Four Seeds In A Row

Four seeds all in a row 2

Four seeds in a row one for the rook, one for the crow, one to die, and one to grow.

or 

Four seeds in a row, one for the rook, one for the crow, one will wither and one will grow.

or various other rhymes all the with the same gist!

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A few weeks ago I had a piece of the rhyme going around in my head while we were planting beans. I decided to google around and see what I could discover about it. 

Mud Cat Cafe-my favorite online forum for music information offered up the following details about the rhyme.

From: peregrina

How to sow Beans. 'One for the mouse, One for the crow, One to rot, One to grow.'
[1850 Notes & Queries 1st Ser. II. 515]

'Kernels,' said Pa. 'Four kernels. ‥One for the blackbird, One for the crow, And that will leave Just two to grow.'
[1941 L. I. Wilder Little Town on Prairie ii.]

Careful farmers‥sow their seed broadcast, saying: One for wind and one for crow one to die and one to grow.
[1961 N. Lofts House at Old Vine i. 34]

From: Jim Dixon

A few more:

From Documents of the Assembly of the State of New York, Volume 11, 1874, page 299:

The number of kernels in a hill may be designated thus:
One for the blackbird, one for the crow,
One for the cut-worm, and one to grow.

Monthly Packet of Evening Readings, Volume 19, (London: Mozley and Smith, 1875), page 213:

—and the rule for sowing is,
'One for the mouse, one for the crow,
One to rot, and one to grow'

Annual Report of the Secretary of the State Board of Agriculture ..., Volume 19 (Lansing: State of Michigan, 1880), page 148:

I do not believe in the old rhyme—
"One for the black bird,
One for the crow,
One to get mouldy
And one to grow."

Work and Leisure: The Englishwoman's Advertiser, Reporter and Gazette, Vol. 7 (London: Hatchards, 1882), page 211:

The old farming adage—
'One for the mouse, one for the crow,
One to rot, and one to grow,'
is true of fruits as well as of seeds.

Gardeners' Chronicle, Vol. 8 (London: Haymarket Pub., 1890), page 686

There is an old country saying—
"Sow four beans as you make your row,
One to rot, and one to grow,
One for the pigeon, and one for the crow."

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Easy to see the rhyme is old and prolific. I jumped at the quote from the Little House book thinking that's where I remembered it from...but what I had in my head was closer to some of the others so who knows where I heard it.

Have you ever heard the rhyme? 

Tipper

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By At The Gallop Goes He

By at the gallop goes he old rhyme

My father used to do something like Mr. Davenport but not to that extent. He also played the spoons.

Sometimes after dark he would drum his fingers on the table to make galloping horse sounds and recite:


Whenever the moon and stars are set,
Whenever the wind is high,
All night long in the dark and wet,
A man goes riding by.
Late in the night when the fires are out, 
Why does he gallop and gallop about?


Whenever the trees are crying aloud,
And ships are tossed at sea,
By, on the highway, low and loud,
By at the gallop goes he.
By at the gallop he goes, and then 
By he comes back at the gallop again.

Comment by Ed Ammons May 2013

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The poem Ed remembers his father reciting is Windy Nights written by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894). 

I wasn't familiar with the poem until Ed left his comment back in 2013. I like the poem and I like the image of Ed's father reciting it as he drummed his fingers.

Tipper

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Locks Of Gold Today - Tomorrow Silver Gray

Locks of Gray Today Tomorrow Silver Gray

The Dandelion by John Banister Tabb

With locks of gold to-day,
To-morrow, silver gray;
Then blossom-bald. Behold,
O man, thy fortune told!

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B.Ruth introduced me to this little poem last week when she left the following comments:

"Tipper,
Guess what this is? Then you will know what I remember about the first signs of Spring where I grew up as a child....

WITH LOCKS OF GOLD TODAY;
TO-MORROW, SILVER GRAY;
THEN BLOSSOM-BALD. BEHOLD,
O MAN, THY FORTUNE TOLD!"

and

"Tipper,
The answer was Dandelion...
We had gazillions of them in the Secret City...along walkways, drive ways, grassy medians, and lawns. One time a visitor from across the sea asked our local newspaper "What are those beautiful yellow flowers that bloom along all the sidewalks in your city?" In all her travels she had never seen anything so beautiful...In other words..one mans weed is another ones beautiful flower!
I remember helping spread the Dandelion seeds many times...as did all the children in the neighborhood...lol

The poem THE DANDELION was written by John Tabb"

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Drop back by in a few days and I'll share my Dandelion Jelly Recipe with you!

