★ Toe-games Story  :

Harry Whistle, Tommy Thistle, Harry Whible, Tommy Thible, And little Oker-bell.

A game with the five toes, each toe being touched in succession as these names are cried. “This song affords a proof of the connexion between the English and Scandinavian rhymes. The last line, as it now stands, appears to mean nothing. The word oker, however, is the A.-S. aecer, Icel. akr, Dan. ager, and Swed. aker, pronounced oker, a field, and the flower is the field-bell.”–Mr. Stephens’s MS. The following lines are also used in a play with the toes:

Shoe the colt, shoe! Shoe the wild mare! Put a sack on her back, See if she’ll bear. If she’ll bear, We’ll give her some grains; If she won’t bear, We’ll dash out her brains.

There are many various versions of this song in English, and it also exists in Danish (Thiele, iii. 133).

Skoe min best! Hvem kan bedst? Det kan vor Praest! Nei maen kan ban ej! For det kan vor smed, Som boer ved Leed.

Shoe my horse! Who can best? Why, our priest! Not he, indeed! But our smith can, He lives at Leed.

Perhaps, however, this will be considered more like the common rhyme, “Robert Barnes, Fellow fine,” printed in the ‘Nursery Rhymes of England,’ p. 166. An analogous verse is found in the nursery anthology of Berlin (Kuhn, Kinderlieder, 229), and in that of Sweden (Lilja, p. 14),–

Sko, sko min lille haest, I morgon frosten blir’ var gaest, Da bli’ haestskorna dyra, Tva styfver foer fyra.

Shoe, shoe my little horse, To-morrow it will be frosty: Then will horse-shoes be dear, Two will cost a stiver.

English nurses use the following lines, when a child’s shoe is tight, and they pat the foot to induce him to allow it to be tried on:

Cobbler, cobbler, mend my shoe, Give it a stitch and that will do. Here’s a nail, and there’s a prod, And now my shoe is well shod.

Or, occasionally, these lines,–

This pig went to market, Squeak, mouse, mouse, mousey; Shoe, shoe, shoe the wild colt, And here’s my own doll dowsy.

The following lines are said by the nurse when moving the child’s foot up and down,–

The dog of the kill,[35] He went to the mill To lick mill-dust: The miller he came With a stick on his back,– Home, dog, home! The foot behind, The foot before: When he came to a style, Thus he jumped o’er.

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