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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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(BOY'S NAME) AND (GIRL'S NAME) SITTING IN A TREE,
K-I-S-S-I-N-G. (SPELLING)
FIRST COMES LOVE, THEN COMES MARRIAGE,
THEN COMES (NAME) WITH THE BABY CARRIAGE.

Submitter comment: I REMEMBER THIS FROM GRADESCHOOL.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): ANTI-CLIMAX HUMOR SYMBOL ; FIRST PERSON NARRATIVE ; METER: TROCHAIC ; RHYME: MASCULINE, AABB ; SEX, REFRAIN ; SPELLING RHYME

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

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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THE CLOCK OF LIFE IS WOUND BUT ONCE,
AND NO MAN HAS THE POWER
TO TELL JUST WHERE THE HANDS WILL STOP,
AT LATE OR EARLY HOUR.
TO LOSE ONE'S WEALTH, IS SAD INDEED,
TO LOSE ONE'S HEALTH IS MORE;
TO LOSE ONE'S SOUL IS SUCH A LOSS,
AS NO MAN CAN RESTORE.
THE PRESENT ONLY IS OUR OWN,
LIVE, LOVE, TOIL WITH A WILL--
PLACE NO FAITH IN "TOMORROW" FOR
THE CLOCK MAY THEN BE STILL.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): ADVICE, PREPARATION FOR DEATH ; FIRST PERSON NARRATIVE ; METER: IAMBIC ; RHYME: MASCULINE, ABCA ; SYMBOL METONYMY RELIGION TIME

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

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STEPPING ON THE "M" ON THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
DIAG IS BAD LUCK; YOU'LL FLUNK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GARDEN CITY

James Callow Keyword(s): SYMBOL

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- School
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure
BELIEF -- Bad luck Activities

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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IF SOMEONE GIVES YOU AN ELEPHANT ORNAMENTATION AND
THE TRUNK IS UP, IT MEANS GOOD LUCK.

Where learned: HOME

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION ; SYMBOL

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Good luck Gifts
BELIEF -- Good luck Animals

Date learned: 02-15-1970

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FERN IS A TRADITINAL SYMBOL OF LONG PROSPERITY AND LIFE.
PINE IS THE SYMBOL OF LONGEVITY IN JAPAN BECAUSE OF
ITS ENDURING GREEN NEEDLES.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ANN ARBOR

James Callow Keyword(s): SYMBOL

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Plant

Date learned: 02-04-1968

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BAMBOO MEANS CONSTANCY AND FAITHFULNESS IN JAPAN. IT
IS A GOOD OMEN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ANN ARBOR

James Callow Keyword(s): SYMBOL

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Plant
BELIEF -- Marriage

Date learned: 02-04-1968

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THE SMALL LOBSTER IS A TRADITIONAL SYMBOL OF LONG PROSPEROUS
LIFE IN JAPAN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ANN ARBOR

James Callow Keyword(s): SYMBOL

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Use of Object Animals

Date learned: 02-04-1968

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WEDDING CUSTOM

THE IRISH BELIEVE THAT BEFORE ANY MARRIAGE TAKES PLACE
THE COUPLE SHOULD EACH TAKE A GOLD PIECE, AND
AN EGG AND A CROSS IN ONE HAND OF EACH, TO ASSURE
GOOD FORTUNE, FERTILITY AND THE BLESSING OF GOD.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): COIN ; SYMBOLS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Marriage
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications

Date learned: 11-11-1974

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NEW YEAR'S CUSTOM

INFORMANT'S GRANDMOTHER, ON NEW YEAR'S EVE GOES OUT THE BACK DOOR
AT 11:59 AND SLOWLY WALKS TO THE FRONT DOOR AND WALKS IN AT 12:01
SIGNIFYING THE END OF THE OLD YEAR AND THE BEGINNING OF THE NEW
YEAR.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): SYMBOLS

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 1 New Year's
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 31 New Year's Eve

Date learned: 11-22-1974

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CURSE TO KEEP PEOPLE AWAKE

FIRST WRITE A LETTER TO A DEAD PERSON TELLING HIM ABOUT THIS PERSON
YOU WANT TO KEEP AWAKE AT NIGHT TO THINK ABOUT HIS WRONG DOINGS. YOU
THEN SEAL THE LETTER AND PLACE IT UNDER YOUR BED. YOU ALSO PUT A
GLASS OF WATER ON TOP OF THE LETTER. WHEN THE WATER EVAPORATES THE
SPELL IS WORKING.

