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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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COUNTING-OUT RHYME

ACKA BACKA,
SOWED THE CROCKA,
ACKA BACKA BOO.
IN COMES UNCLE SAM,
AND OUT GOES Y*O*U}}

Submitter comment: INFORMANT IS FROM PENNSYLVANIA

Data entry tech comment: IN THE LATE 1960'S
I LEARNED A VARIANT OF THIS COUNTING-OUT RHYME AS A CHILD IN DETROIT
ACKA BACKA SODA CRACKA
ACKA BACKA BOO
IF YOUR FATHER CHEWS TOBACKA
OUT GOES YOU.

Where learned: UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT

Keyword(s): NONSENSE WORDS ; REPETITION ; RHYME: ABCB

James Callow Keyword(s): SODA CRACKER

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

Date learned: 11-00-1968

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RIDDLE

IF YOU PUT THREE DUCKS INTO A BOX, WHAT WILL YOU HAVE?
A BOX OF QUACKERS.

Where learned: HOME

Keyword(s): CONUNDRUM ; FOWL: DUCKS ; NUMBERS: THREE

James Callow Keyword(s): PUN ON CRACKERS

Subject headings: RIDDLE -- Riddle Question

Date learned: 11-11-1967

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FIRE CRACKERS WARD OFF EVIL SPIRIT

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; NASHVILLE

James Callow Keyword(s): FIRECRACKERS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Magic of Speech, Sign, Color

Date learned: 07-28-1968

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Retort

Age before beauty.

Beauty was a horse.

Submitter comment:

Heard during college days

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: OHIO

Keyword(s): BEAUTY ; Black ; COMEBACK ; HORSE ; INSULT ; RETORT ; SARCASM ; Wisecrack

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

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Retort

What do you wnat? Eggs in your beer?

Submitter comment:

I heard this repeatedly when playing baseball in childhood days.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Something besides this must come first?

Usually in Singular?

Keyword(s): BEER ; COMEBACK ; Eggs ; INSULT ; RETORT ; SARCASM ; Wisecrack

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

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Retort

Smart Aleck Saying:

Deaf in one ear, and can't hear in the other.

Data entry tech comment:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:American_folklorists

Keyword(s): COMEBACK ; DEAF ; Ear ; Hearing ; INSULT ; RETORT ; SARCASM ; Wisecrack

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

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Retort

A) "You dance very well."

B) "I wish I could say the same about you."

A) "Oh, you could, if you were as big a fibber as I am!"

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Retort? Double A! A gives the punch line, not B.

The original Title [Smart Aleck Saying] has been crossed out. Replaced with current classification.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): COMEBACK ; DANCE ; Fibber ; INSULT ; Liar ; RETORT ; SARCASM ; Wisecrack

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

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The Blacksmiths Son

Long ago in a small village there lived a blacksmith. Now although blacksmiths were poor, they were, nevertheless, held in respect because they were the strongest men in the village.

People used to go to the blacksmith for advice and help. This particular balcksmithhad one son, and the blacksmith wanted his son to be a blacksmith also. But the son was lazy and did not like to work. One day he told his father: "father, I have a very brilliant idea. I'm going to learn your trade in an easy way. Here's my plan: Put me in a large basket above yuor workshop and I will watch everything you do. And by watching you constantly, I will earn your trade."

So the son was put in the basket and watched his father fort several months. Then the son said to his father: "Father, I think I'm ready." And so the father gave the son tools, and a large piece of iron, and said to his son: "now son, what are you going to make?"

"Father," the son said, "I think I'll make a hammer."

"Son," the father said, "If you can make a hammer, you will be a better blacksmith than I, because it took me five years to learn how to make a hammer." And the son worked feverishly for several days but to no avail. So the son went to his father and said: "Father, I think I'll make a horseshoe instead."

The father said; "Son, if you can make a horseshoe, you will be a better blacksmith than I, because it took me three years to learn how to make a horseshoe." The son again went out, pounding and forming, but to no avail. He said to the fahter: "Father, I think I will make a nail instead of a horseshoe."

