“When I was little I always heard different versions of the riddle ‘Eenie Meenie Miney Moh’. It was a rhyme that was supposed to help you decided between different options. You would say the rhyme and point to a different object or thing for each word in the rhyme and whatever thing you were pointing too on the last word was the object that was chosen. It started to get more complicated though, because I would keep hearing different endings being added from different people.”
“So it started off like ‘eenie meenie miney moh, catch a tiger by the toe, if he hollers let him go’ and that was how I started doing it originally. Then different additions started to be created, I think because people weren’t happy with what it landed on so they just kept going with words that rhymed. The first additional ending was ‘my mother said to pick the very best one and you are it’. So everybody in my lower school started adding this on to the end so it seemed like it was just how the saying went. Then another addition was added and that was ‘red white and blue I choose you’. This seemed a little extra to me, but of course I still did it. After that I cut myself off with the additional endings, but I continuously hear other ones being added or completely different ones. One I heard recently was ‘take me to the movie theaters and I’ll by a chocolate bar for you to take me to the movie theaters right now’. They all followed the original tune of Eenie Meenie Miney Moh, so it was easy to follow along if you just wanted to add another ending.”
“My family was Swiss growing up, and I didn’t learn this from my mom. I just kind of heard it around and in school and picked it up on my own. I spent the majority of my childhood in Texas, so I probably learned most of the different endings there. Currently, I live in Los Angeles, and hear through my children and their friends so many different knew endings that rhyme.”
My interpretation of the story:
Growing up, I also had heard many different renditions of the riddle or rhyme “Eenie Meenie Miney Moh”. In this story, what stood out to me was the tellers recognition of the additional endings being for people that didn’t necessarily want what they got. I agree with this assumption, because I personally remember being a kid and not liking exactly what I got and adding another ending or not adding one because I wanted what I first landed on. Because the riddle or rhyme “Eenie Meenie Miney Moh” does not seem to have one origin and is used over most of the country and most likely the world, it is not surprising that it is altered differently throughout different places. I believe that in geographical terms, there should be similar additional endings for people from or in similar places. On the other hand, people are constantly moving and sharing their cultures and traditions with other people, so it is not alarming to see so many different additional endings in one place. Because of this, I don’t think that you can specifically assign the origin of one ending to a place, and that only the original Eenie Meenie Miney Moh part of the rhyme is perpetually consistent across the world.