Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes

Azizi 21 May 08 - 11:19 PM
katlaughing 21 May 08 - 11:28 PM
GUEST 21 May 08 - 11:28 PM
Azizi 21 May 08 - 11:32 PM
Azizi 21 May 08 - 11:35 PM
Azizi 21 May 08 - 11:58 PM
Azizi 22 May 08 - 12:17 AM
Azizi 22 May 08 - 12:26 AM
Azizi 22 May 08 - 12:58 AM
Azizi 22 May 08 - 01:05 AM
Mrrzy 22 May 08 - 08:42 AM
glueman 22 May 08 - 08:58 AM
Jack Blandiver 22 May 08 - 09:02 AM
Jack Blandiver 22 May 08 - 09:03 AM
GUEST,Volgadon 22 May 08 - 10:28 AM
Rumncoke 22 May 08 - 08:51 PM
Joe_F 22 May 08 - 09:18 PM
Melissa 22 May 08 - 09:31 PM
Azizi 22 May 08 - 09:43 PM
Azizi 22 May 08 - 09:47 PM
Azizi 22 May 08 - 10:08 PM
Azizi 22 May 08 - 10:14 PM
GUEST 23 May 08 - 02:07 AM
GUEST,Elfcall 23 May 08 - 02:53 AM
GUEST,Elfcall 23 May 08 - 03:28 AM
Mo the caller 23 May 08 - 03:36 AM
Mo the caller 23 May 08 - 03:51 AM
Snuffy 23 May 08 - 08:38 AM
Azizi 23 May 08 - 04:39 PM
Jack Campin 23 May 08 - 06:00 PM
GUEST,Neil D 23 May 08 - 08:00 PM
Azizi 23 May 08 - 08:17 PM
Snuffy 23 May 08 - 08:25 PM
Snuffy 23 May 08 - 08:27 PM
Jack Campin 23 May 08 - 08:39 PM
Azizi 23 May 08 - 08:42 PM
Joe_F 23 May 08 - 08:44 PM
Azizi 23 May 08 - 09:02 PM
john f weldon 23 May 08 - 09:08 PM
GUEST,Neil D 23 May 08 - 11:07 PM
Azizi 23 May 08 - 11:15 PM
Wincing Devil 23 May 08 - 11:24 PM
Azizi 23 May 08 - 11:25 PM
Azizi 23 May 08 - 11:50 PM
Mrrzy 27 May 08 - 10:10 AM
Jean(eanjay) 27 May 08 - 10:29 AM
Mo the caller 27 May 08 - 10:58 AM
Azizi 27 May 08 - 11:16 AM
Azizi 27 May 08 - 04:46 PM
Mo the caller 27 May 08 - 06:29 PM
Mo the caller 27 May 08 - 06:38 PM
Mo the caller 27 May 08 - 06:57 PM
Mo the caller 27 May 08 - 07:07 PM
paula t 27 May 08 - 07:41 PM
Azizi 27 May 08 - 10:00 PM
Mo the caller 28 May 08 - 07:04 AM
trevek 28 May 08 - 07:07 AM
Mrrzy 30 May 08 - 10:49 AM
GUEST,Volgadon 01 Jun 08 - 02:23 PM
Mrrzy 02 Jun 08 - 08:39 AM
Bert 02 Jun 08 - 09:17 PM
GUEST,suffolk miracle 03 Jun 08 - 07:17 AM
Mrrzy 03 Jun 08 - 05:28 PM
Azizi 07 Jun 08 - 08:21 PM
Snuffy 08 Jun 08 - 06:15 AM
Azizi 08 Jun 08 - 09:08 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Jun 08 - 03:50 AM
Mrrzy 10 Jun 08 - 02:22 PM
GUEST,Volgadon 10 Jun 08 - 02:36 PM
GUEST,Volgadon 10 Jun 08 - 02:51 PM
Mrrzy 10 Jun 08 - 08:25 PM
Azizi 11 Jun 08 - 10:03 PM
Azizi 11 Jun 08 - 10:13 PM
Azizi 11 Jun 08 - 10:22 PM
GUEST,I tiddly i-tie and Taffy was a Welshman 01 May 12 - 02:10 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Azizi
Date: 21 May 08 - 11:19 PM

Childhood is not all fun & games. Children get ill and children die. Also, teenagers and adults who children know-either directly or indirectly-get sick, and die. There's no denying that sickness and death are a part of life.

My condolences to all children and all adults who have experienced the loss of a loved one. In no way do I mean to trivalize their experiences by raising this topic. However, I'm wondering whether an analysis of children's rhymes and songs might reveal ways that children work through the feelings of grief, pain, anger, and insecurity that they may feel about their experiences with the death of people they know or know of.

I've thought about this subject for a while. However, my thoughts about this topic have re-emerged partly because of the thousands of people who died as a result of the cyclones in Burma [Myammar] on May 2 & 3, 2008, and the thousands of people who lost their lives as the result of the earthquake in China on May 12, 2008. I not only thought of those people who died in those tragedies, but the people-including the children-who lived through those terrible natural experiences.

I also thought about this subject because of the experience of a teenage boy I know who is mentally retarded. Although his mother appeared to be in good health, for the last month, this boy-I'll call him Jamal-began to constantly ask adults in his life what would happen to him if his mother died. And four days ago, Jamal's mother died in her sleep, and Jamal was the one who found her.

I'm aware that there is some mention of the death of people, animals, or fictitious characters in children's rhymes that predate the 1960s {my arbitrary date for the beginning of what I categorize as "contemporary rhymes"}. I'm also aware there is some mention of the death of people, animals, or fictitious characters in contemporary children's rhymes. I'll share some examples of both categories of rhymes in this thread and invite other Mudcat members, and Mudcat guests to also share some examples of these types of children's rhymes.

I'm also interested any comments on my theory that children's rhymes that mention death may [unconsciously] help children mentally and/or emotionally prepare for and cope with the occurance of the death of someone who they know.

Thanks, in advance, for your participation in this thread.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: katlaughing
Date: 21 May 08 - 11:28 PM

There is that old, sad song I'm tying the leaves on the tree so they won't come down about a little boy whose friend is dying.

My grandson and I talk about dying, mostly about characters in movies and other fictional situations. However, I do mention that someday I may die. He told me he would get another grandma when I do! I reckon he won't really understand until one of our pets dies.

Jamal must have been sensing something with his mother. My condolences. The children in Myanmar and China have been on my mind, too.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: GUEST
Date: 21 May 08 - 11:28 PM

"Who Killed Cock Robin?" comes immediately to mind. Also, "I Know an Old Lady." I'll try ro think of others.

John on the Sunset Coast


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Azizi
Date: 21 May 08 - 11:32 PM

I found an example of "Water-Flower" in an old book of African American play songs, Play Songs of The Deep South by Alotna Trent Johns {Washington, D.C.,The Associated Publishers, Inc, 1944}.

Here's that example and my comments:

Subject: RE: Children's Street Songs
From: Azizi - PM
Date: 05 Jan 05 - 06:35 PM

1st verse:
Water-flower, water-flower
growing up so tall
All the young ladies must surely, surely die
All except 'Lindy Watkins,
She is everywhere-
The white folks say, the white folks say,
Turn your back and tell your beau's name.

2nd verse:
Doctor, doctor, can you tell
What will make poor 'Lindy well?
She is sick and 'bout to die
That will make poor Johnnie cry.

3rd verse:
Marry marry, marry quick!
'Lindy, you are just love sick!

4th verse:
Johnnie is a ver' nice man,
Comes to the door with hat in hand,
Pulls off his gloves and shows his rings,
"Morrow is the wedding-day.

-snip-

"Water-flower" is described by Altona Trent Johns as a pantomine ring {cicle} game with one girl in the middle; a boy is said to act out the role of the doctor*. The "doctor" directs the boys who 'Lindy has named to come into the center of the ring and act out the role of "Johnnie"...

