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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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THERE WAS A YOUNG FELLOW NAMED WIER,
WHO HADN'T AN ATOM OF FEAR.
HE INDULGED A DESIRE,
TO TOUCH A LIVE WIRE.
(MOST ANY LAST LINE WILL DO HERE.)

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): FUNCTION AND GENRE ; HUMOR LIMERICK ; INDIRECTION ; METER: IAMBIC ; RHYME: MASCULINE, AABBA ; STRUCTURE, PATTERN AND FORM ; SUBJECT SOUND RHYME: ; TONE AND POINT OF VIEW

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

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THERE WAS A YOUNG WOMAN NAMED BRIGHT,
WHOSE SPEED WAS MUCH FASTER THAN LIGHT.
SHE SET OUT ONE DAY,
IN A RELATIVE WAY,
AND RETURNED ON THE PREVIOUS NIGHT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WYANDOTTE

Keyword(s): HUMOR, FIRST PERSON NARRATIVE ; INDIRECTION LIMERICK ; METER: ANAPESTIC TETRAMETER ; QUATRAIN CONTRADICTIONS ; RHYME: MASCULINE, AABBA ; RIDICULE NONSENSE

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

Date learned: 11-12-1968

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AN OLD GAELIC BLESSING

MAY THE ROADS RISE WITH YOU,
AND THE WIND BE ALWAYS AT YOUR BACK;
AND MAY THE LORD HOLD YOU
IN THE HALLOW OF HIS HAND.

Data entry tech comment: HOLLOW?

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GRAND RAPIDS

Keyword(s): PRAYER BLESSING INDIRECTION

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

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NEVER INDULGE IN ONIONS, UNLESS YOUR LOVE EATS ONIONS TOO.
FOR YOUR SCENTED BREATH WILL BE THE DEATH
OF THE LOVE, HE BEARS, FOR YOU.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BLOOMFIELD

Keyword(s): FOOD SEX ; MONOLOGUE INDIRECTION ADVICE ; QUATRAIN? ; RHYME: IMPERFECT, ABCA ; RHYME: INTERNAL, MASCULINE

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

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O ALMIGHTY DOLLAR, THY SHINING FACE
THAT SPEAKS THY MIGHTY POWER
IN MY POCKET, FIND A RESTING PLACE,
FOR I NEED THEE EVERY HOUR.
AMEN.

Where learned: SCHOOL ; DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

Keyword(s): APOSTROPHE MONOLOGUE QUATRAIN ; INDIRECTION SATIRE MONEY ; METER: IAMBIC, ANAPESTIC ; MOCK-PIOUS ; RHYME: MASCULINE, IMPERFECT, ABAB

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

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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FLOWERS MAY WITHER,
SONGS MAY DIE,
SOME WILL FORGET YOU,
BUT NEVER WILL I...

Where learned: LOUISIANA ; BATON ROUGE

Keyword(s): AUTOGRAPH VERSE? ; RHYME: MASCULINE, ABCB ; SINCERITY INDIRECTION PLEDGE FRIENDSHIP

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Lyrical Verse C730.325

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THE MAIDEN

THERE ONCE WAS A MAIDEN SO FAIR,
HER BRIGHT BLUE EYES AND GOLDEN HAIR;
BUT HER LIFE WAS RUINED BY A TWIST OF FATE,
THE STORY'S AWFUL, I'M SAD TO RELATE.
YES, THE TALE IS TRUE, FOR I WOULD NOT LIE,
I HEARD IT ONE NIGHT WHILE I WAS STILL HIGH;
I HAVE WRITTEN IT JUST AS SHE TOLD IT TO ME,
AND THE PAIN HAS MADE ME SICK AS CAN BE.
"I LEFT HIM FLAT; FOR HE TREATED ME CRUEL;
FOR NOW I SEE THAT I WAS A FOOL,
HE'S UGLY AND DIRTY AND SMELLS LIKE A HORSE,
AND THAT'S WHY I DECIDED TO GET A DIVORCE."
"I WAS JUST TWENTY WHEN THE MESS DID START,
HE SAID HE WOULD LOVE ME TILL DEATH DO US PART;
LITTLE DID I KNOW THAT THE DAY WOULD SOON COME,
WHEN I WOULD GET WISE TO THAT NO-GOOD BUM.
"NOW I AM HAPPY AND FINALLY FREE,
TO THINK, DO, AND SAY WHAT I PLEASE;
SO FOR A LITTLE ADVICE BEFORE YOU MARRY,
BE SURE YOUR HUSBAND IS NOT BIG AND HAIRY."
"SO WHEN THE MAN OF YOUR DREAMS TURNS TO A FINK,
GET A DIVORCE OR MAKE A BIG STINK;
BUT IF YOU SEE HE'S NO GOOD FROM THE START,
DROP HIM FAST OR HE'LL BREAK YOUR HEART."

