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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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"OH, CAPTAIN! OH, CAPTAIN! LET'S MAKE FOR SHORE,
FOR THE WINDS THEY DO RAGE, AND THE WAVES THEY DO ROAR!"
"NAY, NAY," SAID THE CAPTAIN, "THOUGH THE FIERCE WINDS MAY
BLOW,
I WILL STICK TO MY VESSEL, WITH A YO-HEAVE-A YOH.
FAREWELL TO THE MAIDEN, THE GIRL I ADORE,
FAREWELL TO MY FRIENDS, I SHALL SEE THEM NO MORE."
THE CREW SHRIEKED WITH TERROR, THE CAPTAIN HE SWORE:
THEY HAD STRUCK ON A SANDBANK, SO THE MEN WALKED ASHORE.

Where learned: AUSTRALIA ; TOORAK ; VICTORIA

Keyword(s): ACCIDENTS SHIPS ; METER: ANAPESTIC ; RHYME: MASCULINE, IMPERFECT, AAAA ; SURPRISE ENDING DIALOGUE ; THIRD PERSON NARRATIVE

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Narrative Verse

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THERE WAS A YOUNG MAN FROM THE CITY,
WHO MET WHAT HE THOUGHT WAS A KITTY.
HE GAVE IT A PAT
AND SAID, "NICE LITTLE CAT!"
THEY BURIED HIS CLOTHES OUT OF PITY.

Where learned: HOME

Keyword(s): FUNCTION AND GENRE: LIMERICK ; HUMOR ; NUTSHELL NARRATIVE ANTICLIMAX QUINTAIN ; RHYME: AABBA, FEMININE ; SKUNK ; SOUND: DACTYLIC TETRAMETER ; SUBJECT: ACCIDENTS, ANIMALS ; UNDERSTATEMENT IRONY

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Narrative Verse

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THREE WISE MEN OF GOTHAM, WENT TO SEA IN A BOWL; IF THE BO; HAD BEEN STRONGER,

Submitter comment: HEARD IN SCHOOL.

James Callow comment: RDNeedsReview

Where learned: OHIO ; TOLEDO

Keyword(s): ACCIDENT NONSENSE ; NUTSHELL NARRATIVE QUATRAIN ; RHYME: ABCC ; RHYME: FEMININE, REPETITION ; SATIRE UNDERSTATEMENT EPITAPH LAMENT

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Narrative Verse

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WE DON'T HAVE OUR BACKHOUSE ANYMORE,
THINGS ARE MIGHTY DIFFERENT THAN BEFORE.
ONCE I HAD TO GO IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT,
I WAS SUCH A LITTLE FELLOW, I DIDN'T FIT RIGHT.
I TIPPED THE DARN THING OVER AND GOD! WAS I A SIGHT!
WE DON'T HAVE OUR BACKHOUSE ANYMORE.

Submitter comment: MY DAD OFTEN RECITED THE FOLLOWING NURSERY RHYME TO
MY SISTERS AND ME WHEN WE WERE SAD. IT ALWAYS BROUGHT
A SMILE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): ACCIDENT TOILET ; BACKHOUSE=PRIVY OUTHOUSE ; REPETITION SLANG HUMOR ; RHYME: MASCULINE, AABBBA ; UNDERSTATEMENT OBSERVATION

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Lyrical Verse

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMP
SHE FILLED IT WITH BENZINE.
SHE WENT TO LIGHT HER LITTLE LAMP,
AND HASN'T SINCE BENZINE (BEEN SEEN).

Where learned: RESIDENCE

Keyword(s): IAMBIC METER WORD PLAY ; PARODY NURSERY RHYME ; PUN ACCIDENTS GORE ; SURPRISE ENDING, NUTSHELL NARRATIVE QUATRAIN

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Lyrical Verse Lyrical Verse

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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A DRIVER'S NIGHT PRAYER

NOW I LAY ME DOWN TO SLEEP,/ I PARKED MY CAR ACROSS THE STREET.
AND IF IT ROLLS BEFORE I WAKE,/I PRAY THE LORD TO PULL THE BRAKE.

Submitter comment: TAKEN FROM INFORMANT'S AUTOGRAPH BOOK.

Where learned: NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR

Keyword(s): IMPERFECT RHYME ; QUATRAIN ACCIDENT AUTOMOBILE PARODY OF PRAYER ; RHYME: AABB

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Lyrical Verse Lyrical Verse
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Autograph Verse

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LIMERICK

ONE NIGHT A YOUNG AMOROUS SIOUX
HAD A DATE WITH A MAIDEN HE KNIOUX
THE CORONER LATER FOUND
THAT THE COUPLE HAD DROWNED
PADDLING A LEAKY CANIOUX

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): ACCIDENT ; CACOGRAPHY ; CANOE ; DEATH ; FRENCH SPELLING ; RHYME: AABBA

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Narrative Verse

Date learned: DATE NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR.