*This rhyme was composed and played before the Women's Liberation movement! This rhyme also was composed and played at a time when boys and girls older than pre-school ages played "singing games" together, and initiated that kind of play without adult urging.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Azizi
Date: 21 May 08 - 11:35 PM

I appreciate your examples and comments, katlaughing and Guest.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Azizi
Date: 21 May 08 - 11:58 PM

AUNT JENNY DIED

Soloist:
Aunt Jenny died.                .
Group:
How did she die?                
Soloist:
She died like this. The soloist makes a funny pose such as raising one of her legs and raising her arm at the same time & freezing in place
Group:
She died like this. The group tries to exactly imitate the soloist's pose
Soloist:
She died like that. The soloist strikes a new pose
Group:
She died like that. The group tries to exactly imitate the soloist's pose
                                                                     The soloist and the group repeat the same sequence with the mention of other relatives until "momma" is mentioned

Soloist:
My momma livin'.
Group:
Where she livin'.
Soloist & group in unison:
Well she lives in a place called Tennessee.
Jump up Tenna Tennessee The entire group performs the movements as indicated by the words
Jump back Tena Tennesse
Jump in Tena Tennesse
Jump out Tena Tennessee
Well I've never been to college
I never been to school.
But when it comes to boogie.On the word "boogie", while still standing in place, the entire group does a hip shaking R&B dance step. The girls don't have to do the exact same movement
I can boogie like a fool.
You go in, out, side to side.
You go in, out, side to side.
-African American children's movement rhyme, various sources, including Barbara Ray, memories of childhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1950s; collected 1998, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Azizi Powell

In her response to a voluntary, written survey on children's rhymes that I conducted with persons at my [then] work site, Barbara wrote that girls stood in a circle or semi-circle while chanting this "song". She later performed "Aunt Jenny Died" for me.

For what it's worth, I don't have any memory of this rhyme from my childhood in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in the 1950s.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Azizi
Date: 22 May 08 - 12:17 AM

DOWN DOWN BABY {Example #1}
Down, down, baby down by the roller coaster
Sweet, sweet baby I'll never let you go

Shemie, shemie coco butter, shemie shemie pop
I like coffee, I like tea, I like a black boy and he likes me
So step back white boy, you don't shine
I'll get the black boy to beat your behind

Last night and the night before
I met my boyfriend at the candy store
He bought me ice cream he bought me cake
He brought me home with a belly ache

Mama, mama, I feel sick
Call the doctor, quick, quick, quick
Doctor, doctor, will I die
Close your eyes and count to five
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, I'm Alive!
-Tonya T. {African American female}, memories of her childhood in Crawfordville, Georgia {1979 -1987};
11/2002

-snip-
Tanya wrote that she performed this handclap rhyme from when she was about age 5 to 13.

"Down Down Baby" {also known as "I Love Coffee, I Love Tea"} is one of the few contemporary children's rhymes that I've collected that include references to race. Most of the versions of this rhyme that I've collected are consistent in their references to race in the manner given above. This version of that rhyme appears to be found the 1990s, and may be a result of the increased integration of Black students and White students in American public schools.


This version of "Down Down Baby" is usually performed as a two, three, or four person [two sets of partners together] handclap rhyme.

Folks may also be familiar with the non-confrontational version of "Down Down Baby" that is also known as "Shimmy Shummy Co Co Pa" [or some similar sounding title]. That version usually includes the lines "Down down baby/down by the roller coaster/sweet sweet baby/I'll never let you go" [or similar lines]. That version ends with movement commands such as "let's get the rhythm of the hands" {feet, hips}. There isn't usually any mention of death in that particular version of that rhyme.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Azizi
Date: 22 May 08 - 12:26 AM

WHEN LUCY WAS A BABY

you can do this with a jump rope, or a hand clap, i did it with hand claps. just an old Florida rhyme: When Lucy was a baby, a baby When Lucy was a baby She went a little like this: Wah Wah When Lucy was a toddler, a toddler, a toddler, When Lucy was a toddler She went a little like this: Wah Wah, suck my thumb When Lucy was a kid, a kid, a kid When Lucy was a kid She went a little like this: Wah Wah, suck my thumb, give me a piece of bubble gum When Lucy was a teenager, a teenager, a teenager When Lucy was a teenager She went a little like this: Wah Wah, suck my thumb, give me a piece of bubble gum, ohh, ahh, lost my bra, left it in my boyfriend's car When Lucy was a grown up, a grown up, a grown up When Lucy was a grown up She went a little like this: Wah Wah, suck my thumb, give me a piece of bubble gum, ohh, ahh, lost my bra left it in my boyfriend's car, shh shh babies sleeping When Lucy was an grandma, a grandma, a grandma When Lucy was a grandma She went a little like this: Wah Wah, suck my thumb, give me a peice of bubble gum, ohh, ahh lost my bra, left it in my boyfriend's car, shh babies sleeping, god i'm old. When Lucy was dead, dead, dead, When Lucy was dead She went a little like this: Wah Wah, suck my thumb, give me a piece of bubble gum, ohh, ahh, lost my bra left it in my boyfriend's car, shh babies sleeping, god i'm old, great i'm dead
-Morgan; 5/16/2007; http://www.cocojams.com/handclap_rhymes_example_0104.htm

**

Similar examples titled "When Miss Suzie Was A Baby" and "When Pepples Was A Baby" are found on that page.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Azizi
Date: 22 May 08 - 12:58 AM

MAMA MAMA CAN'T YOU SEE

Mama Mama can't you see
What the army's done to me
Took away my MTV
Now I got to watch Barney
Tic Tac Toe
Three in a row
Your mama got killed
By GI Joe.
Don't stop till your hands get hot
Don't stop till your hands get red
-African American girls, ages 9 years old; Fort Pitt Elementary School; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 10/2006; http://www.cocojams.com/handclap_rhymes_example_0104.htm


**
"Mama Mama Can't You See" appears to be a rather widely known handclap rhyme in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. It appears to be performed by girls [up to the age of about 12 years] and boys up to the age of about 8 years old].

The "your mama got killed" line appears to have replaced the "Barney got killed by GI Joe" line that I first heard recited by African American boys and girls in 1999 in Duquesne, Pennsylvania [a city about 12 miles from downtown Pittsburgh]. I find it very troubling that the line about a Barney the purple dinosaur {the fictitious television character that "older" children love to hate} getting killed was replaced with a line about a mother getting killed.

From 1999-2007, I heard the "Barney got killed by GI Joe" line within this rhyme on a number of occassions throughout numerous African American neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, PA area. I'm not sure how widespread that "mama got killed" line was or is. However, I also heard that specific line chanted at the same school-with different girls of the same ages-in 2007. At that time, I asked the girls to repeat the rhyme again to see if they would say it the same way, and they did so. More research needs to be done to ascertain if this replacement line is widespread and if this rhyme is still even "done" in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere. One indication that the children's rhyme "Mama Mama Can't You See [and not the military cadence version] is known outside of Pittsburgh is that rhyme being posted by Mom from Bama on this Mudcat thread:

thread.cfm?threadid=102055&messages=48

Mom from Bama [presumably "Alabama"] indicated that she learned this rhyme from her two small girls. The girls' example contains the "Barney got killed by GI Joe" line.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Azizi
Date: 22 May 08 - 01:05 AM

Oh, I just noticed that the Guest who posted to this thread already was John on the Sunset Coast.

Sorry, John, for not reading closely enough. I'm aware that you are a welcome member of this international online community, and not a welcome guest of this community.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Mrrzy
Date: 22 May 08 - 08:42 AM

When John/Sunset posts as guest, he is welcome, no?

There is that Irish children's game/song where one side is the English and the other the Irish, and they lose body parts one by one with the Irish always having the worst of it until the English die, at which point the Irish come back to life.

There are seriously bloodthirsty German stories/songs, like Strewelpeter (cuts the thumbs off children who suck them - the thumbs, that is) and the little boy who wouldn't eat his soup on Monday, on Tuesday (throught the week he gets skinnier and skinnier) and on Sunday he dies. And Max und Moritz, who are such troublemakers they get fed to the geese.

There is The Grey Goose, whom they certainly try to kill... but who never dies, not quite the same...

There are many murder ballads along the lines of woman has children out of wedlock, kills them, and they come back to haunt her and tell her when she will die.

There is the ghost ballad of the woman who sends her children off to learn "grammaree" and they die, and the ghosts come to tell her not to mourn because her tears are wetting their shrouds.

Was Willie who got drownded in the deep blue sea a children's song? I knew that one as a child but that doesn't mean much...

