Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Opposites and Oral Tradition

When I was younger, my father used to tell me some silly rhymes.  I'm not sure where he got them, but even as an adult, I smile just thinking about them.  They are nonsensical, but still interesting.

The first one is this: "I see," said the blind man to his deaf son, while his lame daughter danced.
Another version of this one is: "I see," said the blind man, to his deaf dog, as he picked up his hammer and saw.
The previous two examples are something called a "wellerism".  Wikipedia has an interesting article here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wellerism

The second one goes like this:
One bright day, in the middle of the night
Two dead boys got up to fight
Back to back, they faced each other
Drew their swords and shot each other
A deaf policeman heard the noise
And came and shot the two dead boys
If you don't believe this story is true,
Ask the blind man, he saw it too.

Doing a Google search of the opening line, gave me the following link: http://www.folklore.bc.ca/Onefineday.htm.  It seems like an interesting read and provides some analysis of the rhyme.  It also has the complete rhyme, whereas my father only told me part of it. I guess that is one of the problems with oral tradition.

Aren't opposites fun?

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