Posted by ESC on January 29, 2003
In Reply to: Complete "tattle tail" verse? posted by masakim 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.)
: 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.
: 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)
Thank you, thank you! You wouldn't think a grown-up would need this rhyme, but it happens.