Others I knew as a child that would make me weep include The Baggage Coach Ahead and The Letter Edged In Black. Very, very sad songs but not exactly children's songs, although they are children's issues.

Fascinating thread, Az!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: glueman
Date: 22 May 08 - 08:58 AM

Pleased no-one's mentioned Ring a Ring o'Roses which has nothing to do with the plague or any other mortal illness.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 22 May 08 - 09:02 AM

And if we really do wish to believe that Ring-a-Roses is a reportage on the symptoms of the Black Death... which in all probability it isn't, but the phenomenon of the belief is an interesting piece of folk-lore in itself.

See HERE & elsewhere...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 22 May 08 - 09:03 AM

That's a nice piece of cross-posting, Glueman!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: GUEST,Volgadon
Date: 22 May 08 - 10:28 AM

Those German children's books are frightful. What was the one about the kid who is so filthy that h gets thrown away with the rubbish, is it the same one where his fingernails grow wild?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Rumncoke
Date: 22 May 08 - 08:51 PM

The Water Flower verses posted by Azizi seem very close to the Wall Flowers chant I remember from Yorkshire in the 50s - or at least partly remember.

The ritual began with a ring of girls facing inwards and rotating clockwise

Wall flowers wall flowers growing up so high
We're all pretty maids and we don't want to die
Excpt for (name one in the ring) she is the only one
So turn your back so turn your back (the one named turns to face outwards)and - here memory fails maybe 'leave the rest to us' is a possibility.

When all the girls were facing outwards the ring was broken and led in a figure of eight which brought them back to facing inwards again, and there was a clapping/slapping chant to finish, but it was over 50 years ago now.....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Joe_F
Date: 22 May 08 - 09:18 PM

Struwwelpeter, by Heinrich Hoffmann. He doesn't get thrown out with the rubbish, tho; people merely say "Pfui" to him. Most of the naughty people in the book do not end up dead, but the girl who plays with matches ends up as a pile of ashes, and a hunter who falls asleep is shot by a rabbit who steals his gun.

The introduction to _Through the Looking Glass_ ends

Come, harken then, ere voice of dread,
    With bitter tidings laden,
Shall summon to unwelcome bed
    A melancholy maiden!
We are but older children, dear,
Who fret to find out bedtime near.

-- and the prose of the Alice books is full of jokes about death.

Mother Goose is full of death, mostly violent & grotesque. Who killed Cock Robin? Most of the versions of Froggy Went a-Courting end in death. Likewise

The little dog he has burnt his tail,
And he must be hanged tomorrow.

*

And when your back begins to smart,
It's like a penknife in your heart;
And when your heart begins to bleed,
You're dead, and dead, and dead, indeed.

*

On looking up, on looking down,
She saw a dead man on the ground;
And from his nose unto his chin,
The worms crawled out, the worms crawled in.

Then she unto the parson said,
Shall I be so when I am dead:
O yes! O yes! The parson said,
You will be so when you are dead.

*

Fee, fie, foh, fum....

*

Ho! Master Teague, what is your story?
I went to the wood and killed a tory....

*

There was a little one-eyed gunner
Who kill'd all the birds that died last summer.

And, best of all:

Baby, baby, naughty baby,
Hush, you squalling thing, I say.
Peace this moment, peace, or maybe
Bonaparte will pass this way.

Baby, baby, he's a giant,
Tall and black as Rouen steeple,
And he breakfasts, dines, rely on't,
Every day on naughty people.

Baby, baby, if he hears you,
As he gallops past the house,
Limb from limb he'll surely tear you,
Just as pussy tears a mouse.

And he'll beat you, beat you, beat you,
And he'll beat you into pap,
And he'll eat you, eat you, eat you,
Every morsel snap, snap, snap.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Melissa
Date: 22 May 08 - 09:31 PM

The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Azizi
Date: 22 May 08 - 09:43 PM

Thanks for the posts thus far to this thread. I find all of them very interesting.

**

Joe F, would you please provide more information about the "Baby, baby, naughty baby" example. Is this a UK rhyme? How old is it? Does it date from [Napoleon] Bonaparte's time. Needless to say, I'm struck by the reference to the giant/monster being "Tall and black as Rouen steeple". I suppose it would be digressing to ask for other examples of bad, scary, boogieman characters being Black [or dressed in Black] in English children's rhymes and the rest of English & American culture for that matter. On another Mudcat thread I learned about the Black character who accompanies Saint Nickolas and gives out stones or ashes, but I can't recall his name {is it Black Peter?}That's someone related though I guess that character's role isn't as scary as the threat of the giant's action in that "naughty baby rhyme".

But, I digress.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Azizi
Date: 22 May 08 - 09:47 PM

Before I went off-topic, I wanted to say a particular thank you to Rumncoke for the version of Wall Flowers,and information about the way it was performed.

I hope that other folks will post additional examples of that particular song and more information about thatsinging game.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Azizi
Date: 22 May 08 - 10:08 PM

Speaking of naughty children, the teacher taunts have quite a lot of references to death. Here are two examples of what seems to be a rather widely known taunt in the United States among certain populations of children*

Joy To The World, {Version #1}
This is a song we would sing at the end of the day, especially when they wanted us to sing Christmas carols.
(This was at my elementary school,, 1990-1998 was when I went there - the games I played lasted until 1995, when I stopped playing them)

JOY TO THE WORLD {version #1}
Joy to the world,
the school burnt down
and all the teachers are dead
the principle is gone,
we flushed him down the john
The janitor is dead
we shot him in the head
and now it's up to us
to burn the school bus.
-http://blog.oftheoctopuses.com/001392.php; "Schoolyard games"; posted by Emma at November 16, 2004

**

JOY TO THE WORLD {Version #2}
Joy to the world
our teacher's dead.
We barbecued her head.
What happened to her body?
We flushed it down the potty
And around and around it goes.
And around and around it goes.
And round and round and round it goes.
-Sara P., University of Pittsburgh student; recited at Catholic middle school in Dayton, Ohio, mid to late 1990s; collected by Azizi Powell, September, 2005; http://cocojams.com/teacher_taunts.htm

* From the admittedly limited amount of direct and online research that I've done on contemporary English language children's rhymes, it appears that teacher taunts aren't as nearly as well known or recited among Black American children/teens as they are among White American children/teens. Much more research/collection needs to be done to prove or disprove this finding.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Azizi
Date: 22 May 08 - 10:14 PM

Here's another example of naughty children's rhymes that at least tangentially mentionS death:

FUDGE FUDGE, CALL THE JUDGE
Hey goils! how about ...

Fudge fudge
Call the judge,
Mama's got a brand new baby.
Wrap it up in tissue paper
send it down the escalator,
First floor-stop!
Second floor miss!
Third floor turn around
Fourth floor touch the ground,
Fifth floor,
Get out of town!
-Butirfli; 5/26/1999 ; http://www.streetplay.com/discus/ Girl Games: Clap & rhyme Archive through June 8, 2000

This is a jump rope rhyme in which the jumpers appear to not be happy about a new addition to the family.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: GUEST
Date: 23 May 08 - 02:07 AM

Ash Grove

And a dozen of Child's


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: GUEST,Elfcall
Date: 23 May 08 - 02:53 AM

Azizi

The #2 version of 'Joy to the World' was also sung by Nelson Muntz in an episode of the Simpsons first aired in December 1996 (thanks Wiki!). I wonder which came first - the use of the playground chant by the writers or the kids copying the song from one of their favourite cartoons.

Elfcall


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: GUEST,Elfcall
Date: 23 May 08 - 03:28 AM

Azizi

Actually reading further - the writers took the words from his you ng daughter's rhyme.

