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rendering of the event) is the shooting-iron with which a crime is accomplished. The pistol, or "gun" as the Negro calls it, is one of the dramatis persona, by no means inactive or silent — for it has a speaking part all too often, with no request for encore, however, and is fondly and intimately described, usually as a forty-one, or a forty-five. Fewer crimes of violence are committed in the South now that prohibition has gone, even partially, into effect, and laws against "toting a pistol" are better enforced, which desirable state of affairs may perhaps result in a not so desirable paucity of stirring ballads in the future.
Howard W. Odum, professor in the University of North Carolina, in an article in the Journal of American Folk-lore, reports several versions of Stagolee's carryings on. The first is sung by Negroes in Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Alabama, as well as by Negro vagrants as they travel casually.
Stagolee, Stagolee, what's dat in yo' grip? Nothing but my Sunday clothes; I'm goin' to take a trip. Oh dat man, bad man, Stagolee done come!
Stagolee, Stagolee, where you been so long? I been out on de battle-iiel' shootin' an' havin' fun. Oh dat man, bad man, Stagolee done come!
Stagolee was a bully man an' ev'ybody knowed, When dey seed Stagolee comin', to give Stagolee de road. 0 dat man, bad man, Stagolee done come!
Stagolee started out, he give his wife his han'; "Good-bye, darlin', I'm goin' to kill a man." 0 dat man, bad man, Stagolee done come!
Stagolee killed a man an7 laid him on de flo\ What's dat he kill him wid? Dat same ol' fohty-fo'. O dat man, bad man, Stagolee done come!
Stagolee killed a man an' laid him on his side. What's dat he kill him widr Dat same oV fohty-nve. O dat man, bad man, Stagolee done come!
Out o' de house an' down de street Stagolee did run, In his hand he held a great big smoking gun. O dat man, bad man, Stagolee done come!