USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘girl scout’
Childhood
Musical

Duck Girl Song

[The subject is CB. Her words are bolded, mine are not.]

Context: CB is one of my friends, and a sophomore student in college. Both of her parents are lawyers in the military, so she was born in Charlottesville, Virginia, but has also lived in Germany, Kansas, and Oregon. The following is a song that she learned when she was nine or ten years old from an American Girl Scout camp in Germany called Camp Lachenwald, which translates to “laughing woods.”

CB:
I’m an old duck rover from out in Montana
Round up them duckies and drive ‘em along
To a flooded corral where we bulldog and brand ‘em
Mosey on home just a-singin’ this song

Singin’ quack quack yippee-yay
Quack quack yippee-yo
Get along, little duckies
Get along real slow
It’s dirty and smelly and really don’t pay
But I’ll be a duck girl ‘til the end of my days.

On Saturday nights, I ride into town
On my short-legged pony with my hat pulled way down
But the boys don’t like duck girls and I can’t figure out why
No cowgirl could be more romantic than I

Singin’ quack quack yippee-yay
And quack quack yippee-yo
Get along, little duckies
Get along real slow
It’s dirty and smelly and really don’t pay
But I’ll be a duck girl ‘til the end of my days.

Thoughts: This song was sung entirely in an exaggerated Southern accent, which I thought was interesting especially because CB learned it while she was in Germany, albeit from other Americans. One thing I noticed was that the song was specific to a gender, but it led me to realize that most of the children’s folk songs I knew growing up were generally sung by girls more often than boys, even when the songs didn’t specify whether the singer was supposed to be a boy or a girl. I also feel that ducks are a common motif in children’s songs and games, like duck-duck-goose and the Five Little Ducks song. Ducks seem to be a symbol that adults associate with children because pictures of them commonly appear on baby clothes, but I suppose children also associate ducks with themselves because the songs they sing and the games they play often involve them.

Legends
Narrative

Camp Seven Hills Serial Killer

Abstract:

This piece is about a legendary serial killer that roams the woods near Camp Seven Hills in New York.

Main Piece:

“Informant: So I spent a lot of summers at a Girl Scout camp called Camp Seven Hills. And of course there were a lot of ghost stories around the fire, but every year they would tell a ghost story about a man who had wandered off from one of the neighbor farms, like right next to the camp, and wandered into the woods one night. Like a really creepy, scary, serial killer kind of man. And his favorite thing to do was to catch little girls, little Girl Scouts and kidnap and murder them. So the whole thing was never wander into the woods at night alone. They would tell this story every year.

Me: Where was this camp?

Informant: Camp Seven Hills in Western New York. I think it was to make sure we didn’t go off on our own, but it like totally freaked us all out every year.”

Context:

The subject is an adult woman who remembers her time as a child in the 1970s going to Girl Scout summer camp. She grew up in Buffalo New York and was an avid member of the Girl Scouts growing up. Camp Seven Hills is located in Erie County, New York and still functions as a Girl Scout camp today.

Interpretation:

I wonder if this legend of this Camp Seven Hills serial killer still exists today or if it has vanished from the folklore of this camp. Since this comes from the childhood of an adult, it would be interesting to compare the stories told to the young girls at this camp today and see if they are similar or very different. I think the informant was correct about the meaning behind this legend, that it would prevent girls from wandering around the woods alone or at night. Stories like this are terrifying for young girls and since it was localized to a nearby farm as the origin, it would make it more believable as well.

 

Childhood
general
Life cycle
Musical
Narrative

Song

Song:

One Tin Solid

Listen Children, to a story, that was written, long ago

About a kingdom, on a mountain, and the valley far below
on the mountain was a treasure, buried deep beneath the stone,

And the valley people swore they’d have if for their very own

Chorus

Go ahead and hate your neighbor,

Go ahead and cheat a friend

Do it in the name of heaven,

You can justify it in the end

There wont be any trumpets blowing,

Come the judgment day

On the bloody morning after,

One tin soldier rides away

Then the people of the valley,

Sent a message up the hill

Asking for the buried treasure,

Tons of gold for which they’d kill

Came an answer from the mountain

With our brothers, we will share

All the secrets of our kingdom,

All the riches buried there

Chorus

So the valley shook with anger,

(Mount your horses, draw your swords)

And they killed the mountain people,

So they won their just reward

Now they stand beside the treasure

On the mountain dark and red

Turn the stone and look beneath it,

Peace on earth was all it said

chorus

My sister heard this song at a Girl Scout camp in 5th grade. It was taught and sung around a campfire environment. She said she remembered it more that other camp songs because she agreed with the message that it conveyed. She continued to sing the song for several years as she continued to attend Girl Scout camp.

I heard my sister singing this song after she learned it at camp. I like this song because of how it ties religious ideas with everyday characteristics. You have the valley people that are greedy and want the treasure from the mountain. The mountain people don’t actually have treasure, but they are willing to share their way of life with them. The valley people then take war to the mountain, killing everyone on the mountain. When they look for the treasure, all the mountain people had was peace.

I had believed this song was pure folklore – a camp song that was song mainly in that environment. After some research, I discovered that the song was written by two men, Dennis Lambert and  Brian Potter, and recorded in 1969 by the band Original Caste. I know my sister did not know that when she learned the song and am sure that most, if not all, of the camp counselors teaching the song did not know there is an official, recorded version of the song. This is an example of some that went from being a published material and sort of de-evolved into a folk song.

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