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A DRIVER'S NIGHT PRAYER

NOW I LAY ME DOWN TO SLEEP,/ I PARKED MY CAR ACROSS THE STREET.
AND IF IT ROLLS BEFORE I WAKE,/I PRAY THE LORD TO PULL THE BRAKE.

Submitter comment: TAKEN FROM INFORMANT'S AUTOGRAPH BOOK.

Where learned: NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR

Keyword(s): IMPERFECT RHYME ; QUATRAIN ACCIDENT AUTOMOBILE PARODY OF PRAYER ; RHYME: AABB

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Lyrical Verse Lyrical Verse
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Autograph Verse

Date learned: NOT RECORDED BY THE COLLECTOR

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LEGEND

ON THE EAST SIDE OF DETROIT ON STRASBURG STREET NEAR SEVEN MILE AND
HOOVER, A GIRL WAS HIT BY A CAR. HER DRESS GOT CAUGHT IN THE DOOR
AND SHE WAS DRAGGED ALONG. SHE KEPT KNOCKING ON THE DOOR OF THE CAR
BUT NO ONE HEARD HER. NOW, EVERYTIME THAT YOU DRIVE DOWN STRASBURG
STREET YOU HEAR A KNOCKING ON YOUR CAR DOOR.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; LIBRARY ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): AUTO ACCIDENT ; KNOCK-KNOCK STREET

Subject headings: Favorites
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Product or activity of man or animal

Date learned: 03-15-1968

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KNOCK- KNOCK STREET

THERE IS A STORY THAT ONE DAY ON A STREET IN DETROIT, A LITTLE GIRL
WAS HIT BY A SPEEDING DRIVER. THE LITTLE GIRL DID NOT DIE IMMEDIATELY
BUT WAS HANGING ON THE BUMPER, KNOCKING ON THE SIDE OF THE CAR TRYING
TO GET THE DRIVER'S ATTENTION. NOW, THE LEGEND GOES, WHENEVER A
PERSON DRIVES DOWN THE STREET, IT IS SAID ONE CAN HEAR THE LITTLE
GIRL KNOCKING ON THE SIDE OF THE CAR WARNING PEOPLE TO SLOW DOWN.

Where learned: SCHOOL

Keyword(s): AUTO ACCIDENT ; KNOCK-KNOCK STREET

Subject headings: Favorites
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Product or activity of man or animal

Date learned: 03-00-1967

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DRUNK JOKE

THE ONE DRUNK SAYS TO THE OTHER DRUNK, "WE MUST BE
GETTING NEAR A TOWN." THE OTHER DRUNK SAYS, "HOW CAN
YOU TELL?" THE FIRST DRUNK SAYS, "BECAUSE WE'RE
HITTING A LOT OF PEDESTRIANS."

Data entry tech comment: ITEM PUNCHED AS IT APPEARED ON CARD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): ABSURD ; ACCIDENT ; AUTOMOBILE ; DIOLOGUE ; DRINKING ; DRUNKS ; HUMOR

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Stupid man or woman

Date learned: 09-16-1969

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THE CATFISH FISHERMAN

THE INFORMANT TOLD THE STORY OF A MAN WHO HAD LOST A HAND AND HAD
A HOOK IN ITS PLACE. HE USED TO FISH ON THE MISSISSIPPI FOR
CATFISH AND WHEN HE'D CATCH ONE, HE'D GET IT ALONGSIDE THE BOAT,
GAFF IT WITH HIS HOOK AND HAUL IT IN. WELL, ONE DAY HE GOT ONE
THAT WAS JUST A LITTLE TOO BIG. HE HAD IT ALONGSIDE THE BOAT;
BUT WHEN HE GAFFED IT TO HAUL IT IN, IT PULLED HIM UNDER AND
DROWNED HIM.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; MUNISING

Keyword(s): ACCIDENT

Subject headings: Favorites
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Physically handicapped Deformed

Date learned: 08-00-1966

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THE HUGE BLACK MAN

THERE IS A STORY AMONG TRUCK DRIVERS THAT TELL OF A TERRIBLE
ACCIDENT ON U.S. ROUTE 22-30 IN THE LAUREL MOUNTAINS OF PENNSYLVANIA
A GASOLINE TRUCK HAD COLLIDED WITH A STEEL CARRIER AND THE DRIVER
OF THE GASOLINE TRUCK WAS TRAPPED INSIDE A BURNING CAB. THE
COLLISION HAD SMASHED THE DOOR MAKING IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR HIM TO
ESCAPE. QUITE A FEW PEOPLE GATHERED TO WATCH AND TRY TO HELP BUT
IT WAS DARK AND THE ONLY LIGHT WAS THAT FROM THE BURNING TRUCK.
JUST THEN A HUGE BLACK MAN CAME STRIDING OUT OF THE WOODS AND WALKED
UP TO THE BURNING TRUCK. HE GRABBED THE DOOR HANDLE AND TORE THE
WHOLE DOOR OFF OF THE TRUCK AND CARRIED THE DRIVER TO SAFETY. THEN
THE HUGE BLACK MAN DISAPPEARED INTO THE WOODS AND HAS NEVER BEEN
SEEN SINCE.