The fahter said: "Son, if you can make a nail, you will be a better blacksmith than I, because it took me two years to learn how to make a nail." The son worked for several hours, but to no avail. He said to his father: "Father, I will make something you never made. I will make a needle."

"Son," said the father, "if you make a needle, you will be a better blacksmith than I, for no smith has made a needle. " And so, the son worked and worked until finally there was nothing left. but he did not give up. He said: "Father, I will make something with no iron at all."

"Son, if you can make something without iron, it will indeed make you a great blacksmith," the father replied.

The son said: "Come watch, Father." He took a pair of tongs and heated them red hot, and suddenly plunged them into a barrel of water, and said: "Father, I did it. I made a pss."

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Original Boggs Number [ B665] crossed out and B646 is written next to it.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALLEN PARK

Keyword(s): Blacksmith ; FAMILY ; Father ; Hammer ; HORSESHOE ; HUMOR ; IRON ; Learn ; Lesson ; Needle ; Outsmart ; Skill ; Son ; TRADE ; Wise ; Wisecrack

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Romantic Realistic

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Belief: Children's Song

Step on a Crack-break mother's back

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Original BN [P880] is crossed out. C860.740 replaces it.

The words Bad Luck are written across the top of the submission card, and subsequently crossed out.

Where learned: Myself

Keyword(s): Back ; BELIEF ; CHILDHOOD ; CHILDREN ; Crack ; GAME ; Line ; MOTHER ; RHYME ; SONG ; Spine ; SUPERSTITION ; VERSE

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

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Belief: Children's Song

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

Submitter comment:

IS AN OLD CHILDHOOD SAYING THAT THIS INFORMANT REMINDED ME OF.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated on 12-01-2010 / Motifs and Keywords added by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): Back ; BELIEF ; CHILDHOOD ; CHILDREN ; Crack ; GAME ; MOTHER ; RHYME ; SONG ; Spine ; SUPERSTITION ; VERSE

James Callow Keyword(s): ADVICE: NEGATIVE

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Lyrical Verse Lyrical Verse
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Belief Belief
BELIEF -- Means of Causing or Avoiding Illness
SPEECH -- Game Pastime Sport S555.500

Date learned: 03-30-1968

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Belief: Children's Song

STEP ON A LINE,
BREAK YOUR FATHER'S SPINE.
STEP ON A CRACK,
BREAK YOUR MOTHER'S BACK.
STEP ON A HOLE,
BREAK YOUR MOTHER'S SUGAR BOWL.

Submitter comment:

CHILDREN SING THIS SONG WHILE WALKING TO SCHOOL.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated on 12-01-2010 / Motifs and Keywords added by TRD

Where learned: UNKNOWN

Keyword(s): Back ; BELIEF ; CHILDHOOD ; CHILDREN ; Crack ; Domestic ; GAME ; Hole ; Line ; MOTHER ; RHYME ; SONG ; Spine ; Sugar ; SUPERSTITION ; VERSE

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Children
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Belief Belief
BELIEF -- Means of Causing or Avoiding Illness

Date learned: 01-21-1968

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Belief: Children's Song

STEP ON A CRACK, BREAK THE DEVIL'S BACK.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated on 12-01-2010 / Motifs and Keywords added by TRD

Where learned: HOME

Keyword(s): AA ; Back ; BELIEF ; CHILDHOOD ; CHILDREN ; Crack ; DEVIL ; GAME ; MOTHER ; RELIGION ; RHYME ; SONG ; Spine ; SUPERSTITION ; VERSE

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Lyrical Verse Lyrical Verse
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Belief Belief
BELIEF -- Devil Demon

Date learned: 11-19-1969

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Belief: Children's Song

(1) DON'T STEP ON A CRACK OR YOU'LL BREAK YOUR MOTHER'S BACK.
(2) IF YOU STEP ON A LINE YOUR MOTHER DRINKS WINE.

