beginning, best, death, life, hnr, nothing, 
sin. and time; and even these are often used concretely enough. A 
fairly safe generalization is that the proverbs of the English- 
speaking peoples contain fewer abstractions than those of some 
Continental and most Asiatic linguistic groups. In the field of re- 
ligion we find the devil having a better than two-to-one advantage 
over God, and while this may seem odd in a pious, perhaps even 
fundamentalist, area, it holds in English proverbs generally.i*'^ If 
we venture to compare hell with heaven, the disparity is even more 
striking, since hell appears 21 times and heaven only 3. and of these, 
two use heavens as synonymous with sky, and the third has it as 
an apparent euphemism for God. Beyond a general reference to the 
mingled piety and depravity of human nature and, more important, 
to the many similes involving hell and the devil, no explanation 
seems to be required. 

If we wish to test the attitude of the folk toward some topic of 
common interest and concern, we might well see what our proverbs 
have to say about women. Proverbs, as a whole, are either blatantly 
misogynistic or at best take a skeptical view of feminine qualities 
and achievements. Despite the fact that women have normally con- 
stituted half or better of the earth's population, have their share 
of intelligence, are at least as vocal as men, and are certainly adept 
at verbal improvisation, they have not composed or inspired many 
proverbs in their praise. Chaucer's Wife of Bath made the 
acute observation, along with her other pronouncements on life, 
love, and letters, that the reason women are so harshly treated in 
literature is that scholars in their enfeebled dotage do the writing. 
"Who painted the lion," she asked, though not plaintively, "tell me 
who?" True as this sweeping iudgment may be so far as written 
literature goes, proverbs were not written, few of them were thrown 
ofif by scholars, and one niiglit think a woman as likely to coin a 

^"^ Apperson's entries run in aliout the same proportions, although God 
does rather better in Oxford. For further evidence as to Satan's popu- 
larity in proverbial sayings, the curious reader may consult Whiting, 
"The Devil and Hell in Current English Literary Idiom." Harvard 
Studies and Notes in PhUolociy and Literature, x.\ (IQ38). 201-247. 

P R \' 1-. K H s 345 

good sayiiii;- as a man. Still ami all, whatever the reason, proverbs 
are basically anti feminine, although our North Carolina collection 
does not contain some of the more abusive and spiteful sayings. 

Women are charged with wastefulness: A wasteful wife throws 
out in tlie dishwater more'n her husband can tote in; A wasteful 
ii<omo)i throws out with a spoon faster than her husband can fetch 
in with a shovel; (She) throwcd more out the backdoor than her 
old man could tote in the front; A dirty bread tray tells of a waste- 
ful wife. Women will not listen to reason, like to have their own 
way. and even to dominate their husbands : Three without rule — 
a mule, a pig. a woman; A zwman convinced against her will, Is 
of the same opinion still ;^''^ She wears the breeches in that family. 
Women are inconstant : As changeable as a woman ; Between a 
woman's "yes" and a woman's "no" There's not enough room for 
a pin to go. Women are quick to find explanations for their con- 
duct: A zi'oman's excuses are like her apron, easily lifted. Women 
are often ill-favored: so ugly look like they been driven out of hell 
for playing in the ashes; and when they are comely there is usually 
a hitch : Good looks in a zvoman haint wuth as much to a man as 
good cookin' and savin' ways ; Beauty never made kettle boil ; Seed 
lots of beauty but never et a mess of it. Women talk excessively: 
Her tongue moved like a clapper in a cowbell; A woman will have 
the last word. Women are responsible for the evil in men: A bad 
zvoman will ruin any man; and if this seems offset by A good zvife 
makes a good husband, in actual application the latter saying is 
used to shift responsibility for misconduct from husband to wife. 
Women are sometimes promiscuous: His [sic] a poor dummern 
that can't daddy her youngun by hits favor. Women indulge in 
extremes of fashion: It's a wise child that knows his own mother 
in a bathing-suit.'"'' Women are affected in manners: A dainty 
lady takes a pin to eat a pea. Women's misfortunes are turned 
against them: A hairy man's rich, A hairy wife's a witch. Women 
who lose their husbands are too easily consoled for the loss: The 
three merriest things under the sun : a cat's kitten, a goat's kid, and 
a young widow. Widows make expensive wives : He that marries 
a widozv with two daughters has three back doors to his house.^"® 
Women are denied certain masculine privileges and slandered if 
they assume them: A zvhistling girl and a crowing hen Always 
come to some bad end or A zvhistling woman and a crowing hen 

^"^ This saying is more often applied to iiuii or to Ininian beings in 

^""^ This adaptation of a saying in itself a reflection on wifely fidelity 
is one of the infrequent examples of the eflfect of modern civilization on 
our group of proverbs. 

^*"' These references to widows, the only ones in the present collection, 
are mild in comparison with the general run of proverbs on the subject. 


Are neither fit for God nor nien.^*'" As an instance of hovv prov- 
erbs are often contradictory we also have A whistling girl and 
a bleating sheep Are the best stock a farmer can keep, but this 
has the deprecatory form, A zvliistling girl and an old black sheep 
Are the only things a farmer can keep. There are Wellerisms r^"^ 
Every little bit helps, said the old woman as she spat in the sea.^"^ 
and Every one (man) to his own taste, said the old woman as she 
kissed the cow.^^" Of the remaining proverbs, one is objective: 
An old zifouian's dance is soon over, but it may carry a reproof to 
any old woman so unmindful of her years as to dance; another is 
apparently neutral: Like mother, like daughter, and is matched by 
Like father, like son, but both proverbs are usually used in reproof 
rather than praise; the third alone is clearly on woman's side: Man 
works from sun to sun; Woman's work is never done.m but the 
sense is not such as to make a girl's heart leap up as she looks 
speculatively from brook to river. The proverbial cards are braz- 
enly stacked against the sex, but there is probably no good reason 
to accuse the folk of more antifeminism than circumstances occa- 
sionally seem to warrant. One may indeed suspect that women, 
not always overly charitable toward an erring sister, are more apt 
to use proverbs against women than are men. Other groups of 
sayings, perhaps especially those dealing with animals, invite con- 
sideration, but the rest must be left to those readers who care to 
make an essay in proverbial philosophy. 

After this discussion of the more general aspects of the prov- 
erbs in the Frank C. Brown Collection, it is necessary before pre- 
senting the collection to furnish some more particular account of 
its origin and nature, and of the way in which it has been edited. 

The present collection of proverbial material made within the 
boundaries of North Carolina is one of the most extensive aggre- 
gations of popular sayings so far printed from any one of the 
states of the American Union. The regional collection of proverbs 
has not been pressed as actively in the United States as in many 
of the countries of Europe, and the following collection is due not 
to any directed and concerted effort of systematic survey but to 
the combination of four separate bodies of material. These four 
groups are: the sayings in the Brown Collection itself; sayings col- 
lected by Paul and Elizabeth Green in eastern and central North 

^"'^ There are twelve distinct variants of this common proverb from 
North Carolina alone. A parallel proverb is A sad barnyard where 
the hen crows louder than the cock. 

"* Wellerisms are curiously infrequent in the present collection ; in 
addition to the two involving women there are only Great cry but little 
wool, as the devil said when he sheared his hogs and That will be a 
fire when it burns, as the fox said. 

^'"' The more common version of this saying involves tlio old woman 
in an even less decorous act. 

^^^ It is often a farmer who kisses the cow. 

'"The second half is found by itself in North Carolina. 


Carolina between I()j6 and 1928; a second i^roni) excerpted by Mr. 
Green "frDni i)ersonal interviews made and recorded in Chapel 
Hill by W'PA workers between 1934 and k;^^" ; and a collection of 
similes made by Professor j. D. Clark from students at North 
Carolina State College and printed as "Similes from the Folk Speech 
of the South : A Supplement to Wilstach's Compilation" in South- 
ern Folklore Quarterly, iv (1940), 205-226. Mr. and Mrs. Green 
anil Professor Clark turned their materials over to the General 
Editor of the Brown Collection, with their gracious permission to 
use them in any way. The bulk of the total collection made it 
impossible to print it in its entirety, and it was one of the tasks 
of the section editor to select those savin.ii^s which seemed most 
truly popular and representative. It will be well to give a brief 
description of the various component parts. 

( I ) When the magnitude of the Frank C. Brown Collection as 
a wliole is considered, the relatively small number of proverbs which 
it includes suggests strongly that Professor Brown was not espe- 
cially interested in the accumulation of proverbs. The proverbial 
sayings in the Brown Collection were found in separate groups, 
varying greatly in iniml)er of items, usually, but not always, with 
the name and native county of the contributor. From a comparison 
of the names given with the records of Duke University it is clear 
that from time to time Professor Brown procured lists of sayings 
from students in his courses in folklore both during the regular 
terms and in Summer School. One former student, for example, 
loaned the General Editor a group of sayings which had been col- 
lected for Professor Brown by members of his class in folklore in 
1922. Since some of the sayings in this compilation are also found 
in the same order of occurrence in certain of the anonymous con- 
tributions, it appears that part, at least, of the material assembled 
by the class in 1922 found its way into the Brown Collection twice. 
An examination of the records also shows that considerable em- 
phasis was placed on sayings during the Summer Schools of 1922 
and 1923, particularly the latter. The appearance of a number of 
uncommon, or individually worded, phrases in all or most of the 
collections from these years indicates that a short checklist was 
presented to the students and that they were invited to note the 
sayings with which they were familiar and to add others which 
might occur to them. The smallness of many of the collections 
would indicate that this was a single exercise of no great impor- 
tance. A more extensive use of the checklist method, and one 
which lias left its mark on tlie i)resent collection, was made in 
i')32. .\{ tliat time a numl)er of students were confronted witli 
the "Virginia Folk-Sayings," which Bennett W. Green prefixed 
to his Word-Book of Virginia Folk-Speech,^^- and asked to list the 
"^Richmond, 1899, pp. 17-36, 


sayings known to them. The Brown Collection contains seven 
papers based on this comparison, in which the Virginia collection 
is lined up respectively against material from Richmond, Va. ; 
Illinois, ]\Iaine, and Pennsylvania ; Mobile, Alabama ; Kentucky, 
Tennessee, and North Carolina ; North Carolina and South Caro- 
lina ; "other states, mostly southern"; and South Carolina. Fur- 
ther, a compilation from these papers, and possibly others, with 
the various states listed after each saying, was made and placed 
in the collection without names or comment. Because Green's list 
was followed, for the most part, conscientiously, a number of ver- 
sions of sayings peculiar to him in phraseology are necessarily en- 
tered in the present collection. Green on occasion would give an 
explanation of a specific saying; thus, "He is eating his white 
bread now (said of a person living at his ease and comfort, whose 
fortune may be worse later)." The exact form, gloss and all, 
appears in the Brown Collection.^ ^'^ Although one might silently 
omit any verbiage obviously drawn from Green, it has seemed 
wiser to give all sayings exactly as they appear in the originals, 
and I have indicated in the reference to Green wherever the form 
of the entry is a verbatim copy of his version. In a great majority 
of cases, of course, Green's form is standard and virtually identical 
with the entries in all collections. 

Other groups of proverbs were given to Professor Brown at 
various times by individual students, and still others were sent him, 
mostly before 1920, by correspondents, presumably members of, 
or persons interested in, the North Carolina Folklore Society. Two 
valuable contributors were Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught and Mrs. 
Maude Minnish Sutton. Professor Brown's material contains the 
typescript of a paper by Mrs. Sutton, entitled "Dialect and Prov- 
erbs of Mountain Folk," from which a number of sayings have been 

With the exception of a handful of phrases which, though idio- 
matic, are in no way proverbial, and a small number of familiar 
quotations from literature, the sayings in the Brown Collection are 
all entered below. 

(2) The materials turned over to the General Editor by Paul 
and Elizabeth Green are part of an extensive collection of "Folk 
Beliefs and Practices in Central and Eastern North Carolina" col- 
lected in 1926-28. The proverbs fill pages 249-365 of the original 
typescript, which is preserved in the Library of the University of 
North Carolina (VC 398 G 79). The collection is in two sections: 
proverbs and the like (pp. 249-343) and similes (pp. 344-365). 
Paul Green sent the General Editor the following statement con- 
cerning the manner in whicli the proverbs were brought together: 

"^ The saying is independently quoted from South Carolina (see 
Bread (5) below), and is unquestionably current in North Carolina 
as well. 


W'c traveled artmnd in eastern Nurth Cartjlina quite a liit in an old 
Ford car back in 1927 and '28, and we talked to hundreds and hundreds 
of people of all walks and stations of life in that region. We would 
always raise the subject of "old sayings," stimulating our informants 
with references to some well-known ones of our own, etc. We gathered 
a great many proverbs this way. Then also w^e searched in our own 
remembrance for those we had lieard. Although my father had died 
a year or two before this project was underway, I imagine I set down 
at least a hundred which I had heard him use, such as "willful waste 
makes woeful want," "a fat today makes a hungry tomorrow," etc. Then 
also Elizabeth and 1 went through a great number of proverb collections 
and thus refreshed our memory as to those we had actually heard or 
wliich some of our informants had heard. In addition to this we sent 
out hundreds and hundreds of questionnaires, which among items of 
superstitions, health, cures, etc., carried a heading calling for proverbs. I 
am sure that our methods were quite unscientific, and no doubt through 
the "consonance" of memory we caught some literary bits in our fishing 
nets. So that is the way it was. And what among those proverbs is 
good sound folklore and what is contaminated by the subjective imagi- 
nation I cannot tell at this distance. But I would hazard a guess that 
about ninety percent of the stuflf is authentic — maybe more. 

The Greens' first section contains approximately 1650 items, 
though the somewhat loose alphabetical arrangement, partly by key 
word and partly by theme, leads to some duplication, but consider- 
ably less than half of these entries were available for the present 
collection. The astonishing thing about the Greens' collectanea, 
something which deserves more attention than space permits here, 
is its literary quality. Not only were many of the informants evi- 
dently letter-perfect in the Bible from cover to cover, but they were 
also ready to quote from a very considerable number of authors. 
The first page of the typescript contains fifteen items, of which 
the following can hardly be termed popular :i^'* Absolom, my son! 
(Bible) ; Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh 
(Bible); Act in the living present (Longfellow); Act well your 
part, there all the honor lies (Pope) ; Thou shalt not commit 
adultery (Bible) ; Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after 
her hath committed adultery with her already in his own heart 
(Bible); Agree with thine adversary (juickly while thou art in 
the way with him (Bible) ; Sweet are the uses of adversity (Shake- 
speare) ; Many receive advice but few profit by it (Publius Syrus). 
Each of the following pages affords almost as many examples: 
]Make no entangling alliances (Jefiferson out of Washington) ; All 
we ask is to be let alone (J. Davis) ; Wliat therefore God hath 
joined together let no man jjut asunder (Bible); Beauty is truth, 
truth beauty (Keats) ; A Ijoy's will is the wind's will (Longfellow) ; 
None but the brave deserve the fair (Dryden); Brevity is the 
soul of wit (Shakespeare) ; Casey has struck out (E. L. Thayer) ; 

*** The present editor has supplied, perhaps presumptuously, the paren- 
thetical identifications. 


The curfew tolls the knell of parting day (Gray) ; Orthodoxy is 
my doxy (Warburton) ; The poetry of earth is never dead (Keats) ; 
We have met the enemy and they are ours (O. H. Perry) ; The 
eyes are windows of the soul (Du Bartas) ; For old, unhappy, far- 
off things and battles long ago (Wordsworth) ; The glory that was 
Greece, the grandeur that was Rome (Poe) ; I am the master of 
my fate, I am the captain of the same (Henley, with a difference) ; 
Judy O'Grady and the Colonel's lady are sisters under the skin 
(Kipling, with a diff'erence) ; What is so rare as a day in June? 
(Lowell): Loaf and invite your soul (Whitman, with a differ- 
ence) ; A man's a man for all that (Burns) ; Even Homer nods 
(Horace) ; Stone walls do not a prison make (Lovelace) ; The 
rainbow comes and goes (Wordsworth) ; Bless me, this is pleasant 
riding on a [sic] rail (J. G. Saxe) ; Be sure you are right, then 
go ahead (D. Crockett); To scotch the snake not kill it (Shake- 
speare) ; Why should the spirit of mortal be proud? (W. Knox) ; 
Survival of the fittest (H. Spencer) ; Suspicion haunts the guilty 
mind (Shakespeare) ; Truth crushed to earth will rise again (Bry- 
ant) ; There never was a good war nor a bad peace (Franklin) ; 
When [a] lovely woman stoops to folly (Goldsmith) ; Wood- 
man, spare that tree (G. P. Morris); Alas, poor Yorick (Shake- 
speare ) . This chrestomathy, which could have been extended almost 
indefinitely, and which scarcely suggests the enormous number of 
Biblical quotations, is given primarily for its reflection of the high, 
if orthodox, literary level of the Greens' informants and as a hint 
to anyone who may wish to investigate the influence of printed and 
religious sources on the stream of popular speech. No one would 
pretend that such quotations belong in a collection of folk sayings, 
but their value in determining the course of American civilization 
on a particular level cannot be ignored. Once the learned and 
extraneous matter has been excised, the proverbial sayings brought 
together by the Greens are found to afford many of the most inter- 
esting examples in the present collection. The reason for this is 
that along with the purveyors of Biblical quotations and literary 
tags, the Greens' informants obviously included many persons close 
to the soil. 

In contrast with the group just discussed, the Greens' similes, 
which number just under 600, contain very few phrases of a purely 
"literary" nature, though we do find "As beautiful as Adonis," 
which certainly is not popular, and "Heads bowed down like the 
lonesome bulrush,'' which is certainly Biblical. There are more 
of this sort, but the overwhelming majority of the similes are en- 
tered in the present collection. 

(3) Paul Green's sayings collected as part of a Works Progress 
Admini.stration project between 1934 and 1936 are not numerous 
and are almost all truly popular, for the project writers and 
journalists interviewed hundreds of individuals in Chapel Hill and 

P R O V K K H S 351 

tlie surrinnuliiii; countryside and collected l)io!4i-aphical and socio- 
loirical material. The result was a great mass of life histories of 
I)eople most, though not necessarily all, of whom were in the lower 
income and social hrackets. Paul Green went through the manu- 
scripts, extracting the more interesting episodes and turns of speech, 
among which were the proverbs and sayings. There are few 
similes. The informants here are clearly far less well educated 
than many of those used by the Greens for their earlier collection, 
and there is evidence that the group contained more Negroes and 
possibly persons of foreign birth. 

(4) As J. D. Clark's "Similes from the Folk Speech of the 
South" is already in print, little need be said of it. In his head 
note Professor Clark says that "credit is due to some seventy-five 
unnamed students who assisted me in collecting and preparing this 
list of folk similes, during the session of 1939-1940 at North Caro- 
lina State College." In an unpublished paper, found among Pro- 
fessor Brown's "Term Papers," Professor Clark tells more precisely 
how the collection was made. A "simile competition" was held and 
"prizes of three dollars and two dollars were promised respectively 
to those two students who could submit the two most numerous lists 
of similes." The resulting entries showed "a range from seventy 
to 550." When preparing the similes for publication, Professor 
Clark omitted 318 similes which were in Wilstach and a handful 
of obscene comparisons. He was kind enough, however, to furnish 
the section editor with the similes which were already entered by 
Wilstach and with a list of the "indecent" figures. The improper 
similes, by the way, were twenty-five in number and pretty mild 
as folk-obscenity goes. Several of them were also found in the 
Brown Collection or in the Greens' contributions, and fourteen are 
included in the present collection. A number of these are so 
innocuous that few readers are likely to suspect that they had once 
been on an index. The 318 similes which were in Wilstach as well as 
Clark are used below and about 850 out of Clark's remaining 2,026 
entries. A good many of those unused give the appearance of 
owing their existence to a laudable desire to do well in Professor 
Clark's competition. The collection as printed in the Southern 
Folklore Quarterly is very interesting and should be consulted by 
every student of popular sayings. 

The present section is an amalgamation of those items from the 
four collections just described which seem to the editor most 
popular in origin and nature. Space would not permit the printing 
of all the material, and even had the pages available been limitless, 
there might well have been more loss than gain in presenting the 
reader with everything. The Biblical, literary, and artificial nature 
of many of the examples would make the collection seem a curiously 
amorphous and unreal potpourri of "learned" quotations and popular 
sayings. As it is, incomplete though it must be, the collection is 


a good and representative cross section of the proverbial and fig- 
urative speech of a population whose ethnic origins are sufficiently 
varied to deserve the often misleading description of typically 

The task of selection is not an easy one. and it has not been 
undertaken lightly. The determination of what is or is not popular 
is plain in most cases if one is at all familiar with proverbial and 
sententious utterances, but often enough there is a genuine doubt 
which must be resolved by a subjective judgment. Subjective judg- 
ments being what they are, it is unlikely that two equally competent 
critics would be unanimous in their decisions on any given number 
of sayings. The editor, though guided somewhat by a regard for 
space, has been inclusive rather than exclusive. Certain nonpopular 
sayings, indeed, are presented because they appear in one or more 
of the standard collections. 

The sayings are in a single alphabetical arrangement. Under 
certain circumstances, notably when the proverbial material in a 
literary work or group of works is under consideration, when, in 
other words, the stylistic use of proverbs is of importance, it is 
advisable to make certain subdivisions — proverbs, sententious re- 
marks, proverbial comparisons, and other proverbial phrases. Such 
segregation might, though perhaps not wisely, be used to break 
down a very large collection of regional or national proverbs. In 
a relatively small group, however, such as ours, the benefit, what- 
ever it might be, of seeing all the similes, say, together, would be 
outweighed by the inconvenience which several alphabetical lists 
force upon the reader who desires to discover whether or not a 
particular saying had been reported from North Carolina. 

The method of alphabetization employed here is simple and has 
been adhered to as rigidly as any such system can ever be followed 
sensibly, that is, most, but not all, of the time. Each saying is 
placed under the first important noun; if there is no important 
noun, under the first important verb; and if there is no important 
noun or verb, which is seldom, under the first important adjective 
or adverb. There are, fortunately, no sayings here which contain 
only pronouns, conjunctions, and prepositions. That this system is 
the most convenient for the user will hardly be denied by anyone 
who has discovered how much more convenient are Apperson's^^*'' 
arrangement and that of the second edition of the Oxford Diction- 
ary, in comparison with that of almost any other dictionary of 
proverbs, and even they mingle two systems to the occasional dis- 
advantage of both. If space had been available the editor would 
have given cross references to other important words within the 
given sayings. Similes, for example, are entered in many collections 
under the adjective rather than the noun, and there might be some 

"" For this and similar apparently casual references, see the Bibli- 
ography, below. 

P R O V F. R H S 353 

advatitaire in liavint,' all tlie •'yellow" figures together, rather than 
under "hutter," "gold," and so on. It is unlikely, however, that a 
collection of this kind will be consulted, as Wilstach's Dictionary 
of Similes might be, by someone desiring an artful way of express- 
ing yellowness. Of far greater importance is to give prominence 
to the substantial things on which the speakers have drawn for pur- 
poses of comparison. When more than one proverb falls under one 
key word, the sayings are alphabetized by their first words. The 
original forms of the proverbs are given exactly as they appear in 
the collections, saving the silent correction of occasional transposed 
letters, except that all similes begin with "as,"^^" which has the 
marked advantage of bringing together all the comparisons involving 
a particular object. Only in the Frank C. Brown Collection, and 
not consistently there, are the names and localities of informants 
given. Because of the general lack of such particulars, it would 
be worse than useless to reproduce scattering indications of pro- 
venience. When a saying is recorded more than once the number 
of occurrences is given in parentheses immediately after the saying, 
but the methods (see above) used in Professor Brown's classes 
should be remembered before any conclusions are drawn from the 
apparent frequency of certain sayings. 

Editorial apparatus has been kept at a minimum, and temptations 
to add discursive, interpretive notes have ordinarily been sup- 
pressed. What seems overwhelmingly important in a collection like 
this is to make it possible for the user to refer to standard works, 
especially those which contain historical illustrations and explana- 
tions of the sayings in question. A number of collections of a 
general nature have been cited or quoted throughout i^^' these are: 
Apperson, Berrey, Hyamson, NED, Oxford, Partridge, Tilley,^^^ 
and Wilstach. For specifically American sources, the following have 
been cited as fully as possible: Bond, Bradley. DAE. Green, Han- 
ford, Hardie, Poor Richard, Taliaferro, JVay to Wealth, and Wood- 
ard. Other works in the Bibliography are cited or quoted only when 
they offer an interesting parallel or illustrate a saying not found 
in the more comprehensive collections. In addition the editor has 
drawn on his own highly miscellaneous collectanea for examples of 
sayings not found in edited collections, and here he has seldom 
given more than one example even though it would have been pos- 
sible to multiply references. In many cases no exact parallel has 
been found, although something more or less approximate in form 
or sense can be brought forward. There are nearly 2660 sayings 

^^'' Clark consistently omits the initial "as," while the other collections 
have it in some cases and not in others. 

^^' Because of the diverse, and sometimes chaotic, arrangements of 
these authorities, the editor is well aware that he must have been guilty 
of occasional, perhaps frequent, omissions. 

"* See T in Bibliography. The references to Tilley were added in 



in the collection and over 325 of these are without parallels, either 
exact or approximate ; of these some 90 are proverbs or sententious 
remarks, over 30 miscellaneous proverbial phrases, and over 200 
comparisons or similes. 

Finally, the Associate Editor must express his gratitude to the 
men and women who actually collected the proverbs from North 
Carolina, and his particular indebtedness to the assistance and en- 
couragement of the General Editor, the late Newman I. White. 




(Alphabetized l)y the short titles used in the notes) 

Adanis Owen S. Adams, ■■Traditional Proverbs and Say- 

ings from California," Jrcstcni Folklore, vi 
(1947), 59-64- 

Allison Leiah Allison, ■"Folk Speech from Southeastern 

Illinois," Hoosicr Folklore, v (1946), 93-102. 

Apperson G. L. Apperson, English Proverbs and Proverbial 

Phrases, London, 1929. 

Atkinson Mary J. Atkinson, "Familiar Sayings of Old Time 

Texans," Publications of the Texas Folk-Lore So- 
ciety, V (1926), 78-92. 

Bates W. C. Bates, "Creole Folk-lore from Jamaica," 

Journal of American Folklore, ix (1896), 38-42. 

Beckwith Martha W. Beckwith, "Jamaica Proverbs," part III, 

paged separately, of Jamaica Folk-Lore, Memoirs 
of the American Folk-Lore Society, xxi. New 
York, 1928. 

Bergen I Fanny D. Bergen, Current Superstitions, IMemoirs 

of the American Folk-Lore Society, iv, Boston, 

Bergen II Fanny D. Bergen, Animal and Plant Lore, Mem- 

oirs of the American Folk-Lore Society, vii, Bos- 
ton, 1899. 

Berrey Lester V. Berrey and Melvin Van den Bark, The 

American Thesaurus of Slang, New York, 1942. 

Bigelow John Bigelow, The Wit and Wisdom of the Hay- 

tians. New York, 1877. 

Blakeborough R. Blakeborough, U'it, Character, Folklore and 
Custo)ns of the North Riding of Yorkshire, 2nd 
ed., Salthurn-by-the-Sea, 1911. 

Bohn Henry G. Bohn, A Polyglot of Foreign Proverbs. 

London, 1881 (1857). 

Bond Richmond P. Bond, "Animal Comparisons in Indi- 

ana," American Speech, 11 (1926-27), 42-58. 

Bradley Francis W. Bradley, '■South Carolina Proverbs,'' 

Southern Folklore Quarterly, 1 (1937), 57-101. 

Brewster Paul G. Brewster, "Folk "Sayings' from Indiana," 

American Speech, xiv (1939), 261-268. 

Cannell Margaret Cannell, '"Signs, Omens, and Portents in 

Nebraska Folklore," i'niirrsity of Nebraska Studies 
in Language. Literature, and Criticism, xiii, Lin- 
coln, Nebraska, 1933, 7-50. 


Champion Selwyn G. Champion, Racial Proz'crbs, London, 


Chenet [Edmond Chenet, ed.], Provcrhcs Ha'iiicus, Port- 

au-Prince, n.d. [before 1920]. 

Cheviot Andrew Cheviot, Proverbs, Proverbial Expres- 

sions, and Popular Rhymes of Scotland, Paislev. 

Christy Robert Christy, Proverbs, Maxims and Phrases of 

All Ages, 2 vols, in i, New York, 1904. 

Cundall Izett Anderson and Frank Cundall, Jamaica Negro 

Proverbs and Sayings, 2nd ed., London, 1927. 

DAE A Dictionary of American English, ed. Sir W. A. 

Craigie and J. R. Hulbert, Chicago, 1938-44. 4 vols. 

Davidoff Henry Davidoff, A Jl'orld Treasury of Proverbs, 

New York, 1946. 

England George A. England, "Rural Locutions of Maine 

and Northern New Hampshire," Dialect Notes, iv, 
part II (1914), 67-83. 

Fauset Arthur H. Fauset, Folklore from Nova Scotia, 

Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society, 
XXIV, New York, 193 1. 

Fogel Edwin M. Fogel, Proverbs of the Pennsylvania 

Germans, Lancaster, Pa., 1929. 

Franck Harry A. Franck, "Jamaica Proverbs," Dialect 

Notes, V, part iv (1921), 98-108. 

Fuller Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia, London, 1816 (1732). 

Green Bennett W. Green, Word-book of Virginia Folk- 

Speech, Richmond, 1899. Pp. 17-36 contain "Some 
Virginia Folk-Sayings." 

Hanford G. L. Hanford, "Metaphor and Simile in Ameri- 

can Folk-Speech," Dialect Notes, \, part v (1922), 

Hardie Margaret Hardie, "Proverbs and Proverbial Ex- 

pressions Current in the United States East of the 
Missouri and North of the Ohio Rivers," American 
Speech, iv (1928-29), 461-472. 

Harris, G. W. George W. Harris, Sut Lovingood, New York, 

Harris, J. C. Joel C. Harris, Uncle Remus, His Songs and His 
Sayings, New York, 1881. 

Hearn Lafcadio Hearn, "Gombo Zhcbes." Little Diction- 

ary of Creole Proverbs, Selected from Six Creole 
D'ialecis, New York, 1885. 

Hendricks W. C. Hendricks, Bundle of Troubles and Other 

Tarheel Tales, Durham. N. C., 1943. 

Hislop Alexander Hislop, The Proc'erbs of Scotland, 

Edinburgh, 1868. 

r R o V F. R n s 357 

IIolTman W. j. lIolTniaii, "l-'olklort,- cf tlif Pennsylvania 

Ck'niians," Journal of .hiicricait I'oUdorc, ii 
(1889), 191-202. 

Hyainson Albert M. Hyanison, ./ Pictioiuny of linglish 

Phrases, London, 1922. 

Hyatt Harry M. Hyatt, Folk-Lorc from Adams County, 

Illinois, New York, 1935. 

Johnson Guy B. Johnson, I' oik Culture on St. Helena 

Island, South Carolina, t'liapel Hill, N. C, 1930. 

Joyce P. W. Joyce, linglish as ll'c Speak It in Ireland, 

London, 1910. 

Kelly James Kelly, A Complete Colleetion of Scotish 

Pro7'erbs, London, 1721. 

Kephart Horace Kephart, "A Word-List from the North 

Carolina Mountains," Dialect Xotes, iv, ])art vi 
(1917), 407-419- 

Koch I Carolina Folk-Flays, I'irst, Second, and Third 

Series, ed. Frederick H. Koch, New York, 1941. 

Koch n Carolina Folk Comedies, ed. Frederick H. Koch, 

New York, 1931. 

Lean Collections by Vincent S. Lean of Proferhs (Eng- 

lish and Foreign), Folk Lore, and Superstitions, 
also Compilations tozvards Dictionaries of Pro- 
verbial Phrases and Words, old and disused, Bris- 
tol, 1902-4. 4 vols, in 5. 

MacAdam Robert MacAdam, "Six Hundred Gaelic Proverbs 

Collected in Ulster," Ulster Journal of Archaeology, 
VI (1858), 172-183, 250-267, VII (1859), 278-287, 
IX ( 1861 ), 223-236. 

National National Proi'crbs: Ireland. London: Frank Palmer, 

Proverbs: 19 13. 

NED A Nezv Linglish Dictionary on Historical Prin- 

ciples, ed. J. A. H. Murray and others, Oxford, 
1884-1928, 10 vols.: re-issued as The Oxford Eng- 
lish Dictionary, Oxford. 1933, 12 vols. 

NED Suppl. Supplement to A New linglish Dictionary, Oxford, 

Nicolson Alexander Nicolson, A Collection of Gaelic Prov- 

erbs and Familiar Phrases, 2\m\ ed., Edinburgh, 

Northall G. F. Nortliall, Folk-Phrases of Four Counties 

(Glouc, Staff., ll'aru'.. Wore), English Dialect 
Society, j^^, London, 1894. 

O'Rahilly Thomas F. O'Rahilly, A .Miscellany of Irish Prov- 

erbs, Dublin, 1922. 

Oxford W. G. Smith and J. E. Heseltine, Lite O.vford Dic- 

tionary of English Proverbs. Second ed., revised 
throughout by Sir Paul Harvey, Oxford, 1948. 


PADS Publications of the American Dialect Society. 

Paige [Elbridge G. Paige], Dozv's Patent Sermons, by 

Dozv, Jr. Second Series, Philadelphia, 1857. 

Parler Mary C. Parler, "Word-List from Wedgefield, 

South Carolina." Dialect Notes, vi, part 11 (1930). 

Parsons Elsie C. Parsons, "Riddles and Proverbs from the 

Bahama Islands," Journal of American Folklore, 
XXXII (1919). 439-441- 

Parsons, Elsie C. Parsons, Folk-Lore of the Antilles, French 

Antilles and Fnglish, Part in, Memoirs of the American 

Folk-Lore Society, xxvi, New York, 1943. Pp. 
457-487 contain proverbs. 

Partridge Eric Partridge, A Dictionary of Slang and Uncon- 

ventional English, New York, 1937. 

Partridge, Eric Partridge, Supplement to the First Edition of 

Suppl. A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional Eng- 

lish, London, 1938. 

Patterson William H. Patterson, A Glossary of Jf'ords in 

Use in the Counties of Antrim and Down, English 
Dialect Society, London, 1880. 

Payne L. W'. Payne, Jr., "A Word-list from East Ala- 

bama," Dialect Notes, in, part iv (1908), 279-328, 
part V (1909), 343-391- 

Pearce Helen Pearce, "Folk Sayings in a Pioneer Family 

of Western Oregon," California Folklore Quar- 
terly, V (1946), 229-242. 

Perkins Anne E. Perkins, "More Notes on Maine Dialect," 

American Speech, v (1929-30), 118-131. 

Poor Richard Poor Richard's Almanack, by Benjamin Franklin, 
ed. B. E. Smith, New York, 1898. 

Roberts T. R. Roberts, The Proverbs of JJ^ales, Penmaen- 

mawr, 1885. 

Roxburghe The Roxburghc Ballads, eds. Wm. Chappell, J. W. 

Ebsworth, London, Hertford, 1871-99. 9 vols. 

Smith and Mrs. Morgan Smith and A. W. Eddins, "Wise 

Eddins Saws from Texas," in Straight Texas, Publications 

of the Texas Folk-Lore Society, xiii (1937), 239- 

Snapp Emma L. Snapp, "Proverbial Lore in Nebraska," 

Uniz'ersity of Nebraska Studies in Language, Lit- 
erature, and Criticism, xiii (Lincoln. Nebraska, 
1933), 53-112. 

Spence John Spence, Shetland Folk-I^ore, Lerwick, 1899. 

T Morris P. Tilley, A Dictionary of the Proverbs in 

England in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Cen- 
turies, Ann Arbor, 1950. 

P R O \" K R B S 


Taliaferro [H. K. Taliaferro], Fisher's Rnrr (North Caro- 

lina) Scenes ami Characters, by "Skitt," New 
York. 1859. 

Taylor Archer Taylor, An Index to "The Proverb," FF 

Communications, 113, Helsinki, 1934. 

Thomas D. L. and L. B. Thomas, Kentucky Superstitions, 

Princeton, 1920. 

Thornton Richard H. Thornton, An American Glossary, 3 

vols.: I-II, Philadelphia, 1912; III, ed. Louise 
Hanley, Madison, Wisconsin, 1939. 

Tilley See T. 

V'aughan H. H. \'aughan. Welsh Proverbs unth English 

Translations (also issued as British Reason in Eng- 
lish Rhyme), London, 1889. 

Way to Wealth The Way to Wealth, Preface to Poor Richard Im- 
proved (1758), in The Writings of Benjamin 
Franklin, ed. A. H. Smyth (10 vols.). New York, 
1905-7, III, 407-418. 

Whiting B. J. Whiting, "The Devil and Hell in Current 

English Literary Idiom," Harvard Studies and 
Xotes in Philology and Literature, xx (1938), 

Whitney Annie W. Whitney and Caroline C. Bullock, Folk- 

Lore from Maryland, Memoirs of the American 
Folk-Lore Society, xviii, New York, 1925. 

Wilson Sir James Wilson, Lozuland Scotch as Spoken in 

the Lower Strathearn District of Perthshire, Lon- 
don, 1915. 

Wilstach Frank J. W^ilstach, A Dictionary of Similes, new 

ed., Boston. 1930. 

Wood G. W. Wood, "On the Classification of Proverbs 

and Sayings of the Isle of Man," Folk-Lore, v 
(1894), 229-274. 

Woodard C. M. Woodard, "A Word-list from Virginia and 

North Carolina," Publications of the American 
Dialect Society, vi (1946), 4-43. 

Woofter Carey Woofter, "Dialect Words and Phrases from 

Westcentral West Virginia," American Speech, 11 
(1926-27), 347-367- 

Yankee )'ankee Phrases (a poem), in The Spirit of the 

Phrases Public Journals; or, Beauties of the American 

Xezi'spapers for 1805, Baltimore, 1806, 114-115. 



A. He doesn't know A from a bull's foot. J. D. Robertson, 
A Glossary of Dialect & Archaic Words Used in the 
County of Gloucester (Englisb Dialect Society. 6i. Lon- 
don. 1890) 186: He don't know a big A [AH] from a 
bull's foot. See B below. 

ABC. I. As plain as ABC. Wilstach 295. 

2. As simple as ABC. Hardie 467 ; Wilstach 355. 

Accidents. Accidents will happen in the best of (best regu- 
lated) families (2). Apperson i ; Bradley 59; Green 17; 
Oxford 2. 

Ace of Spades. As black as the ace of spades (3). Berrev 
T,2.y ; Hardie 466; Wilstach 497. 

Actions. Actions speak louder than words. Bradley 59; Ox- 
ford 2 ; Taliaferro 223. 

Adam. i. As old as Adam (2). Apperson 466, old D(2) ; 
Green 19; Hyamson S; NED Suppl. Adam^ ; Partridge 
582 ; T A28. 

