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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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SPIRIT OF THE WHEAT

NEAR HEMLOCK, MICHIGAN THEY TELL THE STORY ABOUT THE "SPIRIT OF THE
WHEAT". THEY GROW A LOT OF WHEAT AROUND THERE. EVERY SUMMER AT
HARVEST TIME, THE FARMERS WOULD GO OUT INTO THE WHEAT FIELDS AND SEE
WHAT THEY CALLED SPIRITS COMING OUT OF THE WHEAT FIELDS, IF THEY SAW
THE SPIRIT, THEY KNEW IT WAS TIME FOR THE HARVEST. IT TURNS OUT
THAT THERE ARE LARGE DEPOSITS OF NATURAL GAS IN THAT AREA AND ALL
THE FARMERS WERE REALLY SEEING WAS THE GAS SEEPING OUT OF THE GROUND

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT'S UNCLE TOLD HIM THIS STORY. THE UNCLE, ALEC
MANZONNI, IS A RESIDENT OF HEMLOCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HEMLOCK

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

Date learned: 02-28-1965

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Button, Button

Any number of children can play this game.
One child goes out of the room while all of the rest except
one sit down in a straight line with their hands flattened
together as if in prayer.
The player not in line will then place a button between his
flattened palms. In turn he will go to each child in the
line and slide his hands between their clasped hands.
(It resembles a knife cutting between two slices of bread).
He repeats this action to every player, leaving the button
secretly between the palms of one of them.
Once each child has been given a turn, the first child who
had left the room is called back. All the players in unison
sing, " Button, Button, whose got the button?"
He then must choose which child has the button, while they
all try to either pretend that they have it, or keep a
straight face.
The guesser is given a predetermined number of chances to
guess correctly, depending on the number of players.
If he guesses correctly, the player concealing the button
becomes the new guesser, and the old guesser becomes the
leader who passes the button.
If, however, he does not guess in the number of tries given
to him, he remains the guesser until he successfully does so.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HEMLOCK

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Guessing
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Special Object or Implement

Date learned: 00001970S

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You wouldn't be happy if I smeared your head with honey.

Submitter comment: My mom would say this to my brothers and sisters and myself
when we were not satisfied with an item or situation.
She says this ridiculous saying came about when honey was
scarce or valuable.
A similar saying is, "You wouldn't be happy if we hung you
with a gold rope."

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HEMLOCK

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula
PROVERB -- Proverbial Apothegm Maxim

Date learned: 00001980S

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Chinese Frozen Tag

This is an outdoor tag game.
Any number can play.
One person is chosen to be it.
The boundaries of the playing area are determined depending
on the number of players.
"It" begins the game by giving the players a ten second
get-away. He then proceeds to tag the players.
Once a player has been tagged he is frozen.
This means he must stand in the place he was tagged with
his hands on his head and his legs spread apart.
"It" continues to tag the rest of the players.
However, at the same time, other players who are not yet
frozen, may unfreeze the frozen players by crawling between
their legs. But, this process takes a few extra seconds
and may cause both to become frozen if "it" can tag them.
The game ends when "it" can get all players frozen at once.
The player who was frozen first becomes "it" for the next
game.
If a large number of people play, there may be two "it"s.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HEMLOCK

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Racing Chasing Fighting

Date learned: 00001980S

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Wart Remedies

Take a piece of string and tie a knot in it for each wart
that you have. Dig a hole, and bury the string.
When the string rots, your warts will be gone.
Count the number of warts you have, and write the number
in chalk on the inside of the oven door. When the number
fades, your warts will be gone.

Submitter comment: When I was twelve I had warts all over my hands and I was
really upset about them. My mother told me these remedies,
told to her by her mother.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HEMLOCK

James Callow Keyword(s): Divestment

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Number Counting beliefs
BELIEF -- Method of Curing

Date learned: 00-00-1982

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This is not really a game, just something to pass time.
It involves taking a blank piece of paper that is perfectly
square and making a series of folds to create a three-
dimensional message teller.
On the outside are four flaps with a color spelled out
on each flap.
A child would take the message teller and present it to
another and say, "Pick a color."
The second child would then pick one of the four colors.
The first child would then manipulate the paper item,
spelling out the color and presenting an alternate set
of numbers with each letter said.
On the last letter spelled, the second child would choose
a number from the 4 of the 8 that are revealed.
The first child would again manipulate the paper, counting
the number, while presenting alternate sets of numbers.
When the counting is finished, the second child again
picks a number, but this time the first child lifts up
the flap underneath the number to reveal a "message."
Usually there are both good and bad messages.
Some that we used as kids were, "You are nice" or
"You are ugly."

