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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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CUSTOM

WHENEVER SOMEONE GIVES A SHARP OBJECT AS A GIFT IN HER FAMILY,
THE PERSON WHO RECEIVES THE SHARP OBJECT AS A GIFT GIVES THE GIVER
A PENNY TO SYMBOLIZE THAT THEIR FRIENDSHIP WILL NOT BREAK UP AS A
RESULT OF THE GIFT. THE SUPERSTITION, THAT GIVING A SHARP OBJECT
AS A GIFT WILL RESULT IN THE LOSS OF FRIENDSHIP, IS COUNTERACTED
BY THE PENNY.

Where learned: TOLD AT INFORMANTS HOME ; SAINT CLAIR

Keyword(s): GIFT FRIENDSHIP PENNY

Subject headings: Favorites
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank

Date learned: 02-27-1971

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KRIS KRINGLES

"AT THE BEGINNING OF THE ADVENT SEASON, MY FAMILY PRACTICES THE
CUSTOM OF 'KRIS KRINGLES.' EACH PERSON WILL PUT THEIR NAME ON A
PIECE OF PAPER AND PUT IT IN A CONTAINER. THEN EACH PERSON WILL
DRAW OUT A NAME AND KEEP IT A SECRET. DURING THE PERIOD OF ABOUT
FOUR WEEKS, WE WILL DO SPECIAL THINGS FOR THE PERSON WHOSE NAME
WE DREW. ON CHRISTMAS EVE WE WILL TRY TO GUESS WHO HAD OUR NAME."

Submitter comment: WE PRACTICED THIS FOR MANY YEARS. MY MOTHER SAID THAT A RELATIVE
TOLD HER ABOUT IT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SAINT CLAIR

Subject headings: 645 September 23 Equinox to December 20
Favorites
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 25 Christmas Also see F642, below.

Date learned: 01-00-1984

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ANIMAL CALLS (CATTLE)

"TO CALL THE CATTLE IN FROM THE WOODS, MOST OF THE FARMERS IN MY
AREA (ST. CLAIR, MI.) WILL CALL 'COME BAHS, COME BAHS!' SEVERAL
TIMES VERY QUICKLY AND LOUDLY. THIS WILL CAUSE THE CATTLE TO
COME RUNNING UP TO THE BARN. IF THE FARMER DOESN'T FEEL LIKE
CALLING, AS MY GRANDFATHER DID MANY TIMES, HE'LL TURN THE MOTOR
ON IN THE SILO WHICH ACTS AS A DINNER BELL FOR THE CATTLE."

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SAINT CLAIR

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F535
SPEECH -- Onomatopoeia
SPEECH -- To Be Heard

Date learned: 04-00-1984

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COUNTING OUT RHYME

"IN GAMES LIKE HIDE-AND-SEEK, THE PERSON WHO WAS 'IT' WAS DETER-
MINED BY A NUMBER OF WAYS. ONE SUCH WAY IS BY EACH PLAYER OF THE
GAME PLACING HIS FOOT IN A CIRCLE. ONE OF THE PERSONS WOULD THEN
ASK (AT THE SAME TIME TAPPING A FOOT OF EACH PLAYER ONCE FOR EACH
SYLLABLE IN THE SAYING): 'BUB-BLE-GUM, BUB-BLE-GUM, IN A DISH,
HOW MAN-Y PIE-CES DO YOU WISH?' THE PERSON WHOSE FOOT WAS TAPPED
LAST WOULD THEN SAY A NUMBER (1-10) AND THE TAPPING OF FEET
WOULD CONTINUE UNTIL THE NUMBER HAD BEEN COUNTED. AT THE END OF
THE COUNT, THE TAPPER WOULD CONTINUE BY SAYING (E.G. 1-5):
'1-2-3-4-5 AND YOU WILL NOT BE IT.' THEN THE PERSON TO BE TAPPED
ON 'IT' WOULD BE OUT OF THE COUNTING. THE ROUTINE CONTINUED
UNTIL THERE WAS ONLY ONE PERSON LEFT AND HE WOULD BE 'IT.'"

Submitter comment: THE COUNT COULD BE SHORTENED BY DELETING "NOT" FROM THE FIRST
PART OF THE SAYING ("...WILL NOT BE IT.")

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SAINT CLAIR

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

Date learned: 04-00-1984

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Entry filtered.

COUNTING RHYME

"ANOTHER METHOD OF DETERMINING WHO'S 'IT' IS THE SAYING: 'EE-
NEE-MEE-NEE-MY-NEE-MO, CATCH A NIG-GER BY HIS TOE. IF HE HOL-
LERS, LET HIM GO. EE-NEE-MEE-NEE-MY-NEE-MO.' AGAIN, EACH
PLAYERS FOOT IS TAPPED ONCE WITH ONE SYLLABLE EACH. THE PERSON
TAPPED ON THE LAST 'MO' IS 'IT.'"

