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Folklore: in come or oxen free?

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Bettynh 11 Aug 14 - 02:28 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 11 Aug 14 - 02:51 PM
GUEST,mg 11 Aug 14 - 02:51 PM
MartinRyan 11 Aug 14 - 02:52 PM
MartinRyan 11 Aug 14 - 02:55 PM
MartinRyan 11 Aug 14 - 03:02 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 11 Aug 14 - 03:08 PM
MartinRyan 11 Aug 14 - 03:13 PM
GUEST, topsie 11 Aug 14 - 03:32 PM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 11 Aug 14 - 04:04 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Aug 14 - 04:23 PM
GUEST,leeneia 12 Aug 14 - 02:46 AM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 12 Aug 14 - 06:05 AM
Nigel Parsons 12 Aug 14 - 08:17 AM
clueless don 12 Aug 14 - 08:49 AM
Bettynh 12 Aug 14 - 10:54 AM
Steve Gardham 12 Aug 14 - 01:12 PM
Don Firth 12 Aug 14 - 01:52 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Aug 14 - 03:52 PM
Bettynh 13 Aug 14 - 02:49 PM
GUEST,Blandiver 13 Aug 14 - 04:06 PM
GUEST 14 Aug 14 - 09:41 AM
Mysha 14 Aug 14 - 12:44 PM
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Subject: Folklore: in come or oxen free?
From: Bettynh
Date: 11 Aug 14 - 02:28 PM

When I was growing up (very close to Boston, Mass. in the 1950s) my mom would call us home from playing by singing out

"Allee allee in come free"

Thirty years later and thirty miles away, I was informed by my kids that the chant should be

"Allee allee oxen free"

That never felt right to me. What do cattle have to do with this? Anyway, I just called them by name. But now I'm wondering: was the difference location? or progression of time (it's hard to imagine a sensible call to become nonsensical but..)? I can't remember if other mothers called their kids in that way when I was young. I do think I've heard the "oxen" variation elsewhere (on TV or in a movie?).

So, do you know what I'm talking about here? What variation did your family use?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: in come or oxen free?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 11 Aug 14 - 02:51 PM

Allee, allee, outs in free.

From a hiding game; all those kids who hid and remained undiscovered could come home, as a new kid had been caught/found and would have to search for a replacement (or the game was over).

I remember playing the game in the 1930s.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: in come or oxen free?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 11 Aug 14 - 02:51 PM

i heard ox in..used to call people in from a game of tag etc.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: in come or oxen free?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 11 Aug 14 - 02:52 PM

One of the semi-atrophied brain cells in the back of my skull hears Harry Belafonte singing the "oxen" version of that phrase...

Regards


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Subject: RE: Folklore: in come or oxen free?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 11 Aug 14 - 02:55 PM

Kingston Trio -

Click here

As I said - semi-atrophied.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Folklore: in come or oxen free?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 11 Aug 14 - 03:02 PM

Wikipedia gives a good resume of the phrase and its variants, including reference to the Opies work:
Click here

Regards


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Subject: RE: Folklore: in come or oxen free?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 11 Aug 14 - 03:08 PM

Thanks, Martin, I hadn't realized that there were variations from the old "outs in free."


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Subject: RE: Folklore: in come or oxen free?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 11 Aug 14 - 03:13 PM

When I think of it, in my (late '40's) childhood, the end of a hiding game was always announced with the call "All in! All in! The game is all up!" sung out in a kind of lilt.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Folklore: in come or oxen free?
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 11 Aug 14 - 03:32 PM

In Somerset in the 1950s "All in ..." was the call to gather players together before starting a game - children would link arms and call "All in who wants to play 'The Big Ship Sails' (or 'The Farmer's in his Den' or whatever game it was going to be)". When enough payers had joined the line the game would start.
I can't remember a call for ending a game.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: in come or oxen free?
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 11 Aug 14 - 04:04 PM

Somerset in the 1960s it was definitely "oxen".
I could never work out why either.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: in come or oxen free?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Aug 14 - 04:23 PM

1950s Hull Yorkshire.

'All-ee, all-ee in' to gather participants together for whatever reason. Any hide and seek game ranging over a fair distance down back streets, particularly for re-alley-o (Relievo) but Block as well.