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HEMLOCK

Subject headings: Favorites
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Special Object or Implement

Date learned: 00001980S

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Train Robbery

Any number can play this game which is played outdoors.
It is best if there are plenty of shrubs or other possible
natural barriers to be used as temporary hiding places.
A certain object (picnic table, swing set, etc.) is chosen
to be the train. One player is the train's engineer.
All players carry a toy gun or a stick that resembles one.
The engineer takes his place on the train, closes his eyes,
and counts to ten, while all of the other players ("robbers")
disappear from view. Each robber then plans his own route of
attack (how he will sneak up on and rob the train).
The key is to use bushes, trees, ditches, etc. as cover.
The train conductor must keep an ever watchful eye for
possible robbers. This means he must try to keep careful
surveillance on all approaches to the train.
If he sees one of the robbers he yells, "Bang, Bang,"
followed by the person's name. That robber must then fall
to the ground and count to 30, before proceeding with his
attack. However, the robbers can also shoot the engineer,
and give themselves the extra time to get to the train.
The game is over when one of the robbers successfully
wounds the engineer and gets aboard the train. Once
a robber does this, he becomes the new engineer, and
the game starts all over again.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HEMLOCK

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

Date learned: 00001980S

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Boilerburst

A circle is drawn on the pavement. Squares, or homes, are
drawn at different places around the circle. There is one
less home than there is players. One player is chosen to be
it and he stands in the middle of the circle. All of the
other players stand on one of the home squares.
The player who is in the middle begins the game by telling
a story, usually quite a silly story without much of a plot.
At some point in the middle of the story the storyteller
will yell (or say very calmly) BOILERBURST!!!! Then all of
the other players have to run to a new home. During this
time the player who is it tries to reach a home before
another player. The player who does not get a home becomes
it and resumes the story.

Submitter comment: Many different strategies are used in telling the story.
Sometimes boilerburst is barely whispered to catch
the players off guard, or it may interrupt the story
in such a way that it is totally unexpected.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HEMLOCK

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Formula tale
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Racing Chasing Fighting

Date learned: 00001980S

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See, See My Playmate

See, see my playmate.
Come out and play with me, and bring your dollies, three.
Climb up my apple tree. Slide down my rain barrel.
Into my cellar door. And we'll be jolly friends,
Forevermore.
So sorry playmate.
Can't come out and play with you.
My dollies got the flu. Oh boo hoo hoo hoo hoo.
Ain't got no rain barrel. Don't got no cellar door.
We can't be jolly friends, forevermore.

Submitter comment: This songs were sung, usually by two girls, who would
at the same time clap their hands together once and
then hit right hands, clap, then left hands, then clap again
continuing that pattern throughout the entire song.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HEMLOCK

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Children
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Athletic sport and exercise Gymnastics
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Singing Dancing Marching
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Game Verse

Date learned: 00-00-1978

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Miss Susie had a steamboat. The steamboat had a bell.
Miss Susie went to heaven. The steamboat went to hell(o)
Operator connect me number nine, and if you disconnect me,
I'll kick you right behind the fridgerator, there laid a
piece of glass. Miss Susie fell upon it and broke her
little ass(k) me no more questions. Tell me no more lies.
Miss Susie told me all of this the day before she died
her hair all purple. She died her hair all pink. She died
her hair all polka dots, and washed it down the sink me
in the ocean, sink me in the sea, sink me in the toilet,
but please don't pee on me.

Submitter comment: Sometimes this song is sung just by school aged children,
and at other times two girls will do an alternating, hand
clapping rhythm with each other.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HEMLOCK

James Callow Keyword(s): Hello Hell Ass Ask Dyed ; PEE=URINATE

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

Date learned: 00001980S

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Jingle Bells, Batman Smells, Robin laid an egg.
Batmobile lost its wheel, and the Joker got away!

Submitter comment: Sung to the tune of Jingle Bells.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HEMLOCK

James Callow Keyword(s): Comic strip character

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Ill humor Ridicule Mockery

Date learned: 00001970S

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Now I lay me down to study.
I pray the Lord I don't go nutty.
And if I die before I wake,
That's one less test I'll have to take.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HEMLOCK

James Callow Keyword(s): Academic folklore

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

Date learned: 00001980S

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Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye.
If I'm lying may a lizard eat my gizzard.

Submitter comment: Child version of swearing to tell the truth.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HEMLOCK

James Callow Keyword(s): Asseveration ; FEMININE RHYME

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

Date learned: 00001970S

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Teddy bear, teddy bear, turn around.
Teddy bear, teddy bear, touch the ground.
Teddy bear, teddy bear, go upstairs.
Teddy bear, teddy bear, say your prayers.
Teddy bear, teddy bear, turn out the light.
Teddy bear, teddy bear, say goodnight.

Submitter comment: This jump rope rhyme dictated the actions for the
person jumping rope. For example, when it says turn around
the jumper must jump around in circles.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HEMLOCK

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

Date learned: 00001970S

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Cinderella dressed in yellow. Went upstairs to kiss a fellow.
By mistake she kissed a snake. How many kisses did she take?

