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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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A CANNER, EXCEEDINGLY CANNY,
ONE MORNING REMARKED TO HIS GRANNY:
A CANNER CAN CAN, ANYTHING THAT HE CAN CAN;
BUT A CANNER CAN'T CAN A CAN CAN HE?

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WYANDOTTE

Keyword(s): METER: TROCHAIC ; PUN, WORD PLAY HUMOR ; RHYME: AABA ; RHYME: FEMININE, IMPERFECT

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

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THERE WAS A YOUNG WOMAN NAMED BRIGHT,
WHOSE SPEED WAS MUCH FASTER THAN LIGHT.
SHE SET OUT ONE DAY,
IN A RELATIVE WAY,
AND RETURNED ON THE PREVIOUS NIGHT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WYANDOTTE

Keyword(s): HUMOR, FIRST PERSON NARRATIVE ; INDIRECTION LIMERICK ; METER: ANAPESTIC TETRAMETER ; QUATRAIN CONTRADICTIONS ; RHYME: MASCULINE, AABBA ; RIDICULE NONSENSE

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

Date learned: 11-12-1968

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LITTLE FISHIE IN THE BROOK,
COME AND BITE MY LITTLE HOOK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WYANDOTTE

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

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YOU SWEEP WITH A BROOM,
YOU MOP WITH A MOP,
BUT WHATEVER YOU DO,
DON'T MARRY A WOP.

Submitter comment: THIS WOMAN, WHO WISHES TO REMAIN ANONYMOUS, PERMITTED
ME TO COLLECT THESE VERSES FROM HER AUTOGRAPH BOOK.
THE VERSES WERE ENTERED BY HER HIGH SCHOOL CLASSMATES
IN 1939.

Where learned: MICHIGAN, ASSUMED ; WYANDOTTE

James Callow Keyword(s): DEROGATORY TERM=WOP (FOR ITALIAN)

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Autograph Verse Chimney corner wisdom, advice, humorous fortune

Date learned: 00-00-1939

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THE HIGHER THE MOUNTAIN,
THE COLDER THE BREEZE,
THE YOUNGER THE COUPLE,
THE TIGHTER THE SQUEEZE.

Submitter comment: THIS WOMAN, WHO WISHES TO REMAIN ANONYMOUS, PERMITTED
ME TO COLLECT THESE VERSES FROM HER AUTOGRAPH BOOK.
THE VERSES WERE ENTERED BY HER HIGH SCHOOL CLASSMATES
IN 1939.

Where learned: MICHIGAN, ASSUMED ; WYANDOTTE

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Autograph Verse Chimney corner wisdom, advice, humorous fortune

Date learned: 00-00-1939

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FRUITS DECAY AS SOON AS THEY RIPEN
LOVE AND KISSES SOON GROW OLD
YOUNG MEN'S VOWS ARE SOON FORGOTTEN
LOOK OUT! DON'T GET SOLD.

Submitter comment: THIS WOMAN, WHO WISHES TO REMAIN ANONYMOUS, PERMITTED
ME TO COLLECT THESE VERSES FROM HER AUTOGRAPH BOOK.
THE VERSES WERE ENTERED BY HER HIGH SCHOOL CLASSMATES
IN 1939.

Where learned: MICHIGAN, ASSUMED ; WYANDOTTE

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Autograph Verse Cynical insight

Date learned: 00-00-1939

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CHICKEN WHEN YOU'RE HUNGRY,
CHAMPAGNE WHEN YOU'RE DRY,
A NICE MAN WHEN YOU'RE TWENTY,
AND HEAVEN WHEN YOU DIE.

