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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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STEP ON A CRACK,
BREAK YOUR MOTHER'S BACK.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT REMEMBERED THIS FROM HIS CHILDHOOD.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Belief Belief
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion

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OLD SAYINGS

IF YOU DROP A KNIFE A MAN IS COMING
IF YOU DROP A FORK A WOMAN IS COMING
IF YOU DROP A SPOON A CHILD IS COMING
PERHAPS THE MAN COMING HUMMING
PERHAPS THE WOMAN BECOMING LOVING
PERHAPS THE CHILD COMING STUMBLING.

Submitter comment: SHE LEARNED THIS FROM HER HOME TOWN DURING HER ADOLESCENT STAGE.
THIS OLD SAYING IS A VERSE THAT IS CONNECTED TO THE COMMUNICATION
BETWEEN AN OBJECT AND THE FORETELLING OF THE FUTURE.
THE INFORMANT WASN'T SURE WHETHER THIS COULD BE {A} SONG OR NOT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): INITIAL ITERATION

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Belief C860.860
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Belief Belief

Date learned: 00001930'S

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A MOLE ON YOUR NECK AND YOU WILL HAVE MONEY BY THE PECK.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT SAYS THIS WHENEVER HE HEARS OF SOMEONE BECOMING RICH.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GROSSE POINTE

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Belief C860.438
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Belief Belief

Date learned: 02-00-1979

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PROVERB

EARLY TO BED AND EARLY TO RISE MAKES A MAN HEALTHY, WEALTHY AND WISE

Submitter comment: SECOND GRADE TEACHER ALWAYS SAID THIS TO OUR CLASS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DEARBORN HEIGHTS

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

Date learned: 01-00-1979

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SUPERSTITION

A WHISTLING WOMAN
AN A CROWING HEN
ALWAYS COME TO A NO GOOD END.

Where learned: DETROIT

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Belief C860.477
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Belief Belief
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Proverb Proverb

Date learned: 00-00-1965

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PROVERB

IF YOUR EAR RINGS,
YOUR NAME SOMEONE SINGS.

Submitter comment:

THE INFORMANT FIRST HEARD THIS PROVERB IN 1976. THE STYLISTIC
DEVICES OF RHYME AND METER ARE USED. INVERSION IS PRESENT IN
THIS SHORT PIECE. KEY WORDS ARE EMPHASIZED AND A CAUSE AND EFFECT
RELATIONSHIP IS PRESENT. IT IS AN "A = B" EQUATION. THE
COLLECTOR INTERPRETS THIS TO MEAN THAT SOMEONE IS TALKING ABOUT
YOU, IF YOUR EARS RING.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALLEN PARK

Keyword(s): BELIEF ; GOSSIP ; Longing ; PREDICTION ; Relationship ; RHYME ; SIGN ; Sing ; SONG ; TALK

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Belief C860.477
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Belief Belief
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Speech C870.400
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Speech C870.582
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Speech C870.584
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Proverb Proverb
BELIEF -- Use of Object P860.438
SPEECH -- Syntax

Date learned: 10-00-1980 ; 09-00-1976

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SAYING

EVERY TIME A NEW BORN BABY CRIES, SOMEONE DIES.

Submitter comment: FROM FRIENDS.

Where learned: DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Belief Belief
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: 11-08-1967

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BURIAL CUSTOMS

HAPPY THE BRIDE THE SUN SHINES ON.
HAPPY THE CORPSE THE RAIN FALLS ON.

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM GRANDMOTHER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

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

Date learned: 12-06-1967

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OMEN

DREAM OF A WEDDING, HEAR OF A FUNERAL.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

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

Date learned: 10-16-1967

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PREDICTION DIVINATION

SPIDER IN THE DAY BRINGS DISMAY.
SPIDER AT NIGHT BRINGS DELIGHT.

Where learned: UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT

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

Date learned: 10-16-1967

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SNEEZING

SNEEZE BETWEEN TWELVE AND ONE,
SURE SIGN SOMEBODY'LL COME.
SNEEZE BETWEEN ONE AND TWO,
COME TO SEE YOU.
SNEEZE BETWEEN TWO AND THREE,
COME TO SEE ME.
SNEEZE BETWEEN THREE AND FOUR,
SOMEBODY'S AT THE DOOR.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

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

Date learned: 11-01-1968

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SEE A PEN, PICK IT UP,
AND ALL THE DAY YOU'LL HAVE GOOD LUCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

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

Date learned: 09-00-1969

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SING AT THE TABLE,
DANCE ON THE BED,
THE DEVIL WILL GET YOU,
BEFORE YOU'RE DEAD.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

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

Date learned: 02-14-1970

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DON'T STEP IN A HOLE
OR YOU'LL BREAK YOUR MOTHER'S SUGAR BOWL.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

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

Date learned: 09-20-1968

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DON'T STEP ON A CRACK
OR YOU'LL BREAK YOUR MOTHER'S BACK.

Submitter comment: THIS WAS PLAYED WHEN WALKING ON A SIDEWALK. ONE HAD TO STEP
OVER THE CRACKS SO AS NOT TO BREAK THE MOTHER'S BACK.

Where learned: OHIO ; TOLEDO

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

Date learned: 10-04-1965

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SEE A PIN AND PICK IT UP,
ALL THAT DAY YOU'LL HAVE GOOD LUCK.
SEE A PIN AND LET IT LAY,
BAD LUCK YOU'LL HAVE ALL THAT DAY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BIRMINGHAM

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

Date learned: 10-06-1965

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IF YOU STUB YOUR TOE AND KISS YOUR THUMB YOU'LL SEE YOUR
BOYFRIEND BEFORE DAY IS DONE.

Where learned: DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

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

Date learned: 10-00-1971

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IF YOU SEE A NEW MOON THROUGH A PANE OF GLASS,
HARD LUCK WILL FOLLOW FAST.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT REMEMBERS HEARING THIS AS A CHILD FROM HIS MOTHER
(1915-1925). HE BELIEVES THAT THE SAYING STEMS FROM HIS
MOTHER AND FATHER'S SCOTTISH HERITAGE.

Where learned: PENNSYLVANIA ; PITTSBURGH

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

Date learned: 10-02-1971

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SEE A PIN, PICK IT UP,
ALL THE DAY YOU'LL HAVE GOOD LUCK.
SEE A PIN AND LET IT LAY,
BAD LUCK YOU'LL HAVE ALL THE DAY.

Submitter comment: FROM HIS MOTHER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Belief Belief
BELIEF -- Magic of Speech, Sign, Color

Date learned: 10-04-1965

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SEE A PIN AND PICK IT UP,
ALL THE DAY YOU'LL HAVE GOOD LUCK.
SEE A PIN AND LET IT LIE,
YOU'LL BE SORRY BY AND BY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

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

Date learned: 00-00-1965

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