The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #33719   Message #1943725
Posted By: Azizi
21-Jan-07 - 08:16 PM
Thread Name: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?

Nina Millen, editor "Children's Games From Many Lands"{Friendship Press, New York,1965; Revised Edition pps.161,162}

Listed as a game from the Untied States with words set down by Thelma Moorer, Christine Steward; and Music by Gertrude Smith Jackson; Southern Christian Institute, Edwards, Mississippi.

Hey hey hey! Sea Lion *
Won't you be mine?
You won't do nothin,
Sea Lion,
But starch and iron! Sea Lion!

Verse 1
Way down yonder, Sea Lion!
about the sun, Sea Lion!
my mother called me, Sea Lion,
a sugar plum, Sea Lion!


Verse 2
Old rabbit hip. Sea Lion!
Old rabbit hop. Sea Lion!
Old rabbit bit, Sea Lion!
my turnip top!, Sea Lion!


Verse 3
If I live, Sea Lion!
to get 21, Sea Lion!
I'm gonna marry, Sea Lion!
somebody's son. Sea Lion!


Verse 4
See that man, Sea Lion!
with the blue shirt on. Sea Lion!
You'd better leave, Sea Lion!
that man alone! Sea Lion!


* I believe that the words "Sea Lion" came from the word "Selah" that is found at the end of sentences in the [Christian] Old Testment book of Psalms. But this fact could have been forgotten over time, and the words could have been thought to mean a real Sea Lion. If this game song had survived {which unfortunately, I'm not sure it has],over time I could see "Sea Lion" being changed to the girl's name "Shiela", or some other more familiar subsitute for the relatively unfamiliar term "Sea Lion."

All of the verses in this game song are similar to other floating verses found in numerous African American folk songs. True to African American traditions regarding folk songs of that time, I would expect that this song is open ended {meaning more verses can be added until people tire of the song}.

Unfortunately, this book does not include any play directions. However, also true to African American traditions, I would expect that children {and other age groups?} clapped, and stomped their feet, and imitated the movement of the rabbit.

For what it's worth, apart from this song's inclusion in this book, I've never found another mention of it by anyone [Black or non-Black]who has shared game songs and rhymes with me, or in any other reading. Nor have I ever seen this game song performed.