Submitter comment: SHE IS NOW 46, KEPT THE BOOK IN HIGH SCHOOL.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WYANDOTTE

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Autograph Verse Good wishes (sincere)

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THE GYPSY AND THE FRECKLES

WHEN MY GREAT-GREAT-GRANDMOTHER WAS A SMALL CHILD, SHE HAD FRECKLES
COVERING HER FACE, NECK, AND ARMS. THEY WERE VERY LARGE AND UGLY.
HER MOTHER TOOK HER TO THE DOCTORS TO HAVE THEM REMOVED, BUT THE
GIRL BEGGED HER MOTHER AS A LAST RESORT TO GO AND SEE THE GYPSY.
THE GYPSY WORKED ALL DAY ON A SPECIAL SOLUTION THAT SMELLED
TERRIBLE. THE SOLUTION WAS APPLIED TO THE FRECKLES WITH A TOWEL.
WHEN THE TOWEL WAS REMOVED, THE FRECKLES WERE GONE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WYANDOTTE

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Witch Shaman

Date learned: 03-24-1970

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TREE MYTH

THE RED-BUD TREE IS ALSO CALLED THE JUDAS TREE, FOR IT IS BELIEVED
TO HAVE BEEN THE TREE ON WHICH JUDAS HANGED HIMSELF. THE TINY RED
BLOOMS WHICH IT PRODUCES SYMBOLIZE THE BLOOD OF THE TRAITOR.

Submitter comment: MY MOTHER WAS THE INFORMANT. SHE ADDED THAT SHE DID NOT THINK THE
BELIEF COULD BE RELATED TO FACT, FOR THE BRANCHES OF THE RED-BUD
TREE ARE VERY BRITTLE AND BREAK EASILY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WYANDOTTE

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Origin of Characteristics of Plants

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SUPERSTITION--WEATHER SIGNS

THE FIRST TWELVE DAYS OF JANUARY WILL INDICATE WHAT THE WEATHER
WILL BE LIKE DURING EACH OF THE TWELVE MONTHS OF THE YEAR.

Submitter comment: I LEARNED THIS FROM MY SISTER, ANNE, WHO DOES NOT RECALL WHERE
SHE HEARD IT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WYANDOTTE

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Weather sign or control

Date learned: 01-00-1964

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NEW YEAR'S SUPERSTITION

YOU MUST HAVE PORK FOR YOUR NEW YEAR'S DAY DINNER.

Submitter comment: THIS OLD GERMAN SUPERSTITION IS TRADITIONAL IN MY UNCLE'S FAMILY.
ACCORDING TO HIM: "PORK WAS SUPPOSED TO BRING GOOD LUCK AND
FORTUNE, AND THIS WAS BASED ON AN OLD RURAL BELIEF THAT MOST
FARM ANIMALS WANDERED AWAY FROM THE HOUSE, WHILE THE HOGS ALWAYS
ROOTED TOWARDS THE HOUSE." HE ADDED WITH A SMILE, "MY MOTHER
WASN'T SUPERSTITIOUS, BUT WE ALWAYS HAD PORK FOR NEW YEAR'S."

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WYANDOTTE

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 1 New Year's
Food Drink -- Typical menus for the various meals For meal hours, see F574.84. Special or festive meals
BELIEF -- Animal
BELIEF -- Good luck

Date learned: 01-00-1964

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HAUNTED HOUSE

ABOUT 50 YEARS AGO, IN WEST SALEM TOWNSHIP, PENNSYLVANIA, A YOUNG
MAN SOON TO BE MARRIED BUILT A HOUSE ON BARRY ROAD FOR HIS BRIDE.
HOWEVER, WHEN THE DAY OF THE WEDDING ARRIVED, THE YOUNG MAN CHANGED
HIS MIND AND STOOD UP HIS INTENDED BRIDE.
THE HOUSE WAS NEVER LIVED IN BY ANYONE AND IS BELIEVED BY
RESIDENTS OF THE AREA TO BE HAUNTED BY THE COUPLE.

Submitter comment: MY AUNT, FROM WHOM I HEARD THIS STORY, LIVES IN THE AREA OF THE
SUPPOSEDLY HAUNTED HOUSE.

Where learned: PENNSYLVANIA ; MICHIGAN ; WYANDOTTE ; WEST SALEM TOWNSHIP

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Product or activity of man or animal
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Other Structure for Private Use
BELIEF -- Marriage

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CHRIST JOKE

DO YOU KNOW HOW CHRIST RECEIVED HIS NAME? WELL, WAY BACK WHEN,
THESE THREE GUYS CAME TO VISIT THE BABE WHO, AS YOU KNOW, WAS
BORN IN THIS OLD CAVE. NOW THIS CAVE WAS VERY, VERY LOW AND ONE
OF THESE THREE GUYS WAS EXTREMELY TALL. AFTER KNEELING FOR A
LONG TIME BEFORE THE BABE, THE TALL ONE, FORGETTING THE KIND OF
PLACE HE WAS IN, ROSE QUICKLY AND BANGED HIS HEAD. "JESUS
CHRIST!" SHOUTS HE. AND MARY TURNS TO JOSEPH, UPON HEARING THIS,
AND SAYS, "GEE, JOSEPH, THAT WOULD BE A BETTER NAME THAN
ARCHIBALD."

