Little Nancy Etticoat
DESCRIPTION: Riddle: "Little Nancy Etticoat (Nanny Goat, Hetty Cote), With a white petticoat, And a red nose; She has no hands or feet; The longer she stands, The shorter she grows." Probable answer: A lighted candle
EARLIEST DATE: 1842 (Halliwell); a manuscript version is thought to date from c. 1645, according to the Opies
KEYWORDS: riddle nonballad
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Opie-Oxford2 373, "Little Nancy Etticoat" (1 text)
Baring-Gould-MotherGoose #700, p. 275, "(Little Nancy Etticoat)"
Dolby, p. 185, "Little Nancy Etticoat" (1 text)
NOTES [73 words]: Although this doesn't seem to be well known in folk circles today, it was famous enough in the last century that J. R. R. Tolkien rewrote it in Old English; in this version, Nancy Etticoat becomes Hild Hunecan, who wears a white tunic (tunecan). See J. R. R. Tolkien, The Annotated Hobbit, annotated by Douglas A. Anderson, second edition, Houghton Mifflin, 2002, pp. 123-125, n. 19.
For related material, see "Little Miss Nancy." - RBW
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