Negro Folk Rhymes Wise & Otherwise - online book

A detailed study of Negro folk music, includes lyrics & sheet music samples.

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Nursery Rhyme Section * awful harbingers
Wen de big owl whoops,
An' de screech owl screeks,
An' de win' makes a howlin' sound;
You liddle wooly heads
Had better kiver up,
Caze de "hants" is comin' 'round.
I had a liddle dog, his name wus Jack; He run forty mile 'fore he look back. Wen he look back, he fall in a crack; Wen he fall in a crack, he break 'is back; An' dat wus de las' o' poor liddle Jack.
* This little rhyme is based upon a superstition once current among Negroes, to the effect that bad luck would come when a screech owl called near your home at night unless, upon hearing him, you would stick the handle of a shovel into the fire about which you were sitting, or would throw salt into it. The word "hant" means ghost or spirit.