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WYANDOTTE

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Religious hero
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Birth
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Baptism Naming rite

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LEPRECHAUNS

IF YOU CAN CATCH A LEPRECHAUN, HE MUST GIVE YOU WHAT YOU WANT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WYANDOTTE

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Fairy Elf Goblin Gnome

Date learned: 01-20-1970

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LEPRECHAUNS

IF YOU ARE POOR, HONEST AND GOOD, THE LITTLE PEOPLE WILL COME
AND HELP YOU.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WYANDOTTE

James Callow Keyword(s): POVERTY VIRTUE

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Fairy Elf Goblin Gnome

Date learned: 01-20-1970

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RIDDLE VERSE

Q: LITTLE NANNY ETTICOAT,/ IN A WHITE PETTICOAT/ AND A RED NOSE;/
THE LONGER SHE STANDS,/ THE SHORTER SHE GROWS.
A: A CANDLE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WYANDOTTE

Keyword(s): ACTIONS (Q) ; CLOTHES (Q) ; PART OF THE BODY (Q) ; PERSON (Q)

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Riddle True Riddle

Date learned: 11-12-1968

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RIDDLE VERSE

Q: I HAVE A LITTLE SISTER/ THEY CALL HER PEEP, PEEP;/ SHE WADES THE
THE WATERS DEEP, DEEP, DEEP;/ SHE CLIMBS THE MOUNTAINS/ HIGH,
HIGH, HIGH; / POOR LITTLE CREATURE, SHE HAS BUT ONE EYE.
A: A STAR.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WYANDOTTE

Keyword(s): NATURAL PHENOMENA (Q) ; PARTS OF THE BODY (Q) ; PERSONS (Q)

James Callow Keyword(s): FINAL ITERATION

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Riddle True Riddle

Date learned: 11-12-1968

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RIDDLE VERSE

Q: OLD MOTHER TWITCHETT HAD BUT ONE EYE, / AND A LONG TAIL WHICH
SHE LET FLY;/ AND EVERY TIME SHE WENT THROUGH A GAP,/ A BIT OF HER
TAIL SHE LEFT IN A TRAP.
A: A NEEDLE

Data entry tech comment: ANOTHER EXAMPLE IS IN THE 5 X 8 CARD FILES.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WYANDOTTE

Keyword(s): ACTIONS (Q) ; HARDWARE (Q) ; PARTS OF THE BODY (Q) ; PERSONS (Q)

James Callow Keyword(s): LONG TAIL= THREAD

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Riddle True Riddle

Date learned: 11-12-1968

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OLD SAYING

COWS FROM ABROAD WEAR LONG HORNS.

Submitter comment: THIS SAYING, SIMILAR TO THE WELL-KNOWN 'THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FENCE,' WAS BROUGHT OVER FROM
IRELAND IN 1844 BY MRS. JAMES MCGUIRE, LATER OF TOLEDO,
OHIO, MY GREAT-GREAT-AUNT. I LEARNED IT FROM MY MOTHER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WYANDOTTE

Keyword(s): ANIMALS

James Callow Keyword(s): OBSERVATION

Subject headings: PROVERB -- Proverbial Metaphor

Date learned: 01-00-1964

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FAMILY CUSTOM

THE BIBLE IS CLOSED FROM GOOD FRIDAY AT 3:00 P.M. UNTIL EASTER SUNDAY
AT SUNRISE. THIS SYMBOLIZES JESUS CHRIST DESCENDING INTO HELL, AND
ON EASTER, WHEN IT IS OPENED, IT SHOWS JESUS CHRIST'S TRIUMPH AGAINST
THE DEVIL AND DEATH.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WYANDOTTE

Subject headings: 663 Good Friday
Favorites
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Sunday

Date learned: 03-24-1970

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