“Hallibone, crackabone, ten and eleven”: Children’s Rhymes and Singing Games

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“Hallibone, crackabone, ten and eleven”: Children’s Rhymes and Singing Games

by Gavin James Campbell
Southern Cultures, Vol. 3, No. 3: Sports in the South

"For over two centuries, rhymes and singing games have been an integral part of southern childhood."

“Aw, Mom! Do I have to? Can’t I stay out just a little longer?” The injustice of being called in to prepare for bed just as the fun was really starting has been replayed in countless yards across the South. Cicadas sing a goodnight lullaby that heralds the dolesome hour. Truding like the condemned to the scaffold, the child ascends the porch steps as the rest of the children regroup to accommodate the loss of yet another playmate to the clutches of the washcloth and cotton sheets. Wafting on the dusky evening air in a ritual almost as old as the bedtime struggle is a counting-out rhyme to choose the newest person to be “it”:

Bee, bee, bumblebee,
Stung a man upon his knee;
Stung a pig upon his snout.
I declare if you wan’t OUT!

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