2. As sure as Adam et the apple. 

3. Destroy the old Adam. Oxford 2. Cf . Hyamson 5 ; 

Partridge 582 ; T A29. 

4. When Adam delved and Eve span. Who was then the 

gentleman ? Apperson 2 ; Oxford 2-3 ; Sylvia Resnikow, 
"The Cultural History of a Democratic Proverb." 
Journal of English and Germanic Philology, xxxvi 
O937) 391-405; Taylor 11 ; T A30. 

Adder. As dumb as an adder. Cf. Apperson 139: As deaf 
as an adder ; Hyamson 1 1 1 ; Taylor 26 ; T A32. 

Advice, i. Advice is cheap. Bradley 60. 

2. Cheap advice, dear repentance. Cf. Christy i. 10: He 

who will not take advice, will have to buy dear repentance. 

3. The best advice may come too late. Cf . Apperson 2 : Ad- 

vice comes too late when a thing is done; Christy i. 11 : 
When error is committed goocl advice comes too late- 
Age. I. Age before beauty. Lean iii. 412. 

2. Age makes man old. but not better. Cf. Apperson 233, 
fox (25). quot. 1892: Men become old, but they never 
become good ; Davidofif 8: Age makes many a man white 
but not better (Danish). 

1' K () V K K H S 3^>I 

Air. I. As eniptv as air. Cf. Nl-:!) Empty, 4, quol. 1593. 

2. As free as air (3). Apperson 234-5, quot. c. 1625; Ber- 

rey 551.17; Hardic 467; Taylor 34; T .\88. 

3. As light as air. T A90 ; W'ilstach 233. 

4. As vacant as air. W'ilstach 451 . 

Alive. As sure (surely) as you're alive (2). Lean ii. 879; 

W'ilstach 401. 
All. I. All's well that ends well. Apper.son 6-7. 9; I'.radley 

jj; Hardie 461 ; ( )xf()rd 701 ; Taylor 52; T A 1 54. 

2. (irab all, lose all. Cf. Apperson 268: (irasp all, all; 

Oxford 262. 

3. Want all, get none. Cf. Apperson 5 : All^ covet all lose , 

Franck 108: You wan' all you all; T A 127. 
Alone. Better be alone than in ill company. Apperson 41-2; 

Oxford 38; T C570; Woodard 34. 
Alum. As bitter as alum. Cf. Lean 11, 807: As bitter as 

Angel. I. As beautiful as an angel. W'ilstach 15. 

2. As sweet as an angel ( 2 ) . ^ 

3. Speak of angels and you hear rustling of their wings (4). 
Speak of the angels and you will hear their wings rustle. 
Speak of an angel, hear the rustle of its wing. 

Speak of an angel and you can hear bats' wings flutter. 
Bradley 60; Lean iv, 106; Oxford 643. See Devil (26) 

Angry. When angrv count ten, when very angry, one hundred. 
Cf. Christy i, 29; Francis Crane, The Shocking Fink 
Hat (N. Y., 1946) 203: Inspector Bradish whirled on 
Patrick. He evidently counted ten, then said. 'TU talk 
to you later" ; Oxford 11. 

Another. He that pities another remembers himself. Apper- 
son 499; Oxford 503; T P372. 

Ant. I. As industrious as an ant. W'ilstach 214. 

2. As tiny as an ant. Cf. Bond 56 : Small as an ant. 

3. Works like an ant. 

Antelope. As swift as an antelope. Bond 51. 
Anvil. I. As hard as an anvil. NED Anvil, i, quf)t. 1413. 
2. The anvil lasts longer than the hammer. P.ohn 95: Dura 

l)iu I'incudine die il martello, cf. 120. 
Ape. As hairy as an ape. 15ond 50; Hendricks 145. 
Appearances. Appearances are deceitful. Apperson 1 3 ; T.rad- 

ley 60; Oxford 328, judge from; T A285. 
Appetite. Appetite comes with eating. Fogel 5 ; < )xtor(l 12; 

T .\286. 


Apple. I (a) An apple a day keeps the doctor away (2). 
Apperson 13; Bradley 60; Hyatt 643 (10716); Taylor 
12. (b) An apple a day keeps the doctor away. An 
onion a day keeps everybody away, (c) Eat an apple 
a day. To keep the doctor away ; Eat an onion a day, 
To keep everybody away. Bradley 60. 

2. Apples must fall near the tree. Davidofif 436: The apple 

falls near the apple tree (Yiddish). Cf. Bohn 307: De 
vrucht valt niet ver van den stam ; Cundall 91 : Papaw 
no fall fur from tree ; Fogel 5 : D'r abbel roUt net weit 
fum schtamm exept d'r bam schtet am bserik ; Hoffman 
198: Der apb"l fait net wait fum shtam ; Lean i, 487; 
Parsons, Antilles. 484: Apples don't fall very far from 
tree; Vaughan 3 (16). 

3. As round as an apple. Lean 11, 869; NED Round. 1, 

quot. c. 1290; \\'ilstach 328. 
April. I. April showers bring May flowers. Apperson 15; 

Green 17; Hyatt 643 ( 10719) ; Oxford 13; Taylor 13; 

2. As sudden as an April shower. Wilstach 399. 
Arkansas. As slow as a train through Arkansas. B. A. Bot- 

kin, A Treasury of American Folklore (N. Y, 1944) 

Arm. I. As long as my (your) arm (2). Lean 11. 750; 

NED Arm. 2b; Partridge 17. 
2. Stretch your arm no further than your sleeve will reach. 

Apperson 15; Oxford 625; T A3 16. 
Armed. Well armed is half the battle. 

Army. What's an army without a general ? Christy i. 36. 
Arrow, i. As fleet as an arrow. NED Fleet, i, quot. 1588: 

Wilstach 147. 

2. As straight as an arrow (3). Apperson 60s; Green 31 ; 

T A321. 

3. As swift as an arrow. T A322 ; Wilstach 411. 

4. As true as an arrow (2). As true as an arrow to its 

mark. Cf. Wilstach 436: True as an arrow to its aim. 

Ashes. As gray as ashes. J. S. Strange, The Clue of the Sec- 
ond Murder (N. Y.. 1929) 54. 

Asking. What isn't worth asking for isn't worth having (4). 
What's not worth going after is not worth having. Hoff- 
man 202: Was net fro'ghas wart is, is net ha' was wart. 
Cf. Nicholson 219: It's a poor thing that's not worth 
asking; Spence 228: It's little wirt that's no wirt the 
askin' o'. 


Asleep, llc"s wortli more asleep than awake. Cf. Apperson 
40: Vou are always best when aslcej) ; Ilislop 339: Ye're 
best when ye're sleeping. See Dead, adj., below. 

Aspen. Tremble like an aspen. .\])pers()n iS; llyamson 23; 
T L140; Wilstach 433. 

Ass. 1. .\ living ass is better than a dead doctor. 15ohn 131 : 
\'al pill un asino vivo che nn dottore morto. 

2. He that makes himself an ass must expect to be rode. 

Apperson 19; NED Ass, ib. 

3. The ass's hide is used to the stick. Bohn 107: La pelle 

d'asino e usa al bastone. 
August. Hit'll be a cold day in August. Cf. "A Word-List 

from Kansas," Dialect Notes, iv, part v (1916) 321 : It 

will be a cold day in June when he does that ; Thornton 

HI, 175, chilly day. 
Awl. As blunt as a peggin awl. Cf. Apperson 561 : Sharp as 

a cobbler's elsin (awl). 
Axe. As sharp as an axe. Hardie 468; Lean 11, 871. 

B. Don't know B from a bull's foot. Apperson 21 ; Berrey 
150.3; Hyamson 28; NED, B, 2; Oxford 346; Partridge 
22 ; Woodard 39. See A above. 

Babe. i. As helpless as a new born babe. Cf. Wilstach 199: 
As helpless as a babe. 

2. As innocent as a new born babe. Apperson 327-8 ; T B4 ; 

Wilstach 216. 

3. As weak as a new born babe. Cf. Lean 11. 889: As weak 

as a child. 

Baboon. As ugly as a baboon. Wilstach 567. 

Baby. i. A purty baby makes an ugly girl. Cannell 34: If 
a child is good looking when it is small, it will be homely 
when it grows up: Christy 1. 504: A pretty ])ig makes 
an ugly hog; Hyatt 126 (2603): Pretty bal)ies make 
ugly ladies. 

2. An ugly baby makes a purty girl. Cannell 34: If a child 

is homely when it is small, it will be good looking when 
it grows up; Hyatt 126 (2603): Ugly babies make 
pretty ladies. 

3. An old saying is "that ugly babies make handsome grown 

people" and vice versa. See above, and cf. Hyatt 126 
(2602) : If a baby is homely during infancy, it will be 
handsome on reaching maturity. 

4. As helpless as a bal)y (2). Charles G. L. DuC^ann, The 

Secret Hand (London, 1929) 186. 


5. As innocent as a baby. Hulbert Footner. A Sclf-Made 

Thief (N. Y., 1929) 250. 

6. Cries like a baby. Lee Thayer, Poison (N. Y.. 1926) 93. 

7. Sleeps like a baby. F. Daingerfiekl, TJic Linden Walk 

Tragedy (N. Y., 1929) 157. 

8. The place for babies is at home. 

9. This isn't making the baby's coat or twiging the kiln. 

Cf. Bradley 91 : This isn't buying shoes for the baby ; 

Hardie 465 : This won't buy a dress for the baby or 

pay for the one it has on ; Woodard 34. 
Back. I. The back is shaped to its burden. Hislop 106: God 

shapes the l)ack for the burden; Lean iv. 109; Oxford 

2. The back pays for what the mouth eats. Cf. Apperson 

37 : If it were not for the belly the back might wear 

gold, 38: The belly robs the back; Champion 228 (3) : 

The back receives what the mouth earns (Livonian) ; 

Oxford 34. 
Back door. Throwed more out the back door than her old 

man could tote in the front. Cf. Apperson 21 : The 

back door robs the house; T 1)21. (For women and 

back doors: cf. Apperson 199, fair (9). 444, nice wife. 

653, two daughters; ( )xford 451. 679; \\'oodard 43.) 

See Wife (2) below. 
Backward. He got up backward. Cf. Apperson 715: wrong 

( 5 ) ; Oxford 544 : rise. 
Bad. It is never so bad but what it could be worse. Oxford 

Bad Man. As ugly as the Bad Man. Cf. Hyamson 350: As 

ugly as the devil; Brewster 268. where Bad Man is 

given as a synonym for the devil ; Patterson 4. 
Badger. As gray as a badger. Apperson 274; (j recti 19; 

Partridge 350; Wilstach 186. 
Bag. I. Don't let no bag o' tow block a good road. 

2. He always holds the bag. (Snipe-hunting, to be made 

a fool of.) He held the bag for the snipe hunt. He 
will have the bag to hold. Berrey 214.6, 314.IT, 320.3, 
371.2. 649.7; DAE Bag, 2; Green 24 (identical with the 
third example), 33; Hardie 470; NED Bag, 18; Ox- 
ford 20; Partridge 26. 

3. It's hard for an empty bag to stand u])right. A]iperson 

181-2; Oxford 170-r ; Poor Richard 99; Jl'ax to Wealth 
4i6;TB30. .See Sack (2) below. 
Bag-pipe. Like a bag-]iipe, never makes a noise till his belly's 
full. Apperson 23 ; Oxford 20; T B34. 

P R O V V. R H S M^? 

Bait. The bait worth more than the tisli. (.haini)!!)!! 6_'i (20) : 

When the l)ait is worth more than ihe ri>h 'tis time to 

stop hshiuf? (American Negro). 
Bale. As big as a bale of cotton. Cf. lulmund Kirke (James 

B. Gilmore). My Southern rriciids (X. Y., 1863) 74: 

Not bigger'n a cotton bale. 
Ball. 1. As rotmd as a ball. Nl^I) Round, i, ([uots. r. 1290, 

i583;T B61. 

2. Eyes like two balls of hre. Taliaferro S?>^ 1^6 1. 162 (red 

like) ; Thornton i. 178. circumstance ( 1848). 

3. Rolls like a ball. Cf. NED Roll, 11, (luot. 1786. 
Balloon. Head like a balloon. 

Balm. Is there no balm in Gilead? Hyamson 31 ; Jeremiah 

8: 22; Oxford 21. 
Band. Raining to beat the band. Running to beat the l)and 

(2). Berrey 20.6.13, 22.3, 29.3, 53-9-i6; Partridge 41- 
Bandbox. Like he just came otit of the bandbox. Looks like 

he just jumped off a bandbox. Berrey 4.4; Hyamson 

32; Woofter 358. Cf. Partridge 554. neat. 
Bank. As safe as a bank. Marcus Magill, Murder Out oj 

Tunc (Philadelphia. 1931) 271. 
Bantam. 1. .\s cocky as a bantam rooster. W. P.. Seabrook. 

Jungle Ways (London, 1931) 138. 
2. Like a bantam — lays summer or winter. 
Bark (1). i. As close as bark on a tree (2). As clost as 

the bark on a tree fore sap-risin'. As clost as the bark 

on a white oak tree. Cf . Lean 11, 857 : As near as the 

bark to the tree ; T B83. 

2. As tight as the bark on a tree (2). Allison 96; Ilardie 

468 ; Wil-stach 565 ; W'oodard 43. 

3. Clings like bark to a tree. 

Bark (2). i. B.ig bark and little bite. 

2. Me i> all bark and no bite. Cf. Oxford 23: (Ireat bark- 

ers arc no biters ; T B85. 

3. His bark is worse than his bite (4). Apperson 26 ; 1 lyam- 

son 34; NED Bark. s1y\ 2b; Oxford 23. 

4. More bark than bite. Cf. j lulward Ward], llilgus 

Britannicus. or the British HuilU'ros. 2nd ed. (London. 
1710) 167: Those liery Barkers tho' no Biters. 
Barking. P.arking saves ])iting. P.eckwith 17; Cundall 15. 
Barn. 1. As big as a barn, b'auset 174(199). 
2. As ugly as a mud barn. 


Barn-yard. A sad barn-yard where the hen crows louder than 
the cock. Apperson 298, hen (7); Oxford 291; T 

Barrel, i. As big as a barrel (2). AlHson 95. 
2. As empty as a barrel. Taliaferro 103. 

Basket, i. As cute as a basket of kittens. Cf. J. C. Harris 
26: ez soshubble ez a baskit er kittens. 

2. As polite as a basket of chips. Atkinson 81 ; Berrey 


3. He hung his basket higher than he could reach. Beck- 

with 56 (many variants) ; Franck 100: Don't hang you 
goadie higher dan you can reach; Parsons 441: Don't 
hang yer basket higher than you can reach 'em. 
Bat. I. As blind as a bat (5). Apperson 54; Hyamson 51 ; 
T O92 ; Wilstach 22. 

2. As crazy as a bat (4). Atkinson 88. 

3. As fast as a bat out of hell. Cf. Whiting 222. 

4. Like a bat out of hell. Berrey; Partridge 37; 

Whiting 222 ; W'oodard 34. 

5. Pass like a bat out of a brush heap. Passed like a bat 

out of Georgia. Passed like a bat out of hell. Cf. "A 
List of W'ords from Northwest Arkansas," Dialect 
Notes, III, part v (1909), 399; Whiting 222. 
Bean pole. i. As skinny as a bean pole. Cf. Partridge 39. 

2. As slender as a bean pole. 

3. As tall as a bean pole. Hanford 178. 

4. As thin as a bean pole. Herbert Asbury, The French 

Quarter (N. Y., 1936) 340. 
Bear. i. An old bear is slow in learning to dance. Christy, 
I, 56 (German). 

2. As cross as a bear (2). DAE Bear, ic; Hyamson 102; 

Wilstach 76. 

3. As hungry as a bear (5). Berrey 95.6; DAE Bear, ic; 

Hardie 467 ; Taylor 41 ; Wilstach 206. 

4. As pore as a bear that's wintered up in the balsams. Like 

a bear that's wintered up in the balsams. 

5. As red as a bear's ass in pokeberry time. Cf. NED 

Suppl.. pokeberry. See Goose (9), Polkberry below. 

6. As rough as a bear (2). I'.ond 50; Lean 11. 868: As 

rough as a Russian bear. 

7. As savage as a bear. Green 20; Lean 11, 870; Wilstach 


8. As strong as a bear. 

9. As surly as a bear. Green 31. 
10. As ugly as a bear. Wilstach 440. 

1< O \' I". R B S 


1 1. As warm as a bear. 

ij. Hugs like a bear. Wilstacb 206. 

n. If it were a bear it would bite you. Apperson 29-30; 
I'.radley 92 (snake) ; Oxford 26; Partridge 40; T B129. 

14. We killed the bear. Allison 95; Brewster 262. Cf. 
Apperson 672: We dogs worried the hare; Oxford 
696- We hounds slew the hare. <|U(>th the messan ; T 

^737- . , 

Beard (1). i. (iray beard and red hp can not be friends. 
Christy 1. 14: Gray beard and red lip seldom remain 
good friends (German). 

2. If it's hot enough to set your neighbor's beard afire, 

you'd better get water and wet yours. Beckwith 121 : 
When you see you neighbor beard ketch fire, tek water 
wet fe'vou; Champion 526 (31): When you see that 
your neighbour's beard is catching fire, bring water to 
your own ( Fulfilde. Africa), 533 (12); Chenet 192 
(1357); Cundall 52; Hearn 8 (10); Parsons. Antilles 
466 (190). 

3. Little beard, little manhood. Cf. Bohn 240: Poca barba, 

poca verguenza (modesty). 

Beard (2). As smart as Beard's fiste, used to be a common 
expression in this community. (Contributed by Thomas 
Smith of Vilas. Watauga county.) For fiste meaning 
mongrel dog, see Phyllis J. Nixon, "A Glossary of Vir- 
ginia Words," Puhlications of the American Dialect 
Society, v (1946) 21. 

Beauty, i. Beautv is only skin deep. Apperson 31 ; Bradley 
60; Hardie 462; Oxford 28; T B170. 

2. lieautv is skin deep. Ugly's in the bone. Beauty soon will 

pass 'away. Old ugly hold her own. Apperson 31; 
Bradley 60. 

3. Beautv 'never make kettle boil. Champion 213 (3): 

Beauty does not make the pot boil ((Genoese) ; National 
Proverbs: Ireland 14: Beauty does not make the pot 
boil; Nicolson 132: Beauty won't boil the pot; O'Rahilly 
6 (17) : Beauty will not 'make the pot boil. ... It is 
not beauty that 'makes porridge, but meal. . . . Prettiness 
makes no pottage (Apperson 511); Snapj) 80 (n): 
l^.eauty never boiled a pot ; T P568. 

4. Seed lots of beautv but never et a mess of it. Cf. Christy 

1. 61: One cannot live on beauty and One does not 
imt beauty in the kettle. See Woman (10) below. 
Beaver. As busy as a beaver. Wilstacb 40. 

N.C.K.. Vol. I. (25) 


Bed. I. Early to bed and early to rise Wakes a man healthy, 
wealthy and wise. Apperson 173; Bradley 72; Lean 11, 
733; Oxford 164; Poor Richard 78; Taylor 14; T 
B184; Way to Wealth 410. 
2. She made her bed, and she can lie on it. Apperson 391 ; 
Bradley 61 ; Hardie 472 ; Oxford 399 ; Partridge 42 ; T 
B189. ' 

Bedbug. As crazy as a bedbug (5). Berrey 152.5, 170.7.8, 
296.8; Wilstach 73. 

Bee. I. A swarm of bees in May Is worth a load of hay. A 
swarm of bees in June Is worth a silver spoon. A 
swarm of bees in July Is not worth a fly. Apperson 
32-3 ; Bergen 11, 57, 90; Hyatt 58; Lean i, 450; T S1029. 

2. As busy as a bee. Apperson y2>' 74! Hardie 469; NED 

Bee, lb; Oxford 71 ; T B202 ; Wilstach 41. 

3. As busy as a bee in a tar-bucket. DAE Bee, ib (tar- 

barrel) ; W'oodard 35. Cf. Apperson 33: To bumble 
like a bee in a tar-tub, 74 ; Oxford 78 ; He capers like 
a fly in a tar-box; Partridge 94, 113. 
As busy as a bee in a trench-pot. Cf. Fuller 19 (666) : 
As brisk as a bee in a tar-pot. 

4. Buzzing like a bee. Bond 56. 

5. He has a bee in his bonnet. Apperson 33 ; Berrey 143.2.3, 

152. 1. 3. 5, 212.2, 236.2, 274.2.6: Hardie 466; Hyamson 
40; Oxford 29, cf. 284; Partridge 42. 43; T H255. 

6. No bees, no honey. 

7. Swarmed like bees. Wilstach 403. 

8. Take a bee line for home. Berrey 41.1, 677.14; Hyam- 

son 40; Partridge 42. 
Straight as a bee line. 

9. Where there are bees there is honey. Apperson 34; 

Oxford 29; T B213. 
Bee-gum. As hollow as a bee-gum. 
Beet. As red as a beet (3). Wilstach 315. 
Beg. I. Better to beg than borrow. Christy i, 66; Cundall 17. 

2. Neither beg nor borrow. 

Beggars, i. Beggars breed and rich men feed. Apperson 
34; Oxford 31 ; T B244. 
2- Beggars must not be choosers. Apperson 34 ; Bradley 
61 ; Plardie 462; Oxford 31 ; Taylor 14; T B247. 

3. Sue a beggar and get a louse. Apperson 35 ; Bradley 61 ; 

(ireen 31 ; Oxford 629; T B240. 

Beginning, i. A bad beginning makes a good ending (3). 
Bradley 61 ; T B259. 

P R O V K R B S ?i(^9 

2. A good begintiin.u: makes a bad ending, liradley 6i. 

3. A good beginning makes a right ending. Hislop 24: A 

glide beginning makes a gude ending. Cf. Apperson 
257; Oxford 250. 

4. From small beginnings come great endings. Thomas 

Burke, Niijht Pieces (N. Y., 1936) 96; T P.264. 

5. Right beginning makes a right ending. Christy i, 67 

( ("lerman). 
Begun. I. Begun is half done. C"f. I^.ohn 135: Begonnen ist 

hall) gewonnen; Lean 111. ^,77; Nicolson 225: Begun is 

two-thirds done. 
2. Well begun is half done (2). Apperson 674; Bradley 

97 ; Hardie 462 ; Oxford 700 ; T B254. 
Believe, i . A man believes what he wishes to. Apperson 36 ; 

T B269. 
2. Believe only half you hear. C f . Apperson 36; Oxford 

32: Believe not all that you see nor half what you hear; 

T A202. 
Bell. I. A cracked bell can never be mended. Cf. Apperson 

^6: A crackt bell can never sound well; Oxford 117; 

T B274. 

2. Agree like bells. Apperson 4 (want nothmg but hang- 

ing) ; Oxford 6; Partridge 6; T B281 ; Wilstach 5. 

3. As clear as a bell (3). Apperson loi ; Green 18; Hardie 

467; T B271 ; Wilstach 56. 

4. As fair as a bell (2). 

5. Rings like a bell. Sir Dcgrcvant, ed. K. Puick (\'ienna, 

191 7) 78, 11. 1207-8. 

6. The higher the bell the further it sounds. I'.ohn 154: Je 

h()her die Glocke hangt, je heller sie klingt. 

Belly. I. As hot as if he had a bellyful of wasps. Apperson 
315: Hot as if he had a bellyful of wasps and salaman- 
2. Hungrv belly got no eyes. Cf. Apperson 37-8: The 
(hungry) belly hath no ears. 81. empty (i) ; Champion 
96 (10): Hunger has no eyes (Croatian). 235 (150) 
(Montenegrin); Cundall 17: Hungry belly no got aise 
( cars) ■ Kelly 30 ; T P.286. 

Bench. Sitting on the anxious bench (6). Berrey 287.2; 
DAE Anxious Bench; NED Suppl., Anxious, 2b. 

Bend. Better to bend than to break. Apperson 42: Better 
bow than break; Cundall 18: Betta ben' dan broke; 
Hislop 58; MacAdam 181 (54) ; Oxford 39; T B566. 

Berry, i. As brown as a berry (2). Apperson 70; Taylor 
17; T B314; Wilstach 38. 
2. As right as a berry. 


Best. T. Hope for the best, get ready for the worst. Apper- 
son 310; Oxford 303; T B328. 

2. Make the best of a bad bargain (2). Apperson 40; Ber- 

rey 306.3 (job); Hyamson 43; Oxford 36; Partridge 
33; Taylor 13; T B326. 

3. ]\lake the best of what you have. 

4. The best comes first. 

5. The best goes first. Apperson 39: The best go first, the 

bad remain to mend ; Oxford 35. 
Bible. As true as the Bible. Cf. Berrey 169.2: Bible truth. 

See Gospel below. 
Billiard ball. i. As bald as a billiard ball. Wilstach 12. 
2. As smooth as a billiard ball. NED Billiards, 2, quot. 

1637; Wilstach 365. 
Bird. I. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush (3). 

Apperson 48 ; Bradley 62 ; Hardie 461 ; Oxford 44-5 ; 

Taylor 15 ; T B363. 

2. A bird is known by its feathers. [R. Brathwaite], The 

Lmvs of Drinking (London, 161 7) 47; Nicholas IJreton. 
The Crossing of Proi'erhs (1616), in Works, ed. A. B. 
Grosart ( lulinburgh, 1875-9), 11. e. 5; 'J' B369. 

3. A bird that can sing and won't sing ought to be made to 

sing. Apperson 49 ; ( )xf ord 372 ; T B366. 

4. A little bird wants but a little nest. Apperson 370 ; T 


5. A little bird will tell you (2). Apperson 48; Berrey 

197.10; Hyamson 46; Oxford 45; Partridge 54. 383; 
Taylor 1 5 ; T B374. 

6. All birds of prey are silent. Whoever heard of a singing 

bird of prey? Bohn 166; Raubvogel singen nicht. 
As blithe as a bird. NED Blithe. A 5a, quot. 1754. 
As free as a bird. As free as the birds. Apperson 2^4; 

T B357- 
As gav as a bird. Cf. NED Gav. 4. quot. 181 2 ; \\ ilstach 


10. As harmless as the birds. See Dove (3) below. 

11. As merry as birds. T B358-9; Wilstach 259. 

12. As naked as a bird. Cf. Apperson 436: Naked as a 

cuckoo. See Cuckoo, Jay (1), Jay-bird (2), (3) below. 

13. As swift as a bird. (Tf. NED Swift, i, quot. c. 1386. 

14. Birds of a feather flock together (3). Apperson 48; 

Bradley 62; Hardie 462; Hyamson 46; Oxford 45; 
Partridge 55 ; T B393. See Crow (6) below. 

15. Cut up like^a bird. Cf. NED Suppl., Bird, 5c; Par- 

tridge 483, like. 

V R O V K R H S 371 

16. Eats like a bird. |( )ftni with the achhtioii. "a peck at a 

time." I 

17. lu-erv hird hkes its own nest. .\])person 187; T I'^S^. 

18. Flits'like a bird. Cf. NED Flit, 8b. 

19. He kills two birds with one stone (2). Apperscm 340; 

Green 2/; Hardie 472; Ilyanison 46; Oxford 334-5; 
Partridge 55 ; T B400. 

20. It's a lazy bird that won't build her own nest. liohn 

359: Det er en lad hugl, (Ur ei i^ider l)\'.!.;,ii^e sin egen 
Rede (Danish). 

21. It's an ill bird that fouls its own nest. Apperson 323; 

Bradley 62; Green 26; Hardie 463; Oxford 314; Taylor 
1 5 : T B377- 

22. Old birds are hard to catch. Cf. Ap])erson 49: Old birds 

are not caught with chaff; Oxford 85; T I>396. 

23. Sings like a bird. Bohn 54. 

24. The early bird catches the worm (4). Apperson 173-4; 

Bradley 61 ; Hardie 464; Hyamson 127; Oxford 16^-4; 

T li368. 
Bird dog. i. As alert as a bird dog. 

2. I'm bein' careful as a bird dog. Cf. X. B. Mavitv. The 

Case of the Missing Sandals (N. Y., 1930) 236: As 

busy as a bird dog. 
Birth. No man can help his birth. Christy i. S2 ( Hans 

Biscuit. 1. As hard as a biscuit. Lean 11. 839: A biscuu 

fare as hard for favour. 
2. .As round as a biscuit. Hyatt 670 ( 10939). 
Bit. F.very little bit helps (3). Apperson 188; Oxford 177. 

Every little bit helps, said the old woman as she spat 

in the sea. Cf. Lean it, 743: Oxford 180: Everything 

helps, quoth the wren, when she pissed in the sea ; 

Partridge 635 (old woman) : T \V935. See Little, sb., 

Bite, sb. The bite is bigger than the mouth. DavidotT 31 : 

Don't make the bite larger than the mouth (German). 
Bite, vb. I. As soon be bit as scared to death. Veronica P. 

John. The Singing Widow ( N. Y., 1941) 135: You 

might as well kill a person as .scare him to death. Cf. 

Champion 558 (127): h^right is worse than a blow 

2. He bites off more than he can chew (3). Ik-rrev 242.3: 

Bradley 62 ; D.\h: P.ite, 2 ; (ireen t,2 ; f lyamson 47 : XED 

Suppl., Bite, 16; Taylor 15. 


3. Once bitten, twice shy. Apperson 468; Green 29; Ox- 
ford 474-5. 

Black. As plain as black and white. Cf. Apperson 53. black 
(3) ; Oxford 47- 

Blacksmith. Like a blacksmith with a white apron. Apperson 
53 : It is much like a blacksmith with a white silk a])ron ; 
Poor Richard 124: What's proper is becoming: see the 
blacksmith with his white silk apron ! 

Blazes, i. As cold as blue blazes. Howell Vines, The Green 
Thicket World (Boston, 1934) 149. Cf. Whiting 244-5. 

2. As hot as blazes (2). Berrey 33.7; Partridge 408. Cf. 

Whiting 244. 

3. As hot as blue blazes. Hardie 469. 

Blicksens. i. As cold as blicksens (blitzen). Berrey 33.8 
(blixens) ; Woofter 351 (blixens). 
2. As hot as blicksens. Hanford 167 (blixum). 
Blind (man), i. A blind man needs no looking glass. Cundall 
84: Hislop 14. Cf. Apperson 54; Fuller i (18). 

2. A blind man should not judge of colors. Apperson 54; 

Oxford 51; T M80. 

3. If the blind lead the blind both shall fall into the ditch. 

Apperson 56; Hyamson 51 ; Oxford 51 ; T B452. 

4. In the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king. Apper- 

son 342 ; Oxford 338 ; T E240 ; Woodard 34. 

5. Like a running blind man. Cf. Christy i, 85 : Blind men 

must not run. 

6. None so blind as those who won't see. Apperson 55 ; 

Bradley 62 ; Oxford 50 ; T S206. 
Blood. I. As red as blood (3). Apperson 526; Oxford 535; 
Taylor 56; T B455 ; Wilstach 315. 

2. Blood is thicker than water. Apperson 56 ; Bradley 62 ; 

Oxford 51-2. 

3. Blood will tell. Bradley 62. 

4. As nuich blood as a turnip. No more blood than a turnip 

(4). You can't get blood out of (from) a turnip (5). 
Apperson 56; Bradley 62; Green 36; Hardie 472; Tay- 
lor 15; TB466. 
You can't git blood out of a turnip, ])ut you can get the 
turnip. [The second part is written in on the type- 

Blow. Uon't blow what won't burn. Hoffman 202 : Was net 
brent branch mer net blo'sa. 

Blue. .\s true as blue. Cf. Apperson 648, truf blue; Uerrey 
434.4, 861.5; Hardie 472; Hyamson 54; NI-T) F,lue, le, 
6b ; Oxford 672 ; Partridge 69 ; T T542. 

I' R () \' K R B S 373 

Board, i. As stiff as a board (2). Wilstach 388. 
2. Lyin' on the coolin' board. Berrey i 17.6. 

Boats. Little boats [should] stay near shore. Beckwith 104: 
Small boats keep near the shore ; Bradley 82 ; Cundall 
20 (as I'eckwith) ; Poor Richard 138: Great estates may 
venture more; little boats must keep near shore; Way 
to Wealth 415. Ct. Christy i, 91 ; Nicolson 177. 

Body. He who kills his own body works for the worms. Hearn 
12: Qa. qui touye son lecorps travaille pour leveres 

Boil. As sore as a boil. Berrey 130.33, 284.8. 

Boiler factory. As noisy as a boiler factory. Wilstach 275 : 
Noisy as a boiler-shop. 

Bone. I. As dry as a bone (5). Apperson 168; Berrey 
276.9. cf. 95.7. 98.2, 105.7; Cireen 19; Hardie 467; 
Hyamson 124; Partridge yy; Taylor 29; T B514; Wil- 
stach 105. 

2. Bones don't mourn. See Tooth (3) below. 

3. He'll never make old bones. 

4. To pick [a] bone (quarrel). Apperson 59-60; Berrey 

338.3-5- 348.5 ; Hardie 472 ; Hyamson 57 ; Oxford 55 ; 
T B522. 

5. What is bred in the bone will never get out of the flesh. 

Apperson 66; Bradley 63; Green 34 (will come out in) ; 
Oxford 63 ; Taylor 16; T F365. 

Book. I. Books don't tell everything. There's more than 
what is in books. Cf. Christy i. 93 : Books don't tell 
when de bee-martin an de chicken-hawk fell out (Ameri- 
can Negro) ; J. C. Harris, Told by Uncle Remus 
(N. Y., 1905) 232: den you got de idee dat ol' man 
Remus know sump'n n'er what ain't down in de books? 
2. Read him like a book. DAE Book, 3b; Oxford 534; 
Taliaferro 257. 

Boot. I. As crazy as a boot. 

2. As easy as pouring water from a boot with the directions 
written on the heel. T. M. Pearce. "The luiglish Prov- 
erb in New Mexico." California Folklore Quarterlx, v 
(1946) 353: He was so dumb he couldn't pour beer out 
of a boot if the instructions were written on the heel. 
Cf. Frederick Wakeman, The Hucksters (N. Y.. 1946) 
150: I was a young, dumb kid. hot out of Princeton, 
and not smart enough to pour piss out of a boot. 

Bore chinch. As hot as a bore chinch. 

Born. As sure as you are born (2). Nb^D Sure, B 4a. quot. 
c 1650. 


Borrowing. He that goes a-borro\ving goes a-sorrowing. Ap- 
person 61 ; Hradley 63; T B545 ; Way to Wealth 415. 

Bottle. You can't tell what's in a bottle by the label. Olive 
E. Clapper. Washington Tapestry (N. Y., 1946) 99: 
Labels do not always accurately describe the contents of 
the bottle. 

Bottom, I. He who is at the bottom can fall no lower. Cf. 
Apperson 363 : He that lies on the ground can fall no 
lower ; Oxford 365 ; T G464. 
2. Scraping on the bottom of the meal bin is mighty poor 
music. Champion 629 (356) : The bottom of the meal- 
box makes mighty poor music (American Negro). 

Bow. I. Bent like a bow. The hnage of Ipocrysy, in Poetical 
Works of John Skelton, ed. after A. Dyce (Boston, 
1856) II, 390. 
2. Long bow (2). Berrey 316.4; Green 33; Hyamson 225; 
Oxford 380; Partridge 86, 491. 

Boy. I. A lazy boy makes a smart man. Cf. Cheviot 336: 
The lazy boy makes a stark auld man ; Nicolson 334 : A 
lazy youth will make a brisk old man. 

2. A smart boy makes a lazy man. 

3. As proud as a boy with a new toy. Cf. Wilstach 303 : 

Proud as a boy with a brand-new top. 

4. Like the boy the calf ran over. Richard M. Johnston, 

Old Times in Middle Georgia (N. Y., 1897) 95 : Do? 
why, they was both in the sitooation of the fellow the 
calf runned over. They was both of 'em speechless, 
and had nothin' to do nor say ; J. N. Tidwell, "A Word- 
List from West Texas," PADS 11 (1949) 13. 

Brain. An idle brain is the devil's workshop. Apperson 321 ; 
Bradley 69; Hardie 464; Oxford 312; T B594. 

Branch. There is something dead up the branch. Hanford 
176 (Missouri). 

Brass, i. As bold as brass (2). A])person 59; Berrey 299.5, 
351.7; Hyamson 56; Partridge 75; Wilstach 28. 
2. As brazen as brass (2). Green 18. 

Bray. As hot as Bray's love. 

Bread. 1. P.reafl is the staff of life. I'errev 91.7 ; Oxford 61 • 
T BO 1 3. 

2. Bread of (k'i)endence is bitter (MS better) food. Davi- 

doff 92. 

3. Butter your ])read. 

4. Don't fall oul witli vdur bread and butter. Cf. .Apperson 

518: To (iuarrel with one's bread and butter; Berrey 


294.2; Hvamson 62; NKD Su])])!., Bread and butter, 2; 
Oxford 528. 

5. First bread and tben tbe bride. Cbampion 23<S (4) : 

First think of bread and then of the bride (Norwegian). 
Cf. Apperson 26: Better a barn filled than a bed; Ox- 
ford 205 : Vwst thrive and then wive. 

6. He is eating his white bread now. (Said of a person 

living at his ease and comfort, whose fortune may be 
worse later.) F>radley 63 ; Green 24 (verbatim) ; North- 
all 16. Cf. Apperson 64; ("hami)ion 153 (654) (French) ; 
Oxford 167. 

7. He knows on which side his bread is buttered. Apperson 

64; Hyamson 62; Oxford 346; Partridge 90; Tavlor 16; 

T S425. 
Bread tray. A dirty bread tray tells of a wasteful wife. 
Breakfast. Sing before breakfast, you cry before supper. 

A])person ^y;^; Green 25; Hyatt 149; Oxford 591; T 

Mi 176. 
Breeches. i. Caught with the breeches down. Caught with 

the britches down. Emmett Gowen. Old Hell (N. Y., 

1937) 56- Cf. Berrey 167.7. ^7^-3 (pants). 

2. He lent his breeches but cut ofi the bottoms. National 

Proverbs: Ireland 11: If you give the loan of your 
breeches, don't cut ofif the buttons. Cf. Joyce 115: If 
you give away an old coat don't cut ofif the buttons. 

3. She wears the breeches in that family. Apperson 66 ; 

Berrey 220.5, 446-15; Hyamson 62; NED Breech, 2; 
Oxford 697 ; Partridge 91 ; T B645. 

4. Don't get too big for your britches. Too big for his 

breeches. Allison 99; Berrey 301.3.5; Green 34; Talia- 
ferro 47, 95 ; Woodard 34. 

Breeze, i. As free as the breeze. \\'ilstach 159. 
2. As gentle as the breeze. \\'ilstach 171. 

Brick. I. As hard as a brick. WihtSich ig;^; Yaukee Phrases 


2. As heavy as a ton of bricks. 

3. As solid as a brick. 

4. Fell like a ton of bricks. Irvin S. Cobb. Murder Day by 

Day (Indianapolis, 1933) 156. 