Submitter comment: After reciting the rhyme the players count how many jumps
the jumper can do consecutively.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HEMLOCK

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

Date learned: 00001980S

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Miss Susie had a baby. She named him Tiny Tim.
She put him in the bathtub, to see if he could swim.
He drank up all the water. He ate a bar of soap.
He tried to eat the bathtub,
But it wouldn't fit down his throat.
Miss Susie called the doctor, the doctor called the nurse.
The nurse called the lady with the alligator purse.
Mumps said the doctor. Measles said the nurse.
Nothing said the lady with the alligator purse.
Out went the doctor. Out went the nurse.
Out went the lady with the alligator purse.

Submitter comment: Sometimes just sung, other times it is done with two
girls clapping hands and alternating slapping each
other's hands.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HEMLOCK

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Children
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Athletic sport and exercise Gymnastics

Date learned: 00001980S

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I'm bringing home a baby bumble bee.
Won't my mommy be so proud of me
For bringing home a baby bumble bee, OUCH HE BIT ME!!!!!
I'm mashing up my baby bumble bee.
Won't my mommy be so proud of me
For mashing up my baby bumble bee, Ugh, what a mess!!
I'm licking up my baby bumble bee.
Won't my mommy be so proud of me
For licking up my baby bumble bee, Ohh, I feel sick!!!
I'm puking up my baby bumble bee.
Won't my mommy be so proud of me
For puking up my baby bumble bee, Eew, what a mess!!
I'm mopping up my baby bumble bee.
Won't my mommy be so proud of me
For mopping up my baby bumble bee, there all clean.
I'm bringing home a baby dinosaur.
Won't my mommy hide behind the door.
I'm bringing home a baby dinosaur, OOPS, HE ATE ME!!!

Submitter comment: This song is done with lots of hand motions and
pretend gestures.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HEMLOCK

James Callow Keyword(s): INCREMENTAL REPETITION ; REFRAIN ; Teller killed in his own story.

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Ballad Epic
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Children

Date learned: 00001970S

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On top of spaghetti, all covered with cheese,
I lost my poor meatball, when somebody sneezed.
It rolled off the table, and onto the floor,
And then my poor meatball, rolled out of the door.
It rolled in the garden, and under a bush,
And then my poor meatball was nothing but mush.
It laid there all winter, all covered with leaves,
And early next summer, it grew into a tree.
So when you eat spaghetti, all covered with cheese,
Hold onto your meatball, and don't ever sneeze - ACHOOOO!!!

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HEMLOCK

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Ill humor Ridicule Mockery
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Children

Date learned: 00001970S

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Where is thumpkin? Where is thumpkin?
(both hands are behind back)
Here I am! (bring out other thumb)
Here I am! (bring out other thumb)
How are you to day sir? (move one thumb as if speaking)
Very well and thank you. (move other thumb as if replying)
Run and hide (put one hand behind back)
Run and hide (put other hand behind back)
Where is pointer? Where is pointer?
(repeat above hand motions with pointer finger)
Here I am! Here I am! How are you today sir?
Very well and thank you. Run and hide, Run and hide.
Where is tall man? Where is tall man?
(repeat with middle finger)
Here I am! Here I am! How are you today sir?
Very well and thank you. Run and hide, Run and hide.
Where is ring finger? Where is ring finger?
(repeat with ring finger)
Here I am! Here I am! How are you today sir?
Very well and thank you. Run and hide, Run and hide.
Where is pinky? Where is pinky?
(repeat with pinky finger)
Here I am! Here I am! How are you today sir?
Very well and thank you. Run and hide, Run and hide.
Where's the whole family? Where's the whole family?
(repeat using all fingers)
Here we are! Here we are! How are you today sirs?
Very well and thank you. Run and hide, Run and hide.

Submitter comment: I used to perform this miniature finger play for my
younger brothers and sister as well as other children
I babysat for. By using different tones of voice for
Each finger depending on size (thumb was a deep voice
and pinky was a squeaky, tiny voice) I could keep
very young children and babies entertained.
Sung to the tune of "Frere Jacques."

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HEMLOCK

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Children
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Athletic sport and exercise Gymnastics
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Game Verse Game Verse

Date learned: 00001970S

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There goes (insert a playmate's name) floatin' down the
Delaware, chewing on his underwear, couldn't 'ford another
pair. Ten days later eaten by polar bear. Poor old
polar bear died.

Submitter comment: My brothers and sisters and I used to sing this to antagonize
each other.
Sung to the tune "Old Grey Mare."

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HEMLOCK

James Callow Keyword(s): Afford ; Eaten

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Ill humor Ridicule Mockery
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Children

Date learned: 00001980S

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