Submitter comment: THIS CURSE WAS USED ON A MALE FRIEND OF THE INFORMANT AND IT WAS
SUCCESSFUL. IT WAS USED IN FLORIDA.

Where learned: LOUISIANA ; FLORIDA ; New Orleans

James Callow Keyword(s): INSOMNIA ; SYMBOL

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Measure of time Sleeping
BELIEF -- Curse
SPEECH -- To Be Seen

Date learned: CA11001973

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LUCK

IF YOU LIE A BUMP WILL GROW ON YOUR TONGUE OR YOU WILL ACCIDENTALLY
BITE YOUR TONGUE.

Where learned: LOUISIANA ; New Orleans

James Callow Keyword(s): LYING ; SYMBOL

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Mouth, teeth, lips, tongue
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Means of Causing or Avoiding Illness

Date learned: CA11001973

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AN ITCHING RIGHT HAND PALM IS A SIGN OF GOOD LUCK WHILE AN ITCHING
LEFT PALM IS A SIGN OF FINANCIAL LOSS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DEARBORN

James Callow Keyword(s): SYMBOL

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Hands, palms, fingernails
BELIEF -- Sensations and involuntary actions Itching hands and feet
BELIEF -- Good luck
BELIEF -- Bad luck

Date learned: 10-15-1972

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WHEN YOU CUT A DECK OF CARDS AND THE ACE OF SPADES SHOWS UP, THIS
SIGNIFIES DEATH.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): SYMBOL

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
Observation
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Special Object or Implement
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: 10-29-1972

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VIRGINITY

IN BRAZIL THE NEWLYWEDS HANG A BLOODY SHEET ON THE DOOR POST TO
SHOW THAT THE BRIDE WAS A VIRGIN

Where learned: DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): HYMEN ; SYMBOL

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage

Date learned: 11-19-1972

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IF SOMEONE IS SUSPECTED OF LYING

THIS WAS COMMONLY SAID BY INFORMER AS A RETORT TO SOMEONE SUSPECTED
OF LYING.OH, YOU'VE GOT A PIMPLE ON YOUR TONGUE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; PORT HURON

James Callow Keyword(s): SYMBOL

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

Date learned: 09-18-1972

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NEW YEAR'S CUSTOM

GRANDMOTHER SAID WHEN NEW YEAR'S WOULD COME AROUND SHE HAD THE
TRADITIONAL BLACK-EYED PEAS AND COLLARD GREENS TO COMPLETE HER NEW
YEAR'S DINNER. GRANDMOTHER SAID THE TRADITIONAL DINNER REPRESENTED
GOOD FINANCIAL LUCK THROUGHOUT THE YEAR. THE BLACK-EYED PEAS
SYMBOLIZED COINS AND THE COLLARDS REPRESENTED GREENBACKS.

Submitter comment:

INFORMANT
PRACTICED THIS CUSTOM SINCE THE EARLY YEARS OF HER MARRIAGE.

Where learned: SOUTH CAROLINA

James Callow Keyword(s): HOMEOPATHIC MAGIC MONEY ; SYMBOLS

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 1 New Year's
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20
Food Drink -- Typical menus for the various meals For meal hours, see F574.84. Special or festive meals
BELIEF -- Color
BELIEF -- Good luck P881.42

Date learned: 00001960S (MID)

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FAST

THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS IS A FAST NIGHT. EVEN THE
SPAGHETTI IS MADE WITH FISH. THE NUMBER OF VARIETIES OF FISH YOU SERVE DETERMINES
THE WEALTH OF THE FAMILY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BIRMINGHAM

James Callow Keyword(s): SYMBOL

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F122
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20

Date learned: 11-09-1972

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LOAF OF BREAD

ON THE MORNING OF HER WEDDING DAY A GREEK BRIDE BAKES A LOAF
OF BREAD. AFTER THE WEDDING SOMEONE BREAKS IT IN TWO
BEFORE THE BRIDE AND GROOM

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT ; CAMPUS

James Callow Keyword(s): SYMBOL

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F545.0
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage Morning before wedding

Date learned: 11-28-1972

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SMOKY THE BEAR RIDDLE

HOW COME SMOKY THE BEARS' WIFE CAN'T ET PREGNANT? EVERYTIME SHE
GETS HOT. HE HITS HER WITH A SHOVEL.

Where learned: UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; RENO HALL

James Callow Keyword(s): SYMBOL OF FIRE PREVENTION

Subject headings: RIDDLE -- Riddle Question

Date learned: 09-28-1972

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