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A History of Nursery Rhymes by Percy B. Green

Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note, whilst significant amendments are noted at the end of the text.

Archaic and dialect spellings remain as printed.

Greek text has been transliterated and is shown between {braces}.

The oe ligature is shown as [oe]. The + character has been used to represent the cross symbols used in Chapter IX.

CONTENTS

PAGE INTRODUCTION xiii

PART I.

CHAP. I. Prehistoric man--His language one of signs and sounds--The story of Psammetichus and the Two Babies--Idiom of language a survival of primitive peoples 1

II. Modern types of early man--Sign-language of people living on the globe to-day--The custom of the UVINZA grandees--The "good-morning" of the Walunga tribe--Signs of hospitality in the sign vocabulary of the North American Indian--The "attingere extremis digitis" of the Romans--Clap-hands one of the first lessons of the Nursery--The modern survival of hand-clapping--"Is it rude to shake hands, Nurse?"--A hypercritical mother--Plato's rebuke--Agesilaus and his children--Nursery classics and critical babies--"Lalla, lalla, lalla" of the Roman child--The well-known baby dance of "Crow and caper, caper and crow" 8

III. Writers on comparative religions show that entire religious observances come down to modern peoples from heathen sources--The Bohemian Peasant and his Apple Tree--A myth of long descent found in the rhyme of "A Woman, a Spaniel, and Walnut Tree"; our modern "Pippin, pippin, fly away," indicates the same sentiment--The fairy tale of Ashputtel and the Golden Slipper, the legend from which came our story of Cinderella--Tylor on Children's Sports--The mystery of Northern Europe at Christ's coming--The Baby's Rattle--Ancestral worship follows sun and moon worship, and gives us the tales of fairies, goblins, and elves--Boyd Dawkins' story of the Isle of Man farmer--A Scandinavian Manxman--Modernised lullaby of a Polish mother--"Shine, Stars"--"Rain, rain, go away"--Wind making--LULLABIES--Bulgarian, German, "Sleep, Baby, Sleep"--The lullaby of the Black Guitar--"Baby, go to Sleep"--English version, "Hush thee, my Babby"--Danish lullaby of "Sweetly sleep, my little Child"--"Bye, baby bunting" 17

IV. Elf-land--Old-time superstitions--A custom of providing a feast for the dead known in Yorkshire, North-west Ireland, and in Armenia--The Erl King of Goethe--Ballet of the Leaf-dressed Girl--The Spirit of the Waters--An Irish legend of Fior Usga--Scotch superstition--Jenny Greenteeth of Lancashire--The Merrow of the West of Ireland--Soul Cages--The German rhyme of "O Man of the Sea, come list unto Me"--Mysticism among uncivilised races--The Corn Spirit--The Rye-wolf--"The Cow's in the Corn"--"Ring a ring a rosies"--"Cuckoo Cherry Tree"--Our earliest song, "Summer is a-coming in"--"Hot Cockles" at Yorkshire funerals--"Over the Cuckoo Hill, I oh!"--Indian Lore 34


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