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James Callow Folklore Archive

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MOTHER MAY I

WHEN I WAS A CHILD THE GROUP I PLAYED WITH PLAYED " MOTHER MAY I."
IN THIS GAME, ONE PERSON BECAME "MOTHER". THE OBJECT WAS TO GET
FROM ONE LINE TO ANOTHER. YOU DID THIS BY DOING WHAT MOTHER SAID.
MOTHER WOULD TELL YOU TO TAKE A GIANT STEP, PINCH STEP, SIDE STEP,
HOP, SKIP, JUMP OR ANYTHING ELSE. BEFORE THE PERSON COULD DO IT HE
MUST ASK "MOTHER MAY I?" AND SHE WOULD ANSWER "YES, YOU MAY" OR NO
"YOU MAY NOT". SNEAKING STEPS WERE SOMETIMES ALLOWED.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): POLITENESS

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

Date learned: 10-07-1972

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