Elfcall


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Mo the caller
Date: 23 May 08 - 03:36 AM

Kat, the song about tying the leaves on the tree comes from a short story The Last Leaf   by O'Henry about a young woman who gets pneumonia and predicts she will die when the last leaf falls from ivy she can see from the window. An old neighbour goes out in the night to paint the last leaf on the glass and the sufferer recovers. But the friend catches pneumonia and dies. Not a children's story.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Mo the caller
Date: 23 May 08 - 03:51 AM

"Go tell Aunt Rhodie the old grey goose is dead"
"Who killed cock robin?"
"Ding dong bell, pussy's in the well"
Those I got from books, this one I heard at school (London, early 50s)
Inky pinky ponky
Daddy bought a donkey
Donkey died
Mummy cried
Inky pinky ponky.

this one my sister learned a few years later
I-tiddly-i-ti eat brown bread
I saw a sausage fall down dead
Along came a savaloy and hit him on the head
I-tiddley-I-ti
Brown bread

In those days we were not the mixed race community that London is now, very white and English. So the nonsense words and the exotic savaloy may have had an element of mocking foriegners in. (I-ti = Italian)
The "tune" of the last 2 line was the same as
Shave and a haircut
Two bits.
I.e. spoken with rythm and intonation.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Snuffy
Date: 23 May 08 - 08:38 AM

Taffy was a Welshman. Taffy was a thief.
Taffy came to my house and stole a leg of beef.
I went to Taffy's house. Taffy was in bed.
I picked up a poker and bashed in his head.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Azizi
Date: 23 May 08 - 04:39 PM

Elfcall, thanks for that information about the "Joy To The World" parody. The fact that that parody was on The Simpsons explains why it appears to be so widely known.

**
"Mo, how is "inky pinky ponkey" played? Is it a jump rope rhyme, a hand clap rhyme, a counting out {choosing it} rhyme or some other kind of rhyme?

And what is a "savaloy" as mentioned in this line "Along came a savaloy and hit him on the head"

Thanks!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Jack Campin
Date: 23 May 08 - 06:00 PM

I learnt the "shave and a haircut" tune in England in the 1950s as

Bombs and bananas
Fried chips

which I assume dates from WW2.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: GUEST,Neil D
Date: 23 May 08 - 08:00 PM

It's raining, it's pouring
The old man is snoring
He bumped his head and went to bed
And couldn't get up in the morning.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Azizi
Date: 23 May 08 - 08:17 PM

Neil D, I was gonna write something flippant about the last line of that example you posted. But I thought I better not, since this is a thread about children's rhymes.

:o)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Snuffy
Date: 23 May 08 - 08:25 PM

Never heard of "Inky pinky ponky" but we had a similar one (NE Cheshire, UK, early 50s)

Charlie, Charlie, chuck chuck chuck
Went to bed with three young ducks
One duck died
Charlie cried
Charlie, Charlie, chuck chuck chuck


In England a saveloy is a boiled sausage, very bright orangey pink and about 9 inches to a foot long, sometimes served deep fried in batter. I believe the name derives from "cerebellum" as it was originally made from the brains of animals, and is similar to a German Cervelatwurst


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Snuffy
Date: 23 May 08 - 08:27 PM

There was an old man called Michael Finnegan
He grew fat and then grew thin again
Then he died and had to begin again
Poor old Michael Finnegan
Begin again


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Jack Campin
Date: 23 May 08 - 08:39 PM

"Water, water, wallflower" is in Ritchie's "The Golden City", recorded in Edinburgh in the early Fifties.

There's one song theme which dates back to the 17th century in Scotland as "Jenny jo" and is also found in German in "Das Knaben Wunderhorn" (set by Mahler as "Irdisches Leben"). A child is starving, but before she can get any bread it has to be (in successive verses) sown, grown, reaped, threshed, milled, kneaded and baked... and it's too late, she dies. There were several catastrophic famines in 17th century northern Europe and that's presumably where it comes from. The moral point, that the desperate *can't wait*, isn't made in any other song I know of.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Azizi
Date: 23 May 08 - 08:42 PM

Are you guys doing this on purpose??

Okay. Alright. I need to remind myself-think about the children..think about the children.

**

Thanks, Snuffy for the definition for saveloy-I think.

Lol.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Joe_F
Date: 23 May 08 - 08:44 PM

Azizi: "Baby, baby, naughty baby" is in _The Annotated Mother Goose_ (W. S. Baring-Gould & C. Baring-Gould, Eds., Potter, New York, 1962), p. 226. The book has a bibliography, but no references to it. Certainly, the use of Bonaparte as a bogeyman strongly suggests that it is British & early enough for Napoleon still to be thought of as The Enemy.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Azizi
Date: 23 May 08 - 09:02 PM

Jack and Joe, when I wrote the question "Are you guys* serious?", I hadn't read your post yet and was referring Neil D's post and Snuffy's two posts.

I was reading much too much into their examples. But I'm all better now, and I'll refrain from being off-task henceforth and forever more...Well, maybe that's a bit too much to expect. How's this? I'll try to be as good as I can be.


All jokes aside, I really appreciate the scholarship shared by posters to this thread.

* In this context "guys" mean males & females


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: john f weldon
Date: 23 May 08 - 09:08 PM

Here comes a candle to light you to bed
Here comes a chopper to chop off your head


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: GUEST,Neil D
Date: 23 May 08 - 11:07 PM

Azizi,
    We used to chant that when I was a kid whenever it would rain. Especilly in the summertime when we would otherwise be out running the neighborhood. I never even thought of a double entendre for "get up in the morning". LOL.
                        Neil


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Azizi
Date: 23 May 08 - 11:15 PM

john f weldon, I associate those two lines

"Here comes a candle to light you to bed
Here comes a chopper to chop off your head"

with the children's singing game "London Bridge Is Falling Down"

Are they part of the version of London Bridge that you know?

I remember singing

First verse:
London bridge is falling down
falling down
falling down
London bridge is falling down
My fair lady.

Second verse: [this was sometimes omitted]
Take a key and lock her* up
lock her* up
lock her* up
Take a key and lock her* up
My fair lady.

Third verse
Here comes the hammer to chop off her* head
chop off her* head
chop off her* head
Here comes the hammer to chop off her* head
My fair lady.

* "Her" was changed to "him" if a boy was the one caught, However, even if the "prisoner" was a boy, the ending was always "My fair lady".

I certainly didn't uderstand what the words to this song meant. For instance, I didn't know that "London" was a city anywhere, or what that "London bridge" actually referred to a bridge [or as a little child knew what a "bridge" was]. And I didn't know what "My fair lady" meant. As an adult. I'm guessing that it meant "My beautiful lady", but as a child I didn't have a clue what it meant, and actually didn't really care whether the words meant anything at all. In addition, I don't think that I thought of the words to the song as being gruesome, although someone chopping off another person's head is certainly gruesome. Words to this singing game and other singing games were just words that were sung and actions that were played because that's how we learned them. I don't even remember how I learned this song & its accompanying actions. I suppose that some older child or my mother or some teacher taught it to me & my sisters.

Here's how I remember playing London Bridge in Atlantic City, New Jersey in the early-mid 1950s:

Girls and boys [probaby 6-10 years old] played this game without adult initiation by having two kids stand facing each other. These "guards" would make an arch by stretching their arms above their heads and holding the other child's hands. I'm calling them guards, but I don't think we called them anything or maybe we called them "the leaders". As I recall, these two were the only ones who sung the song.

The other players formed a line and walked under that arch {which I suppose represented the bridge, but I don't think I knew that as a child}. The line of children started out walking moderately fast in time with the song. But, when the song got very near the end of the second verse {or the end of the first verse if the second verse was omitted}, the children walked faster because no one wanted to be the one who got caught. At the beginning of the second verse {or the beginning of the third verse if the second verse was omitted} the two "guards" brought their arms down and still tightly held each other hands. By this action, they "caught" the child who was walking under the arch at that time. This child was the "prisoner" {although we didn't use that referent or any referent except "the one who got caught". That "prisoner" stayed inside the enclosed hands throughout the second verse {if it was sung} and the third verse. The "guards" swayed back & forth while singing the "here comes the hammer to chop off your head" verse. The other children remained in the line watching. They may have sung too, but my recollection of that is cloudy. At the end of the third verse, supposedly, the prisoner became one of the guards, and the song continued from the beginning. One of the former "guards" was supposed to join the line with the other children. I believe this "former guard" was supposed to go to the end of the line. The second time the game was played, that former guard was also supposed to join the line of children, and in that way, every player would have a turn as the guard. However, sometimes because of the strength of their personality :o) the "guards" refused to relinquish their roles, and kept on singing and capturing other children in their handhold until-for whatever reason-the game ended.

