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Categories: CHILDHOOD

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.

Cambridge, Mass.

63. When a child wishes to make an asseveration, he wets his finger on

his mouth and signs a cross on his throat.

Salem, Mass.

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.

Biddeford, Me.

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:--

Certain, true,

Black and blue.

A variant of the first line: Certain and true.


67. A form fuller than the preceding:--

Certain, true,

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.

Biddeford, Me.

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.

Cambridge, Mass.

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

be added.

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.

Roxbury, Mass.

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.