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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136
NEGRO FOLK-SONGS
Run, Squirrel, run!
Run, Squirrel, run! Run, or the fox will catch you;
Run, run, run!
The game finally turns into a whirl of dodging and leaping and furious pursuit. The squirrel cannot go far, as he must not leave his tree for any distance, and so he is inevitably caught.
In another article, "Games of Washington Children/' in the American Anthropologist for July, 1888, the same author describes a game, and gives a song which is evidently a version of one sent me by Ella Oatman, of Houston, Texas. Mr. Babcock's song is called Old Humpsy and Miss Oatman's is Old Ponto.1
This also is a ring-game. Three players are discovered inside the ring, one standing up straight to represent a tree, one — Old Humpsy, or Old Ponto — crouched beside the tree, and the third representing an old woman. As the song proceeds, the players dra­matize the actions sung of, and when the end comes, each of the three selects in succession and the game and song begin all over again.
OLD PONTO IS DEAD
dead and laid in his grave. Wnool Whoo! Whoo! . .
Old Ponto is dead and laid in his grave, Laid in his grave, laid in his grave. Old Ponto is dead and laid in his grave. Whoo! whoo! whoo!
1 Professor Kittredge writes me: "Your Old Ponto is Dead is an English song — still popular as a game-song. The person who is dead (in English and American versions) is Oliver Cromwell, Old Crompy, Old Crony, Old Pompey, Old Grundy, Old Grumley, Father Adam, Granddaddy, Sir Roger, Little Johnny Wattles, etc. See my note in the Journal of American Folk-lore, xxxv, 407."







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