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): LAMENT ADVICE ; METER: IAMBIC TRIMETER ; RHYME: MASCULINE, AABB ; SIMILE INDIRECTION HUMOR MARRIAGE

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Lyrical Verse C730.325

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CHILDREN'S RHYME

JEREMIAH, PUFF THE FIRE,
PUFF, PUFF, PUFF.
FIRST, HE BLOWS IT GENTLY,
AND THEN HE BLOWS IT ROUGH.
JEREMIAH, PUFF THE FIRE.
PUFF, PUFF, PUFF.

Submitter comment: NO INFORMATION AS TO WHEN THIS WAS USUALLY RECITED.

Where learned: LETTER

Keyword(s): INCLUSION, SEXTET, CONTRAST ; INDIRECTION, CHARM, ADVICE ; METER: ROCHEE RHYME: ABCBAB ; ONOMATOPOEIA, REPETITION, REFRAIN ALLITERATION

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

Date learned: 11-06-1970

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TULIPS (COLLECTOR'S TITLE)

TULIPS IN THE GARDEN/ TULIPS IN THE PARK
BUT THE TULIPS I LIKE BEST/ ARE THE TWO-LIPS IN THE DARK.

Submitter comment: UNTITLED AUTOGRAPH BOOK ASSEMBLED BY SHIRLEY POPPERT WITH
ENTRIES DATED JUNE, 1952

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): INDIRECTION ; PUN ; QUATRAIN FLOWERS KISSING ; RHYME: ABCB

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Autograph Verse Translations, plays on words, symbol writing

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AUTOGRAPH BOOK RHYME

IF IN HEAVEN WE DON'T MEET, TOGETHER WE CAN STAND THE HEAT
AND IF IT GETS REALLY HOT, PEPSI COLA HITS THE SPOT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ROYAL OAK

James Callow Keyword(s): INDIRECTION FOR HELL

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

Date learned: 00-00-1970

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BELIEF

IF YOU SPILL SALT ACCIDENTALLY, QUICKLY THROW SOME OVER YOUR LEFT
SHOULDER AND MAKE A WISH. BY RIGHTS, IT SHOULD COME TRUE.

Submitter comment: I HEARD THIS BELIEF FROM MY IRISH MATERNAL GRANDMOTHER WHO TOLD
IT TO ME FIFTEEN YEARS AGO WHEN I ACCIDENTALLY DROPPED SALT IN
HER KITCHEN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BIRMINGHAM

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses
BELIEF -- Mineral
BELIEF -- Prayer

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ON THE STAIRS

IF YOU PASS SOMEONE ON THE STAIRS, IN THE HOUSE, IT IS AN OMEN
OF BAD LUCK.

Submitter comment: GRANDMA HAS KNOWN THIS ONE AS LONG AS SHE CAN REMEMBER AND THINKS
SHE GOT IT FROM HER MOTHER WHO CAME FROM IRELAND.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; IRELAND

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.2

Date learned: 09-00-1963

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BETTER SLEEP

YOU WILL SLEEP BETTER IF THE HEAD OF YOUR BED POINTS NORTH.

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM HER AUNT IN GRAND MARAIS IN HER CHILDHOOD. (HER
BED HEAD POINTS NORTH, INCIDENTALLY.)

