“Hush little baby, don’t say a word
Mama’s gonna buy you a mockingbird
And if that mockingbird won’t sing,
Mama’s gonna buy you a diamond ring
And if that diamond ring turns to brass,
Mama’s gonna buy you a looking glass.
And if that looking glass gets broke,
Mama’s gonna buy you a mountain goat.”
Background: The informant, S, is a 21 year old who grew up in the southeast United States. Her mother often sang her this song to get her to fall asleep as a child. S’s mother and grandmother are from the southeast U.S., as well.
Context: S asked her mother what the lyrics to the “mockingbird lullaby” she often sang to S were. S then typed the lyrics and sent them to me via email.
Analysis: This song, which is sung to babies to fall asleep, is thought to be a regional lullaby for the Southeast United States. It was first collected in Virginia in 1918, and another version with different lyrics was found shortly after in North Carolina. S heard this song when she was living in Georgia.
See also: For a published literary adaptation of this lullaby, see: Frazee, Marla. Hush, Little Baby: A Folk Song with Pictures. United States, Browndeer Press, 2003.