5. Swims like a brick. Partridge 92. 

6. You can't make bricks without straw. Hvamson 63; 

Oxford 64 ; T B660. 
Bridge. Never cross a bridge until you get to it (4). Apper- 
son 123; Bradley 63; Hardie 462; ( )xford 119. 


Bridle. Put a bridle on yer tongue. Cf. Apperson 67 : A bridle 
for the tongue is a necessary piece of furniture. 

Brier, i. As sharp as a brier (2). DAE Brier. 2; Wilstach 
2. As smart as a brier (2). Atkinson 88. 

Broad. It's as broad as it is long. Apperson 68-9 ; Green 26 ; 
Hyamson 64; Partridge 94; Taylor 17 ; T B677. 

Bronco. Buck like a bronco. Bond 46. 

Broom, i. A new broom sweeps clean (4). Apperson 443: 
Berrey 867.3, cf . 854.8 ; Bradley 64 ; Hardie 461 ; 
Hyamson 250; Oxford 450; Taylor 17; T B682. 
A new broom sweeps clean, but an old brush knows the 
corners. Beckwith 87 : New broom sweep clean, but de 
old broom know de corner; Champion 158 (165) : An 
old broom knows the corners of the house (German) ; 
Cundall 21 (as Beckwith) ; Franck 108: New broom 
sweep clean, but ole one fine de corner. Cf. Collections 
Relating . . . to Montgomeryshire, xi (1878) 311 (416) : 
but it's the old one that picks out the dirt. 

2. As stiff as a broom. 

3. Jump the broom (get married) (2). Thinks I orter be 

ready to jump the broom when he whistles (i.e.. marry 
him). Broom-jumping day (wedding-day). Berrey 
359.4; Hyamson 206; Oxford 66-7; Partridge 96. cf. 
48. besom, 474, leap. 

Brother. He sticks closer than a brother. He sticks to her 
tighter than a brother. Hardie 471. 

Buck (1). Haven't seen you since Buck was a calf. See 
Hector below. 

Buck (2). I. As strong as a buck. Cf. DAE Buck, n^ ic: 
Hearty as a buck. 
2. As wild as a buck (2). Apperson 686; T B692 ; Wil- 
stach 476. 

Bucket. Kick the bucket (3). Apperson 339; Berrey 1 1 7.1 i.i 8; 
Hyamson 208; Oxford 334; Partridge 100; Taylor 17. 

Buckle. Make buckle and tongue meet. Green 2^ ; NED 
Suppl.. Buckle, lb; Taliaferro 249. Cf. Apperson 70-1 
(thong) ; Oxford 67; T B696. 

Bug. I. As snug as a bug in a rug. Apperson 585; Berrey 
279.8 ; Hardie 468 ; Oxford 602 ; Wilstach 367. 

2. As warm as a bug in a rug. Cf. Berrey 37.12: Cute as 

a bug in a rug. 

3. Let me put a bug in your ear (warn). .Mlison 98; Ber- 

rey 197.6, 202.6, 206.5; Hardie 466. 

P K O V K R B S 377 

4. Like a hug aryuing with a chicken. Cf. Heckwilh 26: 

Cockroach neher in de right befo' fowl; Chenet 131: 
Ravete pas jam gangnin raison douvant poules ; Cham- 
pion 545 (19) : In a court of the fowls the cockroach 
never wins his case (Kongo, Africa) ; Franck 99 (as 
Beckwith) ; Hearn 33: Ravette pas jamain tini raison 
douvant poule (llearn notes that he found this proverb 
in all the Creole dialects which he examined) ; J. Mel- 
ville and F. S. Herskovits, SHrinaui Folk-Lorc (N. Y., 
1936) 461 (57) : I am cockroach, the hen will never 
say 1 am right; Parson, Antilles 459 (34)- 

5. When bugs give a party they never ask the chickens. 

Beckwith 25 : Cockroach mek dance him no axe fowl ; 
Chenet 130: Quand ravetes danser, yo pas jam invite 
poules; Cundall 30 (as Beckwith); Franck 99 (as 
Beckwith) ; H. M. Finlay, "Folklore from Eleuthera, 
Bahamas," Journal of American Folklore, xxxviii 
(1925) 294; Parsons, Antilles 457: When cockroach 
give party he no ax fowl (Trinidad), 464: When cock- 
roach hab dance, him no ax fowl (Granada). Cf. Fuller 
116 (3871): Pheasants are fools, if they invite the 
hawk to dinner. 

Buggy whip. A buggy whip can't take the place of corn. 
Champion 622 (61) : The buggy whip can't make up for 
light feed in the horse-trough (American Negro). Cf. 
Blakeborough 242 : Mair kindness, less lip. Mair corn, 
less whip ; Davidoff 206 : \\'hip the horse with oats, not 
with a whip (Yiddish). See Currying below. 

Bull. I. As awkward as a bull in a china shop (2). Apper- 
son '/2\ Hardie 470; Hyamson 66; NEL) Bull, ic; Ox- 
ford 68; Wilstach 12. 

2. As hard as a bull's horn. Cf. Apperson 284-5 : As hard 

as horn. 

3. As strong as a bull. Wilstach 395. 

4. Bellow like a bull. Oxford 33; Wilstach 17. 

5. Take the bull by the horns (6). Apperson 72; Berrey 

208.2, 256.6; Hardie 471 ; Hyamson 336; Oxford 641 ; 
Taylor 17. 
Bullace. As bright as a bullace. Nh2D liullace, 1. cpiot. c 1430. 
Bullet. I. As hard as a bullet. Green 19. 

2. As swift as a bullet. NED Swift, i, quot. a 1593. 
Bump. I. As useless as a bimip on a log. 

2. Like a bump on a log. DAE Log. 3b; Green T^y \ Hardie 
471. See Knot (2) below. 
Business, i. Business before pleasure. Bradley 64. 


2. Everybody's business is nobody's business. Apperson 

187; Bradley 64; NED Business. 11, quot. 1709; Oxford 
i79;TB746, W843. 

3. ]\Iind your own business. Oxford 425; T B752. See 

Household below. 
Butcher. As fat as a butcher. 
Butter. I. As fat as butter. Apperson 205; Berrev 39.12; 

Green 23 ; Oxford 193 ; T B767 ; \\'ilstach 135. 

2. As yellow as butter. Dorothy Erskine, The Crystal Boat 

(N. Y., 1946) II. Cf. Apperson 53: Blake" (yellow) 
as butter. 

3. Melted like hot butter. Cf. Lean 11, 790: To melt like 

butter in a sow's tail ; T B776. 

4. So sweet butter wouldn't melt in her mouth. Apperson 

74-5; Hardie 469; Hyamson 68; Oxford 136; Partridge 
115; Taylor 18 ; T B774. 

Butter-ball. i. As fat as a butter-ball (4). Allison 95 ; Brew- 
ster 261 ; NED Suppl., Butter-ball, i. 
2. As round as a butter-ball. J. C. Harris, Uncle Remus and 
His Friends (Boston, 1892) 14-5. 

Butterfly. As gay as a butterfly. Green 23; Wilstach 169. 

Button. I. A person that will not pick up a button will not 
pick up a dollar. Cf. Hislop 152: He that wina lout 
and lift a preen will ne'er be worth a groat. 

2. As bright as a button. Hardie 467; Yankee Phrases 115. 

3. As round as a button. The Whimsical Jester (London, 

1784) 83. 

4. As slick as a button. Atkinson 89; Berrey 317.6. 
Button hole. Take one down a button hole lower. Apperson 

618; NED Button-hole, ib; Oxford 640; Partridge us; 

T P181. 
Buy. Better buv than borrow. Apperson 42 ; Oxford 39 ; T 

Buzzard, i. As ragged as a buzzard. Green 20. 

2. As sick as a buzzard. 

3. Stinks like a buzzard. Cf. Bond 54 : To smell like a 

buzzard; G. W. Harris 171: I b'leve theyse [buzzards] 
not blam'd fur enything much, only thar stink. 

4. Vomit like a buzzard. Cf. B. A. Botkin, Lay My Bur- 

den Down (Chicago, 1945) 56: Yes sir. that's the way 
turkey buzzards does. They pukes on folks to keep 
them away, and you can't go near 'cause it he's so nasty. 
Buzz saw. Snores like a buzz saw. Cf. J. C. Harris. Nights 
with Uncle Renins (Boston, 1883) 331: sno'in lak a 


By-gones. Let by-gones I)e hy-gones. Apperson 76; Bradley 
64; Hyamson 69; Oxford 74; T B793. 

Cake. I. As good as cake. 

2. You cannot eat your cake and have it too (2). Apperson 

178; Bradley 64; Hardie 465; Hyamson 70; (3xford 
167 ; T C15. 

3. Your cake is dough (2). Apperson ']'] \ Berrey 219.7, 

336.5; DAE Cake, 3a; Hyamson 70; Oxford 75; Part- 
ridge 120; Taliaferro 117, 127; T C12. 
Calf. I. Bawls like a calf. P>ond 46; Taliaferro 205 (blated). 

2. I'd rather be a sedate calf than a frisky cow. 

3. If you want to catch the calf, give a nubbin to the cow. 

C'f. Apperson 135, daughter (2). 

4. Looks like a dying calf. Bond 46. 

5. Sound like a dying calf. 

Calm. Always a calm before a storm. The calm before the 
storm, .\pperson 604; Taylor 18; T C24. 

Camel. As thirsty as a camel. Bond 51. 

Candle, i . C"ouldn't hold a candle to him. Hyamson 72 ; 
Oxford 298: Partridge 123; Taylor 18; T C44. 

2. Get the candles lighted before you blow out the match. 

Cundall 26 : See de candle light bef o' you blow out de 

3. He burns the candle at both ends. Never light the candle 

at both ends. Apperson 78; Berrey 313.2 ; Hyamson 72 ; 
Oxford 70 ; Partridge 1 1 1 ; T C48. 

4. W^ill neither work nor hold the candle. Green 35. Cf. 

Apperson 134. dance (13): Hislop 124, 335: He'll 

neither dance nor baud the candle. 
Candle maker. The candle maker's death is dark. The death 

of a candle maker is dark. Cf. Champion 618 (3) : He 

who has to die dies in the dark, although he sells candles 

Candy. As easy as taking candy from a baby. Berrey 255.4; 

Partridge, Suppl. 993. 
Cannon. As loud as a cannon. Taliaferro 161, 163 (louder 

Canoe. Paddle your own canoe (2). Let him paddle his own 

canoe (2). Berrey 217.3; Bradley '?>'/; Hardie 464; 

Hyamson 261 ; Partridge 124. 600: Taylor -,2. 
Cap. I. If the cap fits wear it. Apperson 81 ; Bradley 91 ; 

Hyamson 73: Oxford 77-8; Taylor 18; Woodard 35. 

See Shoe (8) below. 


2. Set his cap. Berrey 354.4, 358.4 ; Hyamson 73 ; Oxford 
576; Partridge 125. 

Carcass. \Mieresoever the carcass is there will the eagles be 
also. Apperson 81 ; Matthew 24 : 28 ; Oxford 78 ; Poor 
Richard 69 ; T C73. 

Care. i. Better take care before take care comes. Portia 
Smiley, "Folklore from Virginia, South Carolina, Geor- 
gia, Alabama, and Florida," Journal of American Folk- 
lore XXXII (1919) 375: Better take kyare 'fo' take 
kyare come (South Carolina). 

2. Care and sorrow turn a black head white. Fergusson's 

Scottish Proverbs, ed. Erskine Beveridge (Scottish Text 
Society, Edinburgh, 1924) 27 (324) : Cair and sorow 
maks ane soon auld like; T C82. Cf. Christy i, 123: 
Many cares make the head white (M. Greek). 

3. Care killed the cat. Apperson 82; Bradley 64; Hardie 

462; Oxford 7^; T C84. 

Carpenter, i. The worse the carpenter the more the chips. 
Bohn 328: Hoe slimmer timmerman hoe meerder 
spaanders. Cf. Thomas Coryat, Crudities (Glasgow, 
1905) I, 407 : The best carpenters make the fewest chips ; 
Fuller 74 (2467) : He's not the best carpenter that 
makes the most chips; Kelly 146; Lean iii, 484; T C93. 
2. You may know a carpenter by his chips. Apperson 82. 

Carrion. Where the carrion is there will the buzzard (crow) 
be (2). Cundall 74: Wha' you see carri'n. crow da dey; 
Hearn 27: Ou y'en a charogne, y'en a carencro (Loui- 
siana) : Edward Ward, Satyrical Reflections on Clubs, 
Works, V (London, 1710) 172: Where should the Crows 
come but where the Carrion's to be found? 

Cart. He puts the cart before the horse (7). Apperson 83; 
Bradley 79; Hardie 469; Hyamson 76; Oxford 80; 
Partridge 130; Taylor 19; T C103. 

Cartbody. An empty cartbody rattles most. See Wagon (2) 

Carter. As many as Carter had oats (2). This may be used 
in other states as it is here to denote a large number of 
anything. Carter is pronounced here c'yarter. (Thomas 
Smith, writing from Palmyra, Va. ) — Carter's oats. This 
is a local phrase and comes from the fact that Carter 
had all of his oats destroyed in a storm. Thus, to have 

more than Carter had oats, is to have none at 

all. (Madge Colclough.) — He's got more money than 
Carter had oats. Payne 297: Carter's oats, . . . usually 
in expressions of exaggerated comparison. "We had 

P R O V E R B S 381 

more whiskey than Carter had oats." The story goes 
that Carter of (leorgia in hragging of the yield of a 
certain oat-held, claimed that tlie oats were so thick that 
he had to move the fence to find room to stack the 
hundles ; V. Randolph, "A Word-List from the Ozarks," 
Dialect Notes, v. part ix (1926) 401: More'n Carter 

had oats V very large (juanlity ; Publications oj 

the Folklore Society of Texas, 11 (1923) 15 (Texas, 
nsed of a large c|uantity). 
Cat. 1. A cat has nine lives. Apperson 85; llyamson 251 ; 
Oxford 83 ; Partridge 562 ; T Ci 54. 

2. A cat will always light on its feet. Apperson 86. cat 

(31) : Oxford iiz. 

3. Act like a cat in a gale of wind. Ilanford 155 (Maine). 

4. As agile as a cat. W'ilstach 5. 

5. As antagonistic as cats and dogs. Cf. Apperson 88, cat 

(64) ; Hyamson 77: Oxford 6; Partridge 132; T C184. 
See (20) below. 

6. As curious as a cat. Berrey 16 1.4. 

7. As dark as a black cat. Eleanor A. Blake, The Jade 

Green Cats (N. Y., 1931) 114. 

8. As gentle as a cat. Thornton 11. 902, tote, quot. 1835. 

9. As many lives as a cat. Oxford t,77 ; Wilstach 254. Cf. 

Apperson 85. cat (2) ; Hyamson 251 ; ( Jxford 377. 

10. As modest as a cat. Cf. Lean 11, 855: As modest as a 

big cat at midnight. 

11. As quick as a cat. Taliaferro 130. 

12. As supple as a cat. 

13. As weak as a cat. Allison 97; Green 34; Wilstach 465. 

14. Cat on wheels. (Person who does something extraor- 

dinary.) See Devil (25) below. 

15. Cats that swim in the ocean all drown. Cf. Apperson 

87 : Never was cat or dog drowned that could see the 
shore; TCi 59. 

16. Don't need it any more than a cat needs two tails. Per- 

kins 122. 

17. Fight like a cat. Georgette Hever, Behold, Here's Poison 

(N. Y., 1936) 263. 

18. He takes to it like a cat to water. T. Downmg. Murder 

on the Tropic (N. Y., 1935) 120. 

19. Looked like a cat with cream. Cf. Apperson 87: Like 

a cat round hot milk and The cat is in the cream pot; 
Oxford 83. 

20. Quarrel like cats and dogs. Cf. Llyamson 5. See (5) 


21. Raining cats and dogs (for raining heavily). Rains like 


cats and dogs. Apperson 523; Berrey 71.16; Hardie 
471 ; Hyamson 'j'j ; Oxford 531 ; Partridge 134; T C182. 

22. See like a cat. Kyng Alisaunder, in H. Weber, Metrical 

Romances of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth 
Centuries (Edinburgh, 1810) i, 218, 1. 5275. 

23. The cat in gloves catches no mice (2). Apperson 87; 

Oxford 83 ; Poor Richard 147 ; T C145 ; Way to Wealth 

24. There are more ways of killing a cat than by choking 

her with butter. Stuart Palmer, The Puszlc of the 
Silver Persian (N. Y., 1934) 50; Woodard 35. Cf. 
Apperson 88 (cream), 494, pig (22); Bradley 64: 
There are more than one way to kill {or skin) a cat. 
There are more ways of killing a cat than by choking 
her with bullets. See Dog (50) below. 

25. When the cat's away the mice will play (7). Apperson 

89; Bradley 64; Hardie 465; Oxford 84; Taylor 20; T 

Catch. Catch as catch can. Apperson 89; Berrey 355.1, 
367.4; Green 21 ; Oxford 85; T C189. 

Catching. It's catching before hanging. Green 32 : There is 
catching before hanging. 

Caterpillar. xA.s fuzzy as a caterpillar. R. P. Bond, "More 
Animal Comparisons," American Speech, iv (1928-29) 

Cattle. Raining like cattle with their horns down. Cf. Han- 
ford 159: Come with one's horns down ; Tennessee Folk- 
lore Bulletin, IX (1943) 10: It will rain like cows fight- 
ing before morning. 

Cellar. As dark as a cellar. Wilstach 80. 

Cemetery. As quiet as a cemetery. 

Chaff. I. As light as chaff. Cf. NED Chaff, ly, quot. a 1340. 
2. Scattered like chaff before the wind. Wilstach 336. 

Chalk. I. As white as chalk. Taylor 67; Wilstach 471. 
2. No more alike than chalk's like cheese. Apperson 90 ; 
Lean 11, 822; Oxford 87; T C218. 

Chameleon. As changeable as a chameleon. R. P. Bond. 
"More Animal Comparisons," American Speech, iv 
(1928-29) 123; T C221. 

Charity, i. As cold as charity. Apperson 106; Berrey 276.9; 
Green 18; Oxford loi ; T C249; Wilstach 61, 505. 
2. Charity begins at home. Ai)person 91-2; Bradley 65: 
Hardie 462; Oxford 88; T C251. 


Cherry, i . As red as a cherry. Apperson 526 ; T C277. 

2. l.ips like cherries. W'ilstach 236, 237. 
Cheshire cat. (irinning like a Cheshire cat. Apperson 94; 
Uerrey 278.10; CJreen ^2; Hyamson 82; Oxford 267-8; 
I'artridge 145; W'ilstach 188. 
Chick. As downy as a chick. Snapp 70 (252). 

Chicken, i . .As (fuare as a chicken hatched in a thunder 
storm (2). 

2. As tender as chicken. IJerrev 265.4 (a) ; Green 31 (a) ; 

Lean 11, 882 (a) ; T C287(;i). 

3. As warm as a chicken in a hasket of wool. See Hen (6) 


4. As young as a spring chicken. Cf. DAE Spring chicken, 


5. Chickens come home to roost. Bradley 65 ; Green 21 ; 

Hardie 462. Cf. Apperson 130; Berrey 56.3; Oxford 
124-5; Taylor 21. See Curses and Trouble (6) below. 

6. Don't count your chickens before they are hatched. Ap- 

person 95 ; Bradley 65 ; Hardie 462 ; tiyamson 99 ; 
Oxford 112; Partridge 146-7; T C292. 

7. Like a picked chicken in a rain storm. 

8. Runs around like a chicken with its head cut off. Ber- 

rey 266.5, -•^4-4; W'oodard 41. 
Child. I. A burnt child dreads the fire (6). Apperson y^; 
Bradley 65 ; Hardie 461 ; Oxford 70; Taylor 21 ; T C297. 

2. As innocent as a child. Lean 11, 844; Wilstach 216. 

3. Children and fools tell the truth (3). Apperson 96, cf. 

22=,: Bradley 76; Oxford 92; Taylor 21 ; T C328. 

4. Children repeat what their parents say. Cf. Apperson 96 : 

What children hear at home soon flies abroad, 95 : The 
child says nothing but what it heard by the fire ; Oxford 
91, 92;TC300. 

5. Children should be seen and not heard (2). Apperson 

96; P>radley 65; Oxford 92-3; T M45. 

6. Children thrive better after they are christened. Lean 

II, 117: It is further believed that children will not 
thrive if they are not christened. 

7. Every child is perfect to its mother. Cf. Aj)])erson 473: 

There's only one pretty child in the wc^dd. and every 
mother has it; Bohn 156: Jeder Mutter Kind ist schon ; 
Paige 160: .-\ mother almost always thinks her young 
ones handsomer than any body else's. 

8. It's a wise child that knows his own mother in a bathing- 

suit. Cf. Apperson 697 ; Oxford 717. 

N.C.F.. Vol. I, (26) 


Chimney, i. As black as the back of the chimney. Green 18 

2. Smokes Hke a chimney. W'ilstach 365. 
Chip. I. As dry as a chip (chips) (3). Apperson 168; 

T C351 ; Wilstach 105. 

2. Chip off the old block (3). Apperson 97; Berrey 16.1, 

383.2; Hyamson 84; Oxford 93; Partridge 65; T C352. 

3. He carries a chip on his shoulder. Berrey 348.6.8 ; NED 

Suppl., Chip, 8. 
Chipmunk. As gay as a chipmunk. 
Christmas, i. A green Christmas, a white Easter. Apperson 

98, Christmas (11); Taylor 21-2. 

2. As slow as Christmas (2). Cf. Apperson 99: Coming — 

like Christmas ; Nicolson 366 : Christmas-day will come 
(said of persons long of coming) ; Oxford 104. 

3. I wouldn't have it on a Christmas tree. People say. "I 

wouldn't have such and such a thing" on a Christmas 
tree or as a gracious gift. Bernice K. Harris, Folk Plays 
of Eastern Carolina (Chapel Hill, 1940) 22. Cf. Part- 
ridge 327: Would not have as a gift. See Gift (2) 

Church. As quiet as a church. Cortland Fitzsimmons, No 
Ulfncss (N. Y., 1932) 134. 

Circumstances. Circumstances alter cases. Apperson 100; 
Bradley 66; Oxford 95. 

Clam. I. As close-mouthed as a clam. Wilstach 60. 

2. As talkative as a clam. Cf. D. Q. Burleigh. The Kristiana 

Killers (N. Y., 1937) 116: as gabby as a clam. 

3. As tight as a clam (2). Paul Haggard, Dead is the 

Door-Nail (Philadelphia. 1937) 210. 

Clap. The clap is no worse than a bad cold. David L. Cohn, 
God Shakes Creation (N. Y., 1935) 119: These (vene- 
real) illnesses are regarded as having the transiency and 
triviality of a common head cold. Cf. Partridge 168, 
cold, have a bad. 

Clapper. Her tongue moved like a clapper in a cowbell. Cf. 
NED Clapper, 3, quot. 1599, 4; Oxford 664: Her tongue 
runs like the clapper of a mill. 

Clay. I. As cold as clay (2). Apperson 106; Green 22; 
NED Clay-cold; T C406; Wilstach 61. 
2. Beat clay to make a pot. Cf. Christy i. 150: If the clay 
is not beat, it does not become potter's clay (M. Greek), 
151 : Unless the clay be well pounded, no pitcher can be 
made (Latin). 


Cleanliness. Cleanliness is next to (lodliness. Apperson loi ; 

I-.radley 66; Hardie 462; Oxford 96. 
Clock. I. As regular as a clock (2). Atkinson 90; Hendricks 

2. As steady as a clock. W ilstach T^S^y. 

Clockwork, i. As smooth as clockwork. Cf. Snapp 94 (34) : 
to go like clock work. 
2. Works like clockwork. l<"rank H. Shaw, Atlantic Mur- 
der (.N. Y.. 1933) 17. 

Clothes. 1. A man is not known by the clothes he wears. Cf. 
Bradley 66 ; You can't judge a man by his clothes. 

2. Any clothes will fit a naked man. Gaelic Journal, v 

(1894) y^: Any thing will fit a naked man. Cf. Spence 
213: It's ill ta gi'e a naked man claes. 

3. Clothes make the man. Apperson 13. apparel; Bradley 

66; Oxford 12; Taylor 22, 80; T A283. 

4. Could iron clothes on his coat tail. (W'^orking in a hurry.) 

Cf. B. A. Botkin, Lay My Burden Down (Chicago, 
1945) 226: She went so fast a bird coulda sot on her 
dress tail; Carolina Humor. Sketches b\ Harden II. 
Taliaferro. Foreword by David K. Jackson ( Richmond, 
Va., 1938) 28: away all would go, big and little, Robert 
so fast that his frock-coat tail would stick out so straight 
behind that a brimful tumbler of water could be set upon 
it without danger (jf spilling. 

5. Not worth the clothes on his back. 

Cloud. I. Every cloud has its silver lining. Apperson 572; 
Bradley 66 ; Hardie 462 ; Oxford 98 ; Taylor 22 ; T C439. 
2. Red clouds at night, sailors' delight ; Red clouds at morn- 
ing, shepherds take warning. Apperson 526-7. Cf. T 

Clown. As funny as a clown. Wilstach 166. 

Coal. 1. As black as coal. Apperson 51 ; T C458. 

2. As hot as a coal. Apperson 315 (coals) ; Partridge 408 

(coals) ; T C462 ; Wilstach 204. 

3. As red as a coal of fire. Ricarda Huch, The Perur/a 

Trial, trans. L. Dictz ( N. Y., 1929) 69: as red as burn- 
ing coals. 

4. ]\ves like live coals. Wilstach 117. 

Coat. Cut your coat according to your cloth (3). Apj^ersou 
131; Green 22; Hardie 462 (sail); Hyamsou 90; Ox- 
ford 126; Partridge 161 ; T C472. See Garment below. 

Cock. I. Struts like the cock o' the walk. Hyamson 90; 
XED Cock, 7; Wilstach 396. Cf. Berrey 402.5. 
2. That cock won't fight. r)xford loi. 


Cockle burr. Stick as clost as a cockle burr in a sheep's wool. 

Cf. Atkinson 78: sticking closer than a cockle burr. 
Cold. Feed a cold and starve a fever. Brewster 265. 

Stuff a cold and starve a fever (2). If you stuff a cold 

you'll have to starve a fever. Bradley 66; Oxford 627. 
Colt. I. A ragged colt may make a good horse. x\pperson 

520; Oxford 530; Taylor 23; T C522. 

2. As frisky as a colt. Wilstach 165. 

3. As skittish as a colt. Atkinson 89 ; Bond 46. 

4. As wild as a colt. Green 35. 

5. The wildest colts make the best horses. Apperson 687. 
Come. I. Easy come, easy go. Apperson 365; Berrey 375.3, 

549.6; Bradley '/2\ Green 22\ Hardie 462; Oxford 165; 
Taylor 29; T C533. 
2. First come, first served (3). Apperson 214; Bradley 75; 
Hardie 463 ; Oxford 204 ; Taylor 33 ; T C530. Cf . Bohn 
6 : Au dernier les os ; Lean in, 488 ; Spence 223 : They 
that come last must tak' what's left. 

Communications. Evil communications corrupt good manners. 
Apperson 193; Bradley 73; I Corinthians, 15: 33; Ox- 
ford 180; T C558. 

Company, i. Good company shortens the road. Apperson 
2. Present company is always excepted. NED Suppl., 
Present, i. 

Comparisons. Comparisons are odious. Apperson no; Brad- 
ley 66; Oxford 106; T C576. 

Compliment, sb. Compliments cost nothing. Christy, i, 161 : 
Compliments cost nothing, yet many pay dear for them 
(German); Fuller 33 (1135). Cf. Hearn 25: Merci 
pas coute arien (Louisiana); Hislop 109: Gude words 
cost naething. 

Compliment, vb. Compliment another man's wife and endanger 
your life. 

Conscience. A guilty conscience needs no accuser. A guilty 
conscience speaks for itself. Apperson in ; Oxford 269; 
T C606. 

Cooks. Too many cooks spoil the broth (2). Apperson 640; 
Bradley 67 ; Hardie 465 ; Oxford 665 ; Taylor 23 ; T 

Coon. A coon's age (2). Berrey 1.2.8. 2.12; DAE Coon's 
age; Hyamson 96; Partridge 179; Taliaferro 201. 


Coot. 1. As crazy as a C(K)t (2). Berrey 152.5, 170.7. 

2. As drunk as a coot. Ik'rrey 106.7. ^ f • DAE Cooter, 
lb; Thornton 1. J04, cooter. 

Cork. Float like a cork. Merry Drollery (1661), ed. J. \V. 
I'^bsworth (Boston. Lincolnshire, 1875) 107. Cf. Ox- 
ford 636 : To swim like a cork. 

Corkscrew. As crooked as a corkscrew (2). 

Corn. 1. Eatin' their lonj^ corn. (In best financial period.) 

2. My corn is in the grass. 

3. No corn without chalT and no good without dross. Cf. 

Apperson 460: No wheat without its chafif; Hislop 293: 
There's nae corn without cauf ; Oxford 349 : Every land 
has its laugh (law), and every corn has its chaff (Scot- 
tish) : T L48; Vaughan 69 (493). 

4. You won't git far totin' corn in two half-bushels. 
Corpse. I. As cold as a corpse. W'ilstach 61 : cold like a 

2. As still as a corpse. Jean Giono. Blite Boy (N. Y., 
1946) 23. 

Costly. The costly is the cheapest in the long run. Fogel 35 : 
'S dierscht is immer's wolfelscht. The dearest is always 
the cheapest. Cf. Apperson 257. good cheap, quot. 
1732; Christy i, 36: That which is bought cheap is the 
dearest; Beckwith 96: Ton de long run de cheapest is 
de dearest; Franck 104; T C257. 

Cotton. I. As white as cotton. Tom Powers. Sheba on 
Trampled Grass (Indianapolis. 1946) 14: As white as 
a cotton patch. 
2. That puts me in low cotton. ( For morbidness or de- 
pression.) Woodard 20. 

Cotton stalk. A cotton stalk too close to the weed Will find 
the hoe gives it no heed. Cf. Champion 623 (114): 
Heaps of cotton stalks get chopped up from associati(jn 
with the weeds (American Negro). 

Cow. I. As awkward as a cow. Allison 95; Berrey 258.4.10; 
Bond 46. 

2. As big as a cow. Bond 46; Hendricks JS- 

3. As clumsy as a cow. l>ond 46. 

4. As comely as a cow in a cage. Apperson 118; Ilyamson 

93; Oxford 104; Partridge 185; T C747 ; Wilst'ach 63. 

5. As crooked as a cow's hind leg (2). See Dog (11) 


6. As dark as the inside of a cow's belly. Cf. Partridge 

208 : dark as the inside of a cow. 


7. Cows off yonder have long horns. Victoria Lincoln, 

February Hill (N. Y., 1934) '/2; Joyce 118: Cows far 
off have long horns; Mac Adam 260 (232): Cows far 
from home have long horns ; Nicolson 63 : Far off cows 
have long horns; O'Rahilly 33 (117). See (9) below. 

8. Feed the cow that gives the most milk. 

9. Foreign cows wear long horns. (An old Scottish say- 

ing.) Cf. Bradley 67: Strange cows (stray cows) have 
long tails. See (7) above. 

10. Grows down like a cow's tail. Apperson 119; Green 23; 

Oxford 268; T C770; Wilstach 189. 

11. Like a cow's tail, always behind. Berrey 2.4.15, 8.4; 

Hyamson 100. Cf. Apperson i, aback, 119, cow (29). 

12. Looks like his cow had died. 

13. Many a good cow has a bad calf. Apperson 119; Ox- 

ford 251; T C761. 

14. Now I have a cow and a sheep everyone bids me good 

morrow. Apperson 460; Oxford 181, 580; Poor Rich- 
ard 81 ; T S307 ; Way to Wealth 411. 

15. The cow never knew the value of her tail till she lost it. 

Apperson 119; Oxford 115; T C749. 

16. Wouldn't trust him as far as I could throw a cow (or 

horse) by the tail. Cf. Apperson 72, bull (7), 649, 

trust (5) ; DAE Bull, ib; Oxford 673 ; T T556. 
Coward. Better a coward than a corpse. Hislop 57. Cf. T 

Crab. Live like a crab — all stomach and no head. Cf. Beck- 

with 39 : De reason crab no hab head a because him hab 

too good a 'tomach ; Oxford 590 : He is sillier than a 

crab, that has all his brains in his belly. 
Crabapple. As sour as a crabapple. Berrey 283.6, 284.6; 

Blakeborough 230 ; T C783. 
Crazy. [ ?Not as] crazy as he looks. Cf. Cheviot 161: He's 

nae sae daft as he lets on. 
Cream. As rich as cream. Atkinson 88. 
Creek. As po' as an empty creek bottom. Cf. Blakeborough 

232 : Ez poor ez moor-land. 
Cricket, i. As lively as a cricket (2). Apperson 413. merry, 

quot. 1918; Green 19; Hardie 468; Wilstach 238. 

2. As merry as crickets. Apperson 413; Green 28; Oxford 

420; Partridge 517; T (^82 5 ; Wilstach 259. 

3. As peart as a cricket. Allison 97; Bond 56; Taliaferro 


4. As quick as a cricket. Allison 93. 

5. As smart as a cricket (2). Bond 56: smarter'n a cricket. 



6. As spry as a cricket (-'). I'ond 56. 

7. Chirps like a cricket. Wilstach 53. 

Croesus. As rich as Croesus (2). Apperson 530; Hyamson 

102; T C832. 
Cross-eyed. So cross-eyed that when he cries the tears run 

down his hack. Atkinson 81 ; W'oodard 36. 
Crow. I. As hlack as a crow (4). .\pperson 51; Rerrey 

32.7; Green 21 ; Hardie 466; Hyamson 48; Oxford 47; 

T C844; W'ilstach 20. 

2. As cunning as a crow. 

3. As hoarse as a crow. Apperson 124. 

4. As poor as a winter crow. Cf. J. S. Fletclier, The 

Amaranth Club (N. Y., 1926) 64: as poor as a crow; 
Perkins 130: poorer than a crow in the spring; Wilstach 
297. 298 : As poor as winter. 

5. As straight as a crow flies. W'ilstach 392. 

6. Crows of a feather will flock together. See Birds (14) 


7. She cares no more for him than a crow cares for Sunday. 

Beckwith 76: John-Crow neber care fe Sunday mornin' 
and You no care more bout it dan John Crow care fe 
Sunday mornin'; Cundall Jt, (as Beckwith). Cf. Bond 
47 : To care as much as a cat does about Sunday ; Brew- 
ster 262 : He knows as much about as a hog 

knows about Sunday; Taliaferro 117: I keered no more 
for 'um than a hog does fur holiday. 
Crutch, As funny as a crutch. Atkinson 88; W'ilstach 166. 
Cry. They cry loudest who are least concerned. Those who 

cry loudest are not always the most hurt. 
Crystal, i. As bright as a crystal. Roman Dyboski, ed., 
Songs. Carols, and other Miscellaneous Poems from the 
Baliiol MS. 354 (Early English Text Society. Extra 
Series, ci. London. 1908) 5. 1. 21. 
2. As clear as a crystal (2). Apperson loi ; Hardie 467; 
Hyamson 88 ; Taylor 22 ; T C875 ; W'ilstach 58. 
Cuckoo. As naked as a cuckoo. Apperson 436; Partridge 549. 
Sec Bird (12) above and Jay (1), Jaybird (2), (3) 
Cucumber, i. As cold as a cucumber. Apperson 113. cool, 
quot. 161 5; Hyamson 96; W'ilstach 61. 
2. As cool as a cucumber (4). Apperson 113; Berrey 
269.4; Green 22; Hardie 467; Hvamson 96; Partridge 
178; Taylor 23; T C895 ; W'ilstach 69. 
Cunning. Too much cunning overreaches itself. Cf. Apper- 
son 640: Too much cunning undoes; T C900. 


Cure. What can't be cured must be endured. Apperson 129; 

Bradley 72; Oxford 124; T C922. 
Curiosity. Curiosity killed the cat (2). Bradley 64; Hardie 

Currying, Less currying and more corn. See Buggy whip 


Curses. Curses, like chickens, come home to roost. Apperson 

130; Green 22; Oxford 124; T C924. See Chicken (5) 

above and Trouble (6) below. 
Cush. As soft as cush. Cf. Dx\E Cush : The crumbs and 

scrapings of cracker or meal-barrels, fried with grease 

(North Carolina). 

Daisy. As fresh as a daisy (4). Apperson 235; Green 23; 
Partridge 301 ; Wilstach 162. 

Dance. Those who dance must pay the fiddler. Apperson 133; 
Pearce 241 : The dancer must pav the fiddler ; Vaughan 
174 (1218). 

Dancing master. As polite as a dancing master. Wilstach 297. 

Darning needle. As fat as a darning needle. 

Dart. As quick as a dart (2). Wilstach 308. 

Dawn. ' I. As beautiful as the dawn. Wilstach 15. 

2. Darkest before dawn. Apperson 135; Oxford 129; Tay- 
lor 41 ; T D84. 

Day. I. As bright as day. Hyamson 63 ; T D55 ; Wilstach 33. 

2. As clear as day (2). Apperson loi ; Hyamson 88; 

T D56; Wilstach 56. 

3. As different as day and niglit. Cf. Lean 11, 860: As 

opposite as day and night. 

4. As honest as the day is long (2). Wilstach 202. 

5. As light as day (4). Hardie 468; Wilstach 233. 

6. As lovely as day. Wilstach 246. 

7. As naked as the day he was born. Oxford 442; T B137. 

See World (1) below. 

8. As plain as day. NED Day. B 3. quot. 1883. 

9. As sure as the day. Wilstach 402. 

10. As sure as the day is long. J. T. Farrell, No Star Is 

Lost (N. Y.. 1938) 102, 278. 

11. As true as the day is long. 

12. Come day, go day, God send Sunday (4). (One con- 

tributor adds: "Describes thriftless, shiftless people.") 
Apperson 108; Green 22; Oxford 10^; Partridge 172- 
T D61. 

P R O V K R H S 391 

13. If a fair day take your umbrella. Cf. Apperson 200: In 
fair weather prepare for foul; Oxford 187. 

14 Lay up against a rainv day. Lay up something for a 
rainv day (6). Apperson 523; Berrey 2.1 376.5; 
Hyamson 289; NED Rainy. 2b ; Oxford 532 ; T D89. 

15. Lose a dav, lose a friend. Cf. Clifton Johnson, IVIwt 

They Say in New England (lioston. 1896) 70: Ciam a 
day." and you gain a friend. 

16. Save for the sore-foot day. Gaelic Journal, v (1896) 

187 (S^)' Hislop 199: Keep something for a sair fit; 
^lacAdam 178 (15); Nicolson 223: It's well to lay 
something by for a sore foot; Oxford 331 : Keep some- 
thing for the sore foot. Cf. I'atterson 96; Wood 238. 