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SAINT CLAIR

James Callow Keyword(s): NIGGER

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Game Verse Game Verse
Filter - Mature Content

Date learned: 04-00-1984

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RED FOX BLOODY MURDER!

"A GAME SIMILAR TO HIDE-AND-SEEK IS 'RED FOX BLOODY MURDER!' IN
THIS GAME, THE PERSON WHO IS 'IT' HIDES INSTEAD OF THE PLAYERS
WHO COUNT WHILE HE IS HIDING AND GO SEEK HIM OUT. WHENEVER
ONE OF THE PLAYERS SEES THAT PERSON, THE PLAYER WILL SHOUT,
'RED FOX BLOODY MURDER!' AND WILL RUN FOR 'GOOL.' THE GAME
CONTINUES UNTIL SOMEONE IS CAUGHT OR ALL HAVE REACHED 'GOOL'
SAFELY."

Submitter comment: 'GOOL' REFERS TO THE SPOT THAT IS 'FREE.'
BEFORE RUNNING TO 'GOOL', EACH PLAYER MUST SHOUT "RED FOX
BLOODY MURDER!" AND THE PERSON HIDING HAS TO BE SEEN BY EACH
PLAYER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SAINT CLAIR

James Callow Keyword(s): GOAL

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

Date learned: 04-00-1984

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GHOST IN THE GRAVEYARD (HIDE-AND-SEEK VARIATION)

"ANOTHER GAME SIMILAR TO HIDE-AND-SEEK IS 'GHOST IN THE GRAVEYARD.'
LIKE HIDE-AND-SEEK EVERYONE EXCEPT THE PERSON WHO IS IT WILL HIDE
AND THE ONE WHO IS 'IT' WILL SEARCH FOR THEM. IF HE/SHE CATCHES
SOMEONE, THAT PERSON IS THE 'GHOST'S' HELPER AND HELPS HIM/HER
TRY TO CATCH THE REST. AFTER EVERYONE HAS BEEN CAUGHT OR EVERY-
ONE HAS REACHED 'GOOL' (FREE SPOT), THE FIRST ONE WHO WAS
CAUGHT IS 'IT.'"

Submitter comment: INFORMANT LEARNED THIS DOWN IN OHIO A FEW YEARS AGO.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SAINT CLAIR

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

Date learned: 04-00-1984

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PRANK DONE IN THE COUNTRY (RICHMOND, MICHIGAN)

"MY FATHER ONCE TOLD US ABOUT HOW WHEN HE AND HIS BROTHERS ONCE
TOOK A PAPER SACK AND FILLED IT WITH COW MANURE. THEY TOOK THE
SACK FILLED WITH MANURE AND PLACED IT ON A PERSON'S FRONT PORCH.
THEN THEY LIT THE BAG WITH A MATCH AND RANG THE DOORBELL BEFORE
RUNNING AWAY. WHEN THE GUY CAME TO THE DOOR HE SAW THE SMALL
FIRE AND TRIED TO STAMP IT OUT, THUS GETTING MANURE ALL OVER
HIS SHOES."

Submitter comment: WE WERE WARNED THAT IF WE TRIED SOMETHING LIKE THIS WE'D
REGRET IT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SAINT CLAIR

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion

Date learned: 04-00-1984

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If your soap breaks in two, it's a true sign of parting.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SAINT CLAIR

Keyword(s): breaking up, end

James Callow Keyword(s): SYMBOL

Subject headings: 686 Seconds / Twice / Two
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Marriage

Date learned: 00-00-1991

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If you sneeze on Monday, you sneeze for danger;
Sneeze on Tuesday, kiss a stranger;
Sneeze on a Wednesday, sneeze for a letter;
Sneeze on a Thursday, something better;
Sneeze on a Friday, sneeze for sorrow;
Sneeze on a Saturday, see your sweetheart tomorrow.
Sneeze on Sunday and the devil will have domination
over you all week.

Submitter comment: Used to tell to children just for fun. (She's a teacher
and mother of eleven.)

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SAINT CLAIR

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Devil Demon
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Measure of time WeekDayHour
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 00001970S

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On the stroke of twelve (on New Year's Eve) every door
in the house has to be opened to allow the spirit of
the old year to leave.

Submitter comment: Her best friend's family did it when she was a little
girl, and she never forgot it.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SAINT CLAIR

Keyword(s): GHOST

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 1 New Year's
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 31 New Year's Eve
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Wall Partition Door Window
BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
BELIEF -- Measure of time Year

Date learned: 00001930S

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Sixty years ago in Ireland, children, at their
first glimpse of a full moon, were taught, in
order to escape bad luck or some dire calamity, to
use the following invocation:
"I see the moon, and the moon sees me.
God bless the moon, and God bless Me."

