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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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ONE WHITE FOOT, BUY IT.
TWO WHITE FEET, TRY IT.
THREE WHITE FEET, SEE HOW IT GOES,
FOUR WHITE FEET, AND WHITE NOSE,
CUT OFF ITS FEET AND THROW IT TO THE CROWS.

Submitter comment: THIS APPLIES TO BUYING A HORSE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BLOOMFIELD HILLS

Keyword(s): ADVICE ; ANIMAL NUMBERS ; HUMOR EUPHEMISM SYMBOL OVERSTATEMENT ; INCREMENTAL REPETITION, SURPRISE ENDING CONTRAST QUINTET ; INTERACTION INITIAL INCREMENTAL REPETITION ; METER: DACTYL RHYME: FEMININE TRIPLE ; RHYME AABBB

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Verse without Music

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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ONE FOR THE MONEY,
TWO FOR THE SHOW,
THREE TO GET READY,
AND FOUR TO GO.

Data entry tech comment: COUNTING OFF AT THE BEGINNING OF A RACE OR GAME.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): INCREMENTAL REPETITION ; METER: IAMBIC ; NUMBERS, FUNCTION ; QUATRAIN ; RHYME: MASCULINE, ABAB

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Verse without Music

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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FORMULAIC VERSE WITHOUT MUSIC

I WENT TO THE RIVER, I COULDN'T GET ACROSS,
SO I PAID SIX BITS FOR AN OLD GRAY HORSE,
I RODE HIM IN, HE WOULDN'T PULL,
SO I RODE HIM OUT AND TRADED HIM FOR A BULL.
THE BULL WOULDN'T HOLLAR, SO I TRADED FOR A DOLLAR,
THE DOLLAR WOULDN'T PAY, SO I TRADED FOR SOME HAY,
THE HAY WOULDN'T GROW, SO I TRADED FOR A HOE,
THE HOE WOULDN'T DIG, SO I TRADED FOR A PIG,
THE PIG WOULDN'T SQUEAL, SO I TRADED FOR A WHEEL,
THE WHEEL WOULDN'T RUN, SO I TRADED FOR A GUN.
THE GUN WOULDN'T SHOOT, SO I TRADED FOR A BOOT.
THE BOOT WOULDN'T FIT, SO I GUESS I'D BETTER QUIT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; FERNDALE

Keyword(s): FIRST PERSON NARRATIVE ; INCREMENTAL REPETITION ; METER: IAMBIC ; MONEY FUTILITY BARTER ; RHYME: INTERNAL, IMPERFECT ; RHYME: MASCULINE, AABB

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

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HE LIT A MATCH,
TO CHECK HIS TANK.
THAT'S WHY THEY CALL HIM
SKINLESS FRANK.
BURMA SHAVE!

Data entry tech comment:

THESE SMALL, ONE LINE SIGNS, USED TO BE DISPLAYED AT INTERVALS
ALONG THE ROAD, SO THAT ONE COULD EASILY READ THEM WHILE
DRIVING ALONG.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; PORT HURON

Keyword(s): ADVERTISING FOR MEN'S SHAVING PRODUCT ; ADVICE ; HUMOR, SATIRE ; METER: TROCHAIC ; QUATRAIN ; RHYME: MASCULINE, ABCAD ; ROADSIDE ADVERTISING

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

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HE WAS ONLY A LAVENDER COWBOY,
THE HAIRS ON HIS CHEST NUMBERED TWO.
HE WANTED TO BE LIKE THE HEROES
AND DO AS THE BIG MEN DO.

RED, GREEN, MANY-COLORED HAIR TONICS
HE RUBBED ON HIS CHEST DAY AND NIGHT,
BUT WHEN HE AWOKE THE NEXT MORNING,
ONLY TWO HAIRS WERE IN SIGHT.

HE BATTLED FOR RED NELLY'S HONOR,
HE HELD UP AN OUTLAW'S NEST,
BUT THEY FOUND HIM DEAD THE NEXT MORNING,
WITH ONLY TWO HAIRS ON HIS CHEST.

Where learned: OFFICE

Keyword(s): FIRST PERSON NARRATIVE ; METAPHOR OVERSTATEMENT HEROES ; METER: IAMBIC ; REPETITION ; RHYME: IMPERFECT, MASCULINE, ABCA

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

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OOEY GOOEY WAS A WORM,
OOEY GOOEY LIKED TO SQUIRM,
OOEY GOOEY CROSSED THE RAILROAD TRACK.
O-O-EY, G-O-O-EY!

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): HUMOR, FIRST PERSON NARRATIVE ; METER: IAMBIC ; MONOLOGUE UNDERSTATEMENT ; RAILROAD DEATH ; RHYME: IMPERFECT, MASCULINE, AABC

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

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THERE WAS A YOUNG MAN FROM THE CITY,
WHO MET WHAT HE THOUGHT WAS A KITTY.
HE GAVE IT A PAT
AND SAID, "NICE LITTLE CAT!"
THEY BURIED HIS CLOTHES OUT OF PITY.

Where learned: HOME

Keyword(s): FUNCTION AND GENRE: LIMERICK ; HUMOR ; NUTSHELL NARRATIVE ANTICLIMAX QUINTAIN ; RHYME: AABBA, FEMININE ; SKUNK ; SOUND: DACTYLIC TETRAMETER ; SUBJECT: ACCIDENTS, ANIMALS ; UNDERSTATEMENT IRONY

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

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THREE WISE MEN OF GOTHAM, WENT TO SEA IN A BOWL; IF THE BO; HAD BEEN STRONGER,

Submitter comment: HEARD IN SCHOOL.