17. The better the day. the better the deed. Apperson 45: 

Bradley 68 ; Hardie 464 ; Oxford 39 ; T D60. 

18. The (lav after finds fault with the work of the night. Cf. 

Christv I, 213: The day sees the workmanship of the 
night 'and laughs (M.' Greek); Fuller 166 (5495): 
What is done\v night appears by day; Robert Her- 
rick, Poetical JVorks, ed. F. W. Moorman (London, 
191 5) 20: Faults done by night, will blush by day; 
Vaughan 77 : Scofif not at the light For the deed of the 

Daylight. Davlight can be seen through a small hole. Apper- 
son 136-7. dav; Lean iv. 204; NED Day, B 3, quot. 
1580: Such as could see dav at a little hole; Oxford 

Dead, sb. i. As mute as the dead. Wilstach 270. 

2. As silent as the dead. 

3. Let the dead burv the dead. Bradley 68. 

4. Speak no evil of the dead. Bradley 68 (ill). Cf. Apper- 

son 594; Oxford 611 ; T D124. 

Dead, adj. He's worth more dead than alive. Cf. Apperson 
494: Like a pig. he'll do no good alive; Lean 11. 761: 
Like a churl, no good to any till he be dead; Oxford 
637 : He is like a swine, he'll never do good while he 
lives; Partridge 627; T M1005. 

Dead men. Dead men tell no tales. Apperson 138. cf. 158. 
dog (25) ; P.radlev 68; Hardie 462; Oxford 132; Tay- 
lor 25; T M511. ' 

Death, i. As certain as death. Yankee Phrases \iS- 

2. As clammy as death (2). Wilstach 54. 

3. As grim as death. Wilstach 188. 

4. As inevitable as death. Wilstach 215. 

5. As mute as death. Wilstach 269. 


6. As pale as death (3). Apperson 482; Green 19; Hyam- 

son 262; T D134; Wilstach 282. 

7. As patient as death. W^ilstach 288. 

8. As purple as death. Cf. Robert Bloch, The Opener of 

the Way (Sauk City, Wisconsin. 1945) 295: Weildan 
rested where he had fallen, face empurpled in death. 

9. As silent as death. Apperson 571 ; T D135 ; Wilstach 353. 

10. As slow as death. Berrey 54.5. 

11. As still as death (2). Frederick I. Anderson, American 

Book of Murders (N. Y., 1930) 100. 

12. As strong as death. Wilstach 396. 

13. As sure as death (3). Apperson 611 ; Green 20; Hyam- 

son 333: NED Suppl., Death, 17; Partridge 212, 849; 

T D136; Wilstach 401. 
Deed. i. Deeds, not words. Apperson 141 ; Bradley 68; 

Oxford 135. 
2. Let the deed praise itself. Cf. Oxford 515: Neither 

praise nor dispraise thyself ; thy actions serve the turn. 
Deer. i. As fleet as a deer (2). Bond 51 ; Hardie 467. 

2. As swift as a deer. Bond 51. 

3. Runs like a deer. Oxford 552. 

Delay. Delay is dangerous. Apperson 141-2; Oxford 136; T 

Dependence. Don't put no 'pendance in dead wood. Don't 

put no 'pendance in dead wood or a wind. 
Desert. As dry as a desert. Wilstach 105. 
Devil. I. As bad as marrying the devil's daughter and living 
with the old folks. Apperson 142; Oxford 411; Part- 
ridge 216. 

As crazy as the devil. Berrey 152.5. 

As cute as the devil. Green 18. 

As hot as the devil. Whiting 211. 

As mad as the devil. Whiting 212. 

As mean as the devil (2). Whiting 212. 

As naughty as the devil. 

As quick as the devil. 

As sorry as the devil. 

As ugly as the devil (2). Apperson 658; Hyamson 350; 
Wilstach 439. 

As wicked as the devil. 

Drive like the devil. Whiting 213. 

Feel like the devil. WHiiting 213. 

Fights like the devil. 

Give the devil his due. Api)erson 143; Bradley 68; 
Hyamson 113; Oxford 239; T D273 ; Whiting 205. 

!• R O V K R B S 393 

1 6. Great cry but little wdoI. as tin- devil said when he 

sheared his hogs. "From the ancient mystery play 
wherein the devil is shown in the comic situation of 
shearing a squealing pig. much to the delight of the 
audience. Not sure that it is mitive N. C. Consider." 
[It is not native to North Carolina, nor is the episode 
found in the mystery plays. J Apperson 428, 432 ; 1 lyam- 
son 103; Oxford 263-4; Partridge 196. 396. cf. 532, 
more sauce. 964, wool; T C871. 

17. He and the devil drink out of the same jug. Cf. Kelly 

378: You and he pishes in one Nut Shell; T O17. 

18. He is between the devil and the deep blue sea. Apper- 

son 143; Berrev 256.13; Hardie 470; Hyamson 113; 
Oxford 138; T'D222; Whiting 203. 

19. He swapped the devil for the witch. Green 31. 

20. Like the devil before day. 

21. Looks like the devil. Berrey 38.4; Whiting 213. 

22. Looks like the devil a-horseback. 

23. Room looks like the devil has had a fit in it. 

24. Runs like the devil. Berrey 53.11; Whiting 213; W'il- 

stach 330. 

25. She's a devil on wheels. Whiting 217. See Cat (14) 


26. Speak ( talk) of the devil and he will appear (4). Apper- 

son 145; Hardie 464; Oxford 643-4; Partridge 216; 

T D294 ; Whiting 206-7. 
Speak (talkj of the devil and his imps will appear (5). 

Bradley 68; Green 31. 
Talk about the devil and you'll see his smoke. 

27. The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose. The devil 

can quote scripture. Apperson 145; Bradley 69; Ox- 
ford 138-9; T D230; Whiting 207. 

28. The devil is not as black as he is painted. Apperson 

147; Bradley 69; Hyamson 113; Oxford 141; Taylor 
26; T D255 ; Whiting 207-8. 

29. The devil is old and knows a lot. Lean iv. 117; NED 

Devil, 22n, quot. 1581 : The Proverbe. that the divell 
is full of knowledge, because he is olde ; Oxford 141; 
T D246. 

30. The devil is whipping his wife. If the sun shines when 

it is raining, the Devil is beating his wife. Apperson 
150, devil (III) ; Green 25; Hyatt 2^ (687-9) : Oxford 
532; Parler 80; Partridge 216; Taylor 26 (grand- 
mother); T S973; "A Word List from the South," 
Dialect Notes, v, part 11 (1919) 36 (North Carolina). 


31. The devil knows his own. Cf. Apperson 696: A wise 

man knows his own; Lean iv, 115: The deil's aye gude 
to his ain ; T D245. 

32. The devil places a pillow for a drunken man to fall on. 

Champion 616 (2) (Canadian). Cf. Apperson 146: 
The devil has no power over a drunkard, 168: Drunken 
men never take harm. 

33. The devil to pay and no pitch hot (2). Apperson 148; 

Hyamson 114; Oxford 142; Partridge 215 (deuce), 
216, 611 ; Whiting 217-8. 

34. The devil will take care of his own. Oxford 140; Whit- 

ing 207. Cf. Apperson 146. 149. See (31) above. 

35. \\'hatever goes over the devil's back will have to go under 

his belly. Cf. Apperson 150: What's got over the devil's 
back is spent under his belly; Bradley 69; Oxford 260; 
T D316. 

36. When the devil was sick, The devil a saint would be; 

When the devil got well, The devil a saint was he. 
Apperson 148-9; Bradley 69; Hyamson 114; Oxford 
142; Taylor 26-7; T D270; Whiting 208-9. Most ex- 
amples read monk for saint. 

37. Works like the devil. Whiting 214. 

^8. You might as well eat the devil as drink his broth. Apper- 
son 144, devil (32); Oxford 166; T 0291; Woodard 
36 : Not willing to eat with the devil, but willing to eat 
his broth. 
Dew. I. As fresh as the morning dew. Wilstach 162. 

2. As soft as the dew. NED Dew, i, quot. a 1400; Wil- 

stach 369. 

3. As sparkling as the dew. Cf. Wilstach 377: Sparkling 

like dewdrops. 
Diamond, i. As hard as a diamond. NED Diamond, ib. 
2. It takes a diamond to cut a diamond. Apperson 151; 

Bradley 69; Hyamson 115; Oxford 144; T D323. 
Dick. I. As quare as Dick's hatband which went around nine 

times and wouldn't tie. Apperson 151; Hardie 468; 

Hyamson 115; Oxford 144; Partridge 219. 378; Taylor 

24; Wilstach 308. 

2. As tight as Dick's hatband (5). Berrey 106.7, 37^-7', 

Oxford 144; Wilstach 426. 

3. Dick and the wheel in a tight place. 

Dickens, i. As hot as the dickens. Cf. Whiting 245. 

2. As tired as the dickens. Wilstach 427. 
Die, sb. I. As straight as a die. Hyamson 330; NED Die, 
2f ; Wilstach 392. 

2. As true as a die. NED Die, 2f ; Wilstach 435. 


Die, vb. I. A man can die Init once. Oxford 400-1 ; Taylor 

2. lie tliat dies pays all debts. Api)er.S()n 151 ; .Shakespeare, 

Tciiil^cst. Ill, 2; T D148. 

3. You will die when your time comes and not before. 

Green 36 (^ verbatim). Cf. Cheviot 385: We maun a' 

dee when our day comes. 
Dime. As thin as a dime. Cf. Lean 11. 884: As thin as a 

Dimple. A dimple on the chin. A devil within. Bergen i. 32; 

Cannell 32; Hyatt 141 (2890). 189 (4013) (wart). 
Dinner. i. One thing to run for your dinner and another for 

your life. 
2. The dinner bell's always in tune for a hungry man. 

Champion 624 (153): The dinner-bell's always in tune 

( .\merican Negro). 
Dirt. I. As cheap as dirt (4). Dirt cheap (3). Berrey 

21.14. 351.15; Hyamson 116; Partridge 143; Wilstach 


2. As common as dirt (2). Green 18; Wilstach 64. 

3. As easy as dirt. 

4. As mean as dirt. Dorothy Bennett, Murder Unleashed 

(N. Y., 1935) 117. 

5. As rich as dirt. Cf. Edward Ward, The Wand'ring Spie, 

Part II (London, n.d.) 66: Who gains most Dirt, most 
Riches gathers. 

6. As rotten as dirt. \\'ilstach 327. 

7. As weak as dirt. 

Disease. As well to die with the disease as with the remedy. 

Cf. Oxford 5^8: The remedy is worse than the disease; 

T R68. 
Dish. As easy to lick as a dish. Partridge 253: easy as to 

lick a dish; T D363. Cf. Apperson 362, lie, vh. (3); 

Cheviot 129: He can lee as weel as a dog can lick a dish ; 

Wilstach 108: Easy as for a dog to lick a dish. 
Dishrag. As limber as a dishrag (2). Berrey 35.8; Payne 

346; Woofter 359. 
Dishwater. As common as dishwater. Green 18; Patterson 

Dispositions. Evil dispositions are early shown. 
Ditcher. Eats like a ditcher. Cf. Oxford 197: To feed like a 

farmer ; T F62. 
Do. I. Do as I sav. not as I do. Apperson 154; Oxford 148; 

Pearce 241 ; Taylor 27-8; T D394. 


2. Do it or let it alone. 

3. Do it, then talk about it. 

4. Do or die. Davidoff 90; NED Suppl.. Do, 16. 

5. Never do anything of which you are ashamed. Christy 

I, 165- 

6. When a thing is done it's done. Apperson 468, 625 ; 

Oxford 154; Snapp 103 (35) ; T T200. 

7. You never know what you can do till you try. Oxford 

344-5; Snapp 103 (2,7) '. You can never tell until you've 

Dodo. I. As dead as a dodo. Berrev 233.12, 276.8 ; Hvanison 

2. As extinct as a dodo, ^^'ilstach 116. 
Dog. I. A barking dog seldom bites (2). A dog that barks 

seldom bites. Barking dogs don't bite. Barking dogs 

rarelv bite. Apperson 157; Bradley 71; Hardie 462; 

Oxford 23 ; Taylor 28 ; T B85. 

2. A bull dog in trouble welcomes a puppy's breeches. Par- 

sons, Antilles 464 : \\'hen bulldog hab trouble puppy 
breeches fit e. Cf. Bates 40: Trubble catch man. monkey 
breeches fit him. 

3. A dead dog will not bite. Apperson 1^8, dog (25), quot. 

1667; T D448. 

4. A dog in the manger that neither eats or lets others eat. 

Apperson 160; Hardie 469; Hyamson 11 8-9; Oxford 
151 ; Partridge 231 ; Taylor 28; T D513. 

5. A dog is man's best friend. A man's best friend is his 

dog. Victor Bridges. The Girl in Block ( N. Y., 1927) 

6. A lean dog for a long chase. Bradley 71 ; Green 17. Cf. 

Apperson 356 : A lean dog for a hard road ; Oxford 357. 

7. A living dog is better than a dead lion. Apperson 376 ; 

Bradley 71; Oxford 378; Taylor 28; T D495. •''^ee 
Ass (1) above. 

8. An old dog barks sitting down. Champion 618 (4) 

(Colombian). Cf. Cundall 43: Darg ebber so ole, him 
no forget sidun. 

9. Any dog knows better than to chew a razor. Beckwith 

126: You never see daag nyam [eat] razor; Cundall 40 

10. As cold as a dog's nose (2). W'ilstach 6r. Cf. Apper- 

son 157: A dog's nose and a maid's knees are always 
cold; Nicolson 192: Wind under a sail, and a dog's 
nose, are two of the coldest things ; Oxford 152 ; T D522. 

11. As crooked as a dog's hind leg (8). Apperson 122; Ber- 

p R o V f: R B s 397 

rey 42.3, 311.3; (irccn iS; llardie 4^)7 ; I'artrid^e 231, 
cf . 837 ; \Vilstach y^. Sec Cow (5) al)ove. 

12. As drunk as a dog. Cf. Berrey 106.7: dojj^-drunk ; 

Taliaferro 254. 

13. As faithful as a dog (2). W'ilstach 130. 

14. As humble as a dog. I'ond 44: Koch i, 186. Cf. Lean 

II. 843: As humble as a spaniel. 

15. As hungry as a dog (3). Apperson 318; Uerrey 95.6. 

16. As keen as a hunting dog. 

17. As lazy as a dog. Nicolson 142 (old dog). Cf. Apper- 

son 355 ; Oxford 355 ; Partridge 473. 

18. As many as a dog has fleas. More than a 

dog has fleas. Cf. Hardie 469: full of ideas as a dog is 
full of fleas, 
ig. As mean as a dog. Whitney 205. 

20. As naked as a yard dog. Paul Green, JVidc Fields 

(N. Y.. 1928) 239. 

21. As pleased as a dog with two tails. Apperson 502, cf. 

158, dog (20) ; Green 20 (proud), 29 (proud). 

22. As proud as a dog in a doublet. Apperson 157; Oxford 


23. As shaggy as a dog. Bond 44 (old dog). 

24. As sick as a dog. Apperson 569; Berrey 129.8: Green 

20: Partridge 767; T D440: Wilstach 351. 

25. As thick as hairs on a dog's back. Atkinson 90: Brew- 

ster 267 ; Wilstach 420 : Woodard 43. 

26. As tired as a dog (2). Green t,2 ; Hardie 472; NED 

Dog, 15m: Nicolson 143. 

27. Die like a dog. Oxford 144; I'artridge 219: T D509 ; 

Wilstach 91. 

28. Don't kick a dead dog. William N. Macartney, I'iftv 

Years a Country Doctor (N. Y., 1938) 115. 

29. Enough to make a dog laugh. Apperson 1 59 ; Green 22 ; 

Hardie 470: NED Dog, 15m: Partridge 231; T H673. 

30. Even bad dogs shouldn't bite at Christmas. 

31. Every dog has his day (3). Apperson 159; Bradley 70; 

Green 22 ; Hardie 462; Oxford 151 ; Taylor 28: T D464. 
Every dog has his day and the bitch her evenings. Cf. 
Api^erson 159, dog (41), quot. 1896. 

32. Every dog to his own vomit. See (48) below. 

33. Eollow like a dog. 

34. He leads a dog's life. Berrey 282.^; Hvamson 119; 

NED Dog, I5g. 

35. He stays until the last dog is killed. Cf. Berrey 11.9: 

Until the last cat is hung (to the very end) ; Pearce 230: 
He'll stay until the last dog's hung: Helen M. Thurston, 


"Sayings and Proverbs from Massachusetts," Journal 
of American Folklore, xix (1906) 122. 

36. He who ties a mad dog is Hkely to be bit. Cf. Cundall 79: 

De man who tie mad darg a de right s'mody fe loose him. 

37. If you give a dog a bad (ill) name you had just as well 

hang him (3). Apperson 159; Bradley 86; Green 26 
(verbatim); Oxford 237; W'oodard 36: Give a dog a 
bad name and everybody will want to kick him. 

38. It's a poor dog can't wag its own tail. (First heard in 

Oxford. N. C., from an old German who came to 
America around 1850). Cf. Apperson 313: It is an ill 
horse can neither whinny nor wag his tail; Oxford 316. 

39. Keep a dog tied up too long and he'll lose his nose for the 


40. Let sleeping dogs lie (2). Apperson 578; Bradley 70; 

Hardie 463; Hyamson 319; Oxford 362; T W7. 

41. Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas. Bradley 61 ; 

T D537 ; W'oodard 37. 
Lie with dogs and you'll catch fleas. 
Play with a dog and you'll catch fleas. Cf. Apperson 

159; Oxford 365; Poor Richard 66. 

42. Lies like a dog (2). Berrey 316.3. 

43. Like a sheep-killing dog. Bond 44 (ashamed as a) (to 

look like a). 

44. Like a suck-egg dog. Parler 80 : I dee-double-dare you 

like a suck-egg dog ; Irene Yates, "A Collection of 
Proverbs and Proverbial Sayings from South Carolina 
Literature," Southern Folklore Quarterly, xi (1947) 
198: as shame-faced as a suck-egg dog. 

45. Stinks like a dog. Cf. Samuel Rowlands, Works, ed. 

S. J. H. Herrtage ( Hunterian Club. 3 vols., Glasgow, 
1872-80) II, b, is: Perfum'd as sweet as anv stinking 

46. The dogs follow the man with the bone. O Rahilly 40 

(138) : Keep hold of the bone and the dog will follow 
you. Cf. Apperson 159: If you wish the dog to follow 
you, feed him. 

47. The dog that fetches will carry. Apperson 161 ; Oxford 

1 52 ; Woodard 37. 

48. The dog will return to his vomit. Bradley 70; Oxford 

152; T D455. See (32) above. 

49. The hit dog always hollers. The hit dog is always the 

one that howls. Bradley 71 : The hit dog howls; Smith 
and Eddins 244: The hit dog is always the one that 

50. There are more ways to kill a dog than to choke him 


with l)uttcr. l-.nulley 70; Koch I, 259. Sec Cat (24) 

51. There's no use to have a doo^ and bark yourself. Apper- 

son 162; Oxford 329-30; T D482. 

52. Treated like a dog. H. Footner, Murder Runs in the 

Family (N. Y., 1934) 25. Cf. T D514. 

53. Works like a dog. Hardie 472. 

54. You can't teach old dogs new tricks (4). Apperson 158; 

Bradley 71 ; Hardie 465 ; ()xf(jrd 645 ; T D500. 
Doll. As pretty as a doll. Cf. NED Doll, i. quot. 1578. 
Dollar. I. As bright as a dollar (2). Hardie 467; Wilstach 

As bright as a new dollar. Berrey I48-5-9, I53-2-5: 
W'oofter 349. 

2. As good as a dollar. 

3. As shiny as a new dollar. 

4. As smart as a dollar. 

5. As solid as a dollar. As solid as a silver dollar. 

6. As sound as a dollar (4). Green 20. 
As sound as a silver dollar. 

7. He squeezes the dollar till the eagle screams. Maurice 

Zolotow. The Great Balsauw { N. Y., 1946) 123; Wood- 
ard 43 : He's so tight he holds his money till the eagle 

Don't-care. Don't care keeps a big house. Bates 42 : Don' 
care keep big house ; Beckwith 42 ; Cundall 47. 

Doodle. As drunk as a doodle (3). Cf. DAE Doodle. Doodle 

Door. I. A creaking door never falls. Green 17. Cf. Apper- 
son 121: A creaking gate (door) hangs long: Bradley 
71; Hardie 461; Oxford 118: A creaking door hangs 
long on its hinges. 
2. As wide as a barn door. A\'ilstach 475. 

Doorknob, i . As bald as a doorknob. 

2. As dead as a doorknob (2). Paul Green, Out of the 

South (N. Y., 1939) 154; Phoebe A. Taylor, Death 
Lights a Candle (Indianapolis, 1932) 94. 

3. As deaf as a doorknob. Berrey 139.7. 

Doornail, i. As dead as a doornail (4). .Apperson 137; 
Berrey 1 17.18, 248.6, 276.8.9; Hardie 467; Hyamson 
III ; Oxford 131 ; Partridge 210; Taliaferro 58; Taylor 
26 ; T D567 ; Wilstach 83. 
2. As deaf as a door-nail. Apperson 138; Hvamson in; 
Oxford 131 ; T D567. 

N.C.F., Vol. I, (27) 


Dormouse. As sleepy as a dormouse. Hvamson 120. Cf. 
NED Dormouse, i ; T D568. 

Dose. I. W^ent through Uke a dose of salts. Berrey 53.9.16; 
Partridge 236, cf. 879; "A List of Words from North- 
west Arkansas." Dialect Notes, iii, part 11 (1906) 138. 
2. Works faster than a dose of croton oil. Cf. Berrey 

Dove. I. As gentle as a dove. W. W. Jacobs. Snug Harbour 
(N. Y., 1931) 181. 

2. As happy as doves. Cf. \\'ilstach 192: Happy as a turtle 


3. As harmless as doves. Hyamson 178; T D572. 

4. As mournful as a dove. Bond 54. 

5. As peaceful as a dove. Bond 54. 

6. As white as a dove. Wllstach 470. 

7. Coo like a dove. Cf. NED Coo. i. 

8. Moans like a dove. Wilstach 263. 
Down, sb. As soft as down. Hardie 468. 

Down, adv. Down is not always out. Cf. Snapp 100 (13) : 

To be down but not out ; Taylor 29. 
Draft. Don't miss her no more than a cold draft after the door 

is shut. 
Drake. As poor as a drake. 
Dream. As unreal as a dream. Wilstach 446. 
Drive. Never drive in where you can't turn around. 
Dropping. Constant dropping wears away the stone. Apper- 

son 112: Bradley 72: Oxford 107-8: T D618; Way to 

JVcalth 411. 
Drops. Small drops make a shower. T D617. Cf. Oxford 

405 : Many drops make a shower. 
Drouth. In a drouth all signs fail. Green 26. See Sign (1) 

Drum. I. As empty as a drum. NED Drum, i, quot. 1778. 

2. As hollow as a drum. W'ilstach 202. 

3. As tight as a drum (3). Apperson 633; Berrey 106.7; 

Green 20; Hardie 468; Partridge 243, 885; Wilstach 
425 (drum head). 
Druthers. You can have yer druthers. Berrey 216.3; "Snake 
River (Missouri) Talk," Dialect Notes, v, part vi 
(1923) 206. 
Let him have his ruthers and desires. 
Duck. I. As slick as a duck's back. Bond 49: slick as a 

P R O V F R B S 401 

2. As \vol)l)ly as a cluck. Bond 49 (wabbly). 

3. Flopped like a dying duck. 

4. CJot ni' ducks in a row. (Ready; i)reparc(l lo start out; 

everytbing lined up.) Josepbine I'inckney, Three O'Clock 
Dinner (N. Y., 1945) 70: get bis ducks in a row before 
tbe interview. 

5. It's no sign of a duck's nest seeing a drake sitting on the 

fence. Champion 625 (189) : It is no sign of a duck's 
nest to see feathers on the fence (American Xegro). 

6. Swim like a duck (2). Oxford 636; T F328; W'ilstach 


7. \\'addles like a duck. NED Waddle. 2b; Wilstacb 460. 

8. Walks like a duck. Cf. Roxburghe iv. 526. 1. 30: danc't 

it like a duck. 
Duck-puddle. .\s muddy as a duck-puddle. Green 28. 
Dummern. I lis [ ? Hits] a poor dummern that can't daddy her 

youngun by hits favor. Cf. Fuller 141 (4676) : The 

mother knows best, whether the child be like the father ; 

Kephart 411, where dnnunern is given as a form of 

Dumpling. As round as a dumpling. Lean 11, 869; Wilstacb 

Dungeon. As dark as a dungeon (2). Green 18; Wilstacb 80. 
Dust. I. As drv as dust (2). Apperson 168-9; Hvamson 

124; NED'Dryasdust; T D647 ; Wilstach 105. 

2. Cut the dust. (Go fast.) Cf. DAE Dirt, ib; NED Dirt. 


3. Dust in the wheat and mud in the oats. Cf. Apperson 

26: Sow barley in dree, and wheat in pul (mud); 
Cheviot 290: Sow wheat in dirt and rye in dust; Fuller 
127 (4235) ; Lean i. 414. The North Carolina version 
seems based on a misunderstanding. 

4. He who blows dust will find (for bll ) his own eyes. 

.\pperson 57. blow (8) ; Oxford 53; T D648. 
Dutch uncle. Talks like a Dutch uncle. Berrey 295.2 ; Hyam- 

son 126; Oxford 162; Partridge 251. 
Dyer. Upon the honor of Joe Dyer the Dutchman. ( Csed to 

express surprise.) 

Eagle. I. As bald as an eagle. Bond 54. 

2. As strong as an eagle. Wilstach 395. 

3. As swift as an eagle. Bond 54. 

4. Eyes like an eagle. Cf. NED Eagle-eyed. 

5. He spreads himself like an eagle. Cf. DAE Spread- 



6. Like an eagle among crows. Cf. Christy i. 282 : When 

the eagle is dead, the crows pick out his eyes (German), 
I, 124: The carrion which the eagle has left feeds the 

7. Soared like an eagle. Bond 54. 

Ear (1). I. Deaf in one ear and can't hear out'n the other 
(3)- J- C. Harris 88: I'm de'f in one year en I can't 
hear out'n de udder. 

2. In at one ear and out at the other (2). Apperson 469-70; 

Green 23; Hvamson 126; NED Ear, 3d; Oxford 318; 
T E12. 

3. There are ears on both sides of the fences. Cf. Apper- 

son 163: There's no down without eyes, no hedge with- 
out ears, 210, fields, 296, hedge (3) ; Champion 50 
(180) : Woods have ears and both sides of the fences 
(Irish) ; Oxford 199-200. 

4. Two ears don't mean you hear twice. Champion 625 

( 197) : One has two ears but one never hears the 
word twice (Surinam). 

Ear (2). The heaviest ear of corn hangs its head the lowest. 
MacAdam 257 (188); National Proverbs: Ireland 79: 
The heaviest ear of corn is the one that lowliest bends 
its head ; Nicolson 256 : The heaviest ear of corn bends 
its head lowest; T E8; Vaughan 237 (1653). 

Earl of Hell. As black as the Earl of Hell. (Good, not 
poison.) Partridge 58: Black as the Earl of Hell's 
riding-boots ; Wilstach 20 : Black as the Duke of Hell's 
black riding boots. 

East. East is West, Home is best. Apperson 174; Hislop 84; 
Oxford 165; Snapp 93 (16). Most examples read 
"East or West." 

Eating. As easy as eating. Cf. Paul Green, Wide Fields 
(N. Y., 1928) 254: sHcker n'eating. 

Eel. I. As slick as an eel. 

2. As sleek as an eel (2). xApperson 579, slippery, quot. 

1533; Berrey 257.11 ; Thornton 11, 809. 
As slick as an eel and twice as nasty. 

3. As sHppery as an eel (4). Apperson 579; Berrey 31 1.5, 

317.6; Green 30; Hardie 468; Hyamson 320; Oxford 
597 ; T E60. 
Egg- ^- -^s full of conceit as an egg is full of meat. Green 
19 (verbatim). Cf. Apperson 179: As full as an egg 
is of meat; Hyamson 153; NED Egg, 4b; Oxford 230; 
Wilstach 166: Full of quarrels as an egg is full of meat. 


2. As like as two fried t'g^s. Cf. K\i\) l\i^g, 4I). (|uots. 

161 1, 1638; T E66. 

3. Better an egg to-day then a hen to-morrow. Oxford 37; 

Poor Richard J2 ; T K70. 

4. Don't put all yours eggs in one basket. .Vpperson i(So-i ; 

Bradley yj; Ilardie 462; Hyainsou 128; Oxford 169; 

T k:89; 

Don't put too many eggs in one basket. 
The man who put his eggs all in one basket, should watch 
that basket. Davidoff 115 (]\lark Twain). 

5. He steps like he is walking on eggs. T K91. Cf. llic 

Best oj Science Fiction, ed. Groff Conklin (N. V.. 1946) 
263 : they walked on eggs when the Old Man had that 
look; Hyamson 128: To tread upon eggs; NED Egg, 4b. 

6. So hard up they have to fry the nest eggs when company 

comes. h>y the nest eggs fur unexpected company. So 

triflin' she has to fry the nest aigs when company comes. 

Egypt- I- -^s black as Egypt. As black as Egypt's night. 

2. As dark as Egypt (2). Atkinson 89; \\'ilstach 81. Cf. 

Hyamson 129: Egyptian darkness. 

3. As slow as Egypt. 

Elbow grease. Elbow grease is the best cleaner. I^ll)ow grease 
is the best polish. It needs a little elbow grease. Apper- 
son i8r ; (jxford 170. Cf. Hyamson 129; NED Elbow- 
grease; Partridge 255; T E103. 

Elephant, i. As awkward as an elephant. Bond 51. 

2. As big as an elephant (2). Wilstach iS. 

3. As graceful as an elephant. Bond 51. 

4. Memory like an elephant. Cf. Jane Allen. / Lost My 

Girlish Laughter (N. Y., 1938) 182: An elephant never 

5. Remembers like an elephant. Cf. James W. Bellah. 

Ward Ttcenty ( N. Y., 1946) 47: I'm a rememberer. 
An elephant. 
End. I. Can't see farther than the end of your nose (3). 
Cf. Hislo]) 114: He canna see an inch before his nose. 

2. Make both ends meet. Apperson 392 ; Berrey 376.4. 

378.3 ; (ireen 28; Hyamson 130; Oxford 58; T E135. 

3. Nearly to end of rope. Berrey 117.17, 129.11. 247.4, 

262.3. SS4-2. 936.2; Hardie 471; Nb^D Rope. 4I) ; T 
Ki33- '^ 

4. The end of mirth is heaviness. Cf. I'.ohn t,jj: I let einde 

van de vrolijkheid is het begin van de treurigheid. 
Enough. I. Enough is as good as a feast (4). Apperson 
184-5; Bradley 73; Hardie 462; Oxford 174; T Ei^S. 


2. Enough of anything's enough. Apperson 185 ; Taylor 30; 


3. Well enough is soon enough. Apperson 675, well (19) ; 

T S640. 
Everything, i. Everything happens for the best. Christy i, 


2. Everything in its time. Cf. Apperson 192; Oxford 180. 

3. In everything consider the end. Cf. Christy i, 295 : In 

all undertakings it is necessary to consider the end (La 

Evil. I. Evil fears the light. Cf. Cheviot 144; Taylor 31: 

He that doeth evil hateth the light. 
2. Of two evils choose the lesser. Apperson 654; Oxford 

181 ; Taylor 31 ; T E207. 
Ewe. As drunk as a ewe. 
Exception. The exception proves the rule. Apperson 194; 

Bradley 91 ; Oxford 181-2; Taylor 31 ; T E2i3a. 
Excuse. A poor excuse is better than none. Apperson 22 ; 

Bradley 73; Oxford 19; T E214. 
Experience. Experience keeps a dear school but fools will 

learn in no other. Apperson 195; Bradley 73; Hardie 

463; Oxford 182-3; Poor Richard 116; T E220 ; ]Va\ 

to Wealth 418. 
Eye. I. A hungry eye sees far. Patterson 54; T Mi 88. 

2. As quick as the eye. 

3. As touchous as your eye. 

4. Every shet eye ain't sleep. "Folk-Lore from St. Helena, 

South Carolina," Journal of American Folklore, xxxviii 
(1925) 229: Every shut eye don't mean sleep; Johnson 
161: Ev'ry shut-eye don' mean sleep; Kemp Malone, 
"Negro Proverbs from Maryland." American Speech, 
IV (1928-29) 285: Every shut eye ain't asleep; Woodard 
42 : Every shut-eye ain't sleep, and every good-by ain't 
gone (Negroes). Cf. Bohn 147: Es schlafen nicht alle, 
welche die Augen zu haben. 

5. His eyes are biggern'n his belly (3). Apperson 195; 

Bradley 74; Hardie 472 (stomach) ; Oxford 183; Par- 
tridge 46; Taylor 31 ; T E261. 
Your eyes are bigger than your belly. Green 36. 

6. Keep your weather eye open. Berrey 121.22; NED 

Weather-eye ; Oxford 332. 

7. No eye like the master's eye. Cf. Apperson 196, eye (9) 

(13); Oxford 183; T E243. 

8. When six eyes meet the story is over. Beckwith 121 : 

When six yeye meet, 'tory done. . . . i.e., the entrance 

p R o V i: R B s 405 

of a third person breaks up gossip. Cf. Chenet 15 
(102) : Quatre ges contre, menti caba. Quatrc yeux 
se recontrent, le mensonge finit. 
Eyebrow. The eyebrow is older than the beard. Cundall 49: 
Yeyebrow older dan beard. Cf. Chenet 6 (36) : Babe 
blanche dit "moin vie" souci dit li moins vie passe li. 
La barbe blanche dit "je suis vieille" les sourcils disent 
qu'ils sont moins vieux qu'elle, 114 (804): Souci pis 
ancien passer babe, babe blanche envant li. Le sourcil 
est plus ancien que la barbe, la barbe blanchit avant ; 
H. H. Finlay, "Folklore from Eleuthera, Bahamas," 
Journal of American Folklore, xxxviii (1925) 294: 
Eye winkers older than beard, but when beard come, 
beard grow the longest. 

Face. I. A face that would stop a clock. (That is, repel- 
lant.) Brewster 261 : So ugly her face would stop a 
clock; Green 17 (verbatim). Cf. B. Q. Morgan. "Simile 
and Metaphor : Addenda," Dialect Notes, v, part vii 
(1924) 290: Homely enough to stop a clock; \\'oodard 
43 • ^S^y enough to stop an eight-day clock. 
2. He spits in his own face. NED Spit, 6b, quot. 1639. 

Failures. Three failures and a fire make a Scotsman rich. 
Hislop 305 ; Oxford 654. 

Faith. I. Faith dares, Love bears. Cundall 50: Fait' dare 
eberyting, and lub bear eberyting. 
2. Us got to take a heap o' things on faith, 'cause us ain't 
got nobody's say-so. Cf. T L497. 

Familiarity. Familiarity breeds contempt (2). Apperson 
203; Bradley 74; Green 23; Oxford 190; Taylor 32; T 

Famine. After a famine in the stall. Comes a famine in the 
hall. Apperson 203, cf. 183, England (i); Oxford 4; 
T F50. 

Fart. Like a fart in a whirlwind. No more'n a fart in a whirl- 
wind. Cf. Samuel H. Adams, A. U'oollcoft, His Life and 
His World (N. Y., 1945) 71 : The critic (A. W.) cap- 
tioned his article "Farce in a Gale of Wind." An alert 
proofreader caught it; Berry 30.3: Not amount to a 
belch in a gale of wind. 

Farther. Go farther and fare worse. Apperson 250; Green 
23; Hyamson 161 ; Oxford 241 ; T G160. See Look (2) 

Fate. As sure as fate (3). Berrey 164.4; Green 20; NED 
Sure, adv., 4a; Partridge 894; T h'8i ; Wilstach 401. 


Father. Like father, like son (3). Apperson 366; Bradley 
74; Hardie 464; Oxford 194; T F92. 

Fault. There is none without a fault. Apperson 449 : No man 
liveth without a fault; Nicolson 199: You may go round 
the world, but you'll not meet a man without fault ; 
Oxford 178: Every man hath his fault. 

Feast. I. A feast or a famine. Apperson 553, Scilly ; P. K. 
Devine, Folk Lore of Newfoundland in Old Words, 
Phrases and Expressions (St. John's. 1937) 61 ; Green 
17; Wood 239. 
2. The three feasts due to every man — The feast of bap- 
tism, The feast of marriage. The feast of death. Cham- 
pion 51 (208) (Irish). Cf. Gaelic Journal, xvi (1906) 
167: The day of your being baptised, married, and 
buried ; three most important in one's life. 

Feather, i. As light as a feather (6). Apperson 364; Green 
19; Hardie 468; Hyamson 222; Partridge 481 ; T F150; 
Wilstach 234. 

2. Dives like a feather. 

3. Fine feathers are lifted when the wind blows. Cf. Bige- 

low 19: Ce Iher vent ca venter moune ca ouer la peau 
poule. It is when the wind is blowing that we see the 
skin of the fowl; Champion 578 (17): A single gust 
of wind suffices to expose the anus of a hen (Ruanda, 
Africa) ; Hearn 14 (Trinidad) ; Parsons. Antilles 457 
(8), 463 (144); Cundall 58 (579) (also Haitian and 
Hausa examples). 

4. Fine feathers make fine birds. Apperson 21 1-2; Brad- 

ley 62 ; Hardie 463 ; Oxford 202 ; T F163. 
Fine feathers do not make fine birds. 

5. Like a feather in the breeze. Cf. T F162. 

6. That will be a feather in his cap. Apperson 207 ; Berrey 

243.1, 261. 1, 301. 1, 650.1 ; Green 31 (verbatim) ; Hyam- 
son 140; Oxford 197; T F157. 

7. When you ain't got but one feather in yer piller don't 

pizen yer geese. 
Fence. As ugly as a homemade fence. See Mud fence below. 
Fence rail. i. As long as a fence rail (2). 
2. As thin as a fence rail. Hanford 178. 
Fewer. The fewer the better. Cf. Apperson 428. more the 

merrier; Oxford 433; T M1153. See More below. 
Fiddle, i. As fit as a fiddle. Apperson 217; Berrey 128.3; 

Hyamson 141; Notes and Queries, 192 (1947) 159-61; 

Partridge 272; T F202 ; Wilstach 141. 
2. As sound as a fiddle. 


Fiddle chest. As fine as a fiddle chest. Cf. Thornton i, 316: 

As fine as a fiddle; Yankee Phrases 114- 
Fiddler. 1. As drunk as a fiddler. Apperson 166; P.errey 

106.7; DAE Fiddler, ic; Hyamson 123; Wilstach 105. 

