Children’s Game

Children’s rhyme

Miss Mary Mac, Mac, Mac

All dressed in black, black, black.

With silver buttons, buttons, buttons

All down her back, back, back.

She asked her mother, mother, mother

For 50 cents, cents, cents.

To see the elephants, elephants, elephants

Jump over the fence, fence, fence.

They jumped so high, high, high

They reached the sky, sky, sky

They never came back, back, back

Till the 4th of July, July, July.

Claire doesn’t remember when she first heard this rhyme but she does remember she was fairly young, probably around seven or eight years old, when she learned the song in its entirety. She first learned the full song when she entered fourth grade and met everyone in her class on the first day. She described how on the first day of fourth grade the teacher sat everyone down, taught them the rhyme and then paired everyone up over and over to practice it. She doesn’t think there is any real significance behind it except for it being a childhood game that helped her meet everyone in her class and really bond. When she thinks back on it, it reminds her of her childhood and fond memories of playing with her friends and meeting so many new people.

Claire believes that there may not be any real significance behind this rhyme; however, it was one that every child in her school knew and has been passed down in her school every year. She described how each year, whoever entered fourth grade, would spend the first day learning this song. Claire believes it was meant to be a bonding experience for everyone and to get everyone to know each other better. She remembers how on her first day she met some of her best friends by being paired up with tem and reciting this rhyme. She said it was such a good bonding experience because many people had heard the rhyme but not in its entirety so by being paired up and learning the rhyme in its entirety, you got to help each other out and really form strong friendships. She also pointed out how it taught her to be patient, especially if one of her partners wasn’t picking up on it as quickly.

While I believe that this is a normal childhood rhyme, it is interesting how a very popular rhyme that is known by many people all over, was held so special in her school. But this story proves that folklore is used to create social bonds between people because you create this special connection when you are able to share a song, story or joke with someone because you learned it together and thus is forever engrained in your brain. This story proves how Folklore can take something as mundane as a children’s rhyme and make it into an experience where an entire class of forty students connects and forever stays connected through that rhyme.

Annotation: This rhyme can be found in the book called Miss Mary Mac All Dressed in Black: Tongue Twisters, Jump-Rope Rhymes and Other Children’s Lore from New England (Paperback), a book that highlights the most popular rhymes, riddles and tongue twisters for kids.

Hastings, Scott E. Miss Mary Mac All Dressed in Black: Tongue Twisters,

Jump-Rope Rhymes and Other Children’s Lore from New England (Paperback).

August House, 1990. 2 May 2008 <