Posts Tagged cumulative

cumulative

Time for a picture book…

You can read the whole book at this great site.

You can listen to the story too.

It’s one of those cumulative tales that we’ve talked about before. This one has an odd ending. What can it mean?

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old woman and the pig

Does that ever happen to you? You look at something and have a vague but also very definite memory of it, forgotten from very long ago.

I was accumulating thoughts about ‘cumulative tales’ – after my last two entries and the comments – and wondering about their ancestry. I came across “the old woman and her pig” – an English story.

And reading it, it gave that strange heard it long long ago feeling.

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An old woman was sweeping her house, and she found a little crooked sixpence. “What,” said she, “shall I do with this little sixpence? I will go to market, and buy a little pig.”

As she was coming home, she came to a stile: but the piggy wouldn’t go over the stile.

She went a little further, and she met a dog. So she said to the dog: “Dog! bite pig; piggy won’t go over the stile; and I shan’t get home to-night.” But the dog wouldn’t.

She went a little further, and she met a stick. So she said: “Stick! stick! beat dog! dog won’t bite pig; piggy won’t get over the stile; and I shan’t get home to-night.” But the stick wouldn’t.

She went a little further, and she met a fire. So she said: “Fire! fire! burn stick; stick won’t beat dog; dog won’t bite pig; piggy won’t get over the stile; and I shan’t get home to-night.” But the fire wouldn’t.

She went a little further, and she met some water. So she said: “Water, water! quench fire; fire won’t burn stick; stick won’t beat dog; dog won’t bite pig; piggy won’t get over the stile; and I shan’t get home to-night.” But the water wouldn’t.

She went a little further, and she met an ox. So she said: “Ox! ox! drink water; water won’t quench fire; fire won’t burn stick; stick won’t beat dog; dog won’t bite pig; piggy won’t get over the stile; and I shan’t get home to-night.” But the ox wouldn’t.

She went a little further, and she met a butcher. So she said: “Butcher! butcher! kill ox; ox won’t drink water; water won’t quench fire; fire won’t burn stick; stick won’t beat dog; dog won’t bite pig; piggy won’t get over the stile; and I shan’t get home to-night.” But the butcher wouldn’t.

She went a little further, and she met a rope. So she said: “Rope! rope! hang butcher; butcher won’t kill ox; ox won’t drink water; water won’t quench fire; fire won’t burn stick; stick won’t beat dog; dog won’t bite pig; piggy won’t get over the stile; and I shan’t get home to-night.” But the rope wouldn’t.

She went a little further, and she met a rat. So she said: “Rat! rat! gnaw rope; rope won’t hang butcher; butcher won’t kill ox; ox won’t drink water; water won’t quench fire; fire won’t burn stick; stick won’t beat dog; dog won’t bite pig; piggy won’t get over the stile; and I shan’t get home to-night.” But the rat wouldn’t.

She went a little further, and she met a cat. So she said: “Cat! cat! kill rat; rat won’t gnaw rope; rope won’t hang butcher; butcher won’t kill ox; ox won’t drink water; water won’t quench fire; fire won’t burn stick; stick won’t beat dog; dog won’t bite pig; piggy won’t get over the stile; and I shan’t get home to-night.” But the cat said to her, “If you will go to yonder cow, and fetch me a saucer of milk, I will kill the rat.” So away went the old woman to the cow.

But the cow said to her: “If you will go to yonder hay-stack, and fetch me a handful of hay, I’ll give you the milk.” So away went the old woman to the haystack and she brought the hay to the cow.

As soon as the cow had eaten the hay, she gave the old woman the milk; and away she went with it in a saucer to the cat.

As soon as the cat had lapped up the milk, the cat began to kill the rat; the rat began to gnaw the rope; the rope began to hang the butcher; the butcher began to kill the ox; the ox began to drink the water; the water began to quench the fire; the fire began to burn the stick; the stick began to beat the dog; the dog began to bite the pig; the little pig in a fright jumped over the stile, and so the old woman got home that night.

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who is stronger?

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This is the house that Jack built.
This is the malt that lay in the house that Jack built.
This is the rat that ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.
This is the cat that killed the rat
That ate the malt that lay in the house that Jack built.
This is the dog that worried the cat
That killed the rat that ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.
This is the cow with the crumpled horn
That tossed the dog that worried the cat
That killed the rat that ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.
This is the maiden all forlorn
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn
That tossed the dog that worried the cat
That killed the rat that ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.
This is the man all tattered and torn
That kissed the maiden all forlorn
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn
That tossed the dog that worried the cat
That killed the rat that ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.
This is the priest all shaven and shorn
That married the man all tattered and torn
That kissed the maiden all forlorn
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn
That tossed the dog that worried the cat
That killed the rat that ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.
This is the cock that crowed in the morn
That waked the priest all shaven and shorn
That married the man all tattered and torn
That kissed the maiden all forlorn
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn
That tossed the dog that worried the cat
That killed the rat that ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.
This is the farmer sowing his corn
That kept the cock that crowed in the morn
That waked the priest all shaven and shorn
That married the man all tattered and torn
That kissed the maiden all forlorn
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn
That tossed the dog that worried the cat
That killed the rat that ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

I read this to my class, got them to act it out with puppets, made a book of it, and suchlike, like teachers do. Then one of the girls brought in a fantastic version:

It’s by Simms Taback.

I love the illustrations:


He mentions that it comes from an old Jewish cumulative song:

“Had Gadya (An Only Kid, Aramaic) is a popular song sung in Aramaic at the conclusion of the Passover seder along with other concluding songs, to amuse the children and keep them from falling asleep. Composed of ten stanzas the verse runs as follows:

A father bought a kid for two zuzim;
a cat came and ate the kid;
a dog then bit the cat;
the dog was beaten by a stick;
the stick was burned by fire;
water quenched the fire;
an ox drank the water;
a shohet (ritual slaughterer) slaughtered the ox;
the shohet was killed by the Angel of Death who
in punishment was destroyed by God.”

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