2. As drunk as a fiddler's bitch (4). Apperson 166; Green 

19; Partridge 273; Woofter 353. 

3. As fit as a fiddler. Colin Brooks. The Ghost Hunters 

(N. Y., n.d. [before 1931]) 112. 
Field. Don't neglect your own field to plant your neighbor's. 
Fig. He's not worth a fig. Apperson 456; Berrey 21.3; NED 

Fig. 4; Oxford 200; Partridge 128, 274; T F211. 
Fight. He that fights and runs away will live to fight another 

day. Apperson 211; liradley 74; Oxford 200-1 ; T D79. 
Figures, i . Figures are not facts. Cf . Chenet 57 : ^a qui na n 

comptes pas toujou vre. Ce qui est dans les comptes 

n'est pas toujours vrai. 
2. Figures don't lie. Koch 11, 18. Cf. Willoughby Sharp, 

Murder of the Honest Broker (N. Y., 1934) 13: Fig- 
ures sometimes — yes, usually — lie. 
Finger, i . Dressed like a sore finger. Berrey 89.4 ; Partridge 


2. Don't burn your fingers when you have tongs. Cham- 

pion 51 (218) : Why burn your fingers when you have 
a pair of tongs? (Irish). 

3. Fingers were made before forks, so just crack your whip. 

(First part only): Apperson 212; Oxford 202; Taylor 
33 ; T F235 ; W'oodard 38. 

4. Keep your fingers out of holes. Cf. Lean in, 384: A 

fool oft puts his finger in a hole ; T F472. 

5. My fingers are all thumbs (of a clumsy person). Apper- 

son 212; Green 28 (verbatim) ; Hyamson 143; Oxford 
202 ; T F233. 

6. One finger won't catch fleas. Beckwith 93: One finger 

can't ketch daag-flea ; Bigelow 31: Nion doigt pas sa 
pouand puces; Champion 567 (7): One finger alone 
can't rid itself of lice ( Ndonga, Africa). 570 (15) 
(Nyang, Africa). 590 (12). 594 (105) (Thonga, 
Africa); Chenet 35: Gnou sel doete pas jam tue pou; 
Hearn 38: Yon doegt pas sa pouend pice (Martinique) ; 
Parsons. Antilles 462 : One finger can't catch flea 
(Granada). Cf. Cundall 51 : One finger can' ketch 
louse ; Franck 104. 
Fingernails. A man iiad better ne'er been born. Than have his 
nails on Sunday shorn. Cut them on Monday, cut for 
health, Cut them on Tuesday, cut for wealth. Cut them 


on Wednesday, cut for a letter, Cut them on Thursday, 
something better. Cut them on Friday, cut for sorrow, 
Cut them on Saturday, sweetheart to-morrow. For all 
or part, in various forms, see: Bergen ii. 66; Cannell 
33 ; Clifton Johnson, What They Say in New England 
(Boston, 1896) 58; Oxford 41; Thomas 206: T Nio; 
Whitney 107. 
Fire. i. A fire at one end and a fool at the other. Virgil 
Scott, The Dead Tree Gives No Shelter (N. Y., 1947) 
8 : a straw with a light on one end and a fool on the 
other, that's what he called a cigarette. Cf. Oxford 
208: A fishing rod has a fool at one end and sometimes 
a fish at the other ; Partridge 294 : A fool at one end 
and a maggot at the other. See J. W. Krutch, Samuel 
Johnson (N. Y., 1944) 453. for the ascription of a 
similiar saying to Dr. Johnson. 

2. As brisk as a fire. Cf. NED Brisk, id. 

3. As hot as fire (3). Apperson 315, cf. 338, Kentshire; 

Hyamson 191 ; Partridge 408; T F247. 

4. As mad as fire (2). Brewster 262. 

5. As red as fire (3). Apperson 526; Hyamson 290; T 

F248; Wilstach 316. 

6. Burns like fire. Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melan- 

choly, 3 vols. (London, 1923), iii, 114 (iii, 11, ii, 3). 

7. Fire often sleeps in ashes. Cf. Bohn 181 : Wer Feuer 

bedarf . suche es in der Asche ; T F264. 

8. Like a fire in high grass. 

9. Spreads like fire. Wilstach 380. 

10. That will be a fire when it burns, as the fox said. Apper- 

son 214: Fire, quoth the fox, when he p — on the 
ice; Kelly 184; Lean 11, 744: It will be a fire when it 
burns, quoth the toad ( ?tod) when he s — t on the ice; 
T F263. Cf. E. M. Fogel. Supplement to Proverbs of 
the Pennsylvania Germans (Fogelsville, Pa., 1929) 9 

11. Works like fighting fire. Hanford 169. Cf. Apperson 

711, work (6). 

12. You can hide the fire, but what about the smoke? Cham- 

pion 626 (223) (Jamaican) ; J. C. Harris 151: Youk'n 
hide de fier, but w'at you gwine do wid de smoke? 
Fish. I. As cold as a fish. Wilstach 62. 

2. As crazy as a fish. 

3. As drunk as a fish. Apperson 166; Berrey 106.7; ^ 

F299; Wilstach 105. 

4. As much at home as a fish in water. 


5. I have other fish to fry. Apperson 216; Hardie 469 

(and their tails to butter) ; Hyamson 144; Oxford 207; 
Partridge 279; Taylor 33; T F313. 

6. Like a fish out of water (3). Apperson 216; Hyamson 

144; Oxford 206-7; Taylor 33; T F318. 

7. Swims hke a fish (2). Hardie 471; Oxford 636; T 


8. There are as good fish in the sea as ever were caught. 

There are as good fish in the sea as out of it. Apperson 
216; Bradley 75; Hardie 465; Oxford 206. 

9. To drink like a fish (3). Berrey 102.22. 106.3; Green 

33; Hardie 469; Hyamson 122; NED Drink, 11; Ox- 
ford 157; Partridge 278; T F325 ; Wilstach 102. 
10. Use a small fish to catch a big one. Apperson 580; T 

Fishhooks. As crooked as a barrel of fishhooks. Woodard 36. 

Flash. As quick as a flash (3). Wilstach 308. 

Flattery. Beware of flattery. Cf. Christy i, 354: Beware of 
the flatterer. 

Flea. I . As nimble as a flea. 

2. As skinny as a flea. 

3. As snug as a flea under a nigger's collar (2). Taliaferro 

190 (shirt collar). 

4. As weak as a flea. Cf. NED Flea, ib. 

5. He would skin a flea for its hide and tallow. He'd skin 

a flea fur hits hide and taller. Skin a flea fur its hide. 

Apperson 383, louse; Bradley 75; Koch 11, 42; Oxford 

209, 595 ; Partridge 497- 
Flint. I. As hard as a flint (3). Apperson 284; Green 19; 

T S878: Wilstach 193. 
2. Pick your flint and try again. 
Flitter. As flat as a flitter. Hanford 162: flat as a flitter. . . . 

Flitter means fritter (Indiana), cf. 166: honey-spring 

and flitter tree. 
Floor. As smooth as a floor. Wilstach 366. 
Flounder. As flat as a flounder (3). Apperson 218; DAE 

Flounder. 2; Green 19; Hvamson 146; Oxford 209; 

I'artridge 283; T F382 ; Wifstach 144. 
Flour. As fine as flour (MS flower). The l^cst uf Science 

Fiction, ed. Grofif Conklin (N. Y., 1946) 247. 
Flower, i. As fragrant as a flower. Cf. Wilstach 158. 

2. As sweet as a flower. NED Flower. 3. 

3. As welcome as the flowers in May (7). Apperson 673; 

Hyamson 358; Oxford 211 ; T 1*^390; Wilstach 468. 


4. Like a flower in the hair of a corpse. Cf. Eden Phill- 
potts, Talcs of the Tenements (N. Y., 1910) 176: Like 
a flower on a dung-heap. 
Fly. I . As crazy as a fly in a drum. Cf . Partridge 292 : Like 
a fly in a tar-box. 

2. As thick as flies. Berrey 24.16, 332.9. 

3. Buzzing Hke a fly. Wilstach 41. 

4. You can catch more flies with a spoonful of honey than 

a gallon of vinegar. Apperson 220 ; Hardie 462 ; Tay- 
lor 66 ; T F403. 

Fly paper. As sticky as fly paper. Cf . Wilstach 388 : Sticks 
like fly paper. 

Fly-trap. Mouth like a fly-trap. Cf. NED Fly-trap. 3. 

Foghorn. Voice like a foghorn. B. A. Botkin, Lay My Burden 
Down (Chicago, 1945) 234. 

Folk. Poor folk have poor ways. P^oor folk have poor ways, 
rich folk hateful ones. Pore folk is got pore ways and 
rich ones is got hateful ones. Atkinson 85 : Rich people 
have mean ways and poor people poor ways ; Bradley 88 : 
Poor folks have poor ways, and rich folks damned mean 
ones; D. S. Crumb, "The Dialect of Southeastern ^lis- 
souri," Dialect Notes, 11, part v (1903) 325: Poor folks 
has poor ways. 

Food. Better to be in search of food than appetite. Gaelic 
Journal, vi (1895) 61. Cf. Apperson 506, poor (29) ; 
Bohn 368 : Fattig Aland soger om Maden, den Rige 
om Lyst til at aede den ; Hislop 248 : Poor folk seek 
meat for their stamacks, and rich folk stamacks for 
their meat; Oxford 511 ; T M366. 

Fool. I. A fool and his money are soon parted. Apperson 
222; Bradley 75; Hardie 461 ; Oxford 214; T F452. 

2. A fool for luck (4). E. D. Biggers, Charlie Chan Carries 

On (Indianapolis, 1930) 256; J. C. Harris, Uncle Remus 
and His Friends (Boston, 1892) 154: fool fer luck en 
po' man fer chillun. Cf. /\pperson 224; T F517. 
A fool for trouble. 

3. Any fool can make money ; it takes a wise man to know 

how to spend it. Apperson 223, fool (n). 

4. Answer a fool according to his folly. Apperson 225 ; 

Bradley 76; T F442. 

5. Fool's names are like their faces, Always seen in public 

places. Bradley 75; Snapp 83 (23). Cf. Apperson 
681. white (II) ; Oxford 706; T W17. 

6. No fool like an old fool. Apperson 228 ; Bradley 75 ; 

Oxford 216; Taylor 34; T F506. 


7. Send a fool to the merchant [jur market) and a fool 
comes home again. Apperson 228 ; Oxford 216 ; T l*\S03. 

Ford. Rattles like a "Model 'T' Ford." Cf. Wilstach 549: 
Rattle like a taxicah. 

Foot. I. A going foot always gets something, if it's only a 
thorn (2). Oxford 248; T F563 ; Wilson 187. 

2. Better to die on your feet than live on your knees. 

3. Don't hist one foot till the other's setting flat. 

4. I tuck my foot in my hand and left there. P.errey 

53. 1 0.1 1. '21 7.3; Kephart 412; Nr':D h^oot, 29a; Talia- 
ferro 73 (and walked). 

5. Never complain to the feet when the soul is heavy. 

6. One foot in the grave and the other edging up (2). First 

part onlv: Apperson 470; Berrey 116.6 (and the other 

on a banana peel), 1 17.17. 129.3. u; Hyamson 149; 

Oxford 476; Partridge 295. Cf. T F569. M346. 
Forewarned. Forewarned is forearmed (2). Apperson 230; 

Bradley 76: Oxford 220; Taylor 34; T H54. 
Forgive. Forgive and forget. Api)ers()n 230: Oxford 220; 

T F597. 
Forty. He could dance (sing) like forty (2). DAE Forty, 

2b ; NED Forty, Ab. 
Fox. I. An old fox is hard to catch. Fogel 68: En alter 

fux is haert zu fange. Cf. Apperson 232: An old fox 

understands a trap: NED Fox. re: An old fox is not 

easily taken in a snare; Oxford 470: An old fox is not 

easilv snared ; T F647. 

2. As crafty as a fox (2). T F629: Wilstach 73. Cf. Ap- 

person 338: As craftie as a Kendalc fox. 

3. As cunning as a fox (6). Apperson 232; Green 18; 

Hardie 468 : Wilstach yj. 

4. As red as a fox's ass. Cf. Ilanford 174: Red as a fox's 

tail; Wilstach 315: Red as a fox. 

5. As sly as a fox (4). Green 31 ; Hardie 468; Wilstach 


6. As wise as a fox. Cf. Apperson 688: As wily as a fox. 

7. Dumb like a fox. Robert Bloch. The Opener of the Way 

(Sauk Citv, Wisconsin, 1945) 306. 

8. The old fox is caught at last. Cf. Bohn 72: Ancor le 

volpi vecchie rimangono al laccio ; MacAdam 182 (68) : 
Though the hare be swift she is caught at last; Nicolson 
104: Reynard can't run for ever. 

9. The sleeping fox catches no poultry. Apperson 233. fox 

(11); Hardie 462; Oxford 596; Poor Richard 116; 
T F649; ^^(^y ^0 Wealth 409. 


Free-of-Charge. Old "Free-of-Charge" died long ago. Cf. 

Champion 626 (244) : The mother of "free-of -charge" is 

dead (Surinam). 
Friday, i. Friday is the fairest or the foulest. Friday is the 

fairest and foulest day of the week. Apperson 236-7; 

Hilda Roberts. "Louisiana Superstitions," Journal of 

American Folklore. XL (1927) 186 (981). 
2. Friday night's dreams, on Saturday told, Are sure to 

come true be it never so old. Apperson 236; Oxford 

Friend, i. A friend in need is a friend indeed. Apperson 

237; Bradley 76; Hardie 461 ; Oxford 227; Tavlor 34; 


2. Better make friends when you don't need them. Cundall 

60: Mek fren' when you no need dem. 

3. Everybody's friend, nobody's friend. Apperson 238, 

friend (8) ; T F698. 

4. Old friends and old wine are best. Apperson 465 ; Ox- 

ford 470; T F755. 

5. You look like you'd lost your best friend. Cf. J. C. 

Harris, Told by Uncle Remus (N. Y., 1905) 196: lookin' 

like he done los' all his fambly an' his friends ter boot. 
Friendship. Friendship is a plant that needs watering. Christy 

I. 416: Friendship is a plant which one must often water 

Fritter. See Flitter above. 
Froe. As dull as a froe (2). Atkinson 88; Payne, 308 (frow) ; 

Woodard 37. 
Frog. I . A bull frog knows more about rain than the Almanac. 

Champion 622 (68) (American Negro). Cf. Vaughan 

113 (806): No botanist that ever wrote, Had half the 

knowledge of a goat. 

2. As cold as a frog's foot. As cold as a frog's toes. Cf. 

Snapp 69: Cold as a frog; Wilstach 61. 

3. As fine as frog fur. 

4. As fine as frog's hair. Berrey 4.8, 128.3; Brewster 264; 

Hanford 162; Time, April 22, 1946. 19: At the same 
time a lot of things were picking up — were fine as frog's 
hair; Woodard 38 (excellent) ; Woofter 354. 

5. As scarce as frog hair. Cf. Apperson 239, frog (i) ; 

Fogel 83 : Ropp mol en grotehor. Pull a frog-hair ; 
NED Frog\ ib, quot. 1823. 

6. Croak like a frog. Cf. NED Croak, i, quots. 1595, 1877. 

7. Jumps like a frog. Bond 54. 


Frost. About as welcome as frost on an early bean patch. Cf. 
Apperson 584: As seasonable as snow in harvest; Ox- 
ford 601 : As welcome as snow in harvest ; T S590. 

Fruit. I. Stolen fruits are always sweetest. Apperson 603; 
Bradley 76; Oxford 219, cf. 622; T F779- 
2. The ripest fruit falls first. Bradley 76. 

Frying-pan. Out of the frying-pan into the fire (6). Apper- 
son 240 ; Bradley 75 ; Green 29 ; Hardie 470 ; Hyamson 
153; Oxford 230; J'artridge 304; Taliaferro 129: I'd 
"jumped out'n the fryin'-pan smack inter the fire," as 
the parrabal runs ; Taylor 34 ; T l'"784. 
Out of the frying-pan. 

Gains. There are no gains without pains. You can't have gains 

without pains. Wilson 190. Cf. NED Gain, 2b, (juot. 

Gall. As bitter as gall (3). Apperson 50; Hyamson 47; 

T Gii ; Wilstach 19. 
Game. i. The game is not worth the candle. Apperson 242 ; 

Bradley 76; Hyamson 'J2; Oxford 232; Partridge 123; 

Taylor 18; T S776. 

2. The game is up. Hyamson 155; NED Game, 6b; Par- 

tridge 314. 

3. Stung at his own game. Cf. Taliaferro 237: It is diffi- 

cult to beat an experienced man at his own game ; it 

sometimes happens, however. 
Gander, i. As gray as a gander. Bernice K. Harris, Folk 

Plaxs of Eastern Carolina (Chapel Hill, 1940) 205: her 

eyes is gray as a gander's; Lean 11, 838: As grey as a 

2. As red as a gander's foot. 
Gap. Gap in the axe shows in the chip. Champion 621 (15) 

(American Negro). 
Garment. Cut your garment according to your cloth (5). 

Bradley 66. See Coat above. 
Get. Get while the getting's good. P>errey 58.6; Partridge 41, 

beat it, 339, going's ; Taylor 63, take. 
Get-out. As mean as get-out. .As slow as all-get-out. Berrey 

20.13, 29.4, 53.1 ; Lean 11, 817, as common; NI^D Suppl. 

Get-out ; Patterson ix. 
Ghost. I. As pale as a ghost (2). Green 20; Hyamson 262; 

Wilstach 282. 
2. As silent as a ghost. Wilstach 352. 


3. As white as a ghost. Hardie 468; NED White, ic, 5a, 

quot. 1897; Wilstach 470. 

4. Run from a ghost, you meet a coffin. Champion 628 

(313) : Run from a jumbie (ghost) and you meet up 
with a coffin (W^est Indian). 

Giant, i. As big as a giant (2). Cf. The Laud Troy Book, 
ed. J. E. \\'uffing (Early EngUsh Text Society, cxxi, 
London, 1902) 217, 1. 7367: mechel as a geaunt. 
2. As strong as a giant (2). Cf. Roberts 81 : Love is 
stronger than a giant. 

Gibraltar, i. As firm as Gibraltar (3). E. D. Diggers, Be- 
hind That Curtain (Indianapolis, 1928) 236. 

2. As solid as Gibraltar. Barnaby Ross, The Tragedy of Y 

(N. Y., 1932) 169. 

3. As strong as Gibraltar. Guy Thorne, Tlie Ravenscrojt 

Affair (N. Y., 1924) 121. 
As strong as the Rock of Gibraltar. 

Gift. I. A noisy gift hushes thanks. 

2. I wouldn't have it as a gracious gift. See Christmas (3) 

Ginger mill. As hot as a ginger mill. Cf. NED Ginger, 1, 
quots. 1 601, 181 1. 

Giraffe, i. As tall as a girafife. Bond 51. 
2. Neck like a giraffe. Bond 51. 

Girl. A young girl never quite gets over her first man. Cf . Lean 
I, 474 : Maidens love them that have their maiden-head ; 
The Mysteries of Love & Eloquence, 3'd ed. (London, 
1685) 207: Why doth a chaste woman love him ex- 
ceedingly that had her virginity ? T L478. 

Glass. I. As brittle as glass. Apperson 68; Hyamson 64; 
T G134; Yankee Phrases 114. 

2. As clear as glass (2). NED Clear, 3. quot. 1798: T 

G135; W^ilstach 57. 

3. As smooth as glass. Apperson 582; T G136; Wilstach 


4. As transparent as glass. Wilstach 431. 

Globe. As round as a globe. W^ilstach 328. 

Glove. I. Fits like a boxing glove. ( For poor or too tight fit.) 

2. Fits like a glove (2). Berrey 16.8; Partridge 279. 
Glue. I. As thick as glue. Partridge 875. 

2. It sticks like glue (2). Carter Dickson, The Peacock 
Feather Murders (N. Y., 1937) 34. 
Go. Everything that goes up comes down. What goes up 
must come down. Bradley 72. 


Goat. I. As hot as a mountain goat. Lean 11, 842 : He is as 
hot in love as goats. Cf. NED Hot, 6c, quot. 1604; 
I'artridge 337, goat, play the goat, goats and monkeys; 
T G167; Wilstach 159: Free as a mountain goat. 

2. As much sense as a billy goat. 

3. Smell like a goat. Bond 48. 

4. .Stinks hke a goat. Wilstach 391. 

God, I. As good as God ever blowed breath in. As good as 
(kxl ever let live. As good as Clod ever made. 

I. As holv as God. 

3. As sure as God made little apples. Apperson 611 ; 

rey 164.4; Green 20; Partridge 849; Wilstach 402. 
As sure as God made me. 

4. As sure as there's a God in heaven. T (ii/S; Wilstach 


5. Face looked like the wrath of God. Mignon G. Eber- 

hart, HasW IVedding (N. Y., 1938) 287. 

6. God ain't choosey. Cf. Davidoff 87: Death is no chooser 


7. God can't cook breakfast with a snowball. 

8. God can't rope a mule-headed cow by the horns. (Mule- 

head cd, more commonly muley, means hornless.) 

9. God helps those who help themselves. Apperson 251 ; 

Bradley 79; Oxford 244; Poor Richard 81 ; Taylor 35; 
T G236; Way to Wealth 409. See Heaven (3) below. 
10. God knows, but He won't tell. Berrey 150.7; Partridge 

II. God looks after drunkards, fools, and children. God 

cares for fools and children. Hislop 83. Cf. Bradley 
75 : Angels take care of fools and drunkards ; Lean in, 
501 : Heaven takes care of children, sailors, and drunken 
men ; Oxford 289 ; Woodard 37 : God looks after drunk- 
ards and fools. 

12. God sees all. Cf. Beckwith 53: (iodamighty neber shut 

him yeye. 

13. God tempers the storm to the shorn lamb. Apperson 

253 ; Bradley 97 ; Hardie 463 ; ^ Oxford 246 ; Taylor 68 ; 

T S3I5- ^, . 

14. If God is for us, who can be against us.-- Christy i, 446: 

If God be with us who shall stand against us (Latin) ; 
John Flewlett. Cross on the Moon ( N. Y.. 1946) 160: 
When God is with you . . . wlio can be against you?; 
Romans 8: 31 ; T G238. 

15. Where God puts his mark he sends his gift. Paul Green, 

Wide Fields (N. Y., 1928) 94: fer where Old Moster 
puts his brand he leaves his gift. Cf. T Gi 77. 

N.C.F.. Vol. I, ((28) 


1 6. You can't rush God. 

Gods. Whom the gods love die young. Apperson 254 ; Brad- 
ley '/J ; Hardie 465; Oxford 247; T G251. Cf. Taylor 

Gold. I. All that glitters is not gold (3). All is not gold 
that glitters (2). Apperson 6; Bradley yj ; Hardie 461 ; 
Oxford 249 ; Taylor 36 ; T A 146. 

2. As bright as gold. Wilstach 34. 

3. As good as gold (6). Apperson 256; Berrey 29.4; Green 

19; Hardie 467; Hyamson 163; Partridge 341; Taylor 
36; Wilstach 183. 

4. As pure as gold. Cf. NED Pure, la, quot. 1362. 

5. As yellow as gold. Apperson 717; T G280. 

6. Glitters Hke gold. Cf. NED Glitter, ib. gold, 3b. 
Goldfish. No more privacy than a goldfish. Alva Johnston, 

The Great Goldwyn (N. Y., 1937) 49 (ascribed to I. S. 
Cobb's Speaking of Operations) ; B. J. Whiting, "Some 
Current Meanings of 'Proverbial.' " Harvard Studies 
and Notes in Philology and Literature, xvi (1934) 234. 

Good-bye. Good-bye is not gone. Kemp Malone, "Negro 
Proverbs from Maryland," American Speech, iv (1928- 
29) 285: Every good-bye ain't gone. Cf. Woodard 38: 
Good-by, if you call that gone. See Eye (4) above. 

Goose. I. A setting goose never gets fat. See Hen (1) below. 

2. A wild goose never laid a tame tgg. Apperson 686 ; Ox- 

ford 709. 

3. As full as a goose. Allison 97 ; Bond 49. 

4. As loose as a goose. Folk -Say, 1 (1930) 106. 

5. As silly as a goose (2). Allison 100; Green 20; Robert 

W. W^inston, It's a Far Cry (N. Y., 1937) 24. 

6. Don't kill the goose that laid the golden egg. Killing the 

goose that laid the golden egg (4). Apperson 266; 
Hyamson 164; NED Suppl. Goose, i; Oxford 334; 
Partridge 343; Taylor 36; T G363. 

7. Don't smother the goose with the feather-bed. 

8. His goose is cooked. Berrey 1 17.18, 1 18.3.5; Hyamson 

163; Oxford 109; Partridge 178. 

9. Like a goose's ass in mulberry time. See Bear (5) 

10. Squirts like a goose. 

Goose grease. As slick as goose grease. Berrey 317.6; DAE 
Goose grease. 

Gosling. A gone gosling. (Meaning a person or thing is hope- 
less, lost.) Berrey 239.1. 262.1, 416.1. 431. i. Cf. Par- 
tridge 340. 


Gospel. As true as the gospel (2). Apperson 647; Oxford 
();_'; T Ci^yS; W'ilstach 340. See Bible above. 

Gossamer. As fine as gossamer. Wilstach 140. Cf. llyamson 

Gotten. Soon gotten, soon si)ent. Ap[)erson 588; Oxford 604; 

Gourd. I. As green as a gourd (6). Allison 95; P.errey 
150.6, 258, 3.9; Brewster 262; DAE (iourd. ih; Ilardie 
467; Wdstach 187. 

2. As hollow as a gourd. 

3. As yellow as a gourd. Green 36. 

Grain. To go against the grain (anything distasteful is said 
to). Apperson 4; Hyamson 165; NED Grain, i6b; 
Oxford 5 ; T G404. 

Grandmother. You can't teach your grandmother how to pick 
ducks. Atkinson 79 : Teach your grannie how to pick 
ducks! Cf. Apperson 620-1; Berrey 295.2; Bradley 
/y; Green 31 ; Hyamson 166; NED (jrannam, b, quot., 
1651 ; Oxford 645 ; Partridge 255. 348; T G406-9. (The 
examples have roast eggs, sup sour milk, spin, suck eggs, 
milk ducks, crack nuts, grope ducks, get children.) 

Granny. Don't wait for your Granny's side saddle. 

Grapes. Sour grapes (5). Apperson 268; Hardie 471 ; Hyam- 
son 166; Oxford 262; Taylor 36; T F642. 

Grapevine. You can tame a grapevine but that won't take the 
twist out. Champion 634 (572) : You can't take the 
twist out of the grape vine by cultivating it (American 

Grass, i. As green as grass (5). Apperson 273-4; Berrey 
150.3.6, 165.5, -58-3-9; Hardie 467; Hyamson 168; Tay- 
lor 36; T G412; Wilstach 187. 

2. Go to grass (3). Berrey 27.6. 1 17. 11. 16.19, I94-9' 554-2; 

DAE Grass, 3; Hyamson 166; Partridge 337, 349. 

3. Grass never grows \\ hen the wind blows. Apperson 269. 
Grasshoppers. As poor as grasshoppers. 

Grave, i. As cold as the grave. Wilstach 61. 

2. As dark as the grave. Wilstach 81. 

3. As gloomy as the grave. 

4. As silent as the grave. Apperson 571 ; Oxford 589; Wil- 

stach 354. 
Graveyard. As quiet as a graveyard. Wilstach 309. 
Gravy train. Riding the gravy train since Roosevelt came in. 

Berrey 277.1, 377.2, 467.6. 543-3-8. 


Grease, i. As slick as grease. Berrey 255.5, 3^7-^'> Thornton 
II, 809; Wilstach 359. 
2. He is fried in his own grease. Apperson 269-70; NED 
Grease, id; Oxford 230; Partridge 304; T G433. 

Grist. All is grist that comes to my mill. Apperson 275 ; Ber- 
rey 533. 1 I.I 5; Bradley 77; Hyamson 170; Oxford 268; 

T x\l22. 

Grit. She had grit in her craw. He ain't got no gut [sic] 
in his craw. Hanford 174; Payne 317, 365. Cf. Bond 

Grundy. What will Airs. Grundy say? Berrey 231. i ; Hyam- 
son 171 ; NED Grundy- ; Oxford 427. 

Guinea. As speckled as a guinea (2). Cf. Parsons. Antilles 
463 : Seven years no 'nough to wash speckle ofif guinea 
hen back. 

Gully dirt. Ain't worth gully dirt. As poor as gully dirt. Cf. 
Koch II, 123: Bert ain't never going to amount to his 
weight in gully dirt as a farmer. 

Gun. I. As sure as gun's iron. Berrey 164.4.6; Payne 377; 
Taliaferro 45, 53. 93 ; Wilstach 402. 
2. As true as a gun. T G480 ; Wilstach 436. 

Gun barrel. As straight as [a] gun barrel. Taliaferro 24. 

Habit. Habit is second nature (2). Green 23; NED Habit, 
9, quot. 1662; Oxford 125. Cf. Apperson 130. 

Haddock. As dumb as a haddock. Cf. Yankee Phrases 115: 
She, like a haddock, grew deaf. 

Hades. As hot as Hades. Berrey 33.7 ; Whiting 247. 

Hail. As thick as hail. Apperson 623 ; Green 20 ; Hyamson 
340; T Hi I ; Wilstach 420. 

Hair. i. A person who never stole anything has a lock of 
hair growing in the palm of his hand. Cundall 84: Man 
dat no tell lie, hair grow a him ban' middle; Green 17 
(verbatim). Cf. Bohn 139: Der Miiller ist fromm, der 
Haare auf den Zahnen hat ; Chaucer, Canterbury Tales 
1(A), 563. 

2. As thin as a hair. 

3. Catch a long haired man where the hair is short. NED 

Suppl. Hair, Sp ; Partridge 367. 

4. It hangs by a hair. NED Hang, 8b. 

5. The hair of the dog is good for the bite. Apperson 278; 

Berrey 102.13; Bradley 62; Hardie 464; Oxford 271; 
Partridge 231 ; Taylor 28; T H23. 

P R V K R B S 419 

Half-cocked. Never yo oft' li;ilt-cocked. DAE 1 lalf -cocked ; 
XKU Suppl. Half -cocked. 

Halifax. Go to Halifax (2). Apperson 279; NED Go, 30b; 
NED Suppl. Halifax; Partridge 368-9. 

Halter. Don't talk of a halter in a house where one has been 
hanged. Apperson 280; Oxford 548; T 11 59. 

Ham. Eist like a ham. Gf. Nh'.D Sui)pl. Ham. 3. (|uot. 1928. 

Hammer. 1. .\s dead as a hammer (3). Green 22; Par- 
tridge 210; "Some Lumber and Other Words," Dialect 
Notes. II. part vi (1904) 396 (Arkansas); Yankee 
Phrases 115. 

2. Head like a hammer. Gf. Woofter 356: hammer-headed 


3. One must l)e either hammer or anvil. Bohn 22: II faut 

etre enclume ou marteau ; Christy i . 32 : One must be 
either anvil or hammer (Ascribed to Voltaire by Jefifer- 
son in C. G. Bowers, The Young Jefferson [Boston. 
1945] 368). Cf. Bohn 2y : II vaut mieux etre marteau 
qu'enclume; Christy 11, 73: Once he was a hammer, 
now he is an anvil. 
Hand. i. As flat as your hand. NED Hand. 60a; Wilstach 

2. Don't bite the hand that feeds you. Hyamson 47 : Taylor 


3. He never warmed his hand but he burnt it. Gf. Bohn 

58: Tel croit se chauffer qui se brule ; Parsons 441: 
Some men bu'n dem hand whan they only mean to warm 
dem (Bahamas). 

4. He puts in with one hand and takes out with the other. 

Cf . Davidoff 52 : With one hand he put a penny in the 
urn of poverty, with the other took a shilling out. 

5. Lend a hand. Hyamson 174; NED Lend, 2e ; T H97. 

6. Wash hands together, Eriends forever; Wipe hands to- 

gether. Eoes forever. Bergen i. 135: If two people wash 
their hands at the same time, it is a sign that they will 
be friends forever. If two people wipe their hands at 
the same time, they will be foes forever (Alabama). Cf. 
Green 34: Wash together, wipe together, fall out and 
fight forever; Hyatt 182 (3888): If two people wipe 
hands together, they will be friends forever (3890) : 
Two persons simultaneously wiping their hands and face 
on the same towel will have a quarrel at the same time 
next day, 183 (3899) : Two persons washing hands to 
gether in the same water will quarrel that day. 


Handsome. Handsome is as handsome does. Apperson 281-2 ; 
Bradley 78; Hardie 463; Oxford 274-5; Partridge 371 ; 
T D410. See Pretty below. 

Happen. What happens twice will happen three times. What 
happens twice will happen thrice. Fogel 215: Was 
zwet sich drit sich ; Hyatt 430 (8635) (thrice). 

Happy. Better happy than wise. Apperson 284 ; Oxford 38 ; 
T H140. 

Hare. As swift as a hare. Cf. L. O'Flaherty, TJic Tent (Lon- 
don, 1926) 265. 

Harness. Fine harness and no mule. Cf. Paige 71 : Of no 
more use than ... a saddle and no horse to ride. 

Haste. I. Great haste is not always great speed. Cf. Apper- 
son 427; NED Haste, 6; Oxford 281, 4^^; Taylor 62; 
2. Haste makes waste. Apperson 288 ; Hardie 463 ; Ox- 
ford 281 ; Poor Richard 143 ; Taylor 38 ; T H189. 

Hat. I. As black as mv hat. Green 18; NED Hat, 5c; Wil- 
stach 20 (your). 

2. He talks through his hat (2). Berrey 151.6, 180.2; 

Hardie 471 ; Hyamson 336; NED Suppl. Hat, 5c; Par- 
tridge 378. 

3. Ready with his hat but slow with his money. Cundall 

86 : Be ready wid you hat, but slow wid you money ; 

Cheviot 53 : Be ready wi' your bonnet, but slow wi' your 

purse; Hislop 55. Cf. Champion 107 (149) (Danish); 

Oxford 273 : Put your hand twice to your bonnet for 

once to your pouch. 
Hatchet. As dead as a hatchet. Green 22. 
Hatter. As mad as a hatter (2). Apperson 389; Hardie 470; 

Hyamson 229 ; Partridge 379, 503 ; Wilstach 249. 
Haunt. I. As wild as a hant. 
2. Runs like a scared haunt. 
Hawk. I . As keen as a hawk. Hyamson 207 ; Wilstach 222. 

2. As wild as a hawk. Apperson 686 ; Wilstach 476. 

3. Eyes like a hawk. L. Brock, Murder on the Bridge 

(N. Y., 1930) 93. 

4. He jumped on it like a hawk on a chicken (2). Collec- 

tions Relating . . . to Montgomeryshire, xi (1878) 290 
(222). Cf. Cheviot 137 (cock . . . grosset) ; Han ford 
169 (chicken . . . June bug) ; NED June, 2 (Hawk . . . 
June bug) ; Paige 272 (whippoorwill . . . fire-fly) ; 
Thornton i, 505 (night-hawk . . . June bug, quot. 
1862) ; Wilstach 221 (trout . . . May-fly). 


Hay. Make hay while the sun shines (3). Apperson 291; 

Bradley 80; Hardie 464; Hyamson 180; Oxford 398-9; 

Partridge 381 ; Taylor 38; f H235. 
Hay wire. As tough as hay wire. Muriel E. Sheppard, Cabins 

in the Laurel (Chapel Hill, N. C, 1935) 26: But Frankie 

was small like tough hay wire. 
Head. i. A hard head and soft mind. 

2. He has a head, so has a pin. Apperson 293, head (15) ; 

Cheviot 406 (nail) ; Green 23, 24; Oxford 284. 

3. Head cool, feet warm. Cf. Apperson 113: A cool mouth 

and warm feet live long; Davidoff 191 : A cool head and 
warm feet live long ; T H253. 

4. It's hard to put old heads on young shoulders. Apper- 

son 464; Hardie 465; Hyamson 256; Oxford 470-1 ; T 

5. Keep your head up. Cf. NED Head, 50b. 

6. Little head, big wit; Big head, not a bit (2). Big head, 

little wit. Apperson 271 : Great head and little wit ; 
Hislop 229: Mickle head, little wit; Oxford 422; T 
H245. Cf. Bradley 78: Little head, little wit; big head, 
not a bit; Brewster 261 ; Hyatt 650 (10780). 

7. Old head and voung hand. Apperson 464; Oxford 470; 

T H263. 

8. Put his head into the wolf's jaws. Cf. Hyamson 180: 

Head in the lion's mouth ; Oxford 370. 

9. Two heads are better than one (2). Apperson 655; 

Bradley 78; Hardie 465; NED Head, 62; Oxford 680; 

Taylor 38; T H281. 
Two heads are better than one, even if one head is a 

horse's. Green 34 (verbatim). 
Two heads are better than one, even if one is a cabbage 

head (3). Fogel 113 (1015) ; Hofifman 50. 
Two heads are better than one if one is a blockhead. 

Bradley 7^. 
Two heads are better than one if one is a sheep's head. 

Apperson 655; Bradley 78; Oxford 680; Partridge 753; 

W'oodard 41. 
Two heads are better than one or why do folks marry. 
10. What you lack in vour head you make up in your heels 

(2). Cf. J. M. Brewer, "Old-Time Negro Proverbs," 

Spur-of-the-Cock, Publication of the Texas Folk-Lore 

Society, xi (1933), 103: What yuh don' hab in yo' haid 

yuh got ter hab in yo' feet ; Christy i. 489 : Who falls 

short in the head must be long in the heels (German) ; 

Woodard 38 : make your head save your heels. 


Heap. To be struck all of a heap. Apperson 7; Berrey, 267.6, 703.6; Green 32; Hyamson 180; Par- 
tridge 382. 

Heart, i. Don't wear your heart on your sleeve. Apperson 
295; Hyamson 181 ; NED Heart, 54f ; Oxford 698. 

2. Faint heart never won fair lady (2). Apperson 198; 

Bradley 79; Oxford 185; Taylor 38; T H302. 

3. His heart is in his mouth. Apperson 295 ; Hyamson 181 ; 

NED Heart, 54b; Oxford 288; T H331. 

4. His heart is in his shoes. Berrey 283.4, 300.7.12; Ox- 

ford 287. Cf. (all reading boots) Apperson 294-5; 
Hyamson 181 ; Partridge 383. 

5. Home-keeping hearts are happiest. Cf. Lean iv, 23 : 

Keep home and be happy. 
Heaven, i. As broad as the heavens. Cf. W'ilstach 37: Broad 
as Heaven's expanse. 

2. As high as heaven. As high as the heavens. Hardie 

467; NED Heaven, ib, quot. 1864; Wilstach 200. 

