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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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THE COCK ROACH

ONE DAY A MAN AND HIS LITTLE SON WERE WALKING IN THE COUNTRY
WHEN THE LITTLE BOY SAW A BUTTERFLY. HE CAUGHT IT AND
STARTED TO TORTURE IT AND FINALLY HE KILLED IT. THE
FATHER WAS SHOCKED AND TOLD THE BOY THAT HE COULD NOT
HAVE ANY BUTTER FOR A WHOLE MONTH BECAUSE HE DID THIS.
A LITTLE WHILE LATER, WHILE THEY WERE STILL WALKING,
THE BOY SAW A BEE. HE CAPTURED IT, TORTURED IT, AND
FINALLY HE KILLED IT. THE FATHER WAS SHOCKED, SO
HE TOLD THE BOY THAT HE COULD NOT HAVE ANY HONEY FOR A
MONTH. WHEN THEY GOT HOME, THEY SAT DOWN FOR SUPPER.
THERE WERE THREE OF THEM, THE MOTHER, THE FATHER AND
THE SON. THE MOTHER SAW A COCKROACH RUNNING ACROSS
THE FLOOR AND SHE JUMPED UP AND STAMPED ON IT. THE
LITTLE BOY WAS SHOCKED. HE SAID, "YOU CAN'T HAVE ANY
COCK FOR A WHOLE MONTH."

Submitter comment: INFORMANT STATED THAT HE HEARD THE JOKE ABOUT IN
JANUARY OF 1965.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Married couple

Date learned: 03-00-1965

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JOKE TOLD AS TRUE

A MAN COULDN'T FIND A CLEAN JUG, SO HE TOOK HIS WIFE'S
BEST VASE DOWN TO THE WINE CELLAR. AS HE HIT THE SECOND
STAIR, HE SLIPPED AND TUMBLED ALL THE REST OF THE WAY
DOWN. HIS WIFE HEARD ALL THIS COMMOTION AND CAME TO THE
HEAD OF THE STAIRS. APPARENTLY UNCONCERNED ABOUT HER
HUSBAND, SHE SHOUTED, "DID YOU BREAK MY VASE?"
INFURIATED, THE HUSBAND REPLIED, "NO, BUT BY GOD, I WILL."

Submitter comment: THIS JOKE APPEARS ON P. 225 OF AMERICAN FOLK TALES AND SONGS
BY RICHARD CHASE. THE AUTHOR REPORTS THAT HE HEARD IT
"FROM HIS GRANDMOTHER, WHO READ IT IN A BOOK OF RHYMES."
MY MOTHER, HOWEVER, INSISTS THAT THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENED
IN THE 1880S TO CHARLES ESTERBROOK OF THE ESTERBROOK
PEN COMPANY FAMILY. MRS. ESTERBROOK WAS THE AUNT OF MY
MOTHER'S FIRST COUSIN, BEN ELLIS, OF PADUCAH, KENTUCKY.
THE INCIDENT IS SUPPOSED TO HAVE TAKEN PLACE AT THE
ESTERBROOK HOME IN MILAN, MICHIGAN, ON A DAY WHEN MRS.
ESTERBROOK WAS ENTERTAINING THE METHODIST LADIES' SEWING
CIRCLE. MY MOTHER ADDS THAT THE ITEM WAS LATER PRINTED
IN THE DETROIT JOURNAL BY IRVING S. COBB, A COLUMNIST.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WYANDOTTE

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Married couple

Date learned: 10-00-1963

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THE PRECEEDING STORY REMINDS ME OF ONE MY GRANDMOTHER TOLD:
IT SEEMS HER HUSBAND CAME HOME A LITTLE TIPSY AND ON THE WAY
UP THE STAIRS, TO GO TO BED, HE FELL AGAINST THE SIDE WALL,
WHICH WAS WALLPAPERED. HE HURT HIS ARM AND IT BEGAN TO
BLEED. HE SAID, "OH, MY POOR ARM," TRYING TO GAIN HER
SYMPATHY. SHE SAID, "TO HELL WITH YOUR ARM, IT'LL HEAL;
LOOK WHAT YOU'VE DONE TO MY WALLPAPER!"