Tipper

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Tom Toddy Tom Toddy

Tom Toddy Tom Toddy all head and no body

Back when we first started discussing rhymes here on the Blind Pig, Ed Ammons sent me the following email about a rhyme his mother used to say:

My mother used to recite a little poem or phrase that included the words "Tom Toddy, Tom Toddy, all head and no body." Have your or your parents ever hear of such? That little scrap is all I remember. Ed

A few months later Ed sent me this email:

Hey Tipper

A couple of months ago I sent you an email about a little rhyme my mother used to recite. She would say "Tom Toddy, Tom Toddy, all head and no body. I asked if you or your dad or mom had heard it or anything like it. Well, today I was "working" I thought again about it. After a bit of googling, I found this http://www.folkwales.org.uk/arctd7.html

It's not verbatim but the resemblance is striking. How can it not be the same?

After researching the line Ed's Mother used to say, I discovered tom-toddy is another name for a young frog or for a tadpole. And as you can see from the glossary entry below it's also apparently the name for a strange drinking game. 

The tadpole part certainly fits the little rhyme.

 
Glossary of words in use in cornwall
I'm hoping some of you can shed even more light on the little rhyme. However one thing is already clear-like much of our heritage and culture it came from over the big pond with those first white settlers of Appalachia.

Tipper

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Baa Baa Black Sheep

Baa baa black sheep

Baa Baa Black Sheep Have You Any Wool?
Yes, sir, yes, sir three bags full.
One for the master, one for the dame,
And one for the little boy who lives down the lane.

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I don’t remember where I first learned the rhyme Baa Baa Black Sheep – maybe at school? The rhyme didn’t take on much significance to me because the only sheep I had ever seen were on tv or in books.

Turns out the poem is talking about taxes and the unfairness of them. The “little boy down the lane” symbolizes farmers or everyday citizens who were subject to the Monarchy of England.

The book Heavy Words Lightly Thrown The Reason Behind The Rhyme written by Christ Roberts, gives insight into the real meaning of the rhyme.

“The wealth of England was largely a result of the trade in wool, hence the “woolsack” on which the Lord Chancellor still sits today in the House of Lords. The woolsack was introduced by King Edward III in the fourteenth century and though originally filled with English wool, it is currently packed with wool from each of the countries of the Commonwealth, in order to express unity among member states…. During feudal times, taxes did not go to the Chancellor or even the European Union. In the Middle Ages, farmers were required to give one-third of their income (which could be in the form of goods such as wool) to their “master”-the local lord-who would in turn pass one-third of it to the King and another third to the “dame” (representing the Church). The final third they kept for themselves or sold, and this was the part that went to the “little boy.”

Another nursery rhyme that has serious grown up meaning behind it. Sort of disappointing to learn so many of the old rhymes were born out of frustration and bondage. 

I suppose in those days folks used the rhymes as their own sort of free speech-they were able to say what they wanted yet claim it was nothing more than a diddy to entertain their children. 

Tipper

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Old King Cole Was A Merry Old Soul

Old king cole was a merry ole soul

Old King Cole was a merry old soul,
And a merry old soul was he.
He called for his pipe,
and he called for his bowl,
And he called for his fiddlers three.

Every fiddler he had a fiddle,                          
And a very fine fiddle had he.
Oh there’s none so rare,
As can compare,
With King Cole and his fiddlers three.

or this version

Old King Cole was a merry old soul, and a merry old soul was he;
He called for his pipe in the middle of the night
And he called for his fiddlers three.

Every fiddler had a fine fiddle, and a very fine fiddle had he;
Oh there's none so rare as can compare
With King Cole and his fiddlers three.

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Historians say the origin of this rhyme dates all the way back to the third century. But when it comes to deciding exactly who Old King Cole was-there are varying opinions.

The identity of King Cole could have been one of three different Celtic Kings of Britian: Coel Godhebog better known as Cole the Magnificent; Coel Hen, known as Coel the Old; or St. Ceneu ap Coel.

Coel is the Celtic word for the English word Cole-so that explains that part.

Cole the Magnificent was the Lord of Colchester -b.220 Decurion of Rome. His daughter, Helena had a son with Constantius who became Constantine the Great.

