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46. Excuse my revelation.
Weak but willin',
Poor but proud,

See me keep a-comin'.
Short hair I wear,
Pay fer sittin' down.

The answer was forgotten.

47. King meet king in king's lane.

King said, "King, what is thy name?"

Silk is my saddle, gold is my bowl.

I've tol' you my name three times in a row.

Ans. — "Three Times."

48. As I went over London Bridge,
I heard some cough an' call.

His leg was bone, his teeth was hone [horn].
Unriddle that riddle, I give you all my cone [corn].

Ans. — A rooster.

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51. Humpy Dumpy on de wall,
Humpy Dumpy had a fall.

Fourscore men can't put Humpy Dumpy togeder again.

Ans. — Egg.

52. Black within,
Red without.

Four corners round about.

Ans. — Fireplace.

53. 0l' lady peewee

Wade in de water knee dee[p].
She looked at me wi' a funny eye.

Ans. — Sun.

54. Go all around the house

An' throw white gloves in the winder.

Ans. — Snow.

55. I was four weeks old
When Cain was born.
Not five weeks old yet.

, Ans. — Moon.1

1 This riddle and the following were told me by a white woman. She had heard them in youth from an old Negro.

56. God never did see,

George Washington scarcely ever did,
And we see every day.

Ans. — Our equals.


Hentry, mentry, coutry corn,

Apple seeds an' briar thorn.

William Trimbletoe

He's a good fisherman.

Ketches hens,

Put 'em in a pen.

Some lays eggs,

Some lays none.

Wil' briar, limber lock,

Ten geese in de flock.

The clock fell down,

The mouse ran aroun',

OUT spells Begone.1

( Variant.)

William, William Trimbletoe

He's good fisher.

Catch him hen.

Put um in de pen.

Some lays eggs,

Some don't.

Wil' briar, limber lock,

Ten geeses in de flock.

Flock fell down,

Mouse cut aroun'.

OUT tawny spell go tee out.

The counting is done on the two forefingers of each player, the fingers together in a circle. The player counted out must withdraw, and bark like a dog, or crow like a rooster.


Wha' you got dere? Bread an' cheese. Wha's my share? In the wood. Wha' the wood? Fire burned it down. Wha' the fire? Water put it out. Wha' the water? Ox drunk it. Wha" the ox? 1 Compare N. C. Hoke, "Folk-Custom and Folk-Belief in North Carolina" (JAFL 5: 119)

Butcher killed it.
Wha' the butcher?
Rope hang him.
Wha' the rope?
Rat gnawed it.
Wha' the rat?
Cat catched it.
Wha' the cat?
Dead an' buried
Behin' de church door.
Fee fo, first um speaks,
Shows his teeth,
Gets a box an' a pinch.1


"Nex" Friday will be Ol' Christmas," said Henry Stockton, a Negro of about forty, before whose fireplace I was at the time sitting. "My gran'mammy used to take a piece of coal an' mark up here each day after Christmas for twelve days," and he pointed to the whitewashed lintel of the fireplace.

By him and by many others, old and young, white and colored, I was told that on Old Christmas "day broke twice," that the Poke (Phytolacca americana L.) stalks and the hop-vines put up early in the morning to go back again when the sun is well up; and that before "sun-up," or more commonly at midnight, the beasts, the cows, and the horses fell on their knees to pray. "We had an' ol' horse called Nellie," said one girl, "an" one year Popper took Xis out to see her at midnight. She was sure lyin' down." — "I'd like to go out to the barn to see," said an older white woman.

On Old Christmas even to-day the older people will not work. One old colored woman had a story of how one year in her youth her mother had forgotten about the day, and was spinning. Her mother's sister came in, and exclaimed about it. "But it's not Ol' Christmas," said her mother. "Yes, 'tis. I know it is Ol' Christmas, because I saw the hop-vines up." Apart from not working on the day, there seems to be no other way of celebrating.

I may add that formerly in celebrating Christmas, old people told me, the stocking of a naughty child would be filled with switches, and switches only. Aunt Lamy Tatum told me that her mother's threat of these switches made her good before Christmas. Aunt Lamy's great-nephew believed in the filler of stockings, in Santa Claus, until he was eighteen. New York.

