Monday, November 10, 2008

Old Mother Grey.....a children's game

Here's an old British children's game song:


Old Mother Grey, may we go out to play?
Mother Gray: 'No, it's raining'.
Children: "No, it isn't, the sun is shining
Mother Grey: "All right, you may go out to play'.

[The children rush off, and play around, perhaps moving out of sight.]

Old Mother Grey calls: "Children, it's dinner time!"
Children: 'Coming mother.'
Mother: 'Where have you been?'
Children: 'We've been to London to see the Queen.'
Mother: 'What did she give you?'
Children: 'A loaf of bread as big our head, a piece if cheese as big as our knees, a lump of jelly as big as our belly, and a teeny weeny six pence."
Mother: "Where's my share?
Children: 'Up in the air.'
Mother; 'How shall I get it?'
Children; 'Stand on a chair.
Mother; 'And if I fall?'
Children all laugh and shout out: "We don't care."

[Old Mother Grey runs after them, and whoever she catches becomes the next 'Mother'.]

Source: Source: Iona and Peter Opie: Children's Games in Street and Playground; [Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1969; pp. 307-308

Here's a variant from the Caribbean:


Children, children
Yes, Mama.
Where yo' been to?
What she give yo'?
Two apples.
Where yo' put them?
On the shelf.
How will yo' get them?
Stand on a chair.

[As the "children" answer "Mama" they creep closer and closer to her until finally "Mama" turns and chases them"].

Source: Grace Hallworth: "Down By The River: Afro-Caribbean Rhymes, Games and Songs for Children" [New York Scholastic Inc, 1996]

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