The object of London Bridge was not to be "captured" in the handhold. Notwithstanding the words of the song's third verse, the action of the game didn't have anything inat all to do with a person's head. There wasn't any touching or chopping motions or hitting that occurred near or actually to the captured child's head.

**

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Bridge_is_Falling_Down provides the lyrics to several versions of "London Bridge" that don't include this "hammer [or chopper] to chop off her head" line. However, that article describes a similar performance activity of a line of children walking through an arch formed by two children.

**

PS: My children grew up with this song because I taught it to them. My recollection is that their friends and schoolmates [in Pittsburgh, 1980s] didn't know this game/song. Also, the children in the after-school groups that I facilitated in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the late 1990s to 2006 didn't know this singing game before I taught it to them.

It seems that the only singing games that they did know were the circle games "Ring Around The Rosie", "Hokey Pokey", and "Little Sally Walker" {which I knew as "Little Sally Ann}, and "Going To Kentucky". Actually, the children in the late 1990s, knew two versions of "Little Sally Walker". Two examples of this updated version-"Little Sally Walker {Was Walking Down The Street}" are posted on this page of my website: http://cocojams.com/games_children_play.htm. I collected one of those examples from some children in a Pittsburgh, PA neighborhood-and then subsequently heard it sung by other children when I asked about it. The other remarkably similar example was posted in 2004 by LNL on Mudcat's Children's Street Songs thread. And, if I recall correctly, this newer version of "Little Sally Walker" has been posted on that same Mudcat thread or another Mudcat thread at least one other time by another person.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Wincing Devil
Date: 23 May 08 - 11:24 PM

What about "Ring around the Rosie" ostensibly about Black Death and "Rock A Bye Baby". When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall and most probably kill baby. What idiot puts a baby in a tree anyway?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Azizi
Date: 23 May 08 - 11:25 PM

Neil D, don't mind me. I was in a double entendre mood, but that too, has passed.

:o)

**

As a child, I recall singing:

"It's raining, it's pouring
The old man is snoring"

But I never heard those other two lines. Given the topic of this thread, I assume you meant that the old man didn't get up because he had "kicked the bucket" {meaning "died"} ?

Btw, who was "the old man" anyway? Were we actually referring to God when we said this? Interesting...I never thought of that before.
I recall my mother telling us kids that thunder was God talking.And I guess "lightning" occurred when God was angry-but I don't think my mother ever told me that...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Azizi
Date: 23 May 08 - 11:50 PM

Hello, Wincing Devil. I'mma let someone else have the pleasure of debunking that myth the connection between "Ring Around The Rosie" and the Plague.

But, with regard to your comment, "What idiot puts a baby in a tree anyway?", here's a rather longish excerpt from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock-a-bye_Baby which provides some theories about the origin of the song "Rock-A-bye Baby"{On The TreeTop}:

"Rock-a-bye Baby" may be an American nursery rhyme and lullaby, whose melody may be a variant of the English satirical ballad Lilliburlero. Originally titled "Hushabye Baby", this nursery rhyme was said to be the first poem written on American soil. Although there is no evidence as to when the lyrics were written, it may date from the 1600s. It is rumoured that it was written by a young pilgrim who sailed to America on the Mayflower. He was said to have observed the way native-American women rocked their babies in birch-bark cradles, which were suspended from the branches of trees, allowing the wind to rock the baby to sleep. However, the branches holding the cradles sometimes had a habit of breaking, causing the cradle to fall and the baby in it to get hurt.[citation needed] Rock-a-bye as a phrase apparently was first recorded in 1805. The nursery rhyme suggests a falling, apparently related to a terrible accident in 1706 where the Earl of Sandwich's son was tossed without warning from his cradle. The cradle was later found in the Thames River empty and alone.

Another source reports that Effie Crockett, a relative of Davy Crockett, wrote the lyrics in 1872 while babysitting a restless child.[citation needed]

In Derbyshire, England, local legend has it that the song relates to a local character in the late 1700s, Betty Kenny (Kate Kenyon), who lived with her charcoal-burner husband, Luke, and their eight children in a huge yew tree in Shining Cliff Woods in the Derwent Valley, where a hollowed-out bough served as a cradle. [1]

Yet another theory has it that the song, like "Lilliburlero", refers to events immediately preceding the "Glorious Revolution". The baby is supposed to be the son of King James II of England, who was widely believed to be someone else's child smuggled into the birthing room in order to provide a Catholic heir for James. The "wind" may be that political "wind" or force "blowing" or coming from the Netherlands bringing James' nephew and son-in-law, William III of England, a.k.a. William of Orange, who would eventually depose King James II in the revolution. The "cradle" is the House of Stuart Stuart monarchy.[2]"...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Mrrzy
Date: 27 May 08 - 10:10 AM

I knew 2 versions of Old Man - went to bed with a hole in his head and he couldn't get up in the morning is one, and the other is Bumped his head when he went to bed. I never got the impression he was dead, though, even with the hole in his head.

My version of Hudge Fudge went Hudge, Fudge, call the judge, mama got a newborn baby / Not a boy, not a girl, just an ordinary baby / Wrap it up in tissue paper send it down the elevator / ...and then there were stops for all the floors. No dead baby.

Yes, those Germans sure knew how to scare kids into being good, eh!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Jean(eanjay)
Date: 27 May 08 - 10:29 AM

As a child I had a book which had a real effect on me. It was more of a poem than a rhyme but I think it is worth mentioning.

The Fairies

Up the airy mountain,
Down the rushy glen,
We daren't go a-hunting
For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
And white owl's feather!

Down along the rocky shore
Some make their home,
They live on crispy pancakes
Of yellow tide-foam;
Some in the reeds
Of the black mountain-lake,
With frogs for their watch-dogs,
All night awake.

High on the hill-top
The old King sits;
He is now so old and gray
He's nigh lost his wits.

With a bridge of white mist
Columbkill he crosses
On his stately journeys
From Slieveleague to Rosses;
Or going up with music
On cold starry nights,
To sup with the Queen
Of the gay Northern Lights.

They stole little Bridget
For seven years long;
When she came down again
Her friends were all gone.
They took her lightly back,
Between the night and morrow,
They thought that she was fast asleep,
But she was dead with sorrow.
They have kept her ever since
Deep within the lake,
On a bed of flag-leaves,
Watching till she wake.

By the craggy hill-side,
Through the mosses bare,
They have planted thorn-trees
For pleasure here and there.
Is any man so daring
As to dig one up in spite,
He shall find the thornies set
In his bed at night.

Up the airy mountain,
Down the rushy glen,
We daren't go a-hunting
For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
And white owl's feather!

- W. Allingham

It is the third poem listed in this link:

fairy poetry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Mo the caller
Date: 27 May 08 - 10:58 AM

I only heard Inky Pinky Ponky (which I posted before I went off for the long weekend) once, it was chanted while the teacher's back was turned by the girl in the next desk.

We put the "chopper to chop off your head" after Oranges and Lemons.
Played as described, but when a child was caught the two making the arch would ask "Oranges or lemons?" and you would whisper your choice. The arch people would have decided which of them headed the Oranges and which the Lemons, you would be told who to stand behind. When everyone had been caught the game ended with a tug-of-war.
This was a game we were organised into playing at childrens parties (up to age 10 I suppose, though there would be younger and older cousins and siblings).

Have we mentioned
Solomon Grundy born on Monday.....Died on Saturday, Buried on Sunday
That was the end of Solomon Grundy.
And
Old Roger is dead.

Those were two more that I only heard from adults not other children.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Azizi
Date: 27 May 08 - 11:16 AM

Thanks, Mo. I like your story about how you heard the inky pinky ponkey rhyme-though I shouldn't encourage chiidren to taunt or tease another child when the teacher's back is turned-or any time for that matter.

I don't know the rhyme "Old Roger is dead." How does it go? I vaguely recall reading something about Solomon Grundy {died on Monday}. But that's all I can remember about that rhyme.

**

With regard to my memory of the line in London Bridge-"here comes the hammer to chop off her head", "hammer" was probably "hatchet". But since we kids didn't really know what a hatchet is, I think that we changed that unfamiliar word to one we were more familiar with-"hammer".

