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The Chinese Boy and Girl   By: (1859-1942)

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THE CHINESE BOY AND GIRL

BY

ISAAC TAYLOR HEADLAND

OF PEKING UNIVERSITY

Author of Chinese Mother Goose Rhymes

PREFACE

No thorough study of Chinese child life can be made until the wall of Chinese exclusiveness is broken down and the homes of the East are thrown open to the people of the West. Glimpses of that life however, are available, sufficient in number and character to give a fairly good idea of what it must be. The playground is by no means always hidden, least of all when it is the street. The Chinese nurse brings her Chinese rhymes, stories and games into the foreigner's home for the amusement of its little ones.

Chinese kindergarten methods and appliances have no superior in their ingenuity and their ability to interest, as well as instruct. In the matter of travelling shows and jugglers also, no country is better supplied, and these are chiefly for the entertainment of the little ones.

To the careful observer of these different phases it becomes apparent that the Chinese child is well supplied with methods of exercise and amusement, also that he has much in common with the children of other lands. A large collection of toys shows many duplicates of those common in the West, and from the nursery rhymes of at least two out of the eighteen provinces it appears that the Chinese nursery is rich in Mother Goose. As a companion to the "Chinese Mother Goose," this book seeks to show that the same sunlight fills the homes of both East and West. If it also leads their far away mates to look upon the Chinese Boy and Girl as real little folk, human like themselves, and thus think more kindly of them, its mission will have been accomplished.

CONTENTS

THE NURSERY AND ITS RHYMES CHILDREN AND CHILD LIFE GAMES PLAYED BY BOYS GAMES PLAYED BY GIRLS THE TOYS CHILDREN PLAY WITH BLOCK GAMES KINDERGARTEN CHILDREN'S SHOWS AND ENTERTAINMENTS JUVENILE JUGGLING STORIES TOLD TO CHILDREN

THE NURSERY AND ITS RHYMES

It is a mistake to suppose that any one nation or people has exclusive right to Mother Goose. She is an omnipresent old lady. She is Asiatic as well as European or American. Wherever there are mothers, grandmothers, and nurses there are Mother Gooses, or; shall we say, Mother Geese for I am at a loss as to how to pluralize this old dame. She is in India, whence I have rhymes from her, of which the following is a sample:

Heh, my baby! Ho, my baby! See the wild, ripe plum, And if you'd like to eat a few, I'll buy my baby some.

She is in Japan. She has taught the children there to put their fingers together as we do for "This is the church, this is the steeple," when she says:

A bamboo road, With a floor mat siding, Children are quarrelling, And parents chiding,

the "children" being represented by the fingers and the "parents" by the thumbs. She is in China. I have more than 600 rhymes from her Chinese collection. Let me tell you how I got them.

One hot day during my summer vacation, while sitting on the veranda of a house among the hills, fifteen miles west of Peking, my friend, Mrs. C. H. Fenn, said to me:

"Have you noticed those rhymes, Mr. Headland?"

"What rhymes?" I inquired.

"The rhymes Mrs. Yin is repeating to Henry."

"No, I have not noticed them. Ask her to repeat that one again."

Mrs. Fenn did so, and the old nurse repeated the following rhyme, very much in the tone of, "The goblins 'll git you if you don't look out."

He climbed up the candlestick, The little mousey brown, To steal and eat tallow, And he couldn't get down. He called for his grandma, But his grandma was in town, So he doubled up into a wheel, And rolled himself down.

I asked the nurse to repeat it again, more slowly, and I wrote it down together with the translation.

Now, I think it must be admitted that there is more in this rhyme to commend it to the public than there is in "Jack and Jill... Continue reading book >>




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