60. A child to whom is told any story which he considers remarkable will
usually reply by an expression of skepticism, such as: Really and
truly? Honestly? Earnest, now? or, You are fooling. The first
speaker answers by some formula or asseveration, as, Honor bright (New
England); Deed, deed, and double deed (Pennsylvania); True as I
live, or, Hope I'll die if it isn't so, or simply, Hope I'll die.
General in the United States.
61. A formula of asseveration in Maryland and Pennsylvania is, I cross
my heart, accompanied by the sign of the cross.
62. A sign resembling that of the cross is made on the chin or throat.
You won't tell? No. Well, cross your throat.
63. When a child wishes to make an asseveration, he wets his finger on
his mouth and signs a cross on his throat.
64. In asseveration, the proper method is to use the words, Hope to die
if I don't, the speaker drawing the forefinger across the throat from
ear to ear.
65. Asseveration in Maine and Massachusetts is often made by the
following formula. First boy: Honor bright? Second boy: Hope to die.
First boy: Cut your throat? Second boy draws finger across throat. This
is the strongest possible form of oath that can be taken by a boy.
66. Little girls, without any idea of the meaning, employ the following
formula of asseveration:--
Black and blue.
A variant of the first line: Certain and true.
67. A form fuller than the preceding:--
Black and blue,
Lay me down and cut me in two.
68. A boy who desires to tell an extravagant story without being guilty
of a lie would point with his thumb over his left shoulder. If he should
succeed in accomplishing this without the observation of the boy to whom
he is talking, so much the better.
69. In my school-days, if a boy crossed his fingers, elbows, and legs,
though the act might not be noticed by the companion accosted, no blame
was attached to the falsehood.
New York city.
70. The addition of the words in a horn justify a falsehood. In the
childhood of the informant, it was not considered honorable to express
the words in such manner that they could not be heard by the child with
whom conversation was carried on.
71. In making a false statement, it was proper to say over the left.
This was often uttered in such manner that the person addressed should
not perceive the qualification. Or, the statement would be made, and
after it had been taken in and believed, the words over the left would
Ohio and Cambridge, Mass.
72. A formula for making a false statement: As true as I lie here,
said, as one fools, gives free scope to white lies.
73. An imprecation of children against disloyalty:--
Tell tale tit,
Your tongue shall be slit,
And every dog in our town
It shall have a bit.