Where learned: LOCATION NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR

Keyword(s): ACCIDENTS

Subject headings: Favorites
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Secular hero

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THE CIGARETTE TRICK

TELL SOMEONE WHO SMOKES THAT YOU HAVE A NEAT TRICK THAT YOU'D
LIKE TO BET HIM ON. GET HIS CIGARETTES AND PLACE THEM STANDING UP
ON A TABLE. TAKE ONE CIGARETTE AND BALANCE IT ACROSS THE TOP
OF THE PACK. TELL HIM THAT YOU CAN FLIP THE CIGARETTE UP
IN THE AIR WITH YOUR FINGER SO THAT IT FALLS DOWN AND GOES
INTO THE PACK. HOWEVER, WHEN YOU BRING YOUR FINGER DOWN TO FLIP
THE CIGARETTE, YOU SMASH THE PACK WITH YOUR FIST.
THEN YOU LOOK APOLOGETIC AND TELL THE GUY, "OOPS, I MISSED."

Where learned: UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): SUPPOSED ACCIDENT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion

Date learned: 00-00-1980

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IF YOU KNOCK FLOWERS OVER AT A FUNERAL YOU WILL BE THE NEXT TO DIE

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): ACCIDENT

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: 00001950S

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GHOST STORY

"A LITTLE BOY GOT KILLED BY A TRAIN WHEN HE WAS PLAYING
ON SOME RAILROAD TRACKS. HE HAD BEEN TOLD NOT TO PLAY
ON THE TRACKS. THE TRAIN HIT HIM REAL HARD AND PULLED HIM
FOR A REAL LONG WAY. THE TRAIN CUT HIS BODY UP INTO
HUNDREDS OF PIECES. HIS MOM AND DAD WENT UP AND DOWN THE
TRACKS PICKING UP HIS BODY PARTS. IF YOU LISTEN AT NIGHT
AT THE TIME THE BOY WAS KILLED, YOU CAN HEAR HIM CALLING
TO HIS MOM AND DAD. HE SAYS,'MOMMY, HERE'S A PIECE OF ME.
AND HERE'S ANOTHER PIECE OF ME.'"

Where learned: PENNSYLVANIA ; SHAMOKIN

Keyword(s): DISOBEYED PARENTS

James Callow Keyword(s): DISMEMBERMENT BY MISFORTUNATE ACCIDENT

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Body part Senses

Date learned: 00001934CA

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I HEARD THE STORY FROM SOMEWHERE, I DON'T RECALL WHERE, ABOUT
THE GIRL WHO WAS RUN OVER BY A TRUCK ON THE STREET CALLED
STRASBURG IN DETROIT. NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES THAT STREET
HAS BEEN RESURFACED YOU CAN STILL HEAR THE GIRL POUNDING
UNDERNEATH YOUR CAR AS YOU DRIVE DOWN THAT STREET BECAUSE
WHEN SHE WAS RUN OVER SHE WAS TRAPPED BENEATH THE TRUCK AND
WITNESSES SAW HER POUNDING AND SCREAMING UNDERNEATH THE TRUCK
AS THE TRUCK DRAGGED HER DOWN THE STREET.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): GHOSTLY SOUNDS FROM SCENE OF ACCIDENT

James Callow Keyword(s): KNOCK-KNOCK STREET

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal

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One night my little brother Mike, had the hick-ups.
Mike was only 8 years old at the time, so I liked
to pick on him. Knowing that he would do just
about anything, I told him that I could cure his
hick-ups as long as he did exactly what I said.
Mike agreed. First I told Mike to stand up. Then
I said to raise his left hand, then to raise his
right foot, then to place his right hand pinky
finger on his left nostril, then to close his
right eye, and then finally to jump up and down.
I was just making things up for him to do. It was
funny watching him. But to my whole family's
surprise, Mike's hick-ups were gone.
Since that day I have cured about 15 people with
hick-ups. It works almost always except when
the person is drunk. Then the success rate drops
below 50%.

Submitter comment: I think the reason the cure works is because
the person has to concentrate so hard to keep
from falling down, that the hick-ups go away.

Where learned: MICHIGAN

Keyword(s): Accidental Cure

James Callow Keyword(s): HICCUPS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Method of Curing

Date learned: 00-00-1984

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IF YOU PLAY WITH FIRE, YOU WILL WET YOUR PANTS.

Submitter comment: TOLD BY MOTHER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): ACCIDENT

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Fire
BELIEF -- Means of Causing or Avoiding Illness

Date learned: 10-00-1967

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IF YOU BURN YOURSELF, YOU'LL GET A NEW BOYFRIEND.

Where learned: NOT GIVEN

James Callow Keyword(s): ACCIDENT

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Marriage

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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