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NOTES ON FOLK-LORE OF GUILFORD COUNTY,1 NORTH

CAROLINA.

BY ELSIE CLEWS PARSONS.
RIDDLES.

Riddles I to 23 appeared to me to be more generally known than riddles 24 to 56; but, without further collecting, the impression must be taken as in a measure haphazard. But that riddles 1 to 23 have a general circulation I can assert.

1. Round as a biscuit,'
Deep as a cup,
All king's • horses
Can't pull it up.

2. Round as a biscuit,
Busy as a bee,

The prettiest little thing
I ever did see.

3. A house full, a yard full,
An' can't ketch a spoonful.

4. Long legs an' short thighs,
Bald head an' no eyes.

5. Long legs an' short thighs,
Rusty back an' bullet eyes.

Ans. Well.

Arts. — Watch.
Ans. — Smoke.
Ans. — Tongs.
Ans. — Frog.

6. Dead in de middle,
Live at each end.

Ans. — A man and a horse ploughing.

7. Four standin',

Four hang downward,

One twis' about, *

An' two look about.4

Ans. — Cow.

8. Black an' white an' red all over.

A ns. — Newspaper. 9. Runs all around the house

1 Several informants came from Rockingham County, and one family from Forsyth County.

1 Variant: Hoop.

'Variant: Sixteen.

* Variant (White man): Four standers,

Two hookers.

Two lookers.

An' makes one track.1

Ans. — Wheelbarrow.

10. I went up a heap o' steeple,
There I met a heap o' people,
Some pernicky, some pernacky,2
An' some de color brown terbacky.

Ans. — Bees, yellow-jackets, and waspes.

11. Green as grass, an' grass it's not.
White as snow, an' snow it's not.3
Red as blood, an' blood it's not.
Black as ink, an' ink it's not.

12. Goin' to everybody's house, An' didn' go in.

Ans. — Blackberry.

Ans. Path.

13. Eleven pears was hangin' high,
Eleven men went ridin' by.
Each man was takin' a pear,
An' lef' eleven hangin' dere.

Ans. — "Each Man" was the man's name.

15. A man shook it an' shook it,

An' ol' lady took up her apern and took it.4

Ans. — Apple-tree.

16. Large at the bottom,

Small at the top,

Thing in the middle

Goes flippity flop.

Ans. — Churn.

17. I rode over London Bridge, Yet I walked.

Ans. — " Yet I" was the name of a dog.

18. Long slick black feller,

Pull his tail an' make him beller.

Ans. — Shotgun.

19. Little red ridin' coat, The longer she lives, The shorter she grows.

Ans. — Candlestick.

1 Variant: What runs all the time an' makes but one track? » Variants: Some was nick, some was nack. Some was nickel. > Variant: White as milk, an' milk it taint. * Variant: Up went the ol' lady apern. An' she took it.

20. Over water, under water,
Got a tongue,

Never drunk a drop.1

Ans. — Wagon.

21. Run an' never walk,
Tongue an' never talk.

Ans. — Wagon.

22. Runs all day, an' comes home with

its tongue out at night. L Ans. — Wagon.

23. (a) Love I hold in my right hand,
Love I see in yonder tree.

If you tell me that riddle,

You may kill me.

Ans. — Her parents didn' want her to get married. If she fix up a riddle they couldn' unriddle, they would agree. If not, they would kill her. She had a dog name Love. Put a piece in her glove, another piece in a tree.

(6) Love, Love,

Love I stand,

Love I see,

Love I hoi' in my right hand.

Unriddle that,

You can hang me.

Ans. — They was goin' to hang a woman. They tol' her if she tell a big riddle they wouldn* hang. She taken an' killed a dog. She had a dog name Love. Had a piece of em stuck up in a tree, had a piece in her han', a piece in her shoe.

1 In the two preceding riddles (23, a and b) the answer was given before the riddle; so that the riddle was set into a tale, so to speak. The like method was followed in what appears a variant of the same riddle.*

(c) Said once there was a man who had done a hanging crime. He was going to be hung. An' de men tol' him if he tol' a riddle dey couldn' unriddle, dat they wouldn't hang him. So he said, —

Hone [horn] ate a hone in a high oak-tree.
Unriddle dat, you may hang me.'

1 Variant: It goes to the brook, An' got a tongue, But won't drink.

1 See, too, "Talea from Guilford County, North Carolina" (p. 184). "Woman up a Tree" was given to me indifferently, either as a tale or as a riddle.

'The criminal, it was explained, had a dog named "Horn," and he it was who ate a horn.

24. Legs an' don't walk, Face an' don't talk.

Ans. — Clock.

25. Goes all day,

Sits in a corner all night.

Ans. — Shoe.

26. You've got it. You know it.
Somebody else use it more than you do.

Ans. — Name.

27. De hog under the hill,

The more corn you give her,
The more she squeal.

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29. Blackie upstairs, Whitie downstairs.

Ans. — Hen lays downstairs and goes up.

30. Bum bum in the house, Bum bum outdoors,

Bum bum everywhere it goes.

Ans. — Bumblebee.

31. I wash my han's in water
Neither rain nor run.

I dry my han's on a napkin
Neither wove nor spun.

Ans. — Wash in watermelon, dry on the rind.

32. Crooked as a rainbow,
Teeth like a cat.
Guess all your lifetime,
You never guess that.

Ans. — Saw.

33. Open like a barn door,
Shuts up like a bet (bat).
Guess all your lifetime,
You never guess that.

34. I ain't got it,

I don't want it,

If I had it,

I wouldn't take the world for it.

Ans. — Bald head.

35. What is leaves its tongue out, cold or hot?

Ans. — Dog.

Ans. — Umbrella.

36. Three legs up, Cold as a stone. Six legs down,

Blood an' bone.

Ans. — A man riding a horse

with a pot on his head.

37. I had a dog.
He had a name.

I lay you can't tell mel

What his name.

Ans. — "You Know," his name.

38. When it goes in,
It's stiff an' stout.
When it goes out,
It's floppin' about.

39. The oT lady pitted it,
An' she patted it.
The ol' man undressed,
An' jumped at it.

40. Between heaven an' earth
An' not on a tree.

I've tol' you,
Now you tell me.

Ans. — Cabbage.

Ans. — Bed.

Ans. — Nut on a tree.

41. Hold my cock,
Until I back my ass,

An' I will show you my nuts.

Ans. — A man selling nuts, with a cock in his hand.

42. Way over yonder, in yonder flat

I saw ten thousan' workin' at that.
Some wore green coats, some wore black.
Come, good scholar, an' unriddle that!

Ans. — Bugs of some kind.

43. Roun' as a ball,

Sharp as an awl.

Those can't guess

Are no account at all.

Ans. — Chestnut-burr.

44. Lil had it before. Paul had it behin'.

Miss Miller had it twice in the same place.

Girls all have it,

An' the boys can't have it.

45. Red inside,
Black outside.
He raise his leg up an' shoves it in.

1 This should be "You Know," I infer.

Ans. — Letter /.

Ans. — Boot.

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