Negro Folk Rhymes Wise & Otherwise - online book

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

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race between the hare and the tortoise ("rabbit and terrapin"), the tortoise wins not through the hare's going to sleep, but through a gross deception of all concerned, including even the buzzard who acted as Judge. The Rhyme is a laugh on "Jedge Buz­zard." It was commonly repeated to Negro chil­dren in olden days when they passed erroneous judg­ments. "Buckeyed rabbit! Whoopee!" in our vol­ume belongs with the Negro story recorded by Joel Chandler Harris under the title, "How Mr. Rabbit Lost His Fine Bushy Tail," though for some reason Mr. Harris failed to weave it into the story as was the Negro custom. "The Turtle's Song," in our col­lection, is another, which belongs with the story, "Mr. Terrapin Shows His Strength"; a Negro story given to the world by the same author, though the Rhyme was not recorded by him. It might be of in­terest to know that the Negroes, when themselves telling the Folk stories, usually sang the Folk Rhyme portions to little "catchy" Negro tunes. I would not under any circumstances intimate that Mr. Harris carelessly left them out. He recorded many little stanzas in the midst of the stories. Examples are:
(a) "We'll stay at home when you're away 'Cause no gold won't pay toll."