Submitter comment:

MY BLACK NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOORS TOLD ME THESE TALES WHEN I WAS A KID.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated on 12-01-2010 / Motifs and Keywords added by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; FRANKLIN VILLAGE

Keyword(s): ALCOHOL ; Back ; BELIEF ; CHILDHOOD ; CHILDREN ; Crack ; GAME ; Line ; MOTHER ; RHYME ; SONG ; Spine ; SUPERSTITION ; VERSE ; Wine

James Callow Keyword(s): NEGRO

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

Date learned: 00001960S

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Belief: Children's Song

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

Submitter comment:

INFORMANT USED TO SING THIS WHEN SHE PLAYED HOPSCOTCH ON
THE SIDEWALK.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated on 12-01-2010 / Motifs and Keywords added by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): Back ; BELIEF ; CHILDHOOD ; CHILDREN ; Crack ; Father ; GAME ; Line ; MOTHER ; RHYME ; SONG ; Spine ; SUPERSTITION ; VERSE

James Callow Keyword(s): GAME SONG

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Children
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Singing Dancing Marching
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Lyrical Verse
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Belief Belief

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Belief: Children's Song

WHEN WALKING DOWN THE STREET SOME CHILDREN WILL CAREFULLY WATCH
WHERE THEY STEP AND SAY, "IF YOU STEP ON A CRACK YOUR MOTHER'S
GOT A BROKEN BACK, AND IF YOU STEP ON A LINE YOUR FATHER DRINKS
WINE.

Submitter comment:

I USED TO PLAY THIS GAME.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated on 12-01-2010 / Motifs and Keywords added by TRD

Keyword(s): ALCOHOL ; Back ; BELIEF ; CHILDHOOD ; CHILDREN ; Crack ; Father ; GAME ; Line ; MOTHER ; RHYME ; SONG ; Spine ; SUPERSTITION ; VERSE ; Wine

James Callow Keyword(s): COUNTING

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Lyrical Verse
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Game Verse C750.520
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Custom Festival C840.533
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Belief Belief

Date learned: 00001958-00001966

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Belief: Children's Song

STEP ON A CRACK (AS IN A SIDEWALK) (SIC) BREAK YOUR MOTHER'S BACK.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs and Keywords added by TRD

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; NASHVILLE ; ASSUMED

Keyword(s): Back ; BELIEF ; CHILDHOOD ; CHILDREN ; Crack ; GAME ; MOTHER ; RHYME ; SONG ; Spine ; SUPERSTITION ; VERSE

James Callow Keyword(s): ELLIPSIS

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Lyrical Verse
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Belief C860.533
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Belief Belief
BELIEF -- Curse

Date learned: 06-00-1972

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Belief: Children's Song

If you step on a crack you'll break your mother's back.

Submitter comment:

Stepping on Cracks Superstition

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Original BN [P880] crossed out and replaced with C860.740

Where learned: CHILDHOOD ; MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; Myself

Keyword(s): Back ; BELIEF ; CHILDHOOD ; CHILDREN ; Crack ; GAME ; Line ; MOTHER ; RHYME ; SONG ; Spine ; SUPERSTITION ; VERSE

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

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Retort

Question - Who was your servant last year?

Answer - No one...that's why I have you!

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

The words [Smart Aleck Saying] are crossed out from the top of the card.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): COMEBACK ; RETORT ; Servant ; Wisecrack

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

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Retort

"Please help me out..."

"Sure, Which way did you come in?"

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

The words [Smart Aleck Saying] are crossed out on the top of the submission card.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): COMEBACK ; RETORT ; SARCASM ; Wisecrack

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

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Retort

"You couldn't hit the broad side of a barn."

Submitter comment:

We would say this to someone who had poor aim.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): COMEBACK ; INSULT ; RETORT ; SARCASM ; Wisecrack

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

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