ON THE TRAIL OF NEGRO FOLK-SONGS

A Collection Of Negro Traditional & Folk Songs with Sheet Music Lyrics & Commentaries - online book

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CHILDREN'S GAME-SONGS
135
" Catch the old squirrel, eidle-dum — eidle-dum, Catch the old squirrel, eidle-dum-dum-dum, Catch the old squirrel, eidle-dum — eidle-dum, Catch the old squirrel, eidle-dum-dee!
"I'll give you fifty cents, eidle-dum — eidle-dum, I'll give you fifty cents, eidle-dum-dum-dum, I'll give you fifty cents, eidle-dum — eidle-dum, I'll give you fifty cents, eidle-dum-dee!"
Another squirrel game-song in use among the Negroes, and con­sidered by its collector to be of undoubted African origin, perhaps brought over from the Congo, is given in an article, " Carols and Child-lore at the Capitol," by W. H. Babcock in Lippincotfs Maga­zine, September, 1886. Whether of jungle or plantation origin, it is such as would appeal to the Negro, who so loves the out-of-doors and gives to animals his own intense feelings. Mr. Babcock says that two players stand face to face, to represent trees, while a third, tak­ing the part of a squirrel, peeps round the trunk of one tree, at an­other squirrel not visible, but apparently off-stage. The chorus goes "pat and sing":
Peep, Squirrel, peep, Peep at your brother.
Why should n't one fool Peep at another?
The fox, in the person of another player, comes up, at which the song changes to a warning:
Jump, Squirrel, jump!
Jump, Squirrel, jump! Jump, or the fox will catch you;
Jump, jump, jump!
When the squirrel sees the fox, he leaps round the tree and trots to­ward the other squirrel off-stage. As the fox follows him, the song becomes:
Trot, Squirrel, trot!
Trot, Squirrel, trot! Trot, or the fox will catch you; Trot, trot, trot!
The squirrel trots faster, the excitement of beating time*and singing increases, and the chorus becomes more animated:







E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III