I don't remember it being used in long-rope skipping as there was usually a rhyme or chant to call everyone in to this. 'All in together, girls, this fine weather, girls' etc.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: in come or oxen free?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 12 Aug 14 - 02:46 AM

All-ee, all-ee in free

chicagoland, 1950's, to signal the end of a round of Hide and Go Seek. (Not Hide and Seek.)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: in come or oxen free?
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 12 Aug 14 - 06:05 AM

Having thought about it I suppose that it is a corruption from French, allez allez aux, in free.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: in come or oxen free?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 12 Aug 14 - 08:17 AM

I seem to remember one of the characters in Peanuts using it as
"Ollie Olsen Free-o"
and getting upbraided for it.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: in come or oxen free?
From: clueless don
Date: 12 Aug 14 - 08:49 AM

Washington DC, in the 1950s, playing Hide and Seek (not Hide and Go Seek.) If a hider was able to get back to base without being caught by the seeker, he/she could holler "Free", and would be free for the rest of the game. On the other hand, he/she could holler "Olly Olly Oxen Free", which meant that not only was he/she free, but all of the other hiders were also free - in other words, the seeker had failed. I believe it was sometimes considered mean to yell "Olly Olly Oxen Free", since it didn't give the seeker a chance to find one of the other hiders.

Don


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Subject: RE: Folklore: in come or oxen free?
From: Bettynh
Date: 12 Aug 14 - 10:54 AM

Martin, thanks! I never considered looking in Wikipedia. A change from "outs in" to "oxen" certainly makes sense.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: in come or oxen free?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Aug 14 - 01:12 PM

Similar to Clueless, in our team catch game with a base (Re-alley-0) if a member of the chased team could get over the base boundary and shout 're-alley-o' without being caught this freed other captured members of their team. For that very reason the chasing team would leave a defender at the base to prevent this. The base was invariably the end of a wider alleyway wide enough to take a car.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: in come or oxen free?
From: Don Firth
Date: 12 Aug 14 - 01:52 PM

Folk process in action. Oftentimes words get misheard and it's amazing what they can turn into sometimes.

I remember back in the 1930s (when the Big Bang occurred, I was the guy who yelled, "What the hell was THAT!??"), kids in my neighborhood played games like hide-and=seek and kick-the-can a lot, and from time to time the call went out, "Ollie Ollie oxen free!"

Somebody, a grown up maybe, pointed out that they had always called "All ye, all ye, outs in free!" Made sense to me, but there was quite a dispute about it among the kids. Never settled, but no matter....

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Folklore: in come or oxen free?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Aug 14 - 03:52 PM

When we shouted 'allee allee in' I presumed we were simply shouting 'All in' with the customary y added on the end as in mate>matey, dog>doggy etc.

These threads are both valuable and interesting as short phrases and calls like this often went unrecorded when the collectors were writing down the rhymes and games. 'Calling out' is something I haven't heard in 50 years. When our houses were packed together like sardines and we all lived on top of each other, if we wanted to ask a friend if he was coming out to play we would stand at the back gate and shout 'Yow, (name)!'. A frequent response from a mother would be, 'He's having his tea. He'll be out after.' To attract the attention of a friend in the distance we would yodel 'Ee-yow-oo!. Crescendo on the last syllable.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: in come or oxen free?
From: Bettynh
Date: 13 Aug 14 - 02:49 PM

I don't see any geographic pattern here - seems this discussion has been going on locally for many years, with one or another variation decided by the neighborhood. I think we're probably talking about the same chant, though. It's roughly like the one at the end of this Twilight Zone episode.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: in come or oxen free?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 13 Aug 14 - 04:06 PM

All in, all in, Mother Goose is calling!

(SE Northumberland, 1960s)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: in come or oxen free?
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Aug 14 - 09:41 AM

Then there's the tale of the Skunk family.
It's washday, and Mummy Skunk's mind's set to get the wash done, dried, ironed and away by supper. But her two baby skunks, In and Out, are playing underfoot, so she sends them out to play.
So out go In and Out and as they go out Mummy Skunk tells them to be good and sure to be back in in time for supper. Out they go and Mummy sets down to work.
No sooner said than done: she has a good afternoon, and has supper about set when in comes Out - without In. So Mummy Skunk sends Out out to fetch In in, and out goes out and two seconds later back in comes Out with In. Mummy Skunk thinks that's pretty good, finding him so quickly, and asks Out how he found In so quickly.
"Easy. In stinked."


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Subject: RE: Folklore: in come or oxen free?
From: Mysha
Date: 14 Aug 14 - 12:44 PM

Hi Don,

Ah, earlier times. Yet, "All ye, all ye, outs in free!" probably isn't the original either. The heralds cry is: "Oyez, oyez", which means "Hear ye, hear ye." It would seem to me that that call for attention is what is used here. (And that cry has other forms still.)

I'm also not sure of the "outs in free" bit, but if English ever used the verb "syn", rather than "to be", it must have been quite a while back. Still, "All syn free" has a better ring than the unusual "outs"; I've never heard of them actually being called "outs" except for this one cry.


Then again, who's to say Lucy van Pelt isn't right after all.

Bye
                                                                Mysha


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