1 Variants: (a) Whoever grin

Gets a pinch an' a box an' a smack.

(b) Gets nine slaps an' ten pinches.
(Given by a white woman.)



The first tale was related to me by Georgie Welden of Wayne, Pa. Nos. 2 and 3 were told by Helen Seeny of Maryland, No. 2 having been related to her by her grandmother, a native of Maryland. Nos. 4-7 were told by Mary Smith of Lincoln, Pa.; and Nos. 8-n, by Ruth Holmes, who heard No. 8 from her grandmother from Charlotteville, Va.


Once upon a time there was a fox and a lion. They were going to have a race. The lion said that he could beat all the fox racin'. The fox said that he couldn't beat him racin'. So they got under the mark. They both started out the same time. The lion was runnin' so fast that the fox couldn't keep up with him. So he jumped on the lion back. And when they got to the place, the fox was there too. So that the way it ended out.


There was a man, an' he had a wife, an' everybody said she was a witch. They would complain 'bout the nightime they would hear a hollerin' an' say it was a witch. So this ol" man he wanted to find out whether his wife really was a witch. So he staid awake one night to watch her. So she got up 'bout twelve o'clock o'night, an* she shook herself, an' her skin all came off. So he was watchin1 all the time. An' after she went out, he found the skin all fixed up like a person sittin' in the corner. So he got up an' takin' her skin an' filled it full o' salt. So when the ol' woman came round about four o'clock in the mornin', an" she went to put her skin on, an' she pulled an' pulled, an' so she got it half way on an' couldn't get it any further. So de ol' man he jumped up, an' he frightened her so, she fell down dead with her skin half way on.

(Second Version?)

Once was a man and a woman, and they was both witches. And once they was out one night and didn't have no place to go. And so

1 Informant Georgie Welden. See this number, p. 189. * Informant Helen Seeny. See this number, p. 187. 1 Informant Helen Seeny. VOL. XXX.—NO. 116.—14.

they went to some man and woman's house. And they give 'em a place to stay for de night. So round about twelve o'clock the old woman got up an' she rubbed her skin, and her skin all fell off. And the man did the same. So when she got ready to go out, she puts a white cap on her head, an' she said, "I cast away." And he said, "I after you." And so they went out, an" they went to some man's store. And they went in there to take things, and they made a bargain they would divide even up. So after they got 'em, the ol" woman seemed to think the ol' man was takin" more than what belonged to him. So when she got ready to go, she wanted to punish him. And she didn't know no other way, so she snatched this white cap off his head. And she said, "I cast away." An' he said, "I after you." But he forgot he didn't have his cap on his head, so he couldn't get out. So de nex' mornin", when de man came down to the store, he found the ol' man couldn't get out thro' the keyhole. When they found him, he didn't have no skin on him. The man said a man like that didn't have no business to be livin' in the world, so they was going to have him hung. So they had this man all in the wagon to take him to be hung. So they looked up in the sky, an' . they seen something flyin'. Looked like a big bird, yet too large to be a bird. So what they thought to be a bird lit down on this wagon what the man was in, and it was the ol' woman. So she put this white cap on this ol' man's head, an' she said, "I cast away," an' he said, "I after you." And they both got away free. That's all.


Once upon a time there lived a woman an' a boy in a house together, Jack an' his mother. An' Jack's father was dead. So Jack's mother planted some barley. An' she told Jack to get the barley. Jack was lazy, an' he didn't want to gather it. So one day she whipped him with a broomstick, an' made him go to gather it. An' Jack made up his mind then that he would go an' gather the barley. So when he went to gather the barley, the wind had blown it away. There was an oak-tree standin' in the field where the barley had been, so Jack picked up a club an' commenced to beat on the tree. So there came along a little old man while Jack was beatin' on the tree. An" he said to Jack, "Jack, my son, what are you doin'?" An' I said, "I'm beatin' the wind for blowing my barley away." So the little man reached in his pocket, an" he took out something that looked to be a handkerchief to Jack. An' instead of being a handkerchief, it was a tablecloth. An' so the old man said, "Spread, tablecloth, spread!" An' so it spread, and there was a lot of all different kinds of food on it. So the ol' man said to Jack, "Take this home, an' it

1 Informant Helen Seeny.

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