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232 NEGRO FOLK-SONGS
Mrs. Richard Clough Thompson says of an Arkansas work-song: " A group of Negroes had knocked off work and were idling along the road, when they spied their master coming, and, realizing that detection and punishment were inevitable, they began to improvise a song after this fashion:
"Stan' boys, stan', Dah's now no use a-runnin7,
Use a-runnin7. Look upon yondah hill An' see oF massa coming
See 7im comin7.
"Bowie knife in one hand An7 pistol in de tother. Stan', boys, stan7, Brother stan7 by brother, Stan' by brother.
"Oberseer wid his stick, Stick am comin7 floppin7,
Floppin7, floppin7, Niggahs, ef you run away Ruckus bound to happen,
Ruckus bound to happen.
" At the word one of the boys fell down and the rest gathered around him, so that the plantation owner and his overseer arrived to find the Negroes carrying with mournful faces a darky boy seemingly unconscious."
But not all the disadvantages are on the side of the colored man, as others of his songs suggest. The Negro is an optimist and has his own philosophy to comfort him. In contrasting his lot with that of the white man, he may have a mood to see that he is the fortunate one. He is less worried by income and inheritance taxes, and can himself perceive other advantages. At least, the Negro responsible for the song given me by Mrs. M. L. Riddle, of eastern Tennessee, felt that way about his life.
I'm a Nachel-bawn Reaches.
De white man say de times is hahd, Nigger never worries, 'case he trust in de Lawd. No matter how hahd de times may be, Chickens never roost too high foh me.