The following is a thoroughly rustic but somewhat coarse example, which as in the other cases is generally attempted to be played upon children upon first going to school.
(i.) “Which would you rather have, a rusty rag, a sunburnt cake, or a
blackbird under the bush?”
To the initiated, these alternatives signified a rusty piece of bacon, a piece of dried cow-dung, and the devil! Great merriment was caused should the unsuspecting urchin choose either of the two latter.
(ii.) “As white as milk, an’ ’tisn’ milk;
As green as grass, an’ ’tisn’ grass;
As red as blood, an’ ’tisn’ blood;
As black as ink, an’ ’tisn’ ink?
(Answer: The four stages of a blackberry.)
(iii.) “Long legs, crooked thighs,
Little head, and no eyes?”
(Answer: A pair of tongs.) [Common.]
(iv.) “There is a little house; and in that little house there is a little room; and in that little room there is a little shelf; and on that little shelf there is a little cup; and in that little cup there is something I would not take all the world for?”
(Answer: The heart’s blood.)
(v.) “There was a thing just four weeks old,
And Adam was no more;
Before that thing was five weeks old,
Adam was fourscore.”
(Answer: The moon.)
In a narrow lane;
Said the king to the king,
‘Where have you been?’
‘I have been a-hunting
The buck and the doe.’
‘Will you lend me your dog?’
- Nos. iii. and iv. are also to be found in Shropshire Folklore.