My memory of that song keeps changing. Maybe it was sung differently in different years. But this first verse popped into my mind this weekend:

London bridge is all built up
all built up
all built up
London bridge is all built up
My fair lady
-snip-

And then we'd sing the "London bridge is falling down" verse, and then the "hammer to chop off her head verse."

It makes sense that the bridge would have to be built {up} before it fell {down}. I've found that children like their rhymes to make sense to them. Or, at least, it seems that way to me much of the time. {Notwithstanding the fact that hammer to chop off her head doesn't make much sense. But I submit that most urban young children have seen hammers, but may have never seen a hatchet, except, perhaps a fake one with a Halloween costume, or maybe a real one that is held by a fire fighter?}


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Azizi
Date: 27 May 08 - 04:46 PM

Here's a children's rhyme that includes a version of the inky pinky ponky rhyme that Mo posted on

Subject: RE: Origins: Down by the Banks of the Hanky Panky
From: GUEST,mooseormeece? - PM
Date: 21 May 08 - 11:34 PM

I learned this and forgot most of it (not complete! but it goes sort of like this....
Down by the bay in beverly hills
where the bull frog jumps from bank to banky
and the heeps hops, coffee shops,
we all drink mochas and we wear flip flops
(faster)
I pledge allegence to the flag
Michal jackson makes me gag
coca cola has cafeine and now we're talking billy jean
billy jean when out of style now lets sit and talk a while
diddy diddy donkey
daddy had a donkey
donkey died, daddy cried
diddy diddy donkey!

theres a party round the corner wont you please please come
bring your own cappuchinos and your own chewing gum
what is your boy friends name?______ (whoever the clap lands on has to come up with a name)

_______ will be there blowing kisses in the air saying I love ______ (who ever came up with the name) saying I love_____ saying O U T spells you are out!
OR
______will be there blowing kissed in the air singin' I... Love...Ma..Ma...Mia, singin' I love ma...ma...mia singin' O U T spells you are out!

-snip-

This children's rhyme is made up off several strung together-possibly stand alone-rhymes. The rhyme starts with a version of "Down By The Banks of the Hanky Panky", and then moves to lines about Michael Jackson {starting with "I pledge allegiance to the flag". Those lines refer to the real life occurance in 1984. While Jackson was taping a Pepsi ad, special effects that were supposed to create smoke blew up, burning the singer's hair and scalp. Jackson had to be taken to a hospital. [Notice that the rhyme names "Coca Cola" as the soft drink instead of "Pepsi Cola". That's a bit of irony since these soft drinks are competitors].

I'm not sure if Michael Jackson was singing "Billy Jean", one of his hit songs during the filming of that commercial. But reference to that song also occur in most versions of the "I pledge allegiance to the flag" children's rhyme.

The line "diddy diddy donkey" is the beginning of another stand along rhyme that has been strung together to make one rhyme. The last strung together rhyme in this example either starts with the line "theres a party round the corner" or the line "what is your boy friends name?"

**

Help! I'm suffering from "Virgoitis" which is exhibited by excessive focus on details.

I'm sorry about that. From now on I'll try to control my tendency to excessively analysis stuff.

:o)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Mo the caller
Date: 27 May 08 - 06:29 PM

I dont think Inky Pinky Ponky was chanted as a tease, just sharing a rhyme, when we should have been getting on with our work.
All the (English) Nursery rhyme books, had London bridge in (also sung on the 'wireless' on Listen With Mother)
London Bridge is broken down
Broken down
Broken down
London bridge is broken down
My fair lady

How can we build it up again? ....

Build it up with (something and straw)...
- and straw will be washed away...
Build it up with silver and gold...
Silver and gold will be stolen away...

Build it up with stone so strong..
Stone will last for ages long
My fair lady.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Mo the caller
Date: 27 May 08 - 06:38 PM

I thought that would be sure to be in the Digitrad with more verses suggesting different repair materials and their drawbacks, but I searched for London Bridge is Broken Down and LB is Falling down, and only found a couple of songs refering to people singing it.
Odd.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Mo the caller
Date: 27 May 08 - 06:57 PM

Old Roger isn't there either, but is posted in a thread on Irish Childrens Songs
POOR ROGER
Poor Roger is dead and he lies in his grave,
Lies in his grave, lies in his grave,
Poor Roger is dead and he lies in his grave,
Lies in his grave.

They planted an apple tree over his head,
Over his head, over his head,
They planted an apple tree over his head,
Over his head.

The apples grew ripe and they all fell off
They all fell off, they all fell off,
The apples grew ripe and they all fell off,
They all fell off.

There came an old woman a-picking them up,
Picking them up, picking them up,
There came an old woman a-picking them up,
Picking them up.

Poor Roger got up and he gave her a kick,
Gave her a kick, gave her a kick,
Poor Roger got up and he gave her a kick,
Gave her a kick.

Which made the old woman go hippity hop,
Hippity hop, hippity hop,
Which made the old woman go hippity hop,
Hippity hop.

Much as I remember it except it was 'Old Roger'. And the third verse
The apples are ripe and ready to fall.
I'm not sure how the last 2 verses went, something like that


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Mo the caller
Date: 27 May 08 - 07:07 PM

Surprise, surprise, no mention of Solomon Grundy anywhere either.

Solomon Grundy
Born on Monday
Christened on tuesday
Married on Wednesday
Ill on Thursday
Worse on Friday
Died on Saturday
Buried on Sunday
And that was the end of Solomon Grundy.


Azizi, keep posting your analyses and details. If we were talking about adult folk songs someone would no doubt be warning of the dangers of unfounded speculation, maybe he doesn't open the children's threads. (And, of course, unfounded speculation into the origins of songs should not be passed on as 'gospel', but it's fun to wonder)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: paula t
Date: 27 May 08 - 07:41 PM

How about that old classic "Found a peanut"? Kathryn loves to taunt us with that one on long car journeys.
Another one is a song we used to sing when I was a child. We thought it was hilarious at the time because we could make vomiting noises in the last verse!It went like this:

Where have you been all day, Henry my son?
Where have you been all day, my little one?
In the woods dear mother.
In the woods dear mother.
Oh mother be quick I'm going to be sick,
And lay me down to die.

What were you doing in the woods all day, Henry my son?
What were you doing in the woods all day,my little one?
Eating, dear mother.
Eating, dear mother.
Oh mother be quick,I'm going to be sick,
And lay me down to die.

What were you eating in the woods all day, Henry my son?
What were you eating in the woods all day, my little one?
Eels, dear mother.
Eels ,dear mother.
Oh mother be quick,I'm going to be sick,
And lay me down to die.

What colour were those eels you were eating in the woods all day,Henry my son?
What colour were those eels you were eating in the woods all day, my little one?
Green and yellow!
Green and yellow!
Oh mother be quick ,I'm going to be sick,
And lay me down to die.

Those weren't eels ,they were snakes you were eating in the woods all day,Henry my son.
Those weren't eels they were snakes you were eating in the woods all day, my little one.
Yeuch! (vigorous vomiting noises!)dear mother.
Yeuch!Dear mother.
Oh mother be quick,I'm going to be sick,
And lay me down to die.


Quite charming eh?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Azizi
Date: 27 May 08 - 10:00 PM

Let's hear it for Solomon Grundy, [who] found a peanut, or was his name Henry rather than Solomon?

And what happened to Old Roger?

:o)

Thanks, Mo and Paula for adding to this thread!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Mo the caller
Date: 28 May 08 - 07:04 AM

Thinking about it, the last line in Old Roger as I remember it , started with Hey Ho
e.g Hey ho laid in his grave.

Paula reminds me of hearing my friends children (in the early 80s) singing the Bumble bee song - only a buble bee died in this, but it is similarly revolting

I've caught a little baby bumble bee
Won't my mummy be surprised at me
I've caught a little baby bumble bee
OH - it's stung me      (spoken)

I'm squashing up my baby bumble bee
..
Ugh - what a mess

I'm licking up my baby bumble bee
...
Ooh - I feel sick

I'm sicking up my baby bumble bee
...

Not sure if there were more revolting verses but it finishes with the spoken line
That was fun, lets go and catch another one.

I also heard that song used by children's entertainers at folk festivals about the same time.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: trevek
Date: 28 May 08 - 07:07 AM

"Goosey-goosey gander" has the old man being thrown down the stairs and breaking his back.