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; CLAWSON

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Married couple

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THERE WAS A MAN AND HIS WIFE WHO LIVED IN HUNGARY.
THE WIFE WAS A REAL NAG. SHE NEVER STOPPED. SHE WAS
A GOOD WIFE IN ALL OTHER WAYS, BUT SHE NEVER STOPPED
NAGGING. ONE DAY THEY WERE RIGHT OUTSIDE THE HOUSE
AND SHE WAS REALLY SCOLDING HIM. SHE DIDN'T SEE THAT
A TARTAR HAD COME OUT OF THE FOREST AND HAD HEADED
FOR THEIR COTTAGE. WHILE SHE WAS STILL NAGGING,
THE TARTAR RODE BY, GRABBED HER UP, AND RODE AWAY.
THE HUSBAND SAID NOTHING ALL THIS TIME, AND NOW HE
JUST YELLED DOWN THE ROAD, "POOR TARTAR!"

Submitter comment: DR. DAMIN HEARD THIS JOKE WHEN SHE PREVIOUSLY LIVED
IN HUNGARY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Married couple

Date learned: 01-00-1964

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AN ESCAPE TO AMERICA

ONE OF MY DEAREST FRIENDS, NORA SHEPPARD IS 96 YEARS OLD, AND
EVERYONE CALLS HER GRANDMA SHEP. GRANDMA SHEP AS A SWEET
YOUNG COLLEEN EMIGRATING FROM ENGLAND TO THE BRIGHT LAND
OF OPPORTUNITY AND PROMISE, WAS VERY EXCITED TO BE COMING
TO THE UNITED STATES. AT ELLIS ISLAND THE OFFICIALS WERE
CHECKING CAREFULLY THE DOCUMENTS. NORA WAS ONLY SIXTEEN YEARS
OLD AND HAD NO RELATIVE TO SPONSOR HER. THE OFFICIAL SHOOK
HIS HEAD NO. THE FRANTIC YOUNG GIRL TURNED TO THE STOCKY
BOY WHO SHE HAD BECOME GOOD FRIENDS WITH AND SAID, "PLEASE
WOULD YOU MARRY ME?" WITHIN AN HOUR THE PRIEST HAD BLESSED
THE YOUNG COUPLE AND THEY WERE DULY WED. THEY SETTLED IN
THEIR NEW COUNTRY AND THE LESS THAN ROMANTIC BEGINNING
DEVELOPED INTO A MARRIAGE OF 63 YEARS, 7 CHILDREN, 35
GRANDCHILDREN AND 12 GREAT GRANDCHILDREN. IT WAS AND STILL
IS AN EXAMPLE OF LOVE TO ALL WHO KNOW THEM.

Submitter comment: I THINK THAT THIS STORY GETS MORE DRAMATIC EVERY TIME IT IS
TOLD BUT IT IS STILL CUTE ANYWAYS. GRANDMA SHEP IS A
CHARACTER AND I WOULDN'T PUT IT PAST HER FEISTY DETERMINED
NATURE TO PROPOSE TO A MAN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN

James Callow Keyword(s): INVERSION ; ROLE REVERSAL ; SEXISM

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Married couple
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage Proposal

Date learned: 00001900CA

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There was a man who set off to give away some beautiful
horses and roosters to the man of the household. He put the
horses in the bottom of his truck and the roosters on the top.
He drove up to one house, saw some children and began to ask who
was the man of the house. A man came out and said in a harsh
voice, "What the hell do you want to know who the man of the
house is. Can't you see I'm wearing the overalls? So now you
know I'm the man of this house." The man with the horse and
roosters told him, "You don't have to get all upset, I just want
to know who the man of the house is because I have something to
give him totally free."
He had the man of the house look at what he had brought and told
him he could have any of the horses in the truck if he was the
man of the house. The man looked and looked but all of the
horses were too beautiful to pick from so he turned around and
called his wife to come help pick. The man carrying the gifts
ask, "Why do you need to call for your wife if you are the man of
the house and since you can't pick for yourself, you just take
one of those roosters from up top."

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): PETTICOAT GOVERNMENT

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Jest Anecdote
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Married couple

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MARRIED WOMEN TAKE A PAIR OF PANTIES AND PUT THEM UNDER
THEIR PILLOW SO THAT THEIR MEN WILL COME HOME THAT NIGHT.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; NASHVILLE

Subject headings: Charm / Enchantment / Conjuration
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Married couple
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Woman

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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