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; GRAND MARAIS

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Measure of time Sleeping

Date learned: 01-04-1964

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COINS AT THE STEP OF THE MAST

THE CUSTOM OF PLACING A COIN OR COINS AT THE HEEL OF THE MASTS
SEEMS TO HAVE A DOUBLE PURPOSE. IN ANTIQUITY IT WAS TO PAY THE
FARES OF THE CREW ACROSS THE RIVER STYX IF THE SHIP SHOULD BE LOST
AT SEA; MORE LATTERLY IT WAS DONE TO ASSURE GOOD FORTUNE. THE
COINS MUST BE PLACED FACE UP, FOR TO HAVE THEM FACE DOWN WOULD BE
TO INVITE DISASTER. EVEN TO THIS DAY THE OWNER OF A SMALL CRAFT
WILL SECRETE A COIN ABOARD, THE LOCATION, VALUE, AND DATE OF WHICH
ARE KNOWN TO HIM ALONE--THE KNOWLEDGE ENABLING HIM TO PROVE HIS
OWNERSHIP SHOULD IT EVER BE QUESTIONED.

Submitter comment: CAPTAIN LUMAS SAID THAT HE LEARNED OF THIS TRICK THE FIRST TIME
HE EVER OWNED A BOAT, WHICH WAS ABOUT FORTY YEARS AGO.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; MACKINAW ISLAND

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Custom
BELIEF -- Means of Causing or Avoiding Illness

Date learned: 09-00-1963

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ITALIAN AND FRENCH SUPERSTITION: BREAD AND LUCK

ALWAYS HAVE THE CRUST OF THE BREAD FACING UP ON THE TABLE OR YOU
WILL HAVE BAD LUCK.

Submitter comment: LEARNED WHILE TRAVELLING THROUGHOUT EUROPE 1959-1961.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; JAMAICA

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Home
BELIEF -- Bad luck

Date learned: 12-24-1963

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JAMAICAN SUPERSTITION

IF YOU HAVE COMPANY AND YOU WISH THAT SOMEONE WOULD LEAVE, STAND
IN BACK OF THAT PERSON WITH A BROOM. HOLD IT UPSIDE-DOWN AND
SPRINKLE SALT AND PEPPER INTO IT. THE PERSON WILL LEAVE ALMOST
IMMEDIATELY.

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM A LADY FRIEND FROM JAMAICA.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; JAMAICA

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: Food Drink -- Flavoring Spice
BELIEF -- Mineral
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank

Date learned: 01-01-1964

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DOOR SUPERSTITION

A PERSON WHO VISITS ANOTHER PERSON'S HOME MUST BE SURE THAT HE
LEAVES THROUGH THE SAME DOOR THAT HE ENTERED BY. IN THIS WAY
HE WILL ALWAYS BE WELCOME AGAIN INTO THAT HOME.

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM HER SISTER-IN-LAW.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; PLEASANTVILLE

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

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

Date learned: 12-27-1963

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LUCK AT CARDS BELIEF

TIE THE HEART OF A BAT WITH A RED SILKEN STRING TO THE RIGHT ARM
AND YOU'LL HAVE GOOD LUCK AND WIN EVERY CARD GAME YOU PLAY.

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM HER FATHER.

Where learned: INDIANA ; South Bend

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Special Object or Implement
BELIEF -- Mammal
BELIEF -- Entertainment Diversion
BELIEF -- Color
BELIEF -- Good luck

Date learned: 11-23-1967

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SUPERSTITION

IF A PREGNANT WOMAN IS HIT ON HER LEFT ARM, HER CHILD WILL HAVE
A SCAR THERE.

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM HER MOTHER.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; JAMAICA

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Specific distinguishing characteristic Dimple, wart, mole, scar, freckle, birthmark, strawberry mark, bruise, spot (on any part of body)
BELIEF -- Birth

Date learned: 12-24-1963

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ITALIAN SUPERSTITION

ASK A PREGNANT WOMAN IF HER HANDS ARE DIRTY: IF SHE LOOKS AT THEM
WITH THE PALMS UP FIRST, SHE WILL HAVE A GIRL; IF SHE LOOKS AT THE
OUTSIDE FIRST, SHE WILL HAVE A BOY.

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM HER ITALIAN MOTHER.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; PLEASANTVILLE

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Birth

Date learned: 12-27-1963

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