The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #90284   Message #1709898
Posted By: Azizi
03-Apr-06 - 10:32 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Ask Me No Questions rhymes
Subject: Origins: Ask Me Know Questions rhymes
I'm curious if anyone knows of earlier sources for the floating lines:

Ask me know questions
and I'll tell you no lies.

then this poem [song?] found in Thomas W. Talley's Negro Folk Rhymes {Kennikat Press edition, 1968, pg. 63,64; originally published in 1922}

Don't ax me no questions,
An' I won't tell you know lies;
But bring me dem apples,
An' I'll make you some pies.

An' if you ax questions,
'Bout my havin' de flour;
I fergits to use 'lasses
An' de pie'll be all sour.

Dem apples jes wa'k [walk] here;
An' dem 'lasses, dey run.
Hain't no place lak my house
Found un'er de sun.


Btw, my interpretation of this poem is that the woman speaking was a house slave who "helped" herself to the Master's and Mistress' apples, flour, and molasses as a means of supplementing the meager foodstock that slaves were given and providing a treat for her family.

The "Ask me no questions/and I'll tell you know lie" lines are always included in the "Miss Susie Had A Steamboat" children's rhymes, as demonstrated by this excerpt:

Miss Susie had a steamboat,
the steamboat had a bell ding ding,
the steamboat went to heaven,
Miss susie went to
hello operator,
give me number nine,
and if you disconnect me,
I'll chop off your
behind the refrigerator
there lay a piece of glass
Miss susie sat upong it
and broke her little
ask me no more questions
tell me no more lies
the boys are in the bathroom
zipping up their
flies are in the city
bees are in the park
Miss susie and her boyfriend
are kissing in the
from: "Schoolyard games"posted by Erin at April 19, 2004

Those lines also show up in the "Bang Bang Lula" rhyme that probably was the source of the "Miss Suzy [or other female name] Had A Steamboat" [or tugboat]children's rhyme. See this example of the use of those lines in this 1997 Mudcat post:

Subject: RE: Naughty kids'greatest hits
From: Downeast Bob - PM
Date: 01 Oct 97 - 05:19 PM

The way I knew it in the 50s, was:
Lulu had a steamboat; steamboat had a bell; Lulu went to heaven; steamboat went to

Bang away on Lulu, bang away all day. Who you gonna bang on when Lulu's gone away?

Lulu had a chicken; she also had a duck; She put them on the table to see if they would

Bang away on Lulu, bang away all day. Who you gonna bang on when Lulu's gone away?

Lulu spilled her orange juice, Lulu broke her glass; Then she slipped upon it and broke her little

Bang away on Lulu, bang away all day. Who you gonna bang on when Lulu's gone away?

Ask me no more questions; I'll tell you no more lies; Lulu got hit with a bucket of shit, right between the eyes!


Do you know of other examples of the use of these lines in any other rhymes or songs?