Atisket, Atasket (I Sent a Letter to My Love)
DESCRIPTION: "Atisket, Atasket (or: I tisket, I tasket"), A green and yellow basket, I (wrote/sent) a letter to my love And on the way I dropped it." "A little puppy picked it up And put it in his pocket, It isn't you, it isn't you, But it is *you*."
EARLIEST DATE: 1879 (Illustrated National Nursery Songs and Games)
KEYWORDS: playparty courting
FOUND IN: US(MA,MW) Britain(England(North,South)) New Zealand
REFERENCES (10 citations):
Wolford-ThePlayPartyInIndiana, pp. 59-60=Wolford/Richmond/Tillson-PlayPartyInIndiana, pp. 216-218, "Itiskit" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax/Lomax-OurSingingCountry, pp. 77-78, "Kitty, Kitty Casket" (1 text, 1 tune)
Newell-GamesAndSongsOfAmericanChildren, #117, "Hunt the Squirrel" (1 text, 1 tune, with the tune being "Itisket" but the game being "Hunt the Squirrel")
McIntosh-FolkSongsAndSingingGamesofIllinoisOzarks, p. 107, "(A tisket, a tasket)" (1 text)
Welsch-NebraskaPioneerLore, pp. 282-284, "Itiskit, Itaskit" (1 text, 1 tune)
Sutton-Smith-NZ-GamesOfNewZealandChilden/FolkgamesOfChildren, p. 30, ""I sent a letter to my love"; "I had a little dog"; "Lucy Locket" (3 texts, the first being of the "Atisket, Atasket (I Sent a Letter to My Love)" type, the second of the "Hunt the Squirrel" type, the third being "Lucy Locket," but all apparently used for the same game)
Fuld-BookOfWorldFamousMusic, pp. 113-114, "Atisket, Atasket"
cf. Botkin-TreasuryOfAmericanFolklore, pp. 806, "Hunt the Squirrel (Itisket, Itasket)" (1 text, 1 tune)
cf. Baring-Gould-AnnotatedMotherGoose #630, p. 250, "(I sent a letter to m love)"
ADDITIONAL: Edith Fowke, _Red Rover, Red Rover: Children's Games Played in Canada_, pp. 56-57, "Drop the Handkerchief" (scattered lyrics with description of the game)
ST BAF806A (Full)
cf. "Hunt the Squirrel" (floating lyrics, playparty form)
NOTES [153 words]: There is confusion about the origin of this piece. Botkin links it to the playparty "Hunt the Squirrel." There is, however, no lyric similarity; the point of contact is that both are used with the English "drop glove" game. (For other "Drop Glove" verses, which actually mention gloves, see Baring-Gould-AnnotatedMotherGoose #647, p. 258, "(I've a glove in my hand).")
Fuld explicitly denies the English connection, pointing our that the earliest appearance was in Rosenwig's 1879 collection, where it was titled "I Sent a Letter to My Love." Even there, however, it is listed without an author. The Rosenwig text does not contain the "Atisket" words; these are first mentioned by Hofer in 1901.
It can be said that the two songs have cross-fertilized; see the "little dog at home" stanza, found in both "hunt the squirrel" and "Atisket."
The pop version of this song, of course, was recorded by Ella Fitzgerald. - RBW
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