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James Callow Folklore Archive

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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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FORMULAIC VERSE WITHOUT MUSIC

I WENT TO THE RIVER, I COULDN'T GET ACROSS,
SO I PAID SIX BITS FOR AN OLD GRAY HORSE,
I RODE HIM IN, HE WOULDN'T PULL,
SO I RODE HIM OUT AND TRADED HIM FOR A BULL.
THE BULL WOULDN'T HOLLAR, SO I TRADED FOR A DOLLAR,
THE DOLLAR WOULDN'T PAY, SO I TRADED FOR SOME HAY,
THE HAY WOULDN'T GROW, SO I TRADED FOR A HOE,
THE HOE WOULDN'T DIG, SO I TRADED FOR A PIG,
THE PIG WOULDN'T SQUEAL, SO I TRADED FOR A WHEEL,
THE WHEEL WOULDN'T RUN, SO I TRADED FOR A GUN.
THE GUN WOULDN'T SHOOT, SO I TRADED FOR A BOOT.
THE BOOT WOULDN'T FIT, SO I GUESS I'D BETTER QUIT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; FERNDALE

Keyword(s): FIRST PERSON NARRATIVE ; INCREMENTAL REPETITION ; METER: IAMBIC ; MONEY FUTILITY BARTER ; RHYME: INTERNAL, IMPERFECT ; RHYME: MASCULINE, AABB

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

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KING ARTHUR

A FRIEND OF MINE, MIKE JONES, REVEALED TO ME THAT KING ARTHUR
REALLY LIVED. HE CONTENDS THAT ENGLAND KNEW A PERIOD OF FIFTY
YEARS WHEN THERE WAS COMPLETE PEACE. THERE WAS NO ADVANCE OF
THE SAXONS, AND THAT LEADS MIKE TO BELIEVE THAT KING ARTHUR AND
HIS KNIGHTS REALLY EXISTED.

Submitter comment:

MIKE LEARNED THIS SOMEWHERE, BUT HE WASN'T SURE WHERE, PROBABLY
MERE SPECULATION.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): BELIEF ; Camelot ; King Arthur ; Legend ; Saxons

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Secular hero

Date learned: 10-05-1967

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RIDDLE

Q: A TRAVELER IS WALKING DOWN A ROAD WHEN HE COMES TO A FORK. NOT
KNOWING WHICH ROUTE TO TAKE HE DECIDES TO ASK FOR DIRECTIONS.
THERE IS A MAN AT EACH PATH. ONE ALWAYS TELLS THE TRUTH WHILE THE
OTHER ALWAYS LIES. IF OUR TRAVELER CAN ASK ONLY ONE MAN ONLY ONE
QUESTION WHAT IS HIS QUESTION AND WHO WILL HE ASK?
A: IT DOES NOT MATTER WHO HE ASKS IF HE SAYS - IF I ASK THE OTHER
MAN WHICH WAY I SHOULD GO, WHAT WILL HE TELL ME?
LEARNED FROM HIS FATHER.

Where learned: DETROIT ; J L HUDSONS ; DEPARTMENT STORE

Keyword(s): ACTIONS (Q) ; AN ACTION (A) ; PARTICULAR AREA (Q) ; PERSONS (Q)

Subject headings: RIDDLE -- True Riddle

Date learned: 10-02-1967

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RIDDLE

Q: WHAT MUST BE DONE TO HAVE SOFT HANDS?
A: NOTHING.

Submitter comment: TRANSLATED FROM LITHUANIAN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): AN ACTION (A) ; LITERAL ; PARTS OF THE BODY (Q) HANDS

James Callow Keyword(s): IRONY

Subject headings: RIDDLE -- True Riddle

Date learned: 02-17-1971

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PRETENDED OBSCENE RIDDLE

Q: WHAT DOES A LADY DO SITTING DOWN, A MAN STANDING UP, AND A DOG ON
THREE LEGS?
A: SHAKE HANDS

Data entry tech comment: 2 MORE EXAMPLES ARE IN THE 5 X 8 CARD FILES.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): AN ACTION (A) ; PART OF THE BODY (A) HANDS ; PERSONS (Q) AND DOG.

James Callow Keyword(s): URINATE, IS ONE'S FIRST THOUGHT

Subject headings: RIDDLE -- True Riddle

Date learned: 09-00-1971

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RIDDLE

Q: WHAT IS IT THAT WHEN YOU GO IN THE FRONT YOU ARE AT THE BACK?
A: A CHURCH.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): ANTITHETICAL ; BUILDING (A) ; PARTICULAR AREA - CHURCH (Q)

Subject headings: RIDDLE -- True Riddle

Date learned: 11-14-1968

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FINNISH RIDDLE

Q: KUMU KULLATTU, SEINAT SELKEAT, VINAPUTELI KIRSTUSSA.
A: VASTAUS? KIRKKO TRANSLATION:
Q: GOLDEN DOME/ PLAIN WALLS/ BATTLE OF SPIRITS/ IN THE CASKET.
A: A CHURCH.

Where learned: UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; FINLAND

Keyword(s): BUILDING (A) ; METAPHORICAL ; PARTICULAR AREA (Q) CHURCH

Subject headings: RIDDLE -- True Riddle

Date learned: 10-00-1968

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FINNISH RIDDLE

Q: WEEK AFTER WEEK, STOMACH FULL OF SPARROWS.
A: CHURCH AND CONGREGATION.
Q: VIIKON PAASTA VIIKON PAAHAN VARPUSIA VATSAN TYSI.
A: VASTAUS? KIRKKO JA KIRKKOVAKI.