3. Heaven helps those who help themselves. Davidofif 195. 

See God (9) above. 

Heck. Live in Heck's wood shed. (In more modern phrase- 
ology, The Devil's ante-room.) Koch i, 50: Heck's ol' 
pine field twenty miles t'other side o' hell. Cf. NED 
Suppl. Heck. 

Hector. Since Hector was a pup. Bond 45 ; Hardie 471. 

Heels. To take to one's heels. Berrey 58.6 ; Green 33 ; Hyam- 
son 183; NED Heel, 19. 

Heifer. You'd better watch a frisky heifer. 

Hell. I. An' he'd buy a load of cord wood to peddle out in 
hell if you'd gi' him till Christmas to pay for hit. Cf. 
Cheviot 153: He would rake hell for a bodle. (A bodle 
was one-sixth of an English penny. It is said of the 
Americans that "If there was a bag of cofYee in hell, 
a Yankee could be found to go and bring it out), 154: 
He'll gang to hell for hose profit; Kelly 225 (house 
profit) ; Oxford 242; T H402. 

2. As cold as hell (3). Berrey 33.8; Whiting 231. 

3. As crazy as hell (2). Berrey i5^-5; Whiting 231. 

4. As crooked as hell (2). W^hiting23i. 

5. As deep as hell. Whiting 231 ; \\'ilstach 87. 

6. As dumb as hell. Whiting 231. 

7. As funny as hell. Whiting 232. 

8. As hot as hell (2). Berrey 33.7; Whiting 232; Wilstach 


9. As poor as hell. Whiting 233. 

P R O V E R « S 423 

10. As sour as hell. 

11. As strong as hell. Nl^D 1 lell. 10. (|u<)t. 1780. 

12. As sure as hell. P)errey 164.4; Whiting 234. 

13. As wide as hell. 

14. Fight like hell. Whiting 236. 

15. Hell is i)aved with good intentions. Apperson 297; 

Uradley 79; Hardie 463; Oxford 290; T II404. 

16. I'd cross hell on a broken rail. See (21) below. 

17. Looks like hell. Berrey 38.4; Whiting 237. 

18. Not worth hell room. 

19. Stinks like hell. Whiting 238. 

20. Ugly women — so ugly look like they been driv out of 

hell for playin' in the ashes. W'oodard 39: Looks like 
he was kicked out of hell for sleej)ing in the ashes (He 
looks slovenly and dirty). Cf. Lean 11, 806: As big a 
liar as Tom Payne (or Pepper), and he got kicked out 
of hell for telling lies. 

21. You'd better cross hell on a broken rail than be beholden 

to an enemy. See (16) above. 
Helve. Cast not the helve after the hammer. Apperson 632, 

throw (7); Green 33; Hyamson 183; NED Helve ib; 

Oxford 291 ; T H413. 
Hen. I. A setting hen is never fat. A setting hen never gets 

fat. Adams 62 (59); Christy i. 138; Cundall 59: 

Sittin' hen nebber get fat; Hardie 462. See Goose (1) 


2. As busy as a hen with one chicken. Apperson 298; Ber- 

rey 245.18; Green 21 ; Hyamson 68; NED Suppl. Hen. 
lb; Oxford 71; Partridge 113: T H415; Wilstach 40. 

3. As cross as a setting hen. 

4. As fat as a hen's forehead. Apperson 205; Oxford 193; 

Partridge 267; T H416. 

5. As fussy as a hen. Cf. Bond 49 : Fussy as a hen with 

one chicken and fussy as a setting hen ; Hardie 469 ; 

Hyamson 68. 
As hot as a hen in a wool blanket. See Chicken (3) 

As mad as an old setting hen. As mad as a setting hen 

(2). See (5) above. 
As mad as a wet hen (7). Berrev 284.8; DAE Wet 

hen; NED Suppl. Mad, 8. 
As proud as a hen with one chick. .\pj)erson 298. hen 

(2), quot. 1888; Wilstach 303. 
As scarce as hens' teeth (8). Berrey 25.9; DAE Hen, 

2; Green 30; Hardie 468; Wilstach 335. 


11. As tedious as an old hen. Koch i, 8i. Cf. NED Tetchy, 


12. As wild as a wet hen. Cf. Cheviot 49: As wanton (de- 

jected) as a wet hen; Hislop 45. 

13. Jes like a settin' hen — a going to set whether er no (2). 

She's sorter like a settin' hen, she's going to do her 
way er not do. 

14. Like a hen on a hot griddle. Green 27; Hislop 340; 

Patterson 51 ; Wilson 189; Woodard 41. 

15. Makes more fuss'n an ol' hen with one biddy. See (5) 


16. Never sell a hen on a wet dav. Apperson 298, hen (12) ; 

^lacAdam 178 (12) ; NED Hen. ib; Oxford 573. 

17. Setting hens don't want fresh eggs. J. C. Harris 150: 

Settin' hens don't hanker arter fresh eggs. 

18. She goes about like a hen with her head chopped ofT (3). 

Berrey 266.7 (cut). See Chicken (8) above. 

19. The black hen lavs a white egg. Apperson 298; Oxford 


20. Writing looks like a hen's scratching. Cf. Colyn Blow- 

hols Testament in W. C. Hazlitt, Remains of the Early 
Popular Poetry of England, 4 vols. (London. 1864-66), 
I, 96, 1. 99 : For on booke he skrapith like an hen. 

21. You look as nice as an old hen and biddies. 

22. You look like a hen chawing nails. 
Hercules. As strong as Hercules. Wilstach 395. 

Herring, i. As dead as a herring (2). Apperson 137; Ber- 
rey 117. 18. 248.6, 276.8.9; Green 19; Oxford 131; Par- 
tridge 210, 388; Taliaferro S7, 161 ; T H446 ; Wilstach 

2. Not worth a herring. Apperson 457 (21). 

Hickory, i. As tough as hickory. Thornton 11, 624. 

As tough as a hickory stick. Cf. Wilstach 430; Tough 
as old hickory. 
2. He looks like the very old hickory. He went like the 
old hickory. 
Hide. I. As fat as airy hide'll hold. Cf. Lean 11, 833: He is 
swolne as great as the skyn wyl holde. 

2. Save your hide. Berrey 256.11. 

3. Tan your hide till it won't hold shucks. Cf. 'A\'ord-List 

from Southwestern Wisconsin," Dialect Notes, v, part 
VI (1923) 238: Lick him so his hide won't hold shav- 
ings, won't hold hay. 
Higher. The higher up. the greater the fall. Cf. Apperson 
645 : The highest tree hath the greatest fall ; Hislop 

I' K o \- K R n s 425 

_>8i : The hiohiT clinil) the j,-rc;itcr fii' ; Kelly 3i<j: Tlu- 
higher up. llie lower tall. 

Hills. As old as the hills (4)- Apperson 466: Green 29; 
Hardie 468; Hyamson 256; Wilstach 278. 

Hindsight. Hindsight's better than fore sight. He has better 
hind sights'n fore. Bradley 79; NKD Hindsight. 2; 
Pearce 233 ; Taylor 9. 39. 

Hinge, i. Squeaks Hke a rustv hinge. Wilstach 383. 
2. To talk the hinges off Hades. Cf. Whiting 222 (5). 

History. History repeats itself. Bradley 79; Oxford 296. 

Hoe. As dull as a hoe. l^rewster 266; (]reen 19; Wilstach 
106; Yankee Phrases 115. 

Hog. I. A hog runs for his life, a dog for his character. 
l^>ates 40: Hog run fe" him life, dog run fe' him char- 
acter ; Beckwith 58 ; Franck 1 00 : Dog run f e character 
him no run fe him life ; Parsons, Antilles 460 : Hog run 
for him life; dog run for him character. Cf. Franck 
105: .Spaniard chicken cry for life him no cry fe him 

2. As dirty as a hog. Wilstach 95. 

3. As drunk as a hog. Apperson 167. 

4. As fat as a hog. Allison 95 ; Apperson 205 ; NI^D Rake, 

sb.\ lb, quot. 1694; T H483. 

5. As greasy as a hog. Cf. Bond 49: greasy as a pig. 

6. As greedy as a hog. Wilstach 187. 

7. As lazy as a hog. Cf . Bond 48 : lazy as a pig. 

8. As lousy as a hog. Green 19. 

9. Eats like a hog (2). Wilstach 109. 

10. Enough to make a hog blush. Cf. Apperson 58: To 

blush like a black dog; Oxford 53. 

11. He'll have the whole hog or none. Cf. Apperson 249-50; 

Berrey, 243.4, 367.4, 754-13; DAE Whole 
Hog; Hyamson 186; Oxford 242; Partridge 13 (ani- 
mal). 336, 856 (swine); Taylor 39. (The examples 
mostly read Co the zvliolc hog, with or without or none.) 

12. Root hog or die (5). Root pig (hog) or die. Berrey 

245.12; DAE Root Hog; Green 30; NED Suppl. Root, 
le ; Taylor 57. 

13. The greediest hog is the Cf. Parsons. Antilles 

460: Greedy puppy neber fat. 

14. Wait like one hog waits on another. Pearce 230: We're 

waiting for you as one pig waits for another ; Snapp 67 
(133). Cf. Lean 11. 797: To stay for a person as one 
horse does for another ; T H698. 


15. You've got no more use for that ring than a hog has 
for a side saddle. Cf. Apperson 118: He becomes it 
as well as a cow doth a cart-saddle, 591, sow (12) ; 
Oxford 608 : As meet as a sow to bear a saddle ; Par- 
tridge 768, side-pocket. See Saddle below. 

Hog hair. As coarse as hog hair. 

Hogpen. As nasty as a hogpen. See Pigpen below. 

Holes. I. As full of holes as a sifter. 

2. Don't go poking into holes. Stay away from holes. Cf. 
NED Hole, 3. See Finger (4) above. 

Home. I. He lives at home and boards somewheres else. 

2. Home is where the heart is. T- Cleft Adams, TJic Secret 

Deed (N. Y., 1926) 116. 

3. You have to go away from home to hear the news. 

Adams 62 (61); Green 36. Cf. Apperson 116: You 

must go into the country to hear what news at London. 
Homespun. As plain as homespun. 
Honesty. Honesty is the best policy. Apperson 306; Bradley 

79; Hardie 463; Oxford 301 ; T H543. 
Honey. As sweet as honey (3). Apperson 614; Green 31: 

Hyamson 334; NED Sweet, ib; T H544; Wilstach 410. 
Honor. There's honor among thieves. Apperson 308 ; Bradley 

94 ; Oxford 302. 
Hoo. Out of boo. (Out of line, out of square.) Apperson 

303; Green 29 (verbatim); NED Ho, int. 2, B; Ox- 
ford 480 ; Partridge 393 ; T H477. 
Hook. Keep your hook baited. Cf. Christy i, 516: The hook 

without bait catches no fish (German). 
Hope. Live in hopes if you die in despair. Live in hope and 

die in despair. Live in hopes, if you die upstairs. 

Adams 62(62): Live in hope if you die in despair; 

Hislop 60 : Better live in hope than die in despair. 
Hops. As thick as hops. Apperson 623-4; Berrey 24.16, 

332.9 ; Hardie 468 ; Hyamson 341 ; NED Hop, 3 ; Taylor 

63 ; T H595 ; Wilstach 421. 
Horn. I. As hollow as a horn. 

2. As loud as a horn. Apperson 383 ; T H61 5 ; Wilstach 241. 

3. He toots his own horn. (He boasts) (3). Apperson 

57 (trumpet); Berrey 302.2; NED Suppl. Horn, 13b; 
Oxford 52 ; Taylor 40 ; T T546. 

4. I done blowed my horn. (Finished speaking) (2). Cf. 

NED Suppl. Horn, 13b. 

5. The horns should go with the hide. Apperson 311, horn 

(6) ; Oxford 304. 

P K O \- K R K S 427 

6. Traveling in • is like splitting a horn crosswise. 

Hornet, i. As ill as a hornet (6). /// means cross; cf. "Ten- 
nessee Mountain Word-List," Dialect Notes, i, part viii 
(1895) 362: Them's ill bees. 

2. As mad as a hornet (2). Berrey 284.8; DAE Hornet, 2. 

3. He got the hornets about his head. Cf. Berrey 256.10; 

Hyamson 190; NED Hornet. 2. 
Horse, i. A balking horse will not pull. 

2. A lean horse for a long race. Samuel L. Bradbury, 

Hiram Harding of Hardscrabble (Rutland, Vermont, 
1936) 25. See Dog (6) above. 

3. A short horse is soon curried (5). ( ( )ne example terms 

it "Scotch.") Apperson 567; Bradley 79; Ilardie 461; 
Oxford 584, cf. 56, a bonny bride ; Partridge 407 ; 
Taylor 40; T H691. 

4. A skittish horse won't carry double. 

5. As balky as a horse. Cf. NED Balky. 

6. As crazy as a horse in a windstorm. Cf. Partridge 395 : 

Like a hog in a squall or storm. 

7. As fast as a horse can trot. Christy i, 662 ; Wilstach 

135. Cf. Apperson 362, lie (4). 

8. As strong as a horse (2). Apperson 312; NED Horse. 

25a; Partridge 406. cf. lyz, come it. 

9. Balky horse'll always take a hill. 

10. Don't swap horses while crossing a river. Bradley 80; 

Hyamson 80, 334; Oxford 634; Taylor 40. 

11. Eats like a horse. Berrey 94.12, 95.4; NED Horse, 25a; 

Partridge 406; Wilstach 109. 

12. He looks for the horse he rides on. Cheviot 423: Ye're 

like the man that sought his horse, and him on its back ; 
Christy i, 2: You look for the horse you ride on (Rus- 
sian) ; Hislop 343 ; Oxford 403 (mare) ; Vaughan 271 

13. Hold your horses (2). Berrey 54.3, 252.4, 270.2; DAE 

Horse, 4 ; \\''oodard 38. 

14. Laugh like that of a horse. Cf. NED Horse-laugh; 

Taliaferro 127. 

15. Mad on a horse sho's proud on a pony. Hislop 123: 

He'll gang mad on a horse wha's i)roud on a pownie. 
Cf. Champion 232 (11): Who is proud on an ass will 
run mad on a horse (Montenegrin). 

16. Never look a gift horse in the mouth (2). Apperson 

245-6; Bradley 80; Hardie 464; Hyamson 159; Oxford 
236-7 ; Partridge 493 ; Taylor 35, cf . 65 ; T H678. 

17. One horse is allowed to eat the grass and the other is not 

allowed to look over the fence, Cf, Apperson 601 : One 


may steal a horse while another may not look over the 
hedge; Oxford 619. 

18. One white foot — buy him, Two white feet — try him, 

Three white feet — look well about him, Four white 
feet — do without him. (MS has foot throughout.) 
Apperson 313; Bergen 11. 28 (three examples from 
Maine and Massachusetts); Cheviot 194; Hyatt 104 
(2233-35); Lean i, 446; Oxford 705; Thomas 253-4; 
T H641 ; W'oodard 14, fractious. 

19. To ride a free horse to death. Bradley 80; Green 33; 

Oxford 542. Cf. Apperson 312; Hardie 462; Partridge 
288 ; Taylor 40 ; T H638. 

20. Works like a horse. Berrey 245.12; Hardie 472; NED 

Horse, 25a; Oxford 730; Wilstach 484. 

21. Wouldn't trust him as far as could throw a (cow or) 

horse by the tail. See Cow (16) above. 

22. You can take a horse to water but you can't make him 

drink (2). Apperson 314; Bradley 80; Hardie 465; 
Oxford 356; Taylor 40; T M262. 

23. You can't ride two horses at one time. Cf. Oxford 340: 

One cannot be in two places at once. 

Host. Do not reckon without your host. Apperson 525-6; 
Hyamson 191 ; Oxford 535 ; Partridge 408; T H728. 

Hostess. He's never met the hostess. (A dullard, common- 
place person.) 

Hot. I. Fear a man who blows both hot and cold. Apper- 
son 57; Hvamson 53; NED Blow, 2b; Oxford 52; T 
Mi 258. 
2. He'll take anything that isn't too hot to hold or too heavy 
to carry. Apperson 639-40; Oxford 26; T N322. 

Hot cakes. Sells like hot cakes. Berrey 53.16; DAE Hot 
Cakes, 2; Hyamson 310; NED Suppl. Hot, 12; Par- 
tridge 120, 483. 

Hound. I. A man who kicks his hound will beat his wife. 
Cf. Champion 230 (73) : The man who strikes his horse 
strikes his wife too (Livonian). 

2. As clean as a hound's tooth. Wilstach 55 ; \\'oodard 38 ; 

Woofter 357. 

3. As hungry as a hound (2). Green 19. 

4. As lazy as a hound. 

5. As yellow as a suck-egg hound. See Dog (44) above. 

6. He runs with the hounds and holds with the hare. Cf. 

Apperson 541 ; Bradley 78: You can't hold with the hare 
and run with the hounds; Hyamson 177: To hold with 
the hare and hunt with the hounds ; Oxford 553 ; Par- 
tridge 376, hare; T Hi 58. 

1' R O V K R H S 429 

Hour. I. ( )iK' hour's slcr]) hcfort- nii(lni,L;lU is worth two after. 
Appt-rson =,yj: Hradk'v v-' ; ( )xl()r(l ^17; 'lavlor ^9: 

T 11 744. 
2. The hour niav break what time cau never mend. Apper- 
son 315. 
House. 1. A man's house is his castle. Apperson 316; Brad- 
ley 80: Oxford 308; T M473. 

2. As' big as a house (3). Hardie 466; Koch i, 345; Wil- 

stach 18. 

3. As high as a house. Taliaferro 163. 

4. He was going like a house a-fire. Apperson 365 ; Berrey 

20.5. 53.9.16, 255.5. 261.2, 277.4, 59I-2-5; Hardie 469; 
Hvamson 192; NED House, 18; Partridge 410, 483; 
W'ilstach 182. 

Household. Mind your own household. See Business (3) 

Housekeeping. Do your housekeeping in the mouth of the bag, 
not at the bottom, (iaclic Journal xv ( 1905) 21 : It is 
not in the bottom of the bag that one may do the house- 
keeping, but at the mouth. Cf. Apperson 45: Better 
spare at brim than at bottom ; Kelly 59 : Better hold at 
the brim, than hold at the bottom ; Oxford 41 ; Roberts 
109: It is too late to save when the bottom of the sack 
is reached ; T B674. 

Hungry. Better to go hungry than be without reputation. Cf. 
Apperson 610: Better to go to bed supperless than to 
rise in debt; Oxford 40; T B183. 

Hyena. Laughs like a hyena. Oxford 352. 

Ice. I. As cold as ice (6). Apperson 106; T I2. 

2. As slick as ice. 

3. As slippery as ice. W'ilstach 360. 

4. As smooth as ice. W'ilstach 362. 

5. Don't skate on thin ice. Hardie 471. 

Iceberg. As cold as an iceberg. Valentine Williams & D. R. 

Simnis, Fog (Boston, 1933) 291. 
Idleness. Idleness wears away the frog's ass. Hearn 10: 

Bon-temps fait crapaud manque bounda .... Idleness 

leaves the frogs without buttocks (Louisiana). Cf. 

Beckwith iio: Too mtich si'-down wear out trousers; 

Parsons, Antilles 463 (137). 
Ignorance. Ignorance of the law excuses no one. Bradley 80; 

Oxford 314; Taylor 42 ; T Ik). 
Inch. I. Can't see an inch before his nose. Apperson 327; 


NED Nose, 6a; Oxford 571 ; Partridoe 422; T I51. See 
Nose (4) below. 
2. Give him an inch and he'll take an ell. Apperson 327 ; 
Bradley 69; Hardie 463; Hyanison 197; Oxford 238; 
Taylor 42 ; T I49. 

Indigo, As blue as indigo (5). Hardie 466; Wilstach 25. 

Injun. Injun giver. (Give something, then ask that it be re- 
turned.) DAE Indian giver; Hyamson 197; NED In- 
dian, 4b ; NED Suppl. 4b ; Taylor 35. 

Ink. As black as ink (2). Apperson 51 ; Berrey 32.7; Hardie 
466; Hyamson 48; T I73 ; Wilstach 21. 

Iron. I. As hard as iron. Hyamson 177; Wilstach 193. 

2. He has too many irons in the fire. Don't put too many 

irons in the fire. Apperson 328 ; Hardie 469 ; Hyamson 
199; Oxford 405-6; Partridge 427; T I99. 

3. Strike (smite) while the iron is hot (3). Apperson 

605-6; Bradley 80; Green 31; Hyamson 199; Oxford 
626 ; Taylor 42 ; T I94. 
Itch. I. As old as the itch. Apperson 466; Partridge 582; 
Wilstach 279. 

2. As slow as the itch. As slow as the seven-year itch (4). 

Berrey 54.5; Hardie 471; Woodard 42; Woofter 364. 

3. As welcome as the itch. 

4. So slow you can't ketch the itch. 

Ivory. As white as ivory. Apperson 680 ; NED Ivory, 8b ; 
T 1 1 09; Wilstach 472. 

Jack. I. A jack of all trades and master of none. Apperson 
330; Bradley 95; Hyamson 200; Oxford 323. Cf. Ber- 
rey 432.2, 456.6, 524.9; Partridge 430; T J19. 
2. Every Jack must have his Till. Apperson 329 ; Oxford 
322-3 ; T J6. 
Jack Robinson. i. Before you could say Jack Robinson. 
Apperson 330; Berrey 2.10, 53.16, 58.6; Hyamson 201 ; 
Oxford 29-30; Partridge 431. 
Quick as you can say Jack Robinson. 
Quicker than Jack Robinson. 
2. Thought like Jack Robinson. (Jack Robinson was a 
local character who boasted he could spend the night at 
a stern farmer's house on Neuse River. The farmer 
refused to let him stay. Thus to think "like Jack Robin- 
son" is to think wrong.) 
Jackass, i. As stubborn as a jackass. Bond 46. 
2. Laughs like a jackass. Cf. NED Jackass, 3. 

1' K () V K K 1! S 431 

Jay. I. As naked as a jay. lU.nd 55. Sec- Bird (12) above. 

2. As noisy as a jay. 
Taybird. i. As happy as a javbird. (1. ••'! lu- .Sixlc-enth Ccn- 
tury Lyrics in Add. MS. iS.;5-';" -'".'//'"■ >^^>^"" 
(1910) 352. 1. 3 : As joycond as the jeye. 

2. As naked as a picked jaybird. Leishton P.arrel. Though 

Yoiuu) (N. Y.. 1938) 45: As naked as a jaybird. 

3. As naked as a jaybird's ass. lulward T. Walker, /:.'</rn;//- 

ton (N. Y.. 1945) 198: naked-assed as new jaybirds. 
Cf. Apperson 25: Bare as a bird's tail; John Pals,i,^rave, 
The Comcdyc of Acolastus (London. 1540). f<>l- T. W : 
As bare as a byrdes arse. 

4. As saucy as a jaybird. J. C. Harris 24. C f. I'.ond 55: 

saucy as a jay. 

5. Git along about as well as a jay bird does with a sparrer 


6. Sling her feet as spry as a jay bird in wild cherry time. 
Telly. Shake like jelly. [. C. Harris. Nights t.nth Uncle Remus 

(Boston. 1883) 154: shake Hke a piece of jelly; W il- 
stach 341. 
Jelly fish. As spineless as a jelly fish. Wilstach 379. 
Jerks I Can do it in two jerks of a rabbit's tail. Quicker 
than two jerks of a lamb's tail. "The Phonology of 
Western Reserve." Dialect Notes, iv, part vi (191/) 
402: Two jerks of a lamb's tail; Anthony Reed, The 
Stuffed Man (N. Y.. 1935) 20: In two shakes of a dead 
lamb's tail. Cf. Vernon Patterson. .Ill Giants Wear 
Yellow Breeches (N. Y.. 1935) 49: in a shake of a dead 
lamb's tail. 
2 I'll do it in two jerks of a sheep's tail. Before three 
jerks of a sheep's tail. I'll do it in three jerks of a 
dead sheep's tail. I'll do it in three jerks of a sheep's 
skin. R. P. Tristram Coffin, Lost Paradise (N. Y., 
1934) 71: in three shakes of a lamb's tail; "Contribu- 
tions of the Cornell University Dialect Society," Dialect 
Notes. II, part iii (1901) H^: Three jerks of a lamb's 
tail. See Shakes below. 

Jessy. Give him Jessy (punish) (2). DAE Jesse; 1 lyam- 
son 203, Jesse; NED Suppl. Jesse; Partridge 437; 
Louise Pound, "(live him Jesse." American Speech, xxi 
(1946) 151-2. 

Jet. As black as jet (2). Apperson 51 ; Cireen 21 ; laliafcrro 
191 ; T J49; Wilstach 21. 

Jew. I. As stingy as a Jew. 
2. As tight as a Jew (2). 


3. That beats the Jews (4). Alhson 100; Brewster 267; 
DAE Beat, 3; Helen M. Thurston. "Sayings and Prov- 
erbs from Massachusetts," Journal of American Folk- 
lore, XIX (1906) 122. 

Jim-crow. Hop Hke old jim-crow. Cf. DAE Jim Crow, 2b; 
NED Jim-crow. 

Job. I. As old as Job's turkey. Thornton i. 495. quot. 1848: 
They must be as old and tough as Job's turkey. 

2. As patient as Job. Hyamson 204 ; NED Job. i ; Oxford 


3. As poor as Job. Apperson 505; Oxford 510; T y6o; 

Wilstach 298. 

4. As poor as Job's turkey (6). As poor as Job's turkey 

hen (2). Berrey 378.3; Dx^E Job's turkey; Green 29; 
Hardie 468; Hyamson 204; NED Suppl. Job, 2; Par- 
tridge 441; Taliaferro 175; Taylor 54; Thornton i, 
495-6; Wilstach 298. 

5. As slow as Job's turkey. 

Joneses. Beat the Joneses. (Examples: "He swore to beat 
the Joneses." "He could lie to beat the Joneses.") 
Cf. S. E. Morison, Builders of the Bay State Colony 
(Boston, 1930) 68: keeping up with the Joneses. 

Joseph. As colored as Joseph's coat. Cf. O. S. Adams, 
"Proverbial Comparisons from California," Calif orniu 
Folklore Quarterly, v (1946) 337; Partridge 445. 

Judge. I. As sober as a judge (2). Apperson 585; Berrey 
105.9; Hardie 468; T J93 ; Wilstach 368. 

2. As solemn as a judge. Wilstach t,/2. 

3. As tight as a judge. 

Jug. As tight as a jug. Cf. Koch i, 40: tighter'n a rum jug; 

Lean 11, 884: As tight as a bottle. 
Jug-handle. All on one side like a jug-handle. DAE Jug 

handle; Green 18, 27; Patterson 2. 
June-bug. i. As happy as a June-bug (2). Atkinson 88; 

Wilstach 192. 
2. Not wuth a june-bug with a cat bird ater her. See 

Hawk (4) above. 
Jura. As old as the folks in Jura, (jura is an island in the 

inner Hebrides. ) 

Kettle. Kee]) the kettle boiling. Cf. Oxford 331 : Keep the 

pot boiling. 
Kill. Dressed ht to kill (3). DAE Kill, i; Partridge 241, 


P R () V K R H S 433 

Kindness. Kindness cannot he buu.^lU. Oxford 336; T K45. 
King. I. As happy as a king (2). Apperson 283; Berrey 

278.15; Hardie 467; Oxford 277; Partridge 517, merry; 

T K54; W'ilstach 193. 

2. As proud as a king. Wilstach 302. 

3. As rich as a king. T C832. 

4. Live like a king (2). T P592 ; Wilstach 238. 

Kit (1). Kit and biling (all of vou) (2). P.errey 18.1. 24.4, 
380.3 ; DAE Kit. 3 ; NF.D Suppl. Kit. 

Kit (2). As hot as Kit's glove. Cf. NED Kit. sb.^ 2. 

Kitchen. A fat kitchen makes a lean will. Apperson 205 ; 
P>()hn 148: ]^>tte Kiiche. magere Erbschaft ; Poor Rich- 
ard 66; T Kiio; Way to U'ajlfh 413. 

Kite. As high as a kite (2). Berrey 106.7; DAE Kite. 3; 
Wilstach 200. 

Kitten, 1. As cute as a kitten. 

2. As gentle as a kitten. J. Latimer, The Lady in the 

Morgue (N. Y.. 1936) 175. 

3. As lively as a kitten. Green 27. 

4. As playful as a kitten. Bond 47; Green 20; Northall 10. 

5. As spry as a kitten. Charles \V. Tyler, Blue Jean Billy 

(N. Y., 1926) 140. 

6. As tame as a kitten. 

7. He's a big shot where little shots ain't no more than kit- 

tens in a dog-house. 

8. Stick to one like a sick kitten to a hot brick. Bond 47; 

Koch II. 16: actin' like a sick kitten ag'in a hot brick. 
He takes to it like a kitten to a hot brick. 
Like a sick kitten settin' up to a hot rock. 
Knee-high. i. Knee-high to a duck (3). Berrey 21.1 1, 1 16.5 ; 
DAE Knee-high. 2; Hardie 470; NED Suppl. Knee- 
high; I'artridge 459; Thornton i. 519. 
Knee-high to a duck's tail. 
2. Knee-high to a grasshopper (5). Berrey 21. 11, 39.10, 
116.5; DAE Knee-high, 2; Piardie 470; NED Suppl. 
Knee-high; Thornton i, 519. 
Knife, i. As sharp as a knife. Claudia Cranston, Murder 
Maritime (Philadelphia, 1935) 22; Lean 11, 871. 
2. He who lives by the knife will die by the knife. Cf. 
Matthew 26:52: All they that take the sword .shall 
perish with the sword. 
Knocks. Little knocks rive [MS give] great blocks. Apper- 
son 372. 
Knot. I. As sound as a lightwood knot. Cf. DAE Lightwood 


knot ; Bernice K. Harris, Folk Plays of Eastern Caro- 
lina (Chapel Hill, 1940) 98: tough as a light'ood knot. 
2. As still as a knot on a log. Cf. Woofter 359: Like a 
knot on a log (motionless). See Bump (2) above. 

Know. Know thyself. (Jxforcl 344; Taylor 43 ; T Ki 75. 

Knowledge. Knowledge is power. Apperson 347; Bradley 81 ; 
( )xford 345 ; Taylor 43. 

Laborer. The laborer is worthy of his hire. Bradley 81 ; Luke 

]0 : 7 ; Oxford 347 ; T L12. 
Lace. As fine as lace. Cf. \\'ilstach 140: Fine as a mist of 

lace and Fine as point lace. 
Ladder, i. As steep as a ladder. Cf. \\'ilstach ^^y : Steep, 

like the ladder of a hay-mow. 
2. Like holding a ladder for a thief. Bohn 180: W'er die 

Leiter halt, ist so schuldig wie der Dieb. 
Lady. A dainty lady takes a pin to eat a pea. Bates 42 : 

\\'hen dainty lady lib well, him tek a pin fe' eat peas ; 

I'eckwith 117; Cundall y-^. 
Lamb. 1. As gentle as a lamb (2). Oxford 234; T L34. 

2. As innocent as a lamb. Wilstach 216. 

3. As meek as a lamb (3). Oxford 234; T L34. 

Lane. It's a long lane that has no turning (2). Apperson 
379; Bradley 81; Green 26; Hardie 463; Oxford 381 ; 
Taylor 56 ; T R207. 

Lark, i . As blithe as a lark. W'ilstach 24. 

2. As gay as a lark (2). Green 23; Wilstach 168. 

3. As happy as a lark (2). Berrey 278.15; Hardie 467; 

Wilstach 192. 

4. Sings like a lark (2). Jesse Stuart. Foretaste of Glory 

(X. Y.. T946) I32;TL70. 

Latch-string. Keep the latch-string on the outside. You'll 
find the latch-string on the outside. DAE Latchstring, 
b; Green 36; NED Latchstring; NED Suppl. Latch- 
string; Pearce 234. 

Late. I. Better late than never. Apj)erson 44; Bradley 81; 
Hardie 462; Oxford 40; Taylor 44; T L85. 
2. It's never too late to learn. Apperson 442 ; Oxford 450 ; 
T L153. Cf. Bradley 81 : It is never too late to mend; 
Hardie 463. See Old, adj. beknv. 

. 3. Too late to worry. Cf. Apperson 640: Too late to grieve 
when the chance is past. 

K () V K K H S 


Lath. As thill as a lath. ApiKTscn (yJ^' ^'i"^'^'" -« ; '^^ ^'^^^' 
Wilstach 4-'-'- 

Laugh. 1. Lau-h and k'-w tat. Apperson 351-2; Bradley 
Si ; llyanison 217; Oxford t,S^ \ Taylor 44; 1 Kq 1 • 
2. He who laughs last laughs hcst. .\i)person 331 : I'radk'V 
81 ; Hardie 463; Oxford 353. 

Laughing. Laughing is catching. liradley Si; Hyatt 148 
(3081) ; Thomas 288. 

Laurel. I'd druther be a knot in a log on Laurel than to live 
down at Sniokemont. (Laurel Top and Smokemont, 
Swain county, N. C, are in the Great Smoky Mountains. 
See U. S. Geological Surz'ey: Tennessee-North Caro- 
lina: Mt. Guyot Quadrangle. Laurel Toj). on the state 
line, is approximalely 5500 feet in height, while Smoke- 
mont, some ten miles from Laurel, is only about 3000 

Lazy Lawrence. If ye don't watch ole Lazy Lawrence, 'e'U 
git ye. (This expression is generally used to urge lazy 
children.) Apperson 355; Oxford 355-6; Partridge 473; 
J. S. Udal. Dorsetshire Folk-Lore (Hertford. 1922) 301 : 
Laurence has got hold of you, 305 (9). 

Lead. As heavy as lead (4)- Apperson 296; Green 19; Hardie 
467; NED Lead, ic; Taylor 39; T L134; Wilstach 198. 
Leaf. I. As fragile as a leaf. Wilstach 158. 

2 Numerous as the leaves on the trees. Jackson Gregory, 
Kh the Conqueror ( N. Y., 1933) 88 (many). 

3. Shaking like a leaf. Tom Powers, Sheba on 1 ram pled 

Grass (Indianapolis, 1946) 159; T L140. 

4. Tremble like a leaf (2). NED Leaf, la, (|uot. 1413; T 


5. Turn over a new leaf. Apperson 652; Berrey 3-4-2: 

Hvamson 218; Oxford 676; Taylor 44; T L146. 

6. We' all fade as a leaf. Wilstach 125. 

Leak. A small leak will sink a (great) ship (2). Apperson 

372; Oxford 356; Poor Richard \\q: T L147: 1 1 ay to 

IV eaJth 412,- 
Lean. Don't eat the lean and leave the fat. Cf. Oxf(jrd 641 : 

You must take the fat with the lean. 
Leap, sb. It is a leap in the dark. Apper.son 336; Hyam.son 

219; Oxford 357; TL148. 
Leap, vb. Better to leap before you look than always to look 

and never leap. See Look (1) below. 
Leather. As tough as leather. A])i)erson 642 : Berrey 310.6; 

T L166; Wilstach 430. See Shoeleather, Whit-leather 



Leech, i. Sticks like a leech. Sticks like a leech on a log. 

Sticks tighter than a leech. Hardie 471 ; NED Leech, 

la; W'ilstach 388. 
2. You hold on like a leech. 
Left-handed. A left-handed person owes the devil a day's work. 
Green 17; Hyatt 158 (3326) : A left-handed person must 

work three days for the devil ; Thomas 85 ; Woodard 39. 
Leg. I. Like cutting from the leg to add to the arm. See 

Peter below. 
2. To talk the leg off an iron pot. Green 33; Partridge 17 

(argue), 863. 
Length. You never know the length of a snake until he is 

dead. Cundall 105: When yaller snake dead, you can 

measure him. (Le., You cannot measure a live snake. 

You can only appreciate a danger when it is past.) 
Leopard. As spotted as a leopard. Cf. NED Leopard, 2. 
Liar. A liar is not to be believed even when he speaks the 

truth. Apperson 361 ; Bradley 82 ; Oxford 362 ; T L217. 
Lick. I. A lick and a promise and better next time. (Allud- 
ing to a hasty wash given to a child, dish, etc.) Berrey 

21.5, 156.2.3, 243.2; Green 17 (verbatim) ; Hardie 466; 

NED Lick, ib; Partridge 480; Partridge, Suppl. 985, 

2. A lot of licks to drive a nail in the dark. Champion 630 

(395) (American Negro). 
Life. I. As big as life (2). Berrey 169.11. 

2. As large as life and twice as natural. Berrey 20.10, 

1 69.11; Green 19; Hardie 466; Oxford 350; Wilstach 

3. As natural as life. Wilstach 272. 

4. The biggest thing in life is a funeral at the end of it. 

Cf. Christy i, 221 : The greatest business of life is to 
prepare for death. 

5. While there's life there's hope (2). Apperson 364; 

Bradley 83; Oxford 366; Taylor 44-5; T L269. 
Light. I. As fast as light. Wilstach 135. 

2. Out like a light. Berrey 106.4.8, 11 7. 18. 703.3.4.6. 
Lightning, i. As fast as greased lightning (3). Berrey; DAE Greased; NED Greased, i; Partridge 


2. As fast as lightning (2). Taliaferro 64 (faster). 

3. As quick as greased lightning. Wilstach 308. 

4. As quick as lightning (3). Apperson 518; Berrey 148.9, 

257.11; Green 30; Hyamson 287; Taliaferro 151. Cf. 

I' R O \' K R H s 437 

5. Strike like liKlitiiin,^-. Wilslach 394. 

6. l.ightning never strikes twice in the same place (3). 

Li.yhtnini^ never strikes in the same place (2). liradley 

Like, sb. I -ike knows like. Apperson 367-8; Oxford 368; 

Taylor 45 ; T 1 .2S6. 
Like with like. 
Like, vb. If you don't like it you may himp it. I'.errey 270.3, 

279.4; DAE Lump; Lean ni. 511. 
Liking. Little liking where there is no likeness. Ai)i)erson 

368 : Likeness causeth liking ; T L294. 
Lily. 1. As fair as a lily (2). Cf. NED Fair. 6. quot. 1554. 

2. As pure as a lily (2). Hardie 468; Wilstach 403. 
As pure as the lilies of May. 

3. As white as a lily. Apperson 680; Hyamson 359; i 

L296; Wilstach 471. 

Limbs. Dead limhs show up when the leaves (buds) come 
out. Champion 634 (559) ^ r)ead limb on the tree 
shows itself when the buds come out (American Negro). 

Line. i. As straight as a line. Apperson 604-5; Green 31; 
T L303 ; Wilstach 392. 
2. Hew to the line, let the chips fall where they may. brad- 
ley 83; Green 24. 

Lion. I. As bold as a Hon (2). Apperson 59: Green 21; 
Wilstach 28. 

2. As brave as a lion (2). W . Faulkner. The Unvan- 

quishcd (N. Y.. 1938) 260. 

