When I was little we would crouch down with our head leaned close above the little inverted tornado looking place in the soft dirt and say:
Doodlebug Doodlebug come out!
Your house is on fire and your
Children will burn!
According to the Frank C. Brown Collection of NC Folklore there are many variations on the little saying.
- Doodle doodle, come and get a grain of corn.
- Doodlebug, doodlebug, come up and get a grain of corn; Your house is burning up.
- Doodlebug, doodlebug, come and get your bread.
- Doodlebug, doodlebug, come get your bread before your house burns.
- Doodlebug, doodlebug, come to supper; I’ll give you bread and butter.
- Doodle, doodle, come and get some bread and butter; Doodle, doodle, come and get a barrel of sugar.
- Doodlebug, doodlebug come up, your house is on fire!
- Doodlebug, doodlebug, your house is on fire; Wife’s gone away, and the children will burn.
- Doodlebug doodlebug, come out of your house; it’s burning up with your wife and all your children, except Mary-she’s under the dishpan.
These come with directions:
- Take a straw and stir in the nest of the doodlebugs. While so doing, repeat these words, “Doodle, doodle, come and get a cup of coffee,” a few times, and the doodlebugs will come forth.
- To make a small bug come from the ground, say, “Doodlebug, doodlebug, come up and get sugar.” And to make him go down again, say, “Doodlebug, doodlebug, go down in the ground.”
Who knew there were so many variations! As many coffee drinkers as there are around here I can’t believe us kids didn’t know the one about the cup of coffee.
We did sometimes stick a straw into the hole. We didn’t try to stir, we tried to fish with our straw. I never did get a doodlebug to come out of its hole by chanting at it nor did I ever catch one with my piece of straw.
When I saw the doodlbug lairs in my kale bed the other day I thought I’m going to sit right here until I see a real live doodlebug! And I did. There is one right there in the photo-but its almost impossible to see. Here’s a photo from the Alabama Heritage Website that shows one close up:
I think it’s sort of creepy and it makes me sort of glad that all my childhood efforts at catching one never came to fruition.
Hope you’ll leave a comment and tell me which doodlebug saying you’re familiar with-if any.