Submitter comment: My grandmother taught me this when I was little.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SAINT CLAIR

Subject headings: Charm / Enchantment / Conjuration
686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Lyrical Verse Lyrical Verse
BELIEF -- Moon
BELIEF -- Prayer
BELIEF -- Bad luck
BELIEF -- Conversions

Date learned: 00001970'S

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Irish Blessing

May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
May the rains fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SAINT CLAIR

Keyword(s): caring, love

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

Date learned: 00-00-1991

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JUMP-ROPE RHYME

SHALL I TELL YOU A STORY
ABOUT JACK AND HIS GLORY?
SHALL I BEGIN IT?
THAT'S ALL THAT'S IN IT.

SHALL I TELL YOU ANOTHER
ABOUT JACK AND HIS BROTHER?
SHALL I BEGIN IT?
THAT'S ALL THAT'S IN IT.

Submitter comment: THIS IS RECITED IN TWO PARTS AS SHOWN BY THE BREAK I PUT IN BETWEEN.
THE FIRST JUMPER ENTERS AT THE BEGINNING OF THE FIRST PART AND EXITS
AT THE END OF IT. THE SECOND JUMPER DOES THE SAME THING FOR THE
SECOND PART.

Where learned: PENNSYLVANIA ; SAINT CLAIR

James Callow Keyword(s): JACK-A-NORY ; NUTSHELL NARRATIVE IN VERSE

Subject headings: Favorites
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Game Verse C750.560 BB C82

Date learned: 00001960S

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TRICK OR TREAT RHYME

A BALL IN A HOLE IN A WALL AND THAT'S ALL.

Submitter comment: THIS IS USED BY TRICK OR TREATERS ON HALLOWEEN IN ORDER TO COLLECT
CANDY AND OTHER GIFTS. NONSENSE RHYME.

Where learned: PENNSYLVANIA ; SAINT CLAIR

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Custom Festival C840.1031
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- October 31 Halloween

Date learned: 00001960S

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TRICK OR TREAT RHYME

TRICK OR TREAT.
SMELL MY FEET.
I LIVE ON MILL STREET.

Submitter comment: THIS IS USED BY TRICK OR TREATERS ON HALLOWEEN IN ORDER TO COLLECT
CANDY AND OTHER GIFTS. THE NAME OF THE STREET IN THE THIRD LINE IS
NOT ALWAYS MILL BUT RATHER THE STREET THE PERSON LIVES ON. THIS IS
SUPPOSED TO BE A CLUE TO THEIR IDENTITY.

Where learned: PENNSYLVANIA ; SAINT CLAIR

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Product or activity of man or animal
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Custom Festival C840.1031
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- October 31 Halloween
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Feet, toes, toenails

Date learned: 00001960S

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THE GIRL WHO LOST HER VIRGINITY AND HER LIFE.

THIS GUY FINALLY TALKED HIS GIRL INTO SPENDING THE NIGHT WITH HIM
AT A MOTEL AFTER THEIR SENIOR PROM. SHE WAS A VIRGIN BEFORE THAT
NIGHT. DRIVING HER HOME AFTER THEY HAD HAD INTERCOURSE THEY WERE
INVOLVED IN A SERIOUS ACCIDENT AND SHE WAS KILLED. SHE WENT TO HELL
FOR ETERNITY AND AT NIGHT HER GHOST COMES BACK TO HAUNT THE MOTEL
ROOM AND ITS OCCUPANTS. HER BOYFRIEND WAS ALSO HAUNTED BY HER AND
KILLED HIMSELF BY DRIVING OFF A CLIFF WITH HIS CAR.

Where learned: PENNSYLVANIA ; SAINT CLAIR

James Callow Keyword(s): FUNCTION ; SUICIDE

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

Date learned: 00001960S

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LUCKY CROSSING

IF YOU LIFT YOUR FEET OFF THE FLOOR OF YOUR CAR WHILE CROSSING A
BRIDGE OVER WATER YOU WILL ALWAYS REACH THE OTHER SIDE SAFELY.

Submitter comment: THIS WAS A MORE COMMON BELIEF IN THE EARLY 1900S WHEN PEOPLE WERE A
LITTLE MORE WARY ABOUT DRIVING CARS OVER BRIDGES.

Where learned: PENNSYLVANIA ; SAINT CLAIR

James Callow Keyword(s): AUTOMOBILE ; MAGIC

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Feet, toes, toenails
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 00001960S

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THREE ON A MATCH

IT IS BAD LUCK FOR THREE PEOPLE TO LIGHT THEIR CIGARETTES OFF OF THE
SAME MATCH.

Where learned: PENNSYLVANIA ; SAINT CLAIR

Subject headings: 686 Thirds / Thrice / Three / Triple
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.5

Date learned: 00001960S

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BAD LUCK

STEPPING ON A BROOM BRINGS BAD LUCK. HOWEVER, SPITTING ON IT RIGHT
AFTER YOU'VE STEPPED ON IT WILL WARD OFF THE BAD LUCK.

Where learned: PENNSYLVANIA ; SAINT CLAIR

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Bad luck
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.1
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 00001960S

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