3. As fierce as a lion (3). T L308 ; Wilstach 139. 

4. Beard the lion in his den. Hyamson 38; Oxford ^7- 

5. Roars like a lion. NED Lion. la, quot. a 1687; Wil- 

stach 326. 
Lip. I. Keep a stifT upper lip. Berrey 270.3. 299.1 3 ; DAE 

Li]); NED Stifif, n ; Partridge 450- ♦'^31 ; Tahaferro 117. 
2 Put your lip in somebody else's business. Cf. Apperson 

552'; Oxford 564; T L328. 
Liquor. Good liquor needs no water. 

Listeners. Listeners never hear good of themselves. Apper- 
son 370; Koch II. 13: eavesdroppers; Oxford 371; T 

Little, sb. Everv little heli^s (2). Apperson 188; Bradley 82; 

Oxford 177 ; Partridge 635 ; Taylor 45- See Bit above. 
Little, adj. Little but loud. Bradley 82 ; Oxford 372. 
Live I . Live and learn. Apperson 375 : Bradley 82 ; Oxford 

37S-6; Tavlor 45; T L379- 


Live and learn, die and forget it all. Green 27 ; G. F. 
Northall, A IVarzvickshirc Word-Book (English Dialect 
Society, London, 1896) 276. 

2. Live and let live (2). Apperson 375; Bradley 82; Ox- 

ford 376 ; T L380. 

3. Live to learn and learn to live. Cf . Cheviot 387 : We're 

to learn while we live. 

4. The longer we live the more we learn. Franck 100: De 

mor' you lib, de mo' you larn, 106 (368). Cf. Apper- 
son 375 ; Oxford 382 ; T L393. 

Lobster. As red as a lobster. Hardie 468 (boiled) ; T L405 ; 
W'ilstach 316. 

Locusts. As destructive as locusts. Cf. NED Locust. 3. 

Log. I. As easy as falling off a log (2). Apperson 175; 
Berrey 255.4 ; DAE Log. 3 ; Hardie 467 ; Partridge 253. 
As easy as falling off a slick log. Falling off' a log (for 

2. As easy as rolling oft' a log. Berrey 255.4; DAE Log, 3; 

NED Suppl. Log. lb; Partridge 704. 

3. Sleeps soundly as a log. Slept like a log (2). Berrey 

251.4; Hardie 471 ; NED Log. ib, quot. 1886; T L410; 

Wilstach 358. 
Look. I. Look before you leap. Apperson 380; Bradley 83; 

Hardie 464 ; Hyamson 226 ; Oxford 383 ; Taylor 45 ; T 

L429. See Leap, vb., above. 
2. You may look farther and fare worse. Cf. James Shirley, 

Dramatic JJ'orks, ed. A. Dyce. 6 vols. (London, 1833) 

II. 299 : I may go farther and fare worse. See Farther 

Looked. Long looked for come at last. Apperson 379; Green 

2-/ ; Hardie 464 (expected) ; Oxford 381 ; T L423. 
Loon. As crazy as a loon (7). Berrey 152.5, 171. 7; DAE 

Loon. 2; Hardie 467; NED Suppl. Loon, ib; Wilstach 

Lord (1). He hollers Lord and follows devil. Cf. Christy i, 

536 : God in his tongue and the devil in his heart ; DAE 

Holler, I, quot. 1917. 
Lord (2), As drunk as a lord (4). Apperson 166; Berrey 

106.7; (]reen 19; Hardie 467; Hyamson 123; Partridge 

405; Taylor 29; T L439 ; Wilstach T05. 

2. As rich as lords. Wilstach 322. 

3. Live like a lord. \\'ilstach 238. 

Lose, You can't lose what you ain't got. ( )xford 385. 

Louse. I. As dead as a louse. Shirlcv and .\. Seifert, Death 

p R o V i: R B s 439 

Stops at the Old Stone Inn (N. Y., 1938) 144. Cf. 
Apperson 137 : As dead as a nit. 

2. As gray as a louse. 

3. As poor as a louse. Cf. Partridge 49^): As mean as a 


4. You move like the dead lice were (Iroi)pmg off you. 

(ireen 36 (verbatim ). 
Move like the dead lice wuz a drappin' off' 11 you. Apper- 
son 249 : To go as if dead lice dropped off you ; T L474. 
Cf. Paul Green, Wide Fields (N. Y., 1928) 254: She's 
slow enough fer the dead lice to be popping ofif'n her. 
Love, sb. I. All's fair in love and war. Apperson 384; Ox- 
ford 186; Taylor 46; T A 139. 

2. Hot love soon cools. Apperson 315; Oxford 307 ; T L483. 

3. Love is blind. Apperson 384: I'.nidley 83; Oxford 389; 

Tavlor 45 : T L506. , t. „ o 

4. Love laughs at locksmiths. Apperson 3CS5 ; bradley «3 ; 

Oxford 390. 

5. The course of true love never runs smooth. Apperson 

116; Oxford 113. 

6. True love is the weft of life. Hislop 307: True loves 

the waft o" life, but it whiles comes through a sorrowfu' 
shuttle. Cf. T L547. . ^ c- 

7. You can't live on love. Cf. Christy i. 649. 652. See 

Beauty (4) above. 
Love, vb. I . Love me love my dog. Apperson 386-7 : P.rad- 

lev 83; Hardie 464; Hyamson 119; Oxford 391; T 

2. Love me little, love me long. Apperson 386; Bradley 

83; NED Love, 2a; Oxford 391 ; Taylor 45; T L539. 
Lucifer. As proud as Lucifer (2). Apperson 514; Hyamson 

227 : Oxford 521 ; T L572 ; Wilstach 302. 
Luck. Thev's more good luck than they is good conduct in 

this world. Cf. Lean iv. 12: More by luck than good 

guiding: \Vilson 193. 
Lucky. It is better to be born lucky than rich. Apperson 45 ; 

P.radley 84. 

Mad. So mad he couldn't spit (spit straight) (2). 

Madman. Raved like a madman. Wilstach 313. 

Maggots. He has maggots in his head. Ai)pers()n 390; Ber- 

rey 143.3 ; Partridge 382 ; T M6. 
Magpie, i. As talkative as a magpie. Wilstach 415. 
2. Chatters like a magpie (2). Wilstach 49. 


Make. i. As mean (rough, ugly) as they make them. Cf 

Berrey 20.13, ^^-l^ -94; Partridge' 18, as, 341, good, 

506, make, 938, warm. 
2. As we make it so we have it. 
Mammy, i. He's tied to his mammy's apron strings. Berrey 

223.1; Hyamson 20; Oxford 13; Partridge 16; T A312. 
2. He was raised under his mammy's coattails. 
Man. I. A drowning man will catch at a straw. Apperson 

166; Bradley 'J2\ Hardie 469; Oxford 159; Taliaferro 

137; Taylor 29; T M92. 

2. A hairy man's rich. A hairy wife's a witch. Cheviot 12: 

A hairy man's a geary man, but a hairy wife's a witch ; 
Hislop 26; Wilson 187. 

3. A man is never a hero to his own servant. Lean iv, 61 ; 

NED Hero, 3, quot. 1764; Oxford 455. 

4. A man is not known by his looks. Cf. DavidofT 256: 

One must not hang a man by his looks. See Clothes (1) 

5. A man's self is his worst enemy. Cf. Apperson 239, 

friend {2y), quot. 1831 : You 'may find your worst 
enemy, or best friend, in yourself. 

6. A man who treats his own stock bad will treat others' 

bad. Cf . Bohn 245 : Quem mal quer os seus, no querra 
ben OS aliens. He that is unkind to his own will not 
be kind to others (Galician) ; Hislop 149: He that's ill 
to himsel will be gude to naebody. 

7. A man without a knife Is not worth a wife. 

8. A poor man with children has got a millstone about his 

neck. Cf. Kelly 326: The best thing that ever hap- 
pened to a poor Man, is that the first Bairn dye. and 
all the rest follow. 

9. A silent man is a wise man. Cf. Aphra Behn, The Dutch 

Lover, in Works, ed. M. Summers (London. 191 5) i, 
264 : A prudent Man speaks least, as the Spaniard has it. 

10. An angry man opens his mouth and shuts his eyes. 

11. Better be an old man's darling than a young man's slave. 

Apperson 464; Bradley 87; Oxford 38; T M444-5 ; 
Woodard 40. 

12. Beware of a smiling man. Cf. NED Smiling, i, quot. 


13. Don't bother a man when he's busy. 

14. Don't take a lazy man's load (3). Hyamson 218; Par- 

tridge 473; Pearce 241. 

15. Everv man for himself and the devil take the hindmost, 

Bra'dley 91 ; Hardie 462; Oxford 178; T D267, Mi 14; 

P R () V K K U S 441 

\\'hitiii}4- _'o8. L'\. AppcTson iH<;; Taliaferro J56: Ev'ry 
man fur hisself. and (iod for all; Taylor 31. 

16. Every man has his price. Oxford 178. 

17. Every man to his taste. Every man to his own taste. 

Every one to his own taste, said the old woman as she 
kissed the cow. Apper.son 191-2; Oxford 178; Taylor 

18. Fat men are jolly. Cf. Hyatt 139 (2856) : A fat jjcrson 

is always good-natured ; Paige 282 : Blessed are they 
that are fat : for they shall he jolly and good natured, 
and poverty can't make them poor; Taliaferrcj 194: 
Hashliead dift'ered from most fleshy men, who are said 
to he good-natured; T F419. 

19. Get a man drunk if you would know him. 

20. Great men are not always wise. 

21. It takes a wise man to play the fool. Cf. Apperson 696: 

He is not a wMse man that cannot play the fool; Oxford 
455 : No man can plav the fool as well as the wise man. 

22. Man hrung nothing here and he'll take nothing away. 

Cf. I Timothy 6:7: For we hrought nothing into the 
world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 

23. Man proposes, God disjKJses (2). Apperson 397; Brad- 

ley yy ; Oxford 403 ; Taylor 46, 94 ; T M298. 

24. (a) Man works from sun to sun; Woman's work is 

never done, (h) Man ma}- work from sun to sun, A 
woman's work is never done. Bradley 98 ; Betty Mac- 
Donald, The Egg and I (Philadelphia, 1945) 161 : Man 
works from dawn to setting sun, But woman's work is 
never done. See Woman (5) helow. 

25. Many men, many minds. Apperson 586; Green 28; 

Oxford 406; Taylor 47, 94; T M583. 

26. Men are sorry witnesses in their own cause. Cf. Apper- 

son 55: Men are hlind in their own cause; Bohn 286: 
Xinguem he hom juiz em causa ])ro])ria; ()xfor(l 50; T 

27. Never hit a man when he's down. Uradlev 71 ; Hardie 

462 (kick a fellow). Cf. Iniller 86 (2847): It is a 
base thing to tread upon a man that is down. 

28. Old men are twice children, .\pperson 464-^; Oxford 

Once a man and twice a child. Ap])erson 464-5, quot. 

29. One-legged man l)etter dance away from the fire. Cf. 

Champion 624 (138) : Man with half a foot always dance 
near his family (Jamaican). 


30. Sleep like a dead man. W'ilstach 358. 

31. Sweet talk him and feed him. No man stays fur from 

a sweet mouth and a good table. Feed him good and 
sweet-talk him and he'll hang clost around his own door 
step. Cf. Oxford 696, way. 

32. There's more hope for a drinking man than a lazy man. 

33. To know a man you must winter him and summer him. 

T W516; Wood 242: You must summer and winter a 
stranger before you can form an opinion of him. Cf. 
Hislop 176: I'm no obliged U) simmer and winter it to 
you, 336 : Ye maun hae't baith simmered and wintered ; 
O'Rahilly 24 (89) : To know a person one must live in 
the same house with him. 

34. When all men speak, no one hears. Kelly 343 ; Oxford 8. 

35. Wise men learn by other men's mistakes, fools by their 

own. Apperson 698; Oxford 718; T M612, 615. Cf. 

Way to Wealth 414: Wise men learn by others Harms, 

Fools scarcely by their own. 
Man in the moon. As high as the man in the moon. Cf. 

Erasmus, The Praise of Folic, trans. Sir Thomas Chal- 

oner (London, 1549) A ii : as farre wyde, as from 

hence to the man in the moone. 
Manage-good. Old "Manage-good" is better than Mr. "Big- 
wage." Cundall 84 : Manage good better dan big wage. 
Marble (1). As cold as marble. Wilstach 62. 
Marble (2). i. As round as a marble (2). Fauset 158 (74). 

2. As slick as a marble. 
March, i. As windy as March (a March day). Cf. NED 

March, i, quot. 1500-20. 
2. March comes in like a lamb and goes out like a lion. 

Apperson 401 ; Bradley 99 ; Green 28 ; Oxford 407 ; 

Taylor 47 ;T M641. 
March hare. As mad as a March hare (3). Apperson 389; 

Green 28; Hardie 470; Hyamson 229; Oxford 396; 

Partridge 503; T Hi 48; Wilstach 249. 
As wild as a March hare. 
Mare. To find a mare's nest (2). Apperson 402; Green 24 

(and is laughing at the eggs); Hyamson 234; Oxford 

408 ; T M658. 
Marriage, i. Before marriage, keep both eyes open; after, 

shut one. Beckwith 18: Before you married keep you' 

two eye open ; after you married, shut one ; Cundall 85 ; 

Oxford 331 : Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, 

and half shut afterwards; Poor Richard 92. 

r R o \- 1: R B s 443 

2. Marriai,a^s are made in lieaven. A])pers()n 404; I'.radley 
S4 : ( )xtc)rd 409 ; T M688. 
Marry. 1. (a) If you marry in l)lack. you'll wish yourself 
back. If you marry in red, you'll wish yourself dead, 
If you marry in yellow, you'll be ashamed of your fel- 
low. If you marry in green, you'll be ashamed to be 
seen. If you marry in blue, you'll always be true, If you 
marrv in brown, you'll live out of town. If you marry 
in gray, you'll live far away, If you marry in white, you 
are chosen all right, (b) If you marry in white, you 
have chosen right. If you marry in black, you will wish 
yourself back. If you marry in blue, your love will be 
true. If you marry in brown, you will live in town, If 
you marry in yellow, you will want another fellow (2). 
Emelyn E. Gardner, Folklore from the Schoharie Hills, 
Netv York (Ann Arbor, 1937) 301-2; Hyatt 366 
(7269-71) ; Oxford 410-11 ; Thomas 64. (The parallels 
all ditTer in varying degrees.) 

2. Marrv in haste and repent in leisure. Apperson 404; 

Bradley 84; Hardie 464; Oxford 411 ; T Hi 96. 

3. M ore's 'married than's doing well (2). Cf. Apperson 

426: More folks are wed than keep good houses; Kelly 
334 (264). 

4. Not married till bedded. 

5. You'll get over it before you get married. Cf. Allison 99; 

Brewster 264 : The hurt child is consoled for his 
scratches or bruises by being told, "You'll get well be- 
fore you're twice married" ; Cireen 36 : You'll be well 
before you are twice married. 

Martin. As straight as a martin to his gourd. Irene Yates, 
"A Collection of Proverbs and Proverbial Sayings from 
South Carolina Literature," Southern Folklore Quar- 
terly, XI (1947.) 198. 

Master, i. A falling master makes a standing man. Hislop 
19, cf. 41 ; Oxford 189. 

2. An earlv master makes a long servant. Hislop 84. Cf. T 


3. Like master, like man. Apperson 366-7. 646, trim ; Brad- 

ley 85 ; Oxford 412, 427. mistress. 671. trim ; Tavlor 47; 
T M723. 

4. No man can serve two masters. Apperson 449 ; r)radley 

84; Hyamson 311 ; Oxford 455; T M322. 
Match. As fat as a match (4). Green 19, 23; Lean 11, 827: 

As fat as a match with the brimstone off. 
Meal barrel. Always taking out of the meal barrel and never 


putting in soon comes to the bottom. Apperson lo; 
Hislop 52; Oxford 9; JVay to IVealth 414-5. 

Mean. Too durned mean to get shot. Cf . Atkinson 82 : He's 
too mean to die. 

Meaning. There is as much meaning in a wink as a word. 
{Meaning substituted for inalice in the MS.) 

Meat. One man's meat is another man's poison. Apperson 
410-11 ; Bradley 85 ; Oxford 416: T M483. 

Methuselah. As old as Methuselah (4). Green 19; Hardie 
si; Partridge si8; Taliaferro 254 (Mathuzlum) ; Tay- 
lor 51 ; T M908; Wilstach 278. ' 

Midnight, i. As black as midnight. Blakeborough 231 ; Wil- 
stach 21. 
2. As dark as midnight. NED Midnight, 4b; Wilstach 80. 

Mile. As long as a country mile. Cf. Lean 11. 763 : Like a 
Welsh mile, long and narrow. (Tedious) ; Oxford 546: 
Robin Hood's mile; T M925. 

Milk. Don't cry over spilled milk (4). Apperson 126; Brad- 
ley 85; Hardie 462; Hyamson 104; Oxford 122; Par- 
tridge 809; Taliaferro 90 (grieve) ; T M939. 

Mill. I. I could ride to the mill on this knife. (Meaning 
it is so extremely dull.) Atkinson 83: You could ride 
to the mill on that knife without any blanket (it's so 
dull). Cf. Apperson 538, Romford; E. ]\L Fogel, 
Supplement to Proverbs of the Pennsylvania Germans 
(Fogelsville, Pa., 1929) 8 (2012) ; Oxford 542. 
2. That's what they told me down at the mill. Cf. Apper- 
son 416, mill (2), 418, miller (13); Nicolson 79: A 
country-side smithy, a parish mill, and a public-house, 
the three best places for news, 369. 

Miller, i. As bold as a miller's shirt. Apperson 417, miller 
(3) ; Bohn 164; Oxford 55, cf. 708, as wight; Partridge 
521 ; T M959; Wilstach 498. (The parallels explain that 
a miller's shirt, or collar, is bold because it takes a thief 
by the throat every morning.) 
2. Drown the miller. (Too much water [milk] in flour in 
making bread) (2). Apperson 166, cf. 418, miller 
(14); Berrey 35.7; Hyamson 240; NED Miller, ic; 
Oxford 526; Partridge 521 ; T M962. 

Million. Looks like a million. Berrey 37.6.10. 

Millpond. As level as a millpond. Cf. NED ]\Iill-pond; Wil- 
stach 230: Level as a pond. 

Minds. The minds of great men run in the same channel. 

P R O V K R H S 445 

l)r;ulley 85: (ircat miiuls run in tlif same channel; 
1 laidie 463 ; Sna[)i) 87 ( j6 ) . 
Mine. What's mine is yours and what's Nours is mine. ( )x- 
ford 425; T M980. ef. K. C. (inrdon, County l-olk- 
Lorc, Suffolk (Fulk-Lore Society, London, 1893) 147: 
What's her's is mine. etc. 
Minute, i. As small as a minute. Cf. NED Minute, 5. 
_'. No higger than a minute. C. G. (iivens, All Cats Arc 
Cray (Indianapolis, 1937) 253. 
Mirror. As clear as a mirror. Wilstach 57. 
Misery. Misery makes us acquainted with strange bed-fellows. 

Apperson 418; Green 28; Oxford 426; Taylor 49. 
Misfortunes, i. Better be wise by the misfortunes of others 
than your own. See Man (35) above. 
2. Misfortunes never come singly. Misfortunes rarely come 
alone. Apperson 419; Bradley 85; NED Misfortune, 
ic; Oxford 426-7; T M1012. ' See Trouble (7) 1)elow. 
Miss. A miss is as good as a mile (2). Apperson 419; Brad- 
lev 85; Oxford 427; Partridge ^2t,\ Tavlor 49. Cf. T 
I56. ^ 
Molasses, i. As slow as cold molasses (2). Wilstach 360. 
As slow as molasses (2). Berrey 54.5, 150. 5, cf. 184.12. 
As slow as molasses in January. Berrey 54.5. 150.5. cf. 
414.3; Hardie 471 ; Wilstach 360. 
As slow as molasses in winter. Slower than molasses in 

winter. Partridge 526. 
As slow as molasses running up hill. Cf. H. W. Smith. 
"Notes from Cape Cod," Dialect Notes, iv, part iv 
(1916) 266: slowern' cold molasses in the winter-time 
running up hill. 
He is as slow as molasses down a tato row. 

2. As thick as molasses (2). H. Ashbrook, Murder of 

Sigurd Sharon (N. Y., 1933) 48. 

3. She saves the lasses skimmins. 

Mole. As blind as a mole (2). Apperson 55; Berrey 106.8 

(for dead drunk); Hyamson 51; NED Mole ib; T 

M 1034 ; Wilstach 23. 
Monday. As blue as a Monday morning. Cf. Berrey 3.2, 

107.2, 247.1, 283.2. 
Money, i. A little money is soon spent. Cf. Apperson 371 : 

A little good is soon spent ; T G299. 

2. He would steal the money off a dead man's eyes (2). 

Berrey 145.6. 

3. If you would know the value of money try to borrow it. 


Apperson 421; Oxford 344; Poor Kichard 147; T 
Mi 104; IV ay to IVealih 415. 

4. Marry for money and you will be sorry you married at 

all. Cf. Fuller 66 (2238) : He that marrieth for wealth 
sells his liberty. 

5. Money can do anything. Helen McCloy, Dance of Death 

(N. Y., 1938) 169; T M1084. Cf. Apperson 421, money 
( I ), 423, money (47) ; Oxford 429. 

6. Money is the root of all evil. The love of money is the 

root of all evil. Berrey 559.1; Bradley 85; Hyamson 
297; Partridge 705; Taylor 49; I Timothy 6: 10. 

7. Money makes the mare go (2). Apperson 422; Bradley 

86; Green 28; Oxford 430; Partridge 509; Taylor 49; 
T Mi 077. 

8. Shines like new money. He's shining in Abraham's 

bosom like a piece of new money. His eyes shinin' like 
new money. Taliaferro 48 : shinin' away . . . like a 
piece uv new money, 76 : His eyes shinin' away like 
new money. 
Monkey, i. As agile as a monkey. Wilstach 5. 

2. As funny as a barrel of monkeys. Wilstach 166. 

3. As tricky as a monkey. 

4. We had more fun than a barrel of monkeys (2). Berrey 

More fun than a box of monkeys (7). Berrey 280.1. 
Month. A month of Sundays. Apperson 423, 673 ; Berrey 

1.2.8, 2.12; Green 17; Hyamson 332; Oxford 431; 

Partridge 530. 
Moonshine. As slow as a pokey moonshine. 
Moor. It's a bare moor without a tuft of heather. Hislop 

179: It's a bare moor that ye gang through an' no get 

a heather cow. (A "heather cow" is a twig or tuft of 

heath) ; Lean iv, 9; Oxford 22: It is a bare moor that 

he goes over and gets not a cow ; T M1133. 
More. The more the merrier. Apperson 428 ; Bradley 86 ; 

Oxford 433; Taylor 49; T Mi 153. See Fewer above. 
Morning, i. As fair as morning. Wilstach 129. 

2. As lovely as the morning. Wilstach 246. 
Moses. As meek as Moses (5). Green 28; Hyamson 237; 

Wilstach 256. 
Mother. Like mother like daughter. Apperson 367 ; Oxford 

435 ;T M1199. 
Mountain, i. As big as a mountain (2). Cf. James Shirley, 

Dramatic Works, ed. A. Dyce (London, 1833) vi, 46: 

Huge as a mountain. 


2. As high as a nuumtain. Cf. NED Mountain, if ; Maurice 

Walsh, Nine Strings to Your Bcnv (Philadelphia, 1945) 
18 : mountain high. 
7. Never make a mountain out of a molehill. Apperson 
430. cf. 514; Hyamson 245; NKD Molehill. 2; Oxford 
436 :T M1035. 

4. The mountains are calm even m a tempest. 

5. The mountain labors and brings forth a mouse. Apper- 

son 430 ; Oxford 436 ; T M 121 5. 
Mouse. 1. As meek as a mouse. Wilstach 255. 

2 As poor as a church mouse (4)- Apperson 505; Berrey 
378.3, 418.1; Green 29; Hardie 468; Hyamson 278; 
Oxford 510; T C382. 

3. As quiet as a mouse (2). Apperson 519; Taylor 55; 

Wilstach 309. 

4. As still as a mouse (2). Apperson 519, quiet, quots. 

1656. 1772; T Mi 224. 

5. As timid as a mouse. Wilstach 426. 

Mouth. I. A closed mouth catches no flies. Oxford 98; T 
Mi 247. Cf. Apperson 220, fly (9)- 

2. Every times he opens his mouth he puts his foot m it. 

Berrey 170.6.9, 188.17; Oxford 478. 

3. What enters the mouth goes into the belly. 

Moves Three moves are as bad as a fire (4). Two moves are 
as bad as a fire. Three removes (moves) are as bad 
as a fire. Apperson 629; Bradley 86; Oxford 654; 
Taylor 56; Way to Wealth 41^- 

Moving days. Monday for health, Tuesday for wealth, 
Wednesday the best day of all, Thursday for losses 
Friday for crosses, Saturday no luck at all. Oxford 
428 (of marriage). Cf. Hyatt 364 (7^36-7) : Married 
on Monday, married for health, etc. ; Thomas 64. 

Much. I. That's too much of a good thing. Apperson 640; 
]^,errey 24.15; Hvamson 345; Oxford 665; Partridge 
2 You can have too much of anything. Cf. Apperson 640-1 : 
Too much of one thing is naught ; Oxford 665 ; Roberts 
39; T T158. 

Mud I. As clear as mud (2). Berrey 172.4; Green 18; 
NED Mud, 3; Partridge 158. 539: Taylor 22. 

2. As fat as mud (2). Green 23. 

3. As mad as mud. Partridge 503. 

4. As thick as mud (2). Green 20; Lean 11. 883 (gutter 


N.C.F., Vol. I, (30) 


5. As Ugly as mud. Cf. W'ilstach 439 : As ugly as were 
ever born of mud. 
Mud fence. i. As homely as a mud fence. Berrey 38.5, 
428.1. Cf. Perkins 120: homelier than a stump fence. 
2. As ugly as a mud fence. Brewster 261 ; DAE Mud 
As ugly as a mud fence daubed with misery (3). As 
ugly as a mud fence daubed with terrapins. Cf. DAE 
Mud fence, quot. 1907 (stuck with tadpoles). 
As ugly as a mud fence trimmed with tar. 
Mud pie. As ugly as a mud pie. 

Mule. I. A mule's gallop is soon over. Beckwith 43 (don- 
key) ; Cundall 45 (donkey); Lean iv, 119: The dull 
ass's trot lasts not long ajid Trotta d'asina non dura 

2. As balky as a mule. Bond 46. 

3. As contrary as a mule. Allison 98 ; Bond 46. 

4. As obstinate as a mule ( 2 ) . W'ilstach 2yy. 

5. As stout (strong) as a mule. 

6. As strong as a mule. Horace McCoy, TJicx Shoot 

Horses, Don't They? (N. Y., 1935) 22. 

7. As stubborn as a bob-tail mule. As stubborn as a mule 

(3). Atkinson 90; Berrey 210.3; Wilstach 396. 

8. As tough as a mule. Bond 46. 
As tough as mule's hide. 

9. Blaze face mule, always a fool. 

10. Brays like a mule. N. I. White, American Negro Folk- 

Songs (Cambridge, Mass., 1928) 320 (corn-fed mule). 

11. Gray mules never die, they turn into Baptist preachers. 

Cf. G. W. Harris, 89: Thar am two things nobody ever 
seed : wun am a dead muel, an' tother is a suckit-rider's 
grave. Kaze wdiy, the he muels all turn into old field 
school-masters, an' the she ones intu strong minded 
women, an' then when thar time comes, they dies sorter 
like uther folks ; Thomas 257 : All bricklayers will turn 
to gray mules w'hen they die and A white mule will 
never die. Whoever saw a dead gray mule or a poach- 
er's grave? 

12. Kicks like a Kentucky mule. Cf. Bond 49: kick like a 

Bay State mule; Hanford 168. 
Kicks like a mule. Bond 46. 

13. You are as crazy as a hump backed mule. You crazy 

hump-backed mule you. 

14. You look as nice as a blue mule. 

Mule skinner. Swears like a mule skinner. Cf. Bill Maudlin, 
Up Front (N. Y.. 1945) 112-3: It would have glad- 


dened the hearts of those old sokhcrs at home, who 
were convinced that this new army was going crazy 
with newfangled inventions, to see long columns of 
halky mules heing cajoled and threatened up the trails 
hy their hearded, swearing, sweating skinners. (The 
h'ahitual profanitv of mule skinners was alluded to 
appreciatively hy John Kieran on Inforinaiion Please, 
April 22, 1946.) 
Murder. Murder will out. Appcrson 433-4 ; I'radley 86; Ox- 

l.ird 439: T Mi3i5- 
Mush. 1. As soft as mush (2). Wilstach 368. 

2. As thick as mush (2). Cf. Apperson 624: As thick as 

porridge; Wilstach 421 (oatmeal), 422 (hasty pudding). 

Mustard. It's all to the mustard. (All to good.) Berrey 

128.3. 279.6; DAE Mustard, 3; NED Suppl. Mustard 


Nail. I. As naked as mv nail. Apperson 436; NED Naked, 

ih; Oxford 442; Partridge 549; T N4; Wilstach 271. 

2. As tough as nails. Wilstach 430. 

3 Hit the nail on the head (4)- Apperson 435; ^iCrrey 

169.6 (right nail). 188.13. 2S7-7-' Hardie 469; Hyam- 

son 247 :N)x ford 296; Taliaferro 144: Taylor 50; 

T N16. 

Naught. Naught is never in danger. Apperson 437 : Oxford 

Necessity. Necessitv is the mother of invention. Apperson 
439 : Bradlev 86 ; Hardie 464 : Oxford 445-6 ; Taylor 50 ; 
f N61. 
Neck. I. I'd rather mv neck felt the yoke than the a.xe. 
Roherts 121 : Choose either the yoke or the axe; 
X'aughan 98 (699): When the ox the yoke refuses, 
Then the ox the poleaxe chooses. 
2. l.imlier necks live longer'n stiff 'uns. 

T, Their necks'll stretch hemp. (They are set for hang- 
ing.) Cf. NED Hemp, 3. 
Need. i. Need hath no law. Api)er.son 438: Necessity has 
no law ; P>radlev 86; Oxford 445 : Taylor 50; T N76. 
2. Need lends speed. Cf. Apperson 439: Need and night 
make the lame to trot and Need makes the naked man 
run and Need makes the old wife trot; Oxford 446; T 

Needle. 'iV As fine as a needle. Cf. Nk:D Needle, la. quot. 
T c8zi 
2. As nude as a needle. Apperson 436, naked. ([Uot. 1858; 
Partridge 549. naked ; T N94. 


3. As sharp as a needle (2). Apperson 561 ; Green 30; 

NED Needle, la; Taliaferro 56; T N95. 

4. Like hunting for a needle in a haystack (2). It's like 

looking for a needle in a haystack. Hard to find as a 
needle in a haystack. Apperson 440; Hardie 469; 
Hyamson 226 ; Oxford 446-7 ; Taliaferro 83 ; Taylor 50 ; 
T N97. Cf. Partridge 632. 

5. Needles and pins, needles and pins. When a man marries 

his trouble begins (2). Apperson 440; Green 28; 
Lean i, 469 ; Oxford 447 ; Woodard 40. 

6. Sews with a red-hot needle and a burning thread. Atkin- 

son 82 ; Collections . . . Relating to Montgomeryshire, 
XIII (1880) 329 (745) ; T N98; J. S. Udal. Dorsetshire 
Folk-Lore (Hertford. 1922) 302. Cf. Champion 527 
22) : A hot needle burns the thread (Ga, Africa) ; Par- 
sons, Antilles 460: Hot needle burn thread. 
Negro (Nigger), i. A dead nigger in the wood pile. Berrey 
166.1.3. 170.1, 207.2, 317.1 ; DAE Nigger 12; Hardie 
466; NED Suppl. Nigger, ic; Oxford 452. 

2. All niggers look alike to me. Jonathan Daniels, Tar 

Heels (N. Y., 1941) 202. 

3. As black as a nigger. Lean 11, 807 ; NED Negro, i, quot. 

As black as a Negro in the dark. As black as a Negro 
shovelling coal at midnight. Cf. Hislop 192: It would 
be a hard task to follow a black dockit sow through a 
burnt muir this night. 

4. As lazy as a nigger. 

5. As shiny as a Negro's eye. See (9) below. 

6. As sleepy as a nigger. 

7. Give a nigger a book and you just as well kill him. 

8. Give a nigger an education and you ruin a good plough- 

hand. J. C. Harris 223 : Put a spellin'-book in a nigger's 
ban's, en right den en dar' you loozes a plow-hand. Cf. 

9. Shines like a nigger's heel. Hardie 468: As shiny as a 

nigger's heel ; Pearce 237 ; Wilstach 344. 

10. Sweating like a Negro going to the 'lection (2). Sweat- 

ing like a nigger at election. Berrey 123. 11, 245.12; 
Brewster 265; Hanford 177 (Arkansas) ; Woodard 42. 

11. Takes a deaf nigger not to hear the dinner horn. J. C. 

Harris 151 : Hit's a mighty deaf nigger dat don't year 
de dinner-ho'n. 

12. Tastes like a Negro family has just moved out of my 

mouth. Cf. Partridge 132: To feel as if a cat has kit- 


tened in one's mouth ; \'ance Randolph, Ocark Mountain 
folks (N. Y., 193-^) 40: an' my mouth a-tastm' hke a 
cat had done littered in it. 

Neighbor Better a neighhor that is near than a brother that 
is far otY. Champion 562 (244) : Your neighbour who is 
near is better than your brother who is far away (Moor- 
ish) : Cundall 90: Near nabour better dan furra broder ; 
NED, Neighbour, i, proverbs, quots. 13. . . 1539'. Nicol- 
son 244; Proverbs 27:10. Cf. Apperson 437: A near 
friend is better than a far-dwelling kinsman; Oxford 

Nest. Smelled like a nest of grandaddies. Ct. Lerrey 120.5O. 

Nettle. Grasp a nettle hard and it will not sting you. Cf. 
Api^erson 442; Berrey 208.2; Hyamson 166; NbU 
Grasp. 3 ; Oxford 274 ; T N133. 

News. I. As far reaching as bad news. Bad news travels 
fast (2). Bradley 86; Green 21. ^, , . ^^ 

111 news travels fast. Apperson 325; Oxford 31^; ^ 
N 1 47-8. 
2. News'll keep. r, u q r\ 

3 No news is good news. Apperson 450 ; Bradley «7 ; Ox- 
ford 457 ; T Ni 52. 

Nickel. As worthless as a plugged nickel. Berrey 21.3. Ct. 
NED Suppl. Plugged. 

Night. I. As black as night. Hyamson 47; NED Night, ib. 

2. As calm as night. Wilstach 42. . , , 

3. As dark as night (2). Green 22 ; NED Night, ib. 

4. As different as night from day. See Day (3) above. 

5. As gloomy as night. Wilstach 179. 

6. As silent as night. NED Night, ib, quot. i795 ; 'i N165 ; 

Wilstach 353. . . 

7. As sure as the night follows the day. Cf. Wilstach 401 : 

Sure as dav and night succeed each other. 

8. He walked around looking like a black night on the seas. 

Cf. Northall 6: A face like a wet Saturday night. 

9. In the night all cats are l)lack. Apperson 85 ; (Jxford 86; 

T C50. 

10. Night makes no difference to a blind man. 

11. There's no night without day. Cf. T N164. 

L2 To rest well at night let your diet be light or else you'll 
complain with stomach and pain. Diet light, rest well 
at night. "Pr<eceptis of Medecyne," The Bannatyne 
Manuscript, ed. W. Tod Ritchie (Scottish Text Society, 
1928-34) II. 176. 11. 29-30: Quha wald tak rest vpoun 
the nicht The supper sowld be schort & licht; Wood 


241 : To be easy at night much supper don't eat. Or else 
thou'lt complain of wanting thy health. 
Nit. I. As dead as a nit (2). Apperson 137; Green 19; 
NED Nit, 3; Partridge 564. 

2. He has more than nits and lice in his head. Apperson 

428; Green 24; Mac Adam 263 (283). 

3. Nits make lice. Apperson 446; Oxford 453: I'artridge 

564; T N191. 
Nobody. Hurts like nobody's business. Berrey cf. 

294. 53-9- 
Nose. I. A long nose is easy burnt. Cf. Hislop 203: Lang 

noses are aye taking till them. 

2. As plain as the nose on your face (3). Apperson 452; 

Berrey 171.5; Hvamson 274; Oxford 503; Partridge 


As plain as the nose on a man's face. Green 20 ; Oxford 

3. Cut off your nose to spite your face (2). Apperson 131 ; 

Green 32; Hyamson 254; Oxford 126; Taylor 51. 

4. He can't see ahead of his nose. NED Nose, 6, quot. 

1734; Partridge 422, inch; T N220. See Inch (1) above. 

5. He has his nose to the grindstone. Apperson 452 ; Hyam- 

son 253; Oxford 462; T N218; JVay to Wealth 412. 

6. He is led by the nose. Apperson 3SS"6; Hvamson 253; 

Oxford 356 ;TN233. 
Nothing. I. Nothing is good or bad except by comparison. 
Apperson 453. nothing (14) ; T N298. 

2. Nothing venture, nothing have. Apperson 454 ; Oxford 

465; Taylor 51 ; T N3 1 9. 

3. Out of nothing, nothing comes. Apperson 454- S; Ox- 

ford 462 ; T N285. 

4. We don't charge nothin' for settin' in a cheer. See Sit 

Nut. I. As brown as a nut (3). W'ilstach 38. Cf. NED 

2. It is a hard nut to crack. Berrey 173.2. 242.1, 256.3, 

400.3, 41 1.2; Hyamson 255; NED Nut. 4; Partridge 

Nutmeg grater. As rough as a nutmeg grater. Green 30; 

W ilstach 328. 

0, I. Like an (J (aught) with the rim rubbed out. 

2. As round as an ( ). Cf. W'ilstach 'i^2^ : Round as Giotto's 
Oak. I. As stately as an oak. W'ilstach 386. 


2. As sturdy as an oak. David Maj,^arshack, Death Cuts a 
Caper (X. v.. 1935) 340. 
Ocean, i. As boundless as the ocean. Wilslach 30. 

2. As deep as the ocean. See Sea (2) I)clo\v. 

3. As salty as the ocean. Cf . England 79 : salter'n the briny 


4. As wide as the ocean. See Sea (4) below. 

Oil. I. He poured oil on the lire. Nl^^D Oil, 3c. quot. 1^60; 

2. Oil and water won't mix. Alice Campbell, Desire to 

Kill (N. Y., 1934) 18. 

