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Origins:one bright day in the middle of the night

GUEST,Julia L 05 Dec 13 - 08:48 PM
GUEST 05 Dec 13 - 09:16 PM
maeve 05 Dec 13 - 09:17 PM
Joe Offer 06 Dec 13 - 04:45 AM
MGM·Lion 06 Dec 13 - 04:57 AM
Mrrzy 07 Dec 13 - 12:25 AM
GUEST,Julia L 08 Dec 13 - 06:29 PM
Nigel Parsons 09 Dec 13 - 05:43 AM
JohnInKansas 09 Dec 13 - 10:16 PM
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Subject: Origins: one bright day in the middle of the nigh
From: GUEST,Julia L
Date: 05 Dec 13 - 08:48 PM

Anyone known the origins of this rhyme?

One bright day in the middle of the night
Two dead men stood up to fight
Three blind men to see fair play
Forty mutes to shout "Hooray"
Back to back they faced each other
Drew their swords and shot each other

Thanks
Julia


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Subject: RE: Origins: one bright day in the middle of the nigh
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Dec 13 - 09:16 PM

Iona and Peter Opie's 'The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren' [1959, Oxford. Oxford University Press, pp. 24-29]

If you can locate that you'll be off to a good start.


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Subject: RE: Origins: one bright day in the middle of the nigh
From: maeve
Date: 05 Dec 13 - 09:17 PM

Some discussion here
http://www.folklore.bc.ca/Onefineday.htm and some here and this one, more scholarly than the first two references.


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Subject: RE: Origins:one bright day in the middle of the night
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Dec 13 - 04:45 AM

The version I've heard is this one:

    One bright day in the middle of the night,
    Two dead boys got up to fight.
    Back to back they faced each other,
    Drew their swords and shot each other.
    A deaf policeman heard the noise
    Ran and shot those two dead boys.
    And if you don't believe it's true,
    Go ask the blind man, he saw it too.

I think I first heard it from my sister's friends in Racine, Wisconsin, in the 1960s. Boys didn't go for that sort of rhyme. We were too cool.

The British Columbia page Maeve linked to is very good.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins:one bright day in the middle of the night
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 06 Dec 13 - 04:57 AM

My mother, b 1909, remembered from her childhood, as a recitation, not in verse, the following, which she so often repeated to me in my 1930s childhood that I recall it to this day:

One fine day in the middle of the night, the sea caught fire.
The blind man saw it, the deaf man heard it, the man with no legs ran for the engine.
It came along drawn by two dead horses, ran over a dead cat and half killed it.
My next song will be a dance, told to you by a female gentleman, sitting at the corner of a big round table, barefooted with his father's boots on, eating his soup with a fork.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Origins:one bright day in the middle of the night
From: Mrrzy
Date: 07 Dec 13 - 12:25 AM

I see, said the blind man, as he picked up his hammer and saw...


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Subject: RE: Origins:one bright day in the middle of the night
From: GUEST,Julia L
Date: 08 Dec 13 - 06:29 PM

HI folks- thanks for your ideas. There is quite a bit of discussion about Joe offer's version and some other entertaining variations, but I'd really like to know the original source. I was wondering if it might be Kipling or someone of his ilk- seems Victorian to me.and my version has a song-like cadence, so perhaps from a theatrical production?

Oh well, just a musing I had recently...
cheers- Julia L


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Subject: RE: Origins:one bright day in the middle of the night
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 09 Dec 13 - 05:43 AM

Or:

Late last night, in the early hours of the morning,
An empty lorry full of bricks ran over a dead cat,
And nearly killed it.
We rushed it, slowly, to hospital.
It had to walk all the way.
They said it was in perfect health,
And would die the following day.
There will be a private fueral.
Everyone's invited.

It seems many lines in this sort of nonsense verse are freely interchangeable.

Cheers


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Subject: RE: Origins:one bright day in the middle of the night
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 09 Dec 13 - 10:16 PM

From a notebook found in my mother's memorabilia, dated ca. 1920 (she would have been about 6 or 7 y.o. then):

Midnight on the Ocean

It was midnight on the ocean
Not a streetcar was in sight
The sun was shining brightly
And it rained all day that night.

It was a summer night in winter
The rain was snowing fast
A barefoot boy with shoes on
Stood sitting in the grass

It was evening and the rising sun
Was setting in the west
And all the little fishes in the trees
Were huddled in their nests.

The rain was pouring down
The moon was shining bright
And everything that u could c
Was hidden out of sight

While the organ pealed potatoes
Lard was rendered by the choir
While the sexton rang the dishrag
Semeone set the church on fir

"Holy Smoke" the preacher shouted
And in the rain he lost his hair
Now his head resembles heaven
For there is no parting there.

John


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