James Callow comment: RDNeedsReview

Where learned: OHIO ; TOLEDO

Keyword(s): ACCIDENT NONSENSE ; NUTSHELL NARRATIVE QUATRAIN ; RHYME: ABCC ; RHYME: FEMININE, REPETITION ; SATIRE UNDERSTATEMENT EPITAPH LAMENT

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

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A GOWN WITH A PARIS LABEL,
IS A THING TO SHOUT ABOUT,
IN FACT, IF I WERE ABLE,
I'D WEAR IT INSIDE OUT.

Submitter comment: JEFF HEARD THIS FROM HIS MOTHER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; FERNDALE

Keyword(s): CLOTHES FASHION ; HUMOR OVERSTATEMENT OBSERVATION WISH ; IAMBIC METER ; RHYME: FEMININE, IMPERFECT, ABAB ; SURPRISE ENDING QUATRAIN CONTRADICTION

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

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BEANS, BEANS, THE MUSICAL FRUIT;
THE MORE YOU EAT, THE MORE YOU TOOT,
THE MORE YOU TOOT, THE BETTER YOU FEEL,
SO LET'S HAVE BEANS FOR EVERY MEAL.

Submitter comment: FROM GRANDFATHER.
RECITED.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BIRMINGHAM

Keyword(s): METER: ANAPESTIC ; MONOLOGUE OVERSTATEMENT FOOD ; RHYME: MASCULINE, IMPERFECT, AABB

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

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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BILL HAD A BILLBOARD
HE ALSO HAD A BOARD BILL
BILL SOLD HIS BILLBOARD TO PAY FOR HIS BOARD BILL
THEREFORE, BILL'S BILLBOARD NO LONGER BORED BILL.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT STATES THE RHYME HAS BEEN IN THE FAMILY FOR A LONG
TIME AND WAS RELATED TO HIM BY HIS FATHER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): ADVERTISING NONSENSE ; HUMOR PUN INCREMENTAL REPETITION ; RHYME: ABBB ; TONGUETWISTER ; WORD PLAY, ITERATION (FINAL) ALLITERATION

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

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SEE MY FINGER, SEE MY THUMB,
SEE MY FIST, YOU BETTER RUN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): BULLY ; DIALECT ; ELLIPSIS, SURPRISE ENDING ; METER: ANAPESTIC ; MONOLOGUE UNDERSTATEMENT FIGHTING ; RHYME: MASCULINE ; THREAT

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

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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SCARE

SEE MY FINGER, SEE MY THUMB,
SEE MY FIST, YOU BETTER RUN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GROSSE POINTE WOODS

Keyword(s): BULLY ; ELLIPSIS, SURPRISE ENDING ; METER: ANAPESTIC ; MONOLOGUE UNDERSTATEMENT DIALECT FIGHTING ; RHYME: MASCULINE ; THREAT

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

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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WE DON'T HAVE OUR BACKHOUSE ANYMORE,
THINGS ARE MIGHTY DIFFERENT THAN BEFORE.
ONCE I HAD TO GO IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT,
I WAS SUCH A LITTLE FELLOW, I DIDN'T FIT RIGHT.
I TIPPED THE DARN THING OVER AND GOD! WAS I A SIGHT!
WE DON'T HAVE OUR BACKHOUSE ANYMORE.

Submitter comment: MY DAD OFTEN RECITED THE FOLLOWING NURSERY RHYME TO
MY SISTERS AND ME WHEN WE WERE SAD. IT ALWAYS BROUGHT
A SMILE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): ACCIDENT TOILET ; BACKHOUSE=PRIVY OUTHOUSE ; REPETITION SLANG HUMOR ; RHYME: MASCULINE, AABBBA ; UNDERSTATEMENT OBSERVATION

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

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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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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THE MONKEY'S DISGRACE

THREE MONKEYS SAT UNDER A COCONUT TREE,
DISCUSSING THINGS AS THEY ARE TO BE.
SAID ONE TO THE OTHER, NOW LISTEN YOU TWO,
THERE IS A CERTAIN RUMOR THAT CANNOT BE TRUE.
THAT MAN DESCENDED FROM OUR NOBLE RACE,
THE VERY IDEA IS A DISGRACE.
NO MONKEY EVER DESERTED HIS WIFE,
STARVED A BABY OR RUINED A LIFE,
AND YOU HAVE NEVER KNOWN A MOTHER MONK
TO LEAVE HER BABIES WITH OTHERS TO BUNK.
OR PASS THEM ON FROM ONE TO ANOTHER
TILL THEY SCARCELY KNOW WHO IS THEIR MOTHER.
ANOTHER THING YOU WILL NEVER SEE;
A MONK TO BUILD A FENCE AROUND A COCONUT TREE.
AND LET THE COCONUTS GO TO WASTE,
FORBIDDING ALL OTHER MONKS TO TASTE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): IRONY SARCASM ; JUDGMENT ON HUMAN RACE

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Lyrical Verse C730.327

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ARMY VERSE

G. I. BEANS
G. I. GRAVY,
GEE, I WISH I'D JOINED THE NAVY.

Where learned: WEST GERMANY

Keyword(s): G. I. = GOVERNMENT ISSUE ; REFERS TO THE ARMY IN GENERAL..

Subject headings: 730 Lyrical Verse

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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TAUNT

NOW IS THE TIME FOR ALL GOOD MEN
TO COME TO THE AID OF THEIR PLANET.

Submitter comment: THE TIME IS NOW FOR MEN TO WAKE UP AND REALIZE WHAT
HAS TO BE DONE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SOUTHFIELD

Keyword(s): ANAPESTS ; GOOD MEN TO COME TO THE AID OF THEIR COUNTRY. ; PARODY: ON TYPING EXERCISE: NOW IS THE TIME FOR ALL

Subject headings: 730 Lyrical Verse

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