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]

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Over The River And Through The Woods!

Lydia Maria Child was a novelist, journalist and a teacher.
"A Boy's Thanksgiving Day," most often called "Over the River and Through the Woods" was originally a poem written by Lydia Maria Child.
It celebrates her childhood memories of visiting her Grandfather's House.
The Thanksgiving song/poem originally appeared in Flowers for Children, volume 2, in 1844.

Over the river, and through the wood,
To Grandmother's house we go;
The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow.

Over the river, and through the wood -
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes and bites the nose
As over the ground we go.

Over the river, and through the wood,
To have a first-rate play.
Hear the bells ring, "Ting-a-ling-ding",
Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!

Over the river, and through the wood
Trot fast, my dapple-gray!
Spring over the ground like a hunting-hound,
For this is Thanksgiving Day.

Over the river, and through the wood -
And straight through the barnyard gate,
We seem to go extremely slow,
It is so hard to wait!

Over the river, and through the wood -
Now Grandmother's cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!

To hear this song click here to go to