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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NEGRO FOLK-SONGS
I never saw the actual kiss given, as children in my region in my day did not play kissing-games. But some child of the opposite sex would come forward and tap the singer on the shoulder, after which he would take his place and sing.
Newell, in his "Games and Songs/' gives an old kissing-game re­ported to be played by Negro children at Galveston, Texas, years ago, which is apparently a remote version of the Sleeping Beauty tale.
A girl pretends to be asleep, while a ring of children circle round her, singing:
Here we go round the strawberry bush, This cold and frosty morning.
Here's a young lady sat down to sleep, This cold and frosty morning.
She wants a young gentleman to wake her up, This cold and frosty morning.
Mr.-----his name is called,
This cold and frosty morning.
Arise, arise, upon your feet, This cold and frosty morning.
After the kiss has been given, the sleeper wakes, and the game con­tinues with some one else as central figure. This is a survival of an old English round.
I have seen Negro children in Texas play the old game, which we white youngsters also played, called " Chickamy, Chickamy, Crany Crow." This is a thrillful game, with a witch in it, and wild chasings and captures. A witch sits at one side, while a leader representing a mother hen enters, with a string of chickens behind her, each clinging to the garments of the chicken in front of him. The line circles fear­fully about the witch, chanting:
Chickamy, chickamy, crany crow,
I went to the well to wash my toe.
When I came back one of my black-eyed chickens was gone.
The leader pauses near the witch and asks, "What time is it, old witch? " If the witch answers with any numeral less than twelve, the mother and chickens are safe for the moment, and circle around again, chanting, and again ask the hour. But if the old witch replies, "Twelve o'clock!" then she springs at them and they flee shrieking in terror. If the witch captures a chick, — as she surely does, — the







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