Fingers and Thumbs

DESCRIPTION: Motion song. "One finger, one thumb keep moving (3x), We’ll all be merry and bright." An introduction may have "characters" stand or sit together. "Two thumbs keep moving" "Two thumbs, four fingers keep moving" "Two thumbs, four fingers, one head ...."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1867 (Smith)
KEYWORDS: cumulative nonballad campsong
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South))
REFERENCES (6 citations):
Williams-FolkSongsOfTheUpperThames, p. 79, "Three Jolly Bachelors" (1 text) (also Williams-Wiltshire-WSRO Wt 506)
Averill-CampSongsFolkSongs, p. 516, "One Finger, One Thumb" (notes only)
Zander/Klusmann-CampSongsNThings, p. 39, "One Finger, One Thumb" (1 text, 1 tune)
Zander/Klusmann-CampSongsPopularEdition, p. 5, "One Finger, One Thumb" (1 text, 1 tune)
BoyScoutSongbook1997, p. 17, "One Finger, One Thumb" (1 text, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: Caroline Smith ("Aunt Carrie"), Popular Pastimes for Field and Fireside (Springfield, 1867 ("Digitized by Google")), pp. 236-237, "Fingers and Thumbs" (1 text, 1 tune)

Roud #1249
ALTERNATE TITLES:
The Jolly Miller
Keep Moving
Spastic Song
NOTES [95 words]: Smith writes that the cumulative line part in this game "must be sung on one note, as in chants [one breath?]..."
The person selected to commence this game must arrange all the players in a cicle .... Each must follow the motions of the leader, and join him in singing." - BS
This sounds as if it has been dramatically simplified in the camp song version, where everyone just does the play together.
The last line seems to vary a lot:
We'll all be merry and bright, or
We'll all be happy and gay, or
We'll all be jolly and bright,
And we'll all have a jolly good time.- RBW
Last updated in version 6.3
File: WT079

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2022 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.