Negro Folk Rhymes Wise & Otherwise - online book

A detailed study of Negro folk music, includes lyrics & sheet music samples.

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NEGRO FOLK RHYMES
his skin has been hard and scaly, and he no longer goes far from the rivers."
This is about as literal an outline of the Ameri­can Negro story "Why the Alligator's Back is Rough" as one could have. The slight difference is that the direct African version mixes people in with the plot. This along with Mr. Harris's evidences practically establishes the fact that the Negro ani­mal story outlines came with the Negroes them­selves from Africa and would also render it practi­cally certain that many animal rhymes came in the same way since these Rhymes in many cases accom­pany the stories.
Then there are Rhymes, not animal Rhymes, which seem to carry plainly in their thought con­tent a probable African origin. In the Rhyme, "Bought Me a Wife," there is not only the men­tioning of buying a wife, but there is the setting forth of feeding her along with guineas, chickens, etc., out under a tree. Such a conception does not fit in with American slave life but does fit into widely prevailing conditions found in Africa.
Read the last stanza of "Ration Day," where the slave sings of going after death to a land where there are trees that bear fritters and where there are ponds of honey. Surely there is nothing in America to
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