“The Old Cow Died (Little Girl)”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1925 (Scarborough)
Keywords: animal death dialog playparty food
Found in: US(So)


Dialog/game: "'Little girl, little girl,' 'Yes, ma'am," "Did you go over the river?" "The old cow died, sail around." "Did you give her hot water? Yes, ma'am." "Did you send for the doctor?" "Did she die of the cholera?" "Did the buzzards eat her?"


The Scarborough and Silber texts are noticeably distinct, Silber's being about the death of the cow while Scarborough's is intent upon the dialog and an adult asking a child about her activities (harvesting an egg, making corn pone, eating it, etc.) But the form is close enough that I've lumped them; the details of such songs are easily remade. - RBW


  1. Silber-FSWB, p. 396, "The Old Cow Died" (1 text)
  2. Scarborough-NegroFS, p. 141-142, "Little Girl" (1 text)
  3. Roud #11598
  4. BI, FSWB396A