"Weile weile waile" has the old woman killing the baby.

"There was a man who had a horse-elum" has the horse dying.

"Found a peanut" (to tune of Clementine) involves a fatal dose of food poisoning.

"Clementine" drowning.

"sam, sam the butcher's man
washed his face in a frying pan,
combed his hair with a wagon whell
and died of toothache in his heel"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Mrrzy
Date: 30 May 08 - 10:49 AM

I remember being frightened by Up The Airy Mountain, too.

And I love the Pete Seeger version of Henry My Son that had the Green and Yellow chorus!

Meanwhile, not quite thread creep, but I really dislike it when Disney takes a good fairy tale/children's story and ruins it by changing to a happy ending. The worst offender was The Little Mermaid, who is NOT supposed to get the prince, but rather fail and then turn to foam upon the water, which is what dead mermaids are. I can hardly wait for The Little Match Girl (Who Marries The Heartless Millionnaire)...

Contrast that to the amazing scene in Sleeping Beauty, I think, where the Prince has to deal with the evil witch "And all the powers of HELL!"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: GUEST,Volgadon
Date: 01 Jun 08 - 02:23 PM

"sam, sam the butcher's man
washed his face in a frying pan,
combed his hair with a wagon whell
and died of toothache in his heel"

Doesn't that appear in Old Dan Tucker as well?

Anyway, not sure it counts, but there is an Ukrainian lullabye about a big, furry cat who comes and eats the kid....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Mrrzy
Date: 02 Jun 08 - 08:39 AM

The thing is, isn't it better for kids to have death to deal with in stories than pretend all stories have happy endings?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Bert
Date: 02 Jun 08 - 09:17 PM

... However, I'm wondering whether an analysis of children's rhymes and songs might reveal ways that children work through the feelings of grief, pain, anger, and insecurity that they may feel about their experiences with the death of people they know or know of...

I don't think that children really believe the songs about death. They are just a game with no relationship to reality. My mother died when I was seven and I certainly never associated any songs with that event. The death in songs was no more real than someone who is shot when playing Cowboys and Indians - "lie down dead and count to twenty"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: GUEST,suffolk miracle
Date: 03 Jun 08 - 07:17 AM

Children's skipping rhymes:

When I die lay me in bed
With seven angels at my head.
Two to weep and two to pray
And three to take my soul away.

Green peas, mutton chops,
Tell me when your boyfriend drops.
I'll be there to bury him
And we will be together.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Mrrzy
Date: 03 Jun 08 - 05:28 PM

Interesting point, Bert; I didn't know anybody who died, so I (think I) knew that the people in the songs were dead or dying...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Azizi
Date: 07 Jun 08 - 08:21 PM

My condolences, Bert, on the loss of your mother when you were a child.

I'm not sure children understand that life is so percarious. I hope that most children don't find this out at an early age. But if they do-I hope that they have people who help them through those difficult times.

I don't know if children play a great deal of attention to the deeper meaning of words in rhymes and songs. I think that children are most concerned about the rhythm of the words. I also think that children are concerned about singing or reciting the version of the song or rhyme that they learned [which they refer to as "the right words" to the song or rhyme}. And I think that they are concerned about the words making some kind of sense to them [which is why some unfamiliar words are changed to words that are more familiar through the process of folk etymology].

But I don't think that most children nowadays who recite rhymes or sing songs that mention death are concerned with the esoteric meaning of death. Maybe past generations of children also didn't concern themselves with the meaning of death. But maybe in the "olden days" children had more personal experiences with death.

The movement rhyme "Aunt Jenny Died" that I posted above appears to me to make fun of the occurance of death. Maybe death was taken lightly because it was such a heavy duty occurance. I don't know.
It was just something I wondered about.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Snuffy
Date: 08 Jun 08 - 06:15 AM

Unfamiliarity with death is a fairly recent phenomenon for children: right up to my mother's generation (born 1921), especially with the large families that were common then, it was not unusual for children to have a brother or sister die in infancy. Or even have their mother die in childbirth, and the father remarry. And almost certainly they would lose several classmates before the end of their schooldays.

Death was something kids saw happening a lot all around them, and the songs may have helped them get their heads round it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Azizi
Date: 08 Jun 08 - 09:08 AM

It occurs to me that as the result of urban gang violence and drive-by shootings and other urban violence, there were many more funerals of their peers that my children as young adults attended or knew about. Ditto for my pre-teenage grandchild. Perhaps it's not fair to compare their teenage or pre-teen childhoods because the city that I grew up in was much smaller than this city. But I don't recall my city having any gangs at all-though as a teenager I was aware that there were gangs who faught with knives in the much larger relatively nearby city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

I can remember only three deaths of my peers by violence or otherwise. Two young girls I knew died in a house fire and one teenage boy who I didn't know well killed himself by jumping off a roof. I distinctly recall playing with these two girls and their sister the day before that fire. Partly as a result of the way they died, I admit to being hyper-concerned about house fires. If I recall correctly, the teenager died the summer of his senior year, prior to going off to college. His action surprised me because that was the first teenage case of suicide where I had even vaguely known the person. His action also surprised me in part because his family appeared to be considerably more economically well-off than most of the families I knew of. The fact that this teenager of all the teenagers I knew chose to kill himself reinforced my beginning awareness that people are very complicated beings. His action also reinforced my life long belief that money isn't everything-though it probably can be very helpful.

I feel that this thread needs to include prayers for the memory of all the children, teens, and adults who have passed from this life, regardless of how they passed on.

I say those prayers now.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Jun 08 - 03:50 AM


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Mrrzy
Date: 10 Jun 08 - 02:22 PM

From A A Milne, via my futile little brain:

Daffodwndilly
She wore her yellow sunbonnet
She wore her greenest gown
She turned to the south wind and curtsied up and down
She turned to the north wind and shook her yellow head
And whispered to her neighbor "winter is dead."

An a separate note, I didn't know anybody who'd died when I was growing up except one of my aunt's mom, until nearly the entire graduating class of my high school was wiped out in a nightclub fire my junior year... I think 30 out of 35 kids died, it was right after exams. I can't find anything in the news about it, it was overseas.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: GUEST,Volgadon
Date: 10 Jun 08 - 02:36 PM

Hilaire Belloc's verse is full of children dying, like the bratty little girl who knocks over a brick unto her head while slamming doors in a tantrum.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: GUEST,Volgadon
Date: 10 Jun 08 - 02:51 PM

Rebecca
by Hilaire Belloc

Who Slammed Doors For Fun And Perished Miserably

A trick that everyone abhors
In little girls is slamming doors.
A wealthy banker's little daughter
Who lived in Palace Green, Bayswater
(By name Rebecca Offendort),
Was given to this furious sport.

She would deliberately go
And slam the door like billy-o!
To make her uncle Jacob start.
She was not really bad at heart,
But only rather rude and wild;
She was an aggravating child...

It happened that a marble bust
Of Abraham was standing just
Above the door this little lamb
Had carefully prepared to slam,
And down it came! It knocked her flat!
It laid her out! She looked like that.

Her funeral sermon (which was long
And followed by a sacred song)
Mentioned her virtues, it is true,
But dwelt upon her vices too,
And showed the deadful end of one
Who goes and slams the door for fun.

The children who were brought to hear
The awful tale from far and near
Were much impressed, and inly swore
They never more would slam the door,
-- As often they had done before.


Jim
by Hilaire Belloc

Who ran away from his Nurse and was eaten by a Lion

There was a Boy whose name was Jim;
His Friends were very good to him.
They gave him Tea, and Cakes, and Jam,
And slices of delicious Ham,
And Chocolate with pink inside
And little Tricycles to ride,
And read him Stories through and through,
And even took him to the Zoo--
But there it was the dreadful Fate
Befell him, which I now relate.

You know--or at least you ought to know,
For I have often told you so--
That Children never are allowed
To leave their Nurses in a Crowd;
Now this was Jim's especial Foible,
He ran away when he was able,
And on this inauspicious day
He slipped his hand and ran away!

He hadn't gone a yard when--Bang!
With open Jaws, a lion sprang,
And hungrily began to eat
The Boy: beginning at his feet.
Now, just imagine how it feels
When first your toes and then your heels,
And then by gradual degrees,
Your shins and ankles, calves and knees,
Are slowly eaten, bit by bit.
No wonder Jim detested it!
No wonder that he shouted ``Hi!''

