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Re: Complete "tattle tail" verse?

Posted by Masakim on January 28, 2003

In Reply to: Complete "tattle tail" verse? posted by ESC on January 28, 2003

: Does anyone know all the verses to the childhood taunt? It goes something like this

: Tattle tail, tattle tail
: Swinging on a cow's (or bull's) tail
: When you need a cup of tea
: You can have a drink of p**

: This is work-related and I want to get it right. (Really mature I know.)

Tattletale, tattletale
Hanging on a bull's tail
When the bull has to pee
You will get a cup of tea.
From _American Children's Folklore_ by Simon J. Bronner
----------
Iona & Peter Opie, in _The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren_ , write:
"One who blabs to a teacher or to a senior is a 'blabber-mouth', 'rotten sneak', 'dirty tell tale tit'. Young children, in particular, will hound him (as we have witnessed) until he is almost pulp, a quivering sobbing heap having to bear the double agony of blows and reiterated refrain:
Tell tale tit,
Your tongue shall be slit,
And all the dogs in the town
Shall have a little bit,
a threat has been stinging in the ears of blabbers for more than 200 years."

And they give many variants. Some are:
Tattle tale, tattle tale, / Hang your britches on a nail. (Long Island, N.Y.)
Tattle tale, tattle tale, / Hanging on the bull's tail. (Long Island , N.Y.)
Tell tale tattle / Buy a penny rattle / And tie it to a cow's tail. (Dublin)
Tell tale, pick a nail, / Hang to the vull's tail. (Courtney & Couch, _Cornwall Glossary_, 1880)