3. Pour oil on troubled waters. Apperson 463 ; Hyamson 

256; Oxford 469; Taylor 51. 
Old, sb. I. Honor the old. Cf. Bohn 354: Den Gamle skal 

man sere, den Unge skal man laere ; Lean iii, 453 ; F.ild 

would be honored ; T E96. 
2. The old make laws, the young die for them. Cf. Lean 

IV, 70 : Old men for counsel ; young men for war. 
Old, adj. Never too old to learn (2). Apperson 442, never 

too late; Bradley 87; Oxford 450; T L153. See Late 

(2) above. 
One. I. As easy as one and one make two. 

2. One at a time, they last longer. Cf. J. C. Harris, Nights 

zi'ith Uncle Remus (Boston, 1883) 67: Ef you'll des 

gimme han'-roomance en come one at time, de tussle'll 

las' longer. 
Onion, i. As bald as an onion. C. (i. (livens. The Jig-Time 

Murders (Indianapolis, 1936) 15 (bald-headed). 
2. As slick as a peeled onion (2). Allison 95 ; Berrev 317.6; 

W'oofter 364. 
Opossum. I. As gray as an opossum. Cf. NED Opossum, 

I, quot. c 161 5. 
2. Crins like an opossum, l^.ond 52. 
Opportunity, i . Opportunity knocks but once. Opportunity 

never knocks twice. Apperson 231, Fortune; Bradley 

87; Hardie 464; Oxford 221, Fortune; T F608. 

2. Opportunitv makes the thief. Apperson 475; Green 29; 

Oxford 478; T O7 1. 

3. Seize the handle of opportunity. Bradley ^j : Take 

opportunity by the forelock. Cf. Apperson 462, occa- 
sion, 635. time; Oxford 658-9; T T311. 

Orange. As round as an orange (2). 

Organdy. As crisj) as organdy. Cf. Vincent Starrett, Murder 
in Peking (N. Y., 1946) 268: Her lettuce-green organdv 
was cool and criso. 


Otter. As slick as an otter's slide. 

Ounce. An ounce of prevention is worth a ponnd of cure (2). 

Bradley 89; Green 17; Hardie 461. Cf. Apperson 475; 

Oxford 479, 480. 
Oven. I. As hot as an oven. Wilstach 205. 

2. As warm as an oven. NED Oven, 2, quot. 1766. 
Owl. I. As drunk as a boiled (biled) owl (3). Apperson 

166; Berrey 97-11, 106.7.8; DAE Owl, 2; Green 22; 

Hardie 468; Partridge 75; Wilstach 104. 

2. As drunk as an owl. Apperson 167; Berrey 107.7.8. 

3. As loony as an owl. Cf. Snapp 70 (285) : As crazy as 

a hoot owl. 

4. As sleepy as an owl. Bond 55. 

5. As solemn as an owl. DAE Owl, 2 ; Wilstach 373. 

6. As wise as an owl (3). Berrey 148.9; Hardie 468; Wil- 

stach 478. 

7. Feel like a stewed owl (3). DAE Owl, 2. Cf. J. W. 

Carr, "A Word-List from Hamstead, S.E. New Hamp- 
shire," Dialect Notes, iii, part in (1907) 187: feel like 
a boiled owl. 
Ox. I. As awkward as an ox. See Cow (1) above. 

2. As dumb as an ox. Allison 95 ; Bond 47 ; Hardie 467. 

3. As slow as an ox. Bond 47. 

4. As strong as an ox (2). Wilstach 395. 

5. As stubborn as an ox (2). Cf. B. A. Botkin, Lav My 

Burden Down (Chicago, 1945) 22: The mule ain^t 
stubborn 'side of the ox. The ox am stubborn and then 
some more. 
Oyster, i. As dumb as an oyster. Dx\E Clam, 3, quot. 1889, 
Oyster, 2; Wilstach 106. 

2. As mum as an oyster. Wilstach 268. 

3. Oysters are said to be good only in the months in which 

there is an r. Apperson 480; Green 29 (verbatim); 
Oxford 483-4; T O117. 

Paddy. As Irish as Paddy's pig. O. S. Adams, "Proverbial 
Comparisons from California," California Folklore Quar- 
terly, v (1946) 336; Partridge, Suppl. 1006. 

Pancake. As flat as a pancake (3). Apperson 218; Berrey, 283.4.7, 352.7, 378.4; Green 23; Hyamson 
146; Oxford 209; Partridge 284; T P39; Wilstach 145. 

Paper. As thin as paper (2). Val Gielgud and Holt Marvell. 
London Calling (N. Y., 1934) 69. 

Paper-hanger. As busy as a one-armed paper-hanger with 
the seven-year itcli. Berrey 245.12.18; Hardie 472: 


Workiiii;: liki- a oiu'-armed paper-hanger with the itch ; 
Wilstach 40 (with the hives). 

Parasol. Like a fool who puts up a parasol against the moon- 

Parker. To think like Parker drcnipt. Collected with Jack 
Robinson (2) ahove. (Api)arcntly Parker's dream did 
not materialize.) 

Parrot, i. As talkative as a parrot. Gordon Young, Trra^/^r^? 
(N. Y.. 1928) 2. 

2. Chatter like a parrot. Cf. Apperson 510: To prate like 

a parrot; Oxford 516; T P60. 

3. Talks like a parrot. I'ond 55. 

Partridge. As plump as a partridge. Apperson 504; NED Par- 
tridge, Aa, quot. 1892, B, i, quot. 1844, Silk, ic, quot. a 
1732; T P84; Wilstach 296; Yankee Phrases 114. 

Pat. As long as Pat stayed in the army (3). Cf. England 74: 
As long as John Brown stayed in heaven. (No time 
at all.) 

Pea. I. As alike as two black-eyed peas (2). As like as tw^o 
peas. Apperson 366 ; Hyamson 222 ; Oxford 680 ; Par- 
tridge 613; T Pi 36. 
As like as two peas in a pod (3). DAE Pea, 2; Hardie 

As much alike as two peas. Green 19. 

2. As thick as peas in a pod. Virginia F. Boyle, Dez'il Tales 

(N. Y., 1900) 163: thick ez peas in er pod. Cf. F. L. 
Packard. Tiger Clazvs (N. Y., 1928) 151 : as thick as 
peas ; Partridge 875 : Thick as peas in a shell ; Taliaferro 
258 : as thick as cow-peas in thar hull ; Wilstach 420 : 
Thick as beans in a pod. 

3. Rattled like peas in a bladder. W'ilstach 313. 

Pea soup. As thick as pea soup. Wilstach 420. Cf. Berrey 

7.1.9; NED Pea-soup. 
Pea-time. Looks like the last of pea-time (2). DAE Pea 

time, 2 ; Green 27 ; NED Suppl. Pea-time. Cf. Payne 

344; Thornton 11, 651. 
Peach, I. As pretty as a peach (2). Wilstach 300. 

2. Blooming like a peach. Wilstach 24. 
Peacock. i. As proud as a peacock (5). Apperson 514; 

Green 29; Hyamson 283; Oxford 521; T Pi 57; \\'il- 

stach 303- 

2. As vain as a peacock (2). Wilstach 451. 

3. Struts like a peacock (2). NED Strut, 7I) ; W ilstach 396. 
Pearls. Don't cast your j)earls before swine. Apperson 488; 


Bradley 87 ; Hyamson 267 ; Oxford 493 ; Taylor 52 ; T 

Pebble. Only pebble on the beach. (For egotism.) Berrey 
301.7, 388.2; Hardie 471 ; Partridge 613. 

Peck. Every man must eat a peck of dirt before he dies. 
Apperson 178; Hyamson 116; Oxford 165; Tavlor 27; 

Pecker. Keep your pecker up. Berrey 270.3, 299.1.3; Hyam- 
son 267; Lean iv, 23; Oxford 332; Partridge 613. 

Peg. Take him down a peg. Apperson 618, take (27) ; Ber- 
rey 21.8, 222.4. 3044; Hyamson 267; NED Peg, 3; 
Oxford 640; T P181 ; Woodard 41. 

Penny, i. A bad penny always comes back. Berrey 21.4, cf. 
435.1 ; Bradley 87; Hardie 461. 
A bad penny is hard to get rid of. 
To turn up like a bad penny. Green 34; Hyamson 268. 

2. A penny saved is a penny earned. A penny saved is a 

penny made. Apperson 490; Bradley 87; Hardie 461; 
Oxford 495 ; Taylor 53 ; T P206. 

3. As bright as a new penny. Lean ir. 811 ; Wilstach 33. 

4. As clean as a penny. Apperson loi ; Green 18; Par- 

tridge 617; T P188. 

5. In for a penny in for [a] pound. Apperson 490; Hyam- 

son 268; Oxford 318-9; T P196. 

6. Penny makes trouble a dollar can't cure. Beckwith 100: 

Tuppence bring trouble hundred pound can't cure ; 
Franck 105 : Quatty buy trouble hundred pound can't tek 
it ofif ; Hearn 35 : Tampee ka gagnen malhers ka doublons 
pas sa gueri (Trinidad). 

7. Penny wise, pound foolish (s). Apperson 490; Bradley 

88; Hyamson 268; Oxford 495; T P218. 

8. Shines like a new penny. See Money (8) above. 

9. Take care of the pennies and the dollars will take care 

of themselves. Apperson 490 (pounds for dollars) ; 
Bradley 71 (dimes for pennies) ; Hardie 464 (as Brad- 
ley) ; Oxford 640 (as Apperson). 
People. I. People don't change, and nothing don't change 
them, but they change things. Cf. Elizabeth Daly, 
Somezvhere in the House (N. Y., 1946) 12: Perhaps 
I'm not sure that people ever really change. They may 
seem to, but . . . 
2. People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones 
(4). Apperson 248; Berrey 154.9; Bradley 80; Hardie 
464; Hyamson 160; Oxford 285; Partridge 332; Tay- 
lor 35 ; T H789. 



Pepper, i. As hot as ])cppcr. W'ilstach 204. 

J. As hot as red pepper. 
Persuasion. Persuasion is better than force. Chri.sty 11, 123. 
Peter, lie robs Peter to pay Paul. Apperson 534; Hardie 

471 ; J4yamson 295; Oxford 545; Partridge 621 ; Taylor 

S^; T P244. See Leg (1) above. 
Physician. Physician, heal thyself. Apperson 492; Taylor 53; 

T P267. 
Piano. Legs like a piano. Cf. l)()rf)thy (iardiner. Beer for 

Psyche (X. Y., 1946) 245: And she always had piano 

Pickle. As sour as a pickle (2). Berrey 283.6. 284.6. 
Pickpockets. Agree like pickpockets at a fair (2). Apperson 

493 ; Oxford 6 ; Wilstach 5. 
Picture, i. As perfect as a picture. Cf. NED Picture, 4, 

quot. 1 80 1. 
2. As pretty as a picture (5). Green 20; W'ilstach 300. Cf. 

Partridge 625. 
Piddle. Every piddle makes a puddle. Cf. Fuller 42 (i453) '■ 

Every path hath a puddle ; Kelly 312 ; T Pioo. 
Pie. I. As easy as pie. Berrey 255.4; Hardie 467; W'ilstach 


2. As good as pie. DAE Pie, ib. 

3. As nice as pie. DAE Pie, ib. 

4. As sweet as pie. David Frome. The Strange Death of 

Martin Green (N. Y., 1931) 147. 

5. Eat humble pie. Hyamson 193; Oxford 309; Partridge 

Piecrust. As short as piecrust. DAE Piecrust; Hanford 160; 

Lean 11, 872; Taliaferro 123. 
Breath as short as piecrust. Taliaferro 117. 
Pie train. He is too lazy to work on a pie train, an' him 

runnin' the taster. Wouldn't work in a pie factory if 

you'd give him a tastin' job. See Gravy train above. 
Pig. T. As crooked as a pig's tail. 

2. As dirty as a pig (3). Hardie 467. 

3. As fat as a pig (2). Apperson 205, fat as a hog; Ber- 

rey 39.12; Hardie 467; Taylor 32. 

4. As greedy as a jMg (4). Hardie 467. 

5. As happy as a dead pig in the sunshine. J. C. Harris. 

Uncle Remus and His Friends (Boston. 1892) 247: He 
des lay dar des ez ca'm ez a dead pig in de sunshine. 
Cf. Apperson 607: As subtle as a dead pig; Hislop 131 : 
He's as happy as a dead bird; Oxford 123. 


6. As happy as a pig in a puddle. Cf. Apperson 493 

(muck) ; Hardie 467 (sink) ; NED Sow, 3c, quot. 1877; 
Partridge 627. 

7. As hungry as a pig. 

8. As slick as a greased pig. England 80. 

9. Bleed like a stuck pig. NED Stuck, i ; Partridge 627. 

10. Don't buy a pig in a poke. Apperson 494; Berrey 

545- 1 4, cf- 91-56; Hardie 469; Hyamson 272; Oxford 
72-3 ; Partridge 627 ; Taylor 53, 85 ; T P304. 

11. Eats like a pig. Phil Stong, Stranger's Return (N. Y., 

1933) 127. 

12. Grunts like a pig. NED Grunt, i, quot. c 1400. 

13. He don't need it no more than a pig needs the New 

Testament. Cf. Bond 48 : To care as much as a hog 
does about Sunday. See Crow (7) above. 

14. Squeals like a pig. Bond 48 (stuck pig). 

Pigpen. As nasty as a pigpen. Cf. Blakeborough 231 : Ez 
mucky ez a pig-sty. See Hogpen above. 

Pillow. As soft as a pillow. Wilstach 371. 

Pin. I. As clean as a pin. Green 18 (new pin) ; Nell Mar- 
tin, The Mosaic Earring (N. Y., 1927) 2. Cf. Apper- 
son 444. 

2. As like as two pins. \\'ilstach 234. 

3. As neat as a pin (3). Berrey 4.9; Green 28; Taliaferro 


4. As sharp as a pin. Cf. W. H., Grammatical Drollery 

(London, 1682) 107: No . . . Pin Was so sharp as her 

5. As smart as a pin. Gordon Sinclair, Cannibal Quest 

(N. Y., 1934) 177. Cf. Partridge 557, new. 

6. He steps like he is walking on pins. Cf. Fogel 120: Du 

lafscht as wannd uf nodle drede detscht. You walk as 
if you trod on needles. See Egg (5) above. 

7. (a) Find a pin and let it lie. You'll need the pin before 

you die (2). (b) See a pin and let it lie. Need a pin 
before you die. Apperson 497; Green 26. (c) See a 
pin and pick it up, It will bring to you good luck ; See a 
pin and let it lie. You will need it 'fore you die (2). 
(d) See a pin and let it lie. To good luck you'll say 
goodby ; See a pin and pick it up. All the day you'll 
have good luck. Apperson 497. pin (7), (8) ; C^annell 
47-8; Hyatt 176 (many variants) ; Oxford 500. 

8. So C|uiet you could hear a ])in drop. Oxford 287. 
Pine. I. As high as a Georgia pine (2). (One example adds 

that it means drunk.) 
2. As straight as a pine. Wilstach 392. 


3. As tall as a pine. Wilstach 386, stately. 

Pine knot. As tou^h as a pine knot. DAE Pine knot, 2. Cf. 
Wilstach 193 (h'lrd). 

Pinhead. As small as a pinhcad. Cf. llyamson 45: As big as 
a pin's head; NED Pin-head, i. 

Pink. As pretty as a pink (2). DAE Pink-, 2. 

Pipe. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Bcrrey 1 58.8 ; 
Hyamson 273 ; Oxford 527 ; Partridge 633 ; Taylor 53. 

Pirate. Swears like a pirate. Hardie 471. 

Pitch. 1. As black as pitch (4). Apperson 135; Hyamson 
4"; i' P357; ^^'ilstach 21. 
2. As dark as pitch (2). Apperson 135 ; Green 22 ; T P3S7 ; 
Wilstach 81. 

Pitchers. Little (small) pitchers have long (large) ears (2). 
Apperson 372, quot. 191 4; Bradley 72 ; Green 31 ; Hardie 
464 ; Oxford 374 ; T P363. 

Place. I. Have a place for everything and everything in its 
place (2). Apperson 499; Bradley 94; Oxford 503; 
Taylor 54. 
2. Keep to your place and your place will keep to you. Cf. 
Hislop 199: Keep hame, and hame will keep you. See 
Shop below. 

Plank. As stifY as a plank. Berrey 106.8 (dead drunk). 

Plans. Plans on Sunday fail on Monday. 

Plate. Set a cracked plate down softly. Beckwith 99: Put 
me down softly, me a cracked plate; Cundall 95. 

Play. As good as a play. Apperson 256; Hyamson 163; NED 
Play, 14, (|uot. 1871 ; Partridge 341 ; T P392 ; Wilstach 

Pleasure, i. Fly pleasure and it will follow you (2). Apper- 
son 502 ; Poor Richard 91 ; T L479; ^^Xv to Wealth 411. 
2. Stolen pleasures are always sweetest. Apperson 603 ; Ox- 
ford 622 ; T P423. 

Plow, sb. I. Don't stop the plow to kill a mouse. Apperson 
503. plough (3) ; Oxford 508; T P433. 
2. (a) He who on the farm would thrive. Must either hold 
the plow or drive, (b) He that by the plow would thrive. 
Himself must either hold or drive. Apperson 503 ; 
Hardie 463; Oxford 508; Poor Richard 128; T P431 ; 
Way to Wealth 412. 

Plow, vb. Plow deep while sluggards sleep, And you shall 
have corn to sell and keep (2). Apperson 503; Ox- 
ford 507-8; Poor Richard 159; Way to Wealth 410. 


Plumb. As true as a plumb. Cf. W. Faulkner, As I Lay Dy- 
ing (N. Y., 1931) I : straight as a plumb-line. 
Plummet. Drop like a plummet. Wilstach 103. 
Pocket. I. As dark as a pocket. Partridge 207. 

2. As handy as a pocket in a shirt. Allison 100; Brewster 

266; DAE Pocket, 7. 

3. Fits like a pocket in a shirt. 

Poet. The poet is born not made. Apperson 504 ; Oxford 509 ; 

T P45I- 
Poison (Pizen). i. As green as poison. Paul Green, J Vide 

Fields (N. Y., 1928) 5. 

2. As mean as pizen. Meaner than pizen (3). 

3. Hate worsen pizen. Berrey 336.4; Oxford 282; Par- 

tridge 644; T P459; Wilstach 195. 
Poker. I. As stiff as a poker (4). Apperson 602; Berrey 

41.2; Green 20; Hvamson 328; Partridge 831 ; Wilstach 

2. Looks like he had swallowed a poker. NED Poker, i, 

quot. 1844. Cf. Apperson 177, to eat a stake; Oxford 

167 (stake) ; Partridge 851 : swallowed a stake; T S810. 
Pole (1). I. As tall as a pole. Cf. Apperson 619 (hop-pole, 

2. As hard as climbing a greased pole with an armful of 

Pole (2). As wide apart as the poles. Hyamson 360. Cf. 

Lean 11, 827, As far; NED Pole. 2, quot. 1880; Wil- 
stach 134, 475. 
Polecat. Stinks like a polecat (2). Apperson 504; Oxford 

621 ; T P461 ; Wilstach 390. 
Polkberry. As red as a polkberry. Cf. NED Poke, sb.^, 3, 

quots. 1869, 1899; NED Suppl. Poke-berry. See Bear 

(5) above. 
Pope. Sewed up tighter than the pope's drawers. 
Poppet. As pretty as [a] poppet. Mari Sandoz. The Toiii- 

Walker (N. Y., 1947) 65. Cf. NED Poppet, i, quots. 

1597, 1830. 
Port. Any port in a storm (2). Apperson 12; Green 17; 

Oxford II. 
Possession. Possession is nine points of the law (2). Apper- 
son 507; Bradley 88; Hardie 464; Oxford 512; Taylor 

Post. 1. As deaf as a post (5). Apperson 139; Berrey 

139.7; Green 19; Hyamson iii; T P490; Wilstach 84. 

P R O V F. R B S 461 

2. As duiul) as a post. Allison 95; T P490. 
Pot. 1. A little pot Is soon hot. Apperson 372; ( )xford 374; 

T P497. 

2. A watched pot never hoils (2). Ajjperson 669; Uradley 

88; Green 18; llardie 462 (kettle); Oxford 694. 

3. An empty pot never hoils. Ik'ckwith 126: N'on never see 

empty pot hwoil over; C'undall 96: . . . (i.e.. Poor people 
have nothing to give away) ; Parsons, Antilles 465: You 
neher see empty pot hoil over (Granada). 

4. It's pot calling the kettle hlack. Pot calling the kettle 

black (4). the pot can't call the kettle black (4). The 
pot calls the kettle black. Pot needn't call the kettle 
black. Apperson 507 ; Green 29 ; Hyamson 279 ; Ox- 
ford 512-3; Partridge 58, 354, 452; Taylor 54; T K21, 


5. Pot luck (5). Berrey 94.6.1 1, 2 18. 1.6, 754.8; Hvamson 

279; NED Pot-luck. 

6. The pot which goes often to the well will come home 

broken at last. Apperson 498-9 (pitcher) ; ( )xford 502; 
Taylor 54; T P501. 

7. Put the big pot in the little one and fry the skillet (3). 

(One example adds: When one expects to serve a big 
dinner.) They put on the big pot and i)Ut the little 
one in it. (In praise of hospitality.) We'll put the 
big pot in the little one. When you come we'll put the 
little pot in the big one. Atkinson 87 : We'll put the 
big pot in the little one ; also put the big pot in the little 
one and fry the skillet ; J. Frank Dobie. Coronado's 
Children (Dallas, 1930) 252: The big pot was in the 
little one ; the goose was hanging high ; the skillet was 
a-frying. San Antonio was lusty, free, booming, with 
the sky for the limit, and the lid thrown away ; Green 
35; Payne 261 : Put the big pot in the little one (and 
make soup out of the legs) ; \Voodard 41 : We'll put the 
little pot in the big pot and stew the dishrag; Woofter 
362 : Put on the big pot and the little one. ( To prepare 
to cook for a large number of people.) Cf. Hislop 118: 
He has coup'd the muckle pat into the little ; Oxford 
Potato. I. As soft as a 'tater. "A Word-List from Aroostook," 
Dialect Notes, in, part v (1909) 416. 

2. Dropped like a hot potato. Patterson 2)-'' \\ ilstach 103. 

3. His family is like potatoes; all that is good of them are 

under ground. Oxford 513. 

4. Never bet on 'taters 'fore grabbling time. Champion 633 

(537) : Don't b"«- on a tater hill before the grabblin' 

N.C.F.. Vol. I, (31) 


time (American Negro). Cf. "A List of Words from 
Northwest Arkansas," Dialect Notes, in, part i (1905) 
81 : To grabble is "to dig potatoes, taking only the largest 
and injuring none." 
5. Thint er tater in the dish. (Nothing to eat.) (2). Cf. 
T. J. Farr, "The Language of the Tennessee Mountain 
Regions." American Speech, xiv (T939) 91 : Not a 'tater 
in the patch. (Refusal to grant a favor.) 

Pound. Pound hush, the penny speaks. 

Poverty, i. Poverty and laziness go hand in hand. Cf. 
Apperson 355 : Laziness travels so slowly that Poverty 
soon overtakes him ; Roberts 37 : Hunger will not part 
from idleness; Vaughan 206 (1427); Way to Wealth 

2. Poverty is a hard bedfellow. 

3. When poverty comes in at the door, love flies out at the 

window (3). When poverty comes in at the door love 
goes out at the window. When poverty comes in love 
goes out the back door. Apperson 508; Bradley 88; 
Hardie 465; Oxford 513; T P531. 

Pow. He has need of a clean pow (head) Who calls his neigh- 
bor nitty-now. Kelly 133; T P532. 

Practice, sb. Practice makes perfect. Apperson S09 : Bradlev 
89 ; Oxford 684, use ; T U24. 

Practice, vb. Practice what you preach. Apperson 509 ; Brad- 
ley 89; Oxford 514-5; T P537a. 

Prayer, i. Prayer's not long When faith is strong. Cundall 
96 : Pr'yer needn't be long when fait' 'trong. 
2. Prayers come from the same mouth as oaths. Cf. James 
3:10: out of the same mouth cometh forth blessing and 

Preacher. Dress up like a preacher. "A List of W^ords from 
Northwest Arkansas," Dialect Notes, iii, part i (1905) 

Preacher's son. Acts like a preacher's son. Cf. Apperson 335, 
July (7); Fogel 159 (1410) ; Oxford 97: Clergymen's 
sons always turn out badly ; Wilstach 404 : Swore like a 
preacher's son. 

Pretty. Pretty (Purty) is as pretty ('purty) does (3). Brad- 
ley 89; Payne 359; Snapp 87 (28). See Handsome 

Pretzel. As crooked as a pretzel. Berrey 31 1.3; Taylor 24. 

Pricks. It is hard to kick against the pricks. Apperson 339; 
Hyamson 208 ; Oxford 333 ; Taylor 35 ; T F433. 

P R O V F. R B S 463 

Prince, l-ivc like a prince. Nl':i) Prince, ic; T i'592 ; Wil- 

stach J3S. 
Principle. The priiicii)le is the ih\n^. 
Print. As i>lain as print, llyanison 274; Xh:i) Plain, 18I); 

Wil-tach 3J3. 
Professor. .\s al)sc'nt-niin(le(l as a i)n)fess()r. Cf. 1 lu.^h Hol- 
man. (> This Crooked IVav (N. Y., 1946) 210: an 
ahsent-niinded professor's job; Lee Thayer. They Tell 
Xo Tales (N. Y.. 1930) 77: That was the proverbial 
absentniindedness of genius. 
Provider. A good provider is never without a mate. 
Prune, i. As wrinkled as a prune. Cf. Berrey 21.3: [Not 
worth a] (wrinkled) prune. 
2. Full uf prunes. (Foolish.) Ik-rrey 280.9. 
Pudding. As thick as pudding. Cf. Wilstach 4^2: Thick as 

hasty pudding. See Mush (2) above. 
Pulpit. Preach in your own pulpit. Hislop 327: Ye canna 

preach oot a' your ain pu'pit. Cf. Kelly 386. 
Pumpkin (Punkin). i. As yellow as a pumpkin (2). Talia- 
ferro 125. As yellow as a punkin (2). Green 36. 
2. Could bite a punkin through a crack. Cf . Apperson 307 : 
To lick honey through a cleft stick. 
Punch. As pleased as Punch. Apperson 502; Berrey 277.5; 
Green 20; Hyamson 284; Oxford 507; Partridge 640; 
Wilstach 295. 
Pup I As cute as a speckled pup. As cute as a speckled pup 
under a red wagon. Cf. Atkinson 88: As pretty as a 
speckled pup under a new-painted buggy ; John Hewlett, 
Cross on the Moon (N. Y.. 1946) 225: as purty as a 
spotted puppy dog under a red wagon. 

2. As pretty as a spotted pup. As pretty as a speckled pup. 

Berrey 37.10; Bond 45; Brewster 261 ; Woofter 362. 

3. As sore as a pup. Gregory Dean, The Case of the fijth 

Key (X. Y., 1934) 100. 
Puppy. T. As friendly as a i)ui)])y. Wilstach 163. 

2. As playful as a puppy. I'ond 45. ^^ „r , 

3. As weak as puppy-water. Cf. Wilstach 466: Weak as 


Purse You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's car. Apper- 
son 571-2; Bradlev 89; Hardie 465; Hyamson 317; 
Oxford 589 ; T P666. 

Putty. As soft as putty. Blakel)orough 231. 


Quagmires. Quagmires don't hang out no signs. Champion 

631 (459) (American Negro). Cf. Parsons, Antilles 

138: Trouble never blow shell. 
Quality. Quality before quantity. Cf. Oxford 527: Quality, 

without quantity, is little thought of. 
Quarrel. It takes two to make a (juarrel. Apperson 655 ; 

Bradley 89; Oxford 681. 
Queen, i. As happy as a queen. Wilstach 192. 

2. As stately as a queen. Wilstach 386. 

3. Live like a queen. 

Questions, (a) Ask me no questions I'll tell you no lies (4). 
Bradley 89; Oxford 15; Taylor 55. (b) Ask me no 
questions, I'll tell you no lies, Give me no apples. I'll 
make you no pies. Green 20. (c) Ask me no questions 
I'll tell you no lies; Bring me some peaches And I'll 
make you some pies, (d) Ask me no questions. I'll tell 
you no lies. Give me some flies and I'll bake you some 
pies. (White folks say "Cherries" instead of "flies.") 

Quilt. Split the quilt. (Divorce.) Cf. Brewster 264: split 
the blanket. 

Rabbit, i. Jumps like a rabbit. Bond 53. 

2. No sleepier'n a rabbit. Cf. J. C. Harris, Nights with 

Uncle Renins (Boston, 1883) 93: Brer Rabbit, he one 
er deze yer kinder mens w'at sleep wid der eye wide 

3. Quicker than a rabbit to his hole. 

4. Runs like a rabbit. N. B. Mavity, The Fate of Jane 

McKenzie (N. Y., 1933) 11. 
Rag. I. As limber as a rag (2). J. C. Harris. Nights with 
Uncle Remus (Boston, 1883) 66: ez limber ez a wet rag. 

2. As limp as a rag (2). Wilstach 235. 

3. Feel like a boiled rag. Berrey 35.10; Partridge 75. 

4. I lit a rag up the holler. He lit a rag up that holler for 

all the world like his shirttail was on fire. Paul (Jreen. 

Out of the South (N. Y., 1939) 82; Ke])bart 414. Cf. 

Brewster 266: light a shuck. 
Rail. I. As skinny as a rail. James T. Farrell. The Young 

Manhood of Studs Lonigan (N. Y.. 1935) 207. 
2. As thin as a rail (5). Wilstach 422. 
Rail fence. As crooked as a rail fence. Berrey 31 1.3 : Pearce 

Rain, sb. i. A small rain will lay a great dust. Apperson 

522 ; Oxford 531 ; T R15. 


2. As right as rain. ApperscMi 531 ; lierrey 169.6.10; I'ar- 

tridge 698 ; Wilstach 324. 

3. More rain, more rest. All fair weather's not the hest (2). 

Apperson 521 (12), =,22 (23) ; Bradley 90 (first half) ; 
Oxford 433, 531 (first half). Cf. Beckwith 85: More 
rain, more rest ; more grass fe niassa horse. 

4. Sense enough to come in out of the rain (5). She hasn't 

sense enough to come in out of the rain (4). lierrey 
150.2; DAM Rain, vl) ; Green 30; llardie 469; Par- 
tridge 685. 

5. The rain doesn't know hroadcldth from jeans (.MS 

beans). Champion 631 (466): Raindrops can't tell 
broadcloth from jeans (American Negro). 

6. \'oice like rain on a tin roof. 

Rain, vb. It never rains but it pours (4). Apperson 522; 

Bradley 90; Hardie 463; Oxford 531-2; Taylor 55. 
Rainbow, i. As beautiful as a rainbow. Wilstach 15. 

2. As crooked as a rainbow (2). Hendricks loi. 

3. Go to the end of the rainbow and you will find a pot of 

gold. There is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. 
Apperson 523; Green 25; Oxford 171. 

4. Rainbow in the morning. Sailors take warning. Rain- 

bow at night, Sailors' delight. Apperson 323 ; Bradley 

99; Hardie 466; Oxford 531 ; Tavlor 35; 'Hiomas 200; 

T R20-1. 
Raindrop. One raindrop Can't make a crop. M. X. Work. 

"Geechee and Other Proverbs," Journal o] .Imcrican 

Folklore, xxxii (1919) 442: One rain won't make a 

Rake. i. As lean as a rake. Apperson 356; Oxford 357; 

Partridge 474 ; T R22 ; Wilstach 229. 

2. As poor as a rake (2). 

3. As thin as a rake (2). Hanford 178; Xh:D Rake. ib. 

4. Many bring rakes but few shovels. Hislo]) 115: He 

comes oftener wi' the rake than the shool ; T R24. Cf . 

Oxford 43. 
Ram. Butts like a ram. Taliaferro 198. 
Ram-rod. i. As stifif as a ram-rod. Wilstach 389. 

2. As straight as a ram-rod (2). Hardie 468; Hendricks 

91 ; Wilstach 392. 

3. Looks like he had [a] ram-rod down his back. DAE 

Ramrod, quot. 1904. 
Rasp. I. As rough as a rasp. Green 20. 

2. \'oice like the rasj) of a file. Cf. XED Sui:)])l. Rasp, vb. 4. 
Rat. I. As gray as a rat (2). Green 19. 


2. As wet as a drowned rat. NED Rat. 2b ; T AI1237 ; Wil- 

stach 468. 
As wet as a rat (2). Cf. Bond 53: Limp as a wet rat. 

3. Caught like a rat in a trap. W. S. ]\Iasternian, TJie 

Bloodhounds Bay (N. Y., 1936) 262. 

4. Die like a rat. Nora and G. E. Jorgenson, The Circle of 

Vengeance (N. Y., 1930) 223. 
Dies like a rat in a hole. Wilstach 91. 

5. Do you not smell a rat? Apperson 580; Hardie 472; 

Hyamson 289, 321 ; Oxford 598; Partridge 788; T R31. 

6. Fled like rats from a sinking ship. Oxford 533 ; Taylor 

55-6; T M1243; Wilstach 145. Cf. Apperson 524, rat 

7. Fought like a cornered rat. Cf. Bond 53 : To fight like 

a rat in a corner. 

8. Trapped like rats. Wilstach 431. 

Raven. As black as a raven (2). Apperson 51 ; Wilstach 21. 
Raw head. Raw head and Bloodv bones will get you. Ox- 
ford 533 ; T R35. 

Razor. i. As keen as a razor (2). Hardie 467; Wilstach 

2. As sharp as a razor (2). Apperson 561 ; Berrey 128.3, 

148.5.9, 241.8, 257.11, 281.16; Hyamson 313'; NED 

Sharp, id; Taliaferro 161 ; T R36 ; Wilstach 342. 
As sharp as a razor blade. Harry Miller. Footloose 

Fiddler (N. Y., 1945) 124-5. 
Reach. Out of reach is out of harm. 
Reap. He who would reap well must sow well. Cf . Apperson 

591 ; Hyamson 290; Oxford 608; T S687. 
Redbug. As small as a redbug. Cf. "A List of Words from 

Northwest Arkansas," Dialect Notes, iii, part i (1905) 

74, 92 : a redbug is a chigoe or chigger. 
Reel. Straight off the reel. Berrey 255.5 (I'ig'it off) ; DAE 

Reel, lb; Green 31 ; NED Reel, 2c. 
Remedy. The remedy is as bad as the disease. Apperson 528 ; 

Oxford 538; TR68. 
Repentance. Death-bed repentance is no repentance. Cf. 

Nicolson 260 : Death-bed repentance is sowing seed at 

Martinmas; Oxford 351: Late repentance is seldom 

true; T R77. 
Republicans. As rare as Repuljlicans in South Carolina. 
Revenge. Revenge is sweet. Apperson =,28; Oxford 539; T 


P R O \- K R B S 467 

Rhyme. There's neither rhyme nor reason in it. Apperson 

529 ; Oxford 540 ; T R98. 
Rib. Gettin' hisself another rib. (Getting married) (3). Cf. 

NED Rib, 3. 
Ribbon. As sHck as a ribbon. W'ilstach 358. 
Ripe. Soon ripe, soon rotten. Appcrson 588; Green 31; 

NED Ripe, ic; Oxford 604; T R133. 
Rise, sb. The higher the rise the greater the fall Cf. Apper- 

son 301 : The higher standing, the lower fall ; Oxford 

295 ; T S823. See Higher above. 
Rise, vb. He that riseth late must trot all day. Apperson 

532-3, quots., 1659, 1736; Oxford 544; Poor Richard 

107: T Duo; IVay to JVcalth 409. 
River, i. A noisy river never drowned nobody. Cf. Beck- 

with 22 : Bragging riber neber drown somebody ; Cun- 

dall loi ; Eranck 99; Parsons. Antilles 458 (Granada). 

2. All the rivers run into the sea. yet the sea is not full. Cf. 

Apperson 7 : All rivers do what they can for the sea ; 
Ecclesiastes 1:7; Nicolson 188; T R140. 

3. Do as they do over on the river (i.e., do without). Cf. 

Lean 11, 758: "Do as they do in the Isle of Man." 
"How's that?" "They do as they can"; A. G. Powell, 
/ Can Go Home Again (Chajx^l Hill, 1943) 186: Do 
like they do in Alabama — do without. 

Road. I. Shortest road to the penny, longest to the dime. 
Cf. Champion 625 (177) : The man that always takes 
the shortest road to a dollar generally takes the longest 
road from it (American Negro). 
2. You won't travel no good road ef you cross a crooked 
style to git into it. 
You won't hit no good road tother side a crooked style. 

Robin. A robin's song is not pretty to the worm. Champion 
635 (600) : The worm don't see nothing pretty in the 
robin's song (American Negro). 

Robin Hood. All around Robin Hood's barn. (A speaker who 
takes a long time to tell anything is said to "go all around 
Robin Hood's barn" to get to the main point.) Apper- 
son 536; Berrey 167.4; Brewster 266. 

Rock. I. As firm as a rock (4). Apperson 671, weak (2). 
quot. 1900; Green 23; T R151. 

2. As hard as a rock (5). Berrey 210.3; Green 19; Hardie 

467 ; Taylor 38 ; T S878. 

3. As solid as a rock. A. Williams, Polk-Songs of the Upper 

Thames J'allev (London, 1923) 262. 


4. As Steady as a rock. NED Steady, 8 ; Wilstach 387. 

5. Swims like a rock. Cf. Oxford 636: To swim like a 

stone; T S893. 
Rocking chair. Rides easy as a rocking chair. Cf. Atkinson 

8y : This pony paces like a rocking chair. 
Rod. Spare the rod and spoil the child (4). Apperson 592-3; 

Bradley 65; Hyamson 295; Oxford 609; Taylor 57; T 

R155. Cf. Proverbs 13: 24. 
Rome. I. He that owns Rome must feed Rome. Nicolson 
18: He that has Rome must keep Rome up. 

2. Rome was not built in a day (6). Apperson 537; Brad- 

ley 90; Green 30; Hyamson 296; Oxford 547-8; Tay- 
lor 57; TR163. 

3. When in Rome do as Rome does. W'hen in Rome do as 

the Romans do. Apperson 537; Bradley 90; Hvamson 
296; Oxford 547; Taylor 57; T R165. 

Room. There's most room at the top. There's plenty of room 
at the top. Bradley 95 : There is always room on top ; 
Mary K. O'Donnell, Those Other People (Boston, 
1946) 271 : There's always room at the top for people. 

Rooster. i. A good rooster crows in any hen-house. Hearn 
10: Bon coq chante dans toutt pouleille (Martinique); 
T. M. Pearce, "The English Proverb in New Mexico," 
Coliforuia Folklore Quarterly, v (1946) 353: He that's 
a good rooster will crow in any henyard. Cf. Champion 
620 (4) : A good cock will crow on any dung-heap 

2. As game as a rooster. Bond 49. 

3. Crows like a rooster. Bond