The Honest Keeper heard his cry,
Though very fat he almost ran
To help the little gentleman.
``Ponto!'' he ordered as he came
(For Ponto was the Lion's name),
``Ponto!'' he cried, with angry Frown,
``Let go, Sir! Down, Sir! Put it down!''
The Lion made a sudden stop,
He let the Dainty Morsel drop,
And slunk reluctant to his Cage,
Snarling with Disappointed Rage.
But when he bent him over Jim,
The Honest Keeper's Eyes were dim.
The Lion having reached his Head,
The Miserable Boy was dead!

When Nurse informed his Parents, they
Were more Concerned than I can say:--
His Mother, as She dried her eyes,
Said, ``Well--it gives me no surprise,
He would not do as he was told!''
His Father, who was self-controlled,
Bade all the children round attend
To James's miserable end,
And always keep a-hold of Nurse
For fear of finding something worse.


Henry King
by Hilaire Belloc

The Chief Defect of Henry King
Was chewing little bits of String.
At last he swallowed some which tied
Itself in ugly Knots inside.

Physicians of the Utmost Fame
Were called at once; but when they came
They answered, as they took their Fees,
"There is no Cure for this Disease.

"Henry will very soon be dead.''
His Parents stood about his Bed
Lamenting his Untimely Death,
When Henry, with his Latest Breath,

Cried, "Oh, my Friends, be warned by me,
That Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch, and Tea
Are all the Human Frame requires...''
With that, the Wretched Child expires.


George
by Hilaire Belloc

Who played with a Dangerous Toy, and suffered a Catastrophe of considerable Dimensions

When George's Grandmamma was told
That George had been as good as gold,
She promised in the afternoon
To buy him an Immense BALLOON.
And so she did; but when it came,
It got into the candle flame,
And being of a dangerous sort
Exploded with a loud report!
The lights went out! The windows broke!
The room was filled with reeking smoke.
And in the darkness shrieks and yells
Were mingled with electric bells,
And falling masonry and groans,
And crunching, as of broken bones,
And dreadful shrieks, when, worst of all,
The house itself began to fall!
It tottered, shuddering to and fro,
Then crashed into the street below-
Which happened to be Savile Row.

When help arrived, among the dead
Were Cousin Mary, Little Fred,
The Footmen (both of them), the Groom,
The man that cleaned the Billiard-Room,
The Chaplain, and the Still-Room Maid.
And I am dreadfully afraid
That Monsieur Champignon, the Chef,
Will now be permanently deaf-
And both his aides are much the same;
While George, who was in part to blame,
Received, you will regret to hear,
A nasty lump behind the ear.

Moral:
The moral is that little boys
Should not be given dangerous toys.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Mrrzy
Date: 10 Jun 08 - 08:25 PM

I really need to read more of this hilarious author, ha ha!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Azizi
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 10:03 PM

Mrrzy, regarding the death of those schoolmates of yours, how terrible and sad!

I think you know and hopefully others know that that's not my intention and I don't believe it's the intention of anyone else posting to this thread to be facetious about death.

For some reason, I didn't expect this thread to be so somber and heavy duty-imagine that what with its title... But maybe the next examples that I found will lighten the vibe of this thread. I'll share them in my next post to this thread.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Azizi
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 10:13 PM

http://www.streetplay.com/discus/ is a website that contains a number of pages of children's rhymes as well as other examples/comments about children's games & memories. These examples are taken from the Girl Games: Clap & rhyme Archive through June 8, 2000 page:


WHEN SUSIE WAS A BABY
when susie was a baby, a baby, when susie was a baby, she usedto go like this 'wah, wah' when susie was a child, a child, when susie was a child she used to go like this 'mommy, can I have a cookie?' when susie was a teenager, a teenager, a teenager, when susie was a teenager, she used to go like this 'mom,i'm using the phone!' when susie was a mother, a mother, when susie was a mother, she used to go like this 'your grounded!' when susie was a grandma, a grandma, when susie was a grandma, she used to go like this 'oh my aching back' when susie was dead, was dead, was dead, when susie was dead, she went like this 'hi, god'..........that's what it is now".
-KD on Friday, December 17, 1999


**

MISS SUZY WAS A BABY
Miss Suzy was a baby, a baby, a baby, Miss Suzy was a baby,and this is what she said! "ooh, aah, ooh aah aah!" (pretend to suck your thumbs, once each word)
Miss Suzy was a schoolgirl, a schoolgirl, a schoolgirl! Miss Suzy was a schoolgirl, and this is what she said! "ooh, aah, ooh aah aah!" (flip your hair back over your shoulders once each word)
Miss Suzy was a teenager, a teenager, a teenager, Miss Suzy was a teenager, and this is what she said! "ooh, aah, I lost my bra! I left it in my boyfriend's car!"
Miss Suzy was a teacher, a teacher, a teacher,
Miss Suzy was a teacher, and this is what she said! "ooh, aah, ooh aah aah!" (shake your finger once each word)
Miss Suzy was a mother, a mother, a mother,
Miss Suzy was a mother, and this is what she said! "ooh, aah, ooh aah aah!" (rock a pretend baby in your arms)
Miss Suzy was a grandmother, a grandmother, a grandmother, Miss Suzy was a grandmother, and this is what she said! "ooh, aah, ooh aah aah!" (rock in a pretend rocking chair)
Miss Suzy went to heaven, to heaven, to heaven, Miss Suzy went to heaven, and this is what she said! "ooh, aah, ooh aah aah!" (flap your "wings)
Miss Suzy went to he-ell, to he-ell, to he-ell, Miss Suzy went to
he-ell, and this is what she said! "ooh, aah, ooh aah aah!" (pretend to be poked by a pitchfork at each word)
-Lizzi; May 1, 2000

-snip-

[I also posted these examples on this Mudcat thread:thread.cfm?threadid=109480
Children's rhyme: When Susie Was A Baby]


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: Azizi
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 10:22 PM

Here's another one of those "life stages" rhymes:

Subject: RE: When Susie Was A Baby
From: Azizi - PM
Date: 15 Mar 08 - 10:32 AM

WHEN LUCY WAS A BABY

you can do this with a jump rope, or a hand clap, i did it with hand claps. just an old Florida rhyme: LUCY When Lucy was a baby, a baby When Lucy was a baby She went a little like this: Wah Wah When Lucy was a toddler, a toddler, a toddler, When Lucy was a toddler She went a little like this: Wah Wah, suck my thumb When Lucy was a kid, a kid, a kid When Lucy was a kidShe went a little like this: Wah Wah, suck my thumb, give me a piece of bubble gum When Lucy was a teenager, a teenager, a teenager When Lucy was a teenager She went a little like this: Wah Wah, suck my thumb, give me a piece of bubble gum, ohh, ahh, lost my bra, left it in my boyfriend's car When Lucy was a grown up, a grown up, a grown up When Lucy was a grown up She went a little like this: Wah Wah, suck my thumb, give me a piece of bubble gum, ohh, ahh, lost my bra left it in my boyfriend's car, shh shh babies sleeping When Lucy was an grandma, a grandma, a grandma When Lucy was a grandma She went a little like this: Wah Wah, suck my thumb, give me a peice of bubble gum, ohh, ahh lost my bra, left it in my boyfriend's car, shh babies sleeping, god i'm old. When Lucy was dead, dead, dead, When Lucy was dead She went a little like this: Wah Wah, suck my thumb, give me a piece of bubble gum, ohh, ahh, lost my bra left it in my boyfriend's car, shh babies sleeping, god i'm old, great i'm dead
-Morgan; 5/16/2007; http://cocojams.com/


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mention of Death in Children's Rhymes
From: GUEST,I tiddly i-tie and Taffy was a Welshman
Date: 01 May 12 - 02:10 AM

A saveloy is a low-quality processes sausage with the outside died a pinkish-red colour. Similar, usually larger, ones I've noticed in the supermarket are called 'polonies'. Saveloys are a traditional kid's party food here in new Zealand.

In the version I know, Taffy was not in bed. Taffy 'was from home - I returned the compliment and stole a marrow bone." (hardly more creditable)...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 21 September 12:29 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.