Where learned: UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; FINLAND

Keyword(s): BUILDING (A) PERSONS ; PARTS OF THE BODY (Q) AND BIRDS

Subject headings: RIDDLE -- True Riddle

Date learned: 10-00-1968

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COUNTRY RIDDLE

Q: WHAT IS FOUND IN THE CENTER OF AUSTRALIA AND AMERICA?
A: THE LETTER R

Where learned: NOT GIVEN BY COLLECTOR

Keyword(s): COMMUNICATIONS AND RELATED MATTER (A) ; PARTICULAR AREAS (Q)

Subject headings: RIDDLE -- True Riddle

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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RIDDLE

Q: WHAT STAYS IN THE SAME CORNER ALL THE TIME, BUT TRAVELS AROUND
THE WORLD?
A: A POSTAGE STAMP.

Data entry tech comment: ANOTHER VARIANT IN U OF D FOLKLORE 5 X 8 CARD FILES.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; LINCOLN PARK

Keyword(s): COMMUNICATIONS AND RELATED MATTER (Q) ; PARTICULAR AREA (Q)

Subject headings: RIDDLE -- True Riddle

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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COMMERCIAL RIDDLE

Q: WHAT HAS A HEAD BUT NO HAIR?
A: KOEHLER BEER.

Where learned: PENNSYLVANIA ; ERIE

Keyword(s): EATABLES AND DRINKS (A) ; PARTS OF THE BODY (Q) ; PRIVATIONAL

James Callow Keyword(s): SLANG: HEAD FOR FOAM

Subject headings: RIDDLE -- True Riddle

Date learned: 00-00-1963

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RIDDLE

Q: WHAT HAS A HEAD AND CANNOT THINK?
A: A CABBAGE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): EATABLES AND DRINKS (A) ; PART OF THE BODY (Q) ; PRIVATIONAL

Subject headings: RIDDLE -- True Riddle

Date learned: 00-00-1965

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RIDDLE

Q: WHAT HAS ONE LEG AND HIS HEART IN HIS HEAD?
A: A STUFFED CABBAGE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SOUTHFIELD

Keyword(s): EATABLES AND DRINKS (A) ; METAPHORICAL ; PART OF THE BODY (Q)

James Callow Keyword(s): VEGETABLE

Subject headings: RIDDLE -- True Riddle

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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RIDDLE

Q: WHAT HAS EARS AND CANNOT HEAR?
A: AN EAR OF CORN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): EATABLES AND DRINKS (A) ; PARTS OF THE BODY (Q) ; PRIVATIONAL

James Callow Keyword(s): VEGETABLE

Subject headings: RIDDLE -- True Riddle

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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RIDDLE

Q: WHAT ROOM CAN NO ONE ENTER?
A: A MUSHROOM.

Where learned: DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

Keyword(s): EATABLES AND DRINKS (A) ; PARTICULAR PLACE (Q) ; PRIVATIONAL

Subject headings: RIDDLE -- True Riddle

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RIDDLE

Q: IT HAS NO TEETH, YET BITES TO THE EYES.
A: AN ONION.

Submitter comment: TRANSLATED FROM LITHUANIAN

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): ACTIONS (Q) ; EATABLES AND DRINKS (A) ; PARTS OF THE BODY (Q)

Subject headings: RIDDLE -- True Riddle

Date learned: 02-17-1971

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TRUE RIDDLE

Q: WHAT HAS ONE HUNDRED EYES BUT NEVER A NOSE?
A: A POTATO

Data entry tech comment: ANOTHER VARIANT IN U OF D FOLKLORE 5 X 8 CARD FILES.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): EATABLES AND DRINKS (A) ; PARTS OF THE BODY (Q) ; PRIVATIONAL

James Callow Keyword(s): VEGETABLE

Subject headings: RIDDLE -- True Riddle

Date learned: 02-02-1970

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RIDDLE

Q: WHAT HAS MANY EYES BUT CANNOT SEE?
A: A POTATOE.

Data entry tech comment: 4 DUPLICATES IN U OF D FOLKLORE 5 X 8 CARD FILES.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; LETTER ; DETROIT ; TOLD IN

Keyword(s): EATABLES AND DRINKS (A) ; PARTS OF THE BODY (Q) ; PRIVATIONAL

James Callow Keyword(s): VEGETABLE

Subject headings: RIDDLE -- True Riddle

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RIDDLE

Q: AS I WAS GOING ACROSS LONDON BRIDGE, I MET A MAN. I CUT HIS
THROAT AND ATE HIS MEAT AND DRANK HIS BLOOD AND THREW HIS HIDE AWAY.
A: WATERMELON.

Where learned: ALABAMA

Keyword(s): EATIBLES AND DRINKS (Q) CANNABALISM (Q) ; PARTICULAR AREA (Q)

Subject headings: RIDDLE -- True Riddle

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RIDDLE

Q: WHAT S TWO ROWS OF BLACK HORSES ON A RED HILL?
A: A WATERMELON.

Submitter comment: YOU THOUGHT ELEPHANT JOKES WERE BAD?

Where learned: NOT GIVEN BY COLLECTOR

Keyword(s): ANIMALS (Q) COLOR ; NUMBERS ; PARTICULAR AREA (Q) COLOR

Subject headings: RIDDLE -- True Riddle

Date learned: 00-00-1968

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