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NOTES ON FOLK-LORE OF GUILFORD COUNTY,1 NORTH
BY ELSIE CLEWS PARSONS.
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,'
2. Round as a biscuit,
The prettiest little thing
3. A house full, a yard full,
4. Long legs an' short thighs,
5. Long legs an' short thighs,
Ans. — Well.
Arts. — Watch.
6. Dead in de middle,
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 (White man): Four standers,
An' makes one track.1
Ans. — Wheelbarrow.
10. I went up a heap o' steeple,
Ans. — Bees, yellow-jackets, and waspes.
11. Green as grass, an' grass it's not.
12. Goin' to everybody's house, An' didn' go in.
Ans. — Blackberry.
Ans. — Path.
13. Eleven pears was hangin' high,
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,
Never drunk a drop.1
Ans. — Wagon.
21. Run an' never walk,
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,
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.
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.
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.
Ans. — Name.
27. De hog under the hill,
The more corn you give her,
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
I dry my han's on a napkin
Ans. — Wash in watermelon, dry on the rind.
32. Crooked as a rainbow,
Ans. — Saw.
33. Open like a barn door,
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.
I lay you can't tell mel
What his name.
Ans. — "You Know," his name.
38. When it goes in,
39. The oT lady pitted it,
40. Between heaven an' earth
I've tol' you,
Ans. — Cabbage.
Ans. — Bed.
Ans. — Nut on a tree.
41. Hold my cock,
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.
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,
1 This should be "You Know," I infer.
Ans. — Letter /.
Ans. — Boot.