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NEGRO FOLK RHYMES
suggest such thoughts, but such thoughts might have come from Africa where natives gather their fruit from the bread tree and dip it into honey gathered from the forests.
Read "When My Wife Dies." This is a Dance Rhyme Song. When the Rhymer chants in seemingly light vein in our hearing that he will simply get another wife when his wife dies, we turn away our faces in disgust, but wTe turn back almost amazed when he announces in the immediately succeeding lines that his heart will sorrow when she is gone because none better has been created among women. The dance goes on and we almost see grim Death himself smile as the Rhymer closes his Dance Song with directions not to bury him deep, and to put bread in his hand and molasses at his feet that he may eat on the way to the "Promised Land."
If you had asked a Negro boy in the days gone by what this Dance Rhyme Song meant, he would have told you that he didn't know, that it was simply an old song he had picked up from somewhere. Thus he would go right along thoughtlessly singing or repeating and passing the Rhyme to others. The dancing over the dead and the song which accompanied it certainly had no place in American life. But do you ask where there was such a place? Get Dr.