Coel the Old (Coel Hen c.350-c.420) was referred to as the old because of his longevity. He reigned during the decline of the Roman Empire. He was believed to have been the last Decurion.

St. Ceneu ap Coel was Coel the Old's son. St. Ceneu ap was Sainted for holding up Christian ways.

The rhyme was most likely written about Coel the Old but no one knows for sure. I'm not sure when or how I learned the rhyme-probably at school. I only learned the first lines:

Old King Cole was a merry old soul,
And a merry old soul was he.
He called for his pipe,
and he called for his bowl,
And he called for his fiddlers three.

I always pictured a kind heavy set bearded man as Old King Cole in my mind-I still do. I also always thought it would be pretty cool to 'call' for all the things I needed and have them arrive around my chair.

I have to get my own bowl when I want it-and I don't really need a pipe for anything-but it sure is nice having a fiddle player at my beck and call. I have fiddle tunes on demand...just don't tell her I said that. 

Tipper

*Source: Roberts, Chris. Heavy words lightly thrown: the reason behind the rhyme. Large print ed. Waterville, Me.: Thorndike Press, 2006. Print; http://www.rhymes.org.uk/old_king_cole.htm

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Little Boy Blue

Little boy blue

Little boy blue,
Come blow your horn,
The sheep’s in the meadow,
The cow’s in the corn.
But where is the boy
Who looks after the sheep?
Under the haystack,
Fast asleep,
Will you wake him?
No, not I,
For if I do
He’s sure to cry.

One of our uncles used to say this rhyme to Paul when he was young. So when I hear it I think of the uncle and of Paul with a shock of blond hair falling into his big brown eyes.

The rhyme could be used to describe anyone who isn’t doing their job or that has left their watch unattended. According to the book Heavy Words Lightly Thrown The Reason Behind The Rhyme written by Christ Roberts, the rhyme details Charles II and the good life he lead during his exile from Britain. While Charles II was ‘under the haystack’ troubles ‘sheep in the meadow and cows in the corn’ were plaguing his country.

From the book:

“The rhyme is a lament by the remaining Royalists that the country was in disarray, lacking a king to lead it (no Leviathan figure, for those familiar with Hobbe’s philosophy). Even these Cavaliers, however are critical of Charles, as the final lines contain a suggestion that he might lack a certain moral fiber and should be more vigorous in reclaiming the throne.”

Do you remember Little Boy Blue?

Tipper

p.s. The Pressley Girls and the Blind Pig Gang will be performing this Saturday-June 28 at 12:00 p.m. at the Martins Creek Community Center's Annual Jamboree. There'll be vendors, muisc, and food come by and see us if you can!

*Source: Roberts, Chris. Heavy words lightly thrown: the reason behind the rhyme. Large print ed. Waterville, Me.: Thorndike Press, 2006. Print.

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This Old Man

CHILDHOOD RHYMES

This old man, he played one,
He played knick-knack with his thumb,
With a knick-knack, paddy whack,
Give the dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.


This old man, he played two,
He played knick-knack with my shoe,
With a knick-knack, paddy whack,
Give the dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.


This old man, he played three,
He played knick-knack on my knee,
With a knick-knack, paddy whack,
Give the dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.


This old man, he played four,
He played knick-knack at my door,
With a knick-knack, paddy whack,
Give the dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.


This old man, he played five,
He played knick-knack with his hive,
With a knick-knack, paddy whack,
Give the dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.


This old man, he played six,
He played knick-knack with his sticks,
With a knick-knack, paddy whack,
Give the dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.


This old man, he played seven,
He played knick-knack up in heaven,
With a knick-knack, paddy whack,
Give the dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.


This old man, he played eight,
He played knick-knack on my gate,
With a knick-knack, paddy whack,
Give the dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.


This old man, he played nine,
He played knick-knack rise and shine,
With a knick-knack, paddy whack,
Give the dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.


This old man, he played ten,
He played knick-knack on his hen,
With a knick-knack, paddy whack,
Give the dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.


As kids we loved to sing this rhyme. I was always a little jealous of the kids who could remember every line-all the way up to 10-at least I could always chime in on the repetitive parts. The rhyme has traditionally been used to help children learn to count. It dates from the nineteenth century.

The repeating words sound like nonsense words-seemingly added in to increase the rhythmic quality of the rhyme. However the book Heavy Words Lightly Thrown The Reason Behind The Rhyme written by Christ Roberts, tells us the words actually do have meaning. In 1673, knick-knack was used to describe furniture or a keepsake and is still used today to describe small figurines, photos, pieces of art, etc. In 1881 paddy-whack meant an Irishman (a derogatory term). We know giving a dog a bone is a euphemism for giving someone something to pacify them and rolling home was once used to describe someone who ‘rolled’ from drinking as they headed for home.

Wikipedia has this interesting entry about the rhyme:

A similar version was included in Cecil Sharp and Sabine Baring-Gould's English Folk-Songs for Schools, published in 1906. It was collected several times in England in the early twentieth century with a variety of lyrics. In 1948 it was included by Pete Seeger and Ruth Crawford in their American Folk Songs for Children and recorded by Seeger in 1953. It received a boost in popularity when it was adapted for the 1958 film The Inn of the Sixth Happiness by composer Malcolm Arnold as "The Children's Marching Song", which led to hit singles for Cyril Stapleton and Mitch Miller. In popular culture Columbo whistles this tune in almost every episode. It also appears as a motif in the musical score.

Do you remember singing knick-knack paddy whack give the dog a bone?

Tipper

*Source: Roberts, Chris. Heavy words lightly thrown: the reason behind the rhyme. Large print ed. Waterville, Me.: Thorndike Press, 2006. Print.

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Yankee Doodle Dandy

Yankee doodle rhyme

Yankee Doodle come to town,
Riding on a pony.
Stuck a feather in his cap,
And called it macaroni.

I remember this rhyme as being a celebratory chant of sorts in Mrs. Sult’s second grade classroom at Martins Creek Elementary. Actually a lot of the rhymes we’ve been discussing over the last several months take me back to her classroom. A lover of rhymes and poems she must have been.

According to the book Heavy Words Lightly Thrown The Reason Behind The Rhyme written by Chris Roberts, the earliest mention of Yankee Doodle comes to us from 1768 when a Boston periodical mentioned the song as being a popular tune of the time.

The book also tells the rhyme was a favorite mocking tool of British soldiers in the Revolutionary War, until the Americans began using the rhyme as a chant for themselves-even singing the rhyme as the British surrendered at the end of the war.

In a vague sense, I always knew the rhyme was connected to the days of the Revolution; however I never understood how the macaroni part came into play. Of course in my mind I pictured the macaroni we eat today. The book Heavy Words Lightly Thrown The Reason Behind The Rhyme explains the word.

In the early 1770s a group of well to do British males toured around Europe where they picked up a new style of dress. Once they were home in Britain, their styles became all the rage with even clergy taking on some of the new fads. These style changing young men were called Macaroni.

So the British Gentry were taunting the hayseed Americans saying – you Yankee Doodle stuck a feather in your hat and think you’ve reached the highest style of British Macaroni.

Tipper

*Source: Roberts, Chris. Heavy words lightly thrown: the reason behind the rhyme. Large print ed. Waterville, Me.: Thorndike Press, 2006. Print.

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Mary Mary Quite Contrary

Mary mary quite contrary

Mary, Mary quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle-shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.

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This is a rhyme I remember from early childhood. My given name is Mary and someone used to say the poem to me…or maybe it was several people who said it to me.

Mary mary quite contrary from appalachia

Whenever I hear the rhyme, I envision myself-little Tipper-walking around Big Grandma and Mamaw's flower garden. One of my earliest memories is of being with Mamaw in her garden. I looked down and saw a bumblebee that had landed on the collar of my sweater.

I still remember how its stark bright color stood out on the light yellow yarn. Mamaw noticed something had stopped me in my tracks and then she saw the bee and shooed it away. I think she thought I was afraid of it-but I wasn't. I just somehow realized the loveliness of the bee and the moment of being with Mamaw among her flowers. Since that day the words to the rhyme Mary Mary Quiet Contrary have twined with the memory in my mind.

The book Heavy Words Lightly Thrown The Reason Behind The Rhyme written by Christ Roberts, says the rhyme is indeed about Mary...but which Mary is it? Mary Tudor, Mary Queen of Scots, or even Mary the mother of Jesus. The book gives varying information, showing any of the Marys mentioned would work in the poem. However, the one that makes the best sense to me-is the Mary I remember from childhood-me.

Tipper

*Source: Heavy Words Lightly Thrown The Reason Behind The Rhyme written by Christ Roberts

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