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
also would easily see how and why as a messenger of a god he would become "Brother Rabbit." If one will read the little Rhyme "Jaybird" he will notice that the rhymer places the intelligence of the rabbit above his own. Our theory accounts for this.
I would next consider the frog, but I imagine I hear the reader saying: "That is not a beginning. How about your bear, terrapin, wolf, squirrel, etc.?"
Seeing that I am faced by so large an array of animals, I beg the reader to walk with me through just one more little path of thought and with his consent I shall leave the matter there.
We see, in two of our African Rhymes, lines on a buzzard and an owl; yet these African natives do not worship these birds. The American Negro chil­dren of my childhood repeated Folk Rhymes con­cerning the rabbit, the fox, etc., without any thought whatever of worshiping them. These American children had received the whole through dim tradi­tional rhymes and stories and engaged in passing them on to others without any special thought. The uncivilized and the unlettered hand down everything by word of mouth. Religion, trades, superstition, medicine, sense, and nonsense all flow in the same stream and from this stream all is drunk